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Our goal is pretty simple with these articles - to help find some you some winners. We will be doing approximately two of these data deep dives per week (until late in playoffs/Finals) and are pulling most of the information from Oddshark's 1st half/1st quarter stats. Despite some of the notable trends, stats and numbers you'll note in this article, we cannot stress this enough - don’t bet every single game below.
Why? Well, what we cannot forecast is injuries, and in some of these games further research is needed closer to gametime in order to get more injury/player health clarity. Rule 101 in betting the NBA (profitably, in the long term) is you shouldn't be betting strictly off trends (especially mainstream media trends). These trends, however, can still serve as a baseline for what to avoid - or what to target - based on accumulating important injury/inactive news, minutes restriction information and/or NBA playoff/play-in motivation.
All of the trends/data points listed below are based on who is home and who is away and also includes a sample of a team's last 10 games, regardless of the venue. These trends are updated weekly and were last updated on Monday, May 3, 2021. For Part I of 2 this week, we will focus on our attention on Friday's main slate, with a handful of teams and their first half total/first half ATS trends seemingly jumping off the page. We'll start by tackling five of Friday's 10 total games below, starting with the Boston Celtics visiting the Chicago Bulls, and work our way down the nightcap matchup between San Antonio and Sacramento.
Please note: When referencing records to the Over/Under below, if a team is "13-17-1 to the under" that means that team has 13 overs, 17 unders and one push in their past 31 games. If a team is "6-4 to the over" it means that team has six overs and four unders in their past 10 games. Simply put, the first number in the team's O/U record is in reference to the over, and the second number is in reference to the under. All of the O/U numbers mentioned below are strictly first half totals and/or first half ATS records.
Celtics @ Bulls (1st Half Under)
The Celtics are 13-17-1 to the under in their last 31 games and scoring 108.77 ppg. The Bulls, on the other hand, are 14-17 (14 overs, 17 unders) in their past 31 games scoring while scoring a very similar 111.94 ppg. But Chicago is scoring just 102.7 over its last 10 games, obviously lacking in the offensive department with no Zach LaVine. The Bulls did score 59 in their first half with LaVine back on Thursday night in a win at Charlotte, but given the fact that LaVine still has some rust to knock off and is playing the second leg of a B2B, and the Celtics are still dealing with an injury to Jaylen Brown, the under is worth a look here. Both offenses exploded in each team's lone game so far this week, sure, but the underlying numbers still point strong to both teams scoring below expectation. Given the extra playoff motivation for Chicago and seeding motivation for Boston, both teams could look to increase their defensive effort here.
Magic @ Hornets (1st Half Under)
The Magic are 12-18-2 to the under over their last 32 while scoring an average of 110.16, and in their last 10 they are 4-5-1 to the under, scoring 111.3. The Hornets are 13-16-2 to the under, scoring 110.68 points per game. What makes this game even more interesting is the large number of potential inactives (and subsequent lack of offensive firepower) on both sides here. The under is again worth a look here, given the Magic's inclination to rest their best players while in tank mode and the Hornets still being down three of their top seven rotation players/key starters in Gordon Hayward, Devonte' Graham and Miles Bridges. Orlando scored above their average (119) on Monday in a road win at Detroit, but it came against an absolutely depleted Pistons roster and they mustered just 42.8% of those points (51 out of 119) in the first half. Orlando followed that up with a paltry 96 points on Wednesday in a 36-point loss to Boston in which they again scored just 46.8% of their total points (45 of 96) before halftime. Charlotte played just bad if not worse offensively this week, scoring a lowly 102 (53 1H) on Tuesday against that same depleted Detroit team and only putting up 99 (53 1H) in a home loss to Chicago on Thursday. The Hornets will be playing the second leg of their own B2B here as well, so don't be surprised to see both offenses continue to struggle. Keep an eye on inactives from both sides before tipoff in this one just to be sure the Magic, who are in mad dash to the finish line for a top three protected pick in the draft, don't outright tank here.
Heat @ Timberwolves (1st Half Over)
To our surprise, the Heat are 21-11-1 to the over while scoring an average of110.94 ppg over their last 33 games. In their last 10 specifically they are scoring even more, going 8-2 to the over while averaging 114.8 ppg. The Timberwolves, on the other side, are 20-12-1 to the over, scoring an average of 121.18 ppg. While we stated up above that we're not sure how much the Timberwolves are trying to necessarily to win, but these numbers are too good to pass up here. This Minnesota team has showed some fight as of late too, narrowly losing to Memphis on Wednesday night while going 6-4 to the over in their last 10 games with the young trio of Anthony Edwards, D'Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns all scoring the basketball exceptionally well. Miami scored 113 (54 1H, 15 2Q) in a home loss to the Mavs on Tuesday but were missing Jimmy Butler after a surprise late scratch, and they've now had three full days off in a row before Friday's tilt at Minnesota. The Timberwolves' offense, on the other side, was firing on all cylinders this week in a close home loss to Memphis on Wednesday (139-135, 63 1H) and will also come into Friday's contest getting ready to play just their second game all week. Expect fresh legs on both sides.
Cavaliers @ Mavericks (1st Half Under)
The Cavaliers are 13-20 to the under, scoring just 106.12 ppg during this stretch. They are 4-6 to the under in their last 10 as well, scoring an average of 108.5 ppg. The Mavericks are just 13-18-1 over the last few months and 4-5-1 to the under over their last 10. They've picked it up this week offensively, however, scoring 127 (63 1H) on the road in a victory over the Heat and putting up 113 (63 1H) in a big home win against Brooklyn on Thursday night. They will be playing the second leg of a B2B here though, in what could be a potential let down spot against the lowly Cavs. Cleveland, on the other hand, put up 114 (53 1H) against Phoenix in regulation on Tuesday but ran out of steam in OT, scoring just four total points in the extra session. The Cavs, who should have all the incentive in the world to lose this game, followed that up with just 105 total points (57 1H) on Wednesday in a blowout loss to the Trail Blazers at home.
Spurs @ Kings (Spurs 1H ATS)
San Antonio is an astounding 22-7-1 ATS in the first half this season, covering by 5.03 ppg. The Spurs are also 9-1 ATS in their last 10, covering by 9.2 ppg. The Sacramento Kings? They're 13-18-1 ATS while failing to cover by 2.47 ppg. Given the numbers and situations for both teams in this spot on Friday night, the Spurs ATS in the 1st half is definitely worth a look here. The Spurs suffered losses in both their games this week, but both were to the #1 seeded Utah Jazz, who blew out San Antonio each time. That's not a surprise, however, given the Spurs' 11-24 record this year against teams above .500 and the Jazz's stellar 25-6 record against teams below .500. But the Spurs get a nice redemption spot against Sacramento here. San Antonio is 20-10 vs. below .500 teams this season and is better on the road (18-14) than at home (13-20). The Kings? Well they're no much better at home than on the road, so this game being in Sacramento could also play to the Spurs' favor here, especially given the fact that the Kings could be fat & happy with back-to-back road wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers this week.
The Spurs should be motivated out of the gates to snap their five-game losing streak and hold on to the 1.5-game lead they currently have over the New Orleans Pelicans for the #10 seed in the Western Conference and a play-in tournament berth as well. Don't be surprised to see the Kings equally motivated, however, as they currently sit 2.5 games behind the Spurs for the #10 and would be just 1.5 games out with an outright win here and five games remaining in the regular season. Spurs 1H and Kings full game could be an interesting option as well, as Sacramento has won four straight and gone 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. These are two teams headed in completely opposite directions, but the numbers still point to San Antonio being a strong first half bet, even if the line might still be inflated in the Spurs' direction.