NBA Over/Under Trends in 2019-2020

The NBA regular season is in the books, and it’s time to take a look at the trends that occurred this year when it comes to points total (aka over/under) investments. 

What did the over/under landscape look like in the bubble? And who were the top teams overall? You’ll find the answers below. 

If you are unfamiliar with how over/under investments work, have a look at our article on investment methods in sports trading.

Unpredictability since the season restart

Since there has been quite a lot of talk regarding the unpredictability of the points total market in the bubble, let’s start by taking a look at who the over/under leaders were for the regular season games that were played in Orlando.

Top 5 over

Team

Over Record

Over %

Total +/-

Denver

9-0-0

100.0%

+21.1

Portland

8-1-0

88.9%

+16.4

Brooklyn

6-3-0

66.7%

+13.2

Phoenix

6-3-0

66.7%

+4.6

Utah

6-3-0

66.7%

+10.7

Top 5 under

Team

Over Record

Under %

Total +/-

Houston

2-6-0

75.0%

-1.9

New Orleans

2-6-0

75.0%

-2.6

Memphis

3-6-0

66.7%

+1.1

Toronto

3-6-0

66.7%

-2.7

Indiana

3-5-0

62.5%

-5.9

With teams inevitably a little rusty on both ends of the floor after a long break from competitive action, bookmakers were giving lower than usual points totals for games. This was a move that seemed to make sense when you looked at the offensive efficiency stats of teams early on in the bubble.

But as you can see, bookmakers could not get the totals right at all for some teams. Denver and Portland were crushing the over, while Houston’s and New Orleans’ games were going under at a high rate.

What should we make of this? 

The logical conclusion for a sports trader would be to mark this down as a blip in the radar and recognize that we are looking at short-term trends from a very small sample size that happened under extremely unexpected circumstances.

NBA 2019-2020 regular season over/under leaders

What did the full season look like then? Here are the regular season leaders from 2019-2020:

Top 5 over (all games)

Team

Over Record

Over %

Total +/-

Miami

43-28-2

60.6%

+2.6

San Antonio

42-28-1

60.0%

+5.1

Detroit

39-26-1

60.0%

-0.0

Portland

45-30-0

60.0%

+3.9

Atlanta

40-27-0

59.7%

+3.5

Top 5 under (all games)

Team

Over Record

Under %

Total +/-

Houston

30-42-0

58.3%

+0.1

Memphis

33-41-0

55.4%

+0.2

Golden State

30-35-0

53.8%

+0.7

Boston

34-38-1

52.8%

+1.8

LA Clippers

34-38-1

52.8%

-0.3

Top 5 over at home games

Team

Over Record

Over %

Total +/-

Detroit

22-10-0

68.8%

+2.3

Miami

22-10-0

68.8%

+5.4

Dallas

21-13-0

61.8%

+3.2

Atlanta

21-13-0

61.8%

+3.3

Philadelphia

18-12-1

60.0%

-0.2

Top 5 under at home games

Team

Over Record

Under %

Total +/-

New York

12-20-1

62.5%

-1.9

Orlando

12-18-1

60.0%

-2.6

LA Lakers

13-18-0

58.1%

-3.1

Charlotte

13-17-0

56.7%

-1.1

Memphis

15-18-0

54.5%

-0.1

Top 5 over at away games

Team

Over Record

Over %

Total +/-

Washington

21-10-1

67.7%

+9.0

Orlando

21-11-2

65.6%

+3.0

San Antonio

20-11-1

64.5%

+5.6

Minnesota

20-12-0

62.5%

+8.0

New York

19-14-0

57.6%

+2.9

Top 5 under at away games

Team

Over Record

Under %

Total +/-

Houston

13-19-0

59.4%

+2.1

Phoenix

13-17-0

56.7%

-0.3

LA Clippers

14-18-0

56.2%

-1.1

Milwaukee

14-18-1

56.2%

-3.4

Golden State

14-17-0

54.8%

+0.1

The numbers here are certainly interesting, and we can see many cases where the returns would have been nice if we would have invested in the team since the beginning of the season – who wouldn’t like to have a close to 70% success rate for their over/under picks? 

But are these real investment opportunities?

The long-term view

In our report on the 2019-2020 NBA season ATS leaders, we concluded that it’s extremely hard to capitalize on these types of trends that occur within a single season:

How can one predict a short-term trend before it is already a trend, by the time which the bookmakers are adjusting and all of the suckers in the market are throwing their money at “this hot betting opportunity that you should not miss”?

In most cases, these types of trends are already fading when we recognize them. And because they are kind of random, you most likely won’t find historical data that helps in identifying them early enough to capitalize on. 

When you pull over/under data that includes the last five or ten seasons, you’ll see that the numbers for all teams start getting very close to 50% on both sides.  

Profitable sports trading systems are built around long-term patterns that are based on more complex parameters. 

To take advantage of the return of sports and to learn everything you need to know about smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

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