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Primer/Intro: 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 the end of the Finals) and are pulling most of the information from Oddshark's 1st half/1st quarter stats. Despite some of the notable trends 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 Tuesday, May 11, 2021. For Part I of 2 this week, we will keep this article short, due to the fact we have no idea who is playing later in the week and what teams want to do. We will be staying away from games with team(s) who don’t have anything to play for (excluding the Minnesota Timberwolves, who seem like they are actually trying to win). This is a weird week for the NBA, and none of these trends or #'s matter with so many players who are going to be on minutes restrictions and not playing at all.
While sports media sites likes to use headlines "team x beat team y during the regular season" to get clicks, DON’T BUY IT! Think about it for a second- why did team x beat team y during the regular season?
For example, the Los Angeles Lakers are not the same team during large chunks of the regular season due to injuries and other situations. so did the team simply not care when they played that regular season game? These questions are key to understanding the current market and will help you find a bigger edge.
The playoffs are also a completely different animal here, and the matchups we dissect moving forward will now become a very powerful tool to use to handicap, especially as the first round begins and we enter all of these seven-game series across the association. Again, we stress that you shouldn’t bet any of these trends blindly based off the trend alone, but use them as a guide to shopping around and finding the best numbers in regards to your game props, player props, sides or total bets. Now let's dive into two trends and totals that stick out the most for us this week, one for tonight's Lakers/Warriors late game and another for Thursday night's elimination game between the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers.
Warriors @ Lakers (1st Half Under 112 points @ FanDuel)
Despite the Lakers missing a lot of key guys for long stretches of the year as mentioned above, they are impressively still the #1 ranked team in defensive efficiency. The Warriors themselves are #6 in that category, and their games are averaging 56.6 combined points in the 1st half overall but only 55.7 points on the road. The Lakers average 56 ppg in the 1st half overall but only 55.7 ppg at home.
These L.A. Lakers trends are obviously skewed toward the under because of the aforementioned injuries, but the Warriors' numbers are the ones that actually caught our eye here. Golden State is 13-21-2 to the first half under on the road this season, with their games averaging a combined 114.5 points before halftime. In their last 10 games they are also 3-6-1 to the first half under on the road (114.9 points).
Over these teams' regular season meetings we saw first half combined scoring outputs of 112 (Lakers 64, Warriors 48), 117 (Lakers 73, Warriors 44) and 115 (Lakers 65, Warriors 50), so the current number seems pretty accurate on the surface. But given the increased defensive efficiency by Golden State, in addition to the play-in environment and recent trends skewing under for both teams at home/on the road, we believe there still could be some value if you can find 112 (currently -112 on FanDuel) for the first-half total here.
Wizards @ Pacers (1st Quarter Over 59.5 points @ FanDuel)
The Indiana Pacers are coming off their blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets. The Washington Wizards, on the other hand, are coming off a competitive loss (at least in the first half) vs. the Boston Celtics. The Pacers are 20-16 to the first quarter over at home, with their games averaging 58.31 points. Over their last 10 home games the Pacers are also 7-3 to the first quarter (63.7 combined points on average).
The Wizards are 20-16 to the first quarter over on the road (60.47) and in their last 10 road games they are actually 9-1 to the first quarter over (64.4). These teams have played three times total, once in March and twice in May. They scored 65, 67 and 52 combined first-quarter points in those matchups. The 52-point under game started slow, but it was the first time they played back in March and the final score still wound up 132-124. We believe we continue the 60+ type first-quarter scoring games that we saw in May.
Over the Pacers last four games and regardless of being home or way (including their play-in victory over the Hornets on Tuesday) we've seen first-quarter totals of 77 (Milwaukee), 64 (Lakers), 61 (Raptors) and 64 (Hornets). Even in their 103-94 victory over the 76'ers on May 11th, a relatively low-scoring game, both teams combined for 59 points in that contest. The Wizards come into Thursday night's do-or-die affair having gone under 59.5 combined first-quarter points in their last two games against Charlotte and Boston, but before that they had reeled off 11 straight games of eclipsing this first-quarter total of 59.5
You'd in fact have to go all the way back to April 25th against the Cleveland Cavaliers when both teams put up 59 points to see another first-quarter that's under this current FanDuel 1Q total set for Thursday night.