What has happened to scoring in the NBA this year? After being on an upward trend for years, we have seen a decline this season. What has this meant for bettors and what should they look for going forward this season?
There are several metrics to choose from, like points per 100 possessions or taking the median average of scoring for all NBA teams, no matter how you want to view it, scoring in the Association is down. Almost every number to this juncture of the season finds league-wise the average is down four points per team.
For complete transparency, we are looking at the past two years which were affected by virus issues, though that has not changed that much this season, especially in December and the first part of January.
There is still plenty of time for scoring to rise and we’ll just have to see how that plays out. Let’s talk about what has occurred and what we can do about it for NBA picks.
Changes In Foul Calls
At the beginning of this season, it was clear the NBA wanted a reduction of fouls coming from players who were bad actors. Players pulling stunts like James Harden or Trae Young were not going to get away trying to pick up fouls when they were essentially bending the rules to draw fouls.
This has helped cut the number of free-throw attempts to just over three fewer per contest. It doesn’t sound like much, yet it has an impact.
Changes In Defending Long Shot Attempts
For the season to date, the average number of three’s made per game is down approximately one per team on average. This alone has a significant impact.
NBA coaches and their staff have figured out ways to stay within closer contact of shooters behind the arc, without leveraging the ability to still play help defense inside the three-point line.
Is that all attributable to just defense, probably not (more on this further down), but almost certainly this has helped reduce scoring.
Player Feedback on Points Down
Though this has not as much play in the media, enough, not all players will say the past two years with disjointed seasons and the lack of regular off-season rest has more players with tired legs and bodies.
Shooting starts with the legs and having the proper shooting form at the time of release. If the legs are weaker, that can affect how the shot is released and throw off the accuracy.
There is no actual proof of this being the case, nonetheless, when it comes from those playing the game, it should be noted.
No Issues for Oddsmakers on Lower Scores
Those of you that wager on all sports might remember that the NHL altered their rules in the past 12 years to take out the clutching and grabbing and make the game more open.
Within days of the start of the season, the scores of games jumped from about five goals a game to six to seven regularly. There was a big cry about how those betting odds you look at every day at OddsTrader.com and other outlets were going to adjust on the run so quickly.
LEARN MORE: Best NBA Live Betting Strategies
What was forgotten, at least in the media, is what sportsbooks do. They create numbers and adjust. In just a few days, those making NHL picks on totals were seeing totals from 6 to 7 and there was not an ounce of panic, except bettor’s having to mentally adjust to unseen numbers.
These professionals realized a change was at hand and seamlessly adjusted.
Trust the Numbers and Do Your Homework
There are plenty of people generating NBA picks that don’t even bother with totals, lacking the nuance to understand how to wager on them and they have smartly stayed away.
Others have had to make adjustments, but in truth, this has been more subtle than when NBA totals went from the low to mid-220’s to beyond 230 and all the way to 240. That became a number that was hard to calculate for totals and sides.
LEARN MORE: What is Smart Money Action in Sports Betting?
What you as the bettor have to do is trust the oddsmakers releases are generally accurate on totals and understand what effect this has had on the teams you are looking at (if any), and how that plays into your personal handicapping.
In the end, if you have a handle of a team’s pace at home or on the road, understand their current form, and can figure out how they play with rest and know their injury situation, you have either done well or figure too soon.
And remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting!