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NBA Schedule: The Impact on Handicapping

   by ASA - 01/15/2012

The NBA season is underway and I for one couldn’t be more excited. I’ve always loved professional basketball and really enjoy watching and handicapping it. In my opinion they are the greatest athletes of the professional sports and what they can do on a basketball court is truly amazing. We’ve had some tremendous success handicapping the NBA in the past and a part of that can certainly be attributed to our passion for the game itself. This season we’ve been charting, grafting, analyzing the NBA as per usual but we’ve noticed some startling trends early on and offer the following explanations. If you haven’t been paying attention to the NBA then you’ve missed some dramatic early season trends taking place. Favorites and Unders have been cashing in at a startling rate this season with the Chalks going 104-73 ATS with Unders cashing in with an overall record o f 69-105 (under) or 60%.

So what is causing this current trend in the NBA?

We feel scheduling has a lot to do with what’s currently trending in the NBA. One NBA insider we talked with mentioned how the shortened exhibition season and lockout has affected the current state of the game. Without early season preparation, conditioning and more games in less nights coaches have lengthened their rotations and slowed the tempo of games. Players are still adjusting and scoring has dropped considerably. Teams are shooting just 44 percent and averaging just 94.3 points per game through an average of 10 games per season in 2012. Those are the lowest numbers in the NBA in that time frame since 2003-04. Last year in the first 10 games of the season teams were averaging 100.7 ppg and shooting 45.7%. Another factor to consider is the pace of play. Teams are averaging 2.2 less possessions per game through 10 games this season compared to the first 10 games in 2010-11. Now if we look at last NBA season as a whole we find additional statistics that support why games have been lower scoring in 2012. Thus far this season teams are averaging 39.7 points per game in the paint compared to last season’s number of 41.1. Overall fast break points last year was 13.77 ppg while that number has dropped to 13.0 this season. The defenses have also had an impact on the lower scoring games too. Over the course of the season last year teams allowed an average effective field goal percentage of .497%. This year that number has dipped to .480%.

Will this trend continue?

Yes we are going to continue to see lower scoring games in the NBA because rest is such a critical factor in the outcome of games. In talking with a NBA coach they mentioned how tired players tend to settle for shooting jumpers on the perimeter instead of driving to the hoop when they get fatigued. Our points
in the paint statistics support that thinking along with free throw attempts per game averages which are also down this year (23.1) compared to last (24.4). Obviously less free throws made or attempted in a game can have a dramatic effect on games going over or under the total. We will continue to monitor the condensed schedule and how it impacts handicapping but rest assured (pardon the pun) the ddsmakers will start adjusting their numbers and the Over/Under records will start to even out. New to the NBA players and coaches in 2012 is playing three games in three nights. One trend we’ve noticed this season is this: When teams are scheduled to play their 3rd game in a three day span they tend to go ‘under’ in the first two games of that three game span. As of this writing (Jan 16th) the under is 5-14 in that situation. Take a look at playing under in the Nets games on Jan 21st (host Oklahoma City) and
Jan 22nd (host Charlotte) as they will be playing their third game in three nights on Jan 23rd (at Chicago). Ironically, those same teams playing in that third game of a three night span are 8-3 ATS
(consider a play on the Nets plus the points over the Bulls on Jan 23rd). Overall when a game features a team playing without rest this season the ‘under’ is 43-74 which is 63%.

We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to give clients an edge when it comes to handicapping the NBA. Our highly acclaimed Math Model and predictive game simulator continue to anchor our winning NBA selections. Then factor in our statistical analysis, game breakdowns, extensive human network or contacts and you have the winning formula for producing reliable profits in basketball. Last season we produced profits for clients in 15 of the final 20 weeks, produced a 17-7 run to end the playoffs and were 67-41 our last 108 NBA selections.

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