An Intriguing Wizards Betting Trend Has Emerged In Recent Years

VirginiaIsForBettors.com

By Mark Strotman

Over-Under trends are difficult to analyze. Of course, there are high-scoring teams and low-scoring teams, but Virginia sports betting sites take that – as well as the team’s pace – into consideration when setting game point totals. High-scoring teams don’t necessarily go over, and low-scoring teams aren’t automatically easy under choices.

Case in point: In 2019, the LA Lakers averaged 111.8 points and allowed 113.5 points (225.3) and were 32-49-1 hitting the Over, lowest in the NBA; the Boston Celtics averaged 112.4 points allowed 108.0 points (220.4) and were 47-35 hitting the over, the second highest in the league. Lakers games featured nearly 5 more points per game than Celtics games, and yet Celtics games went over 15 more times. There’s also not much year-over-year consistency that we could find, so past trends don’t help us much, either.

And yet, the Washington Wizards have provided us the closest thing we have to an annual trend. Consider that since 2015, just six teams have hit the over at a clip higher than 52.4%:

  • 1. Washington – 55.4%
  • 2. Denver – 54.3%
  • 3. Minnesota – 54.1%
  • 4. New Orleans – 53.6%
  • 5. Toronto – 53.2%
  • 6. Cleveland – 52.7%

Not only have they been a great bet to go over, they’re somehow doing it consistently. Here’s where Washington has finished each season in terms of Over percentage since 2015 (playoffs included): 6th (53.8%), 2nd (61.7%), 24th (45.0%), 1st (60.5%), 7th (56.3%), 10th (54.5%)

That’s five seasons in the top-10 making a profit on the Over, the most of any team in the NBA. How exactly are they doing it? Again, it’s tough to pinpoint trends with Overs and Unders, but they have an outstanding combination of a great offense, a bad defense and a really quick pace.

Shoot Early & Run When Possible

Building a franchise around the lightning-quick point guard John Wall and quick-trigger shooting guard Bradley Beal was a sign that Overs were coming. The Wizards decided in 2015 to turn up the pace and try to run teams off the floor. That philosophy has remained from then until now. Here’s how the Wizards have ranked in terms of possessions per game since 2015.

  • 2016: 5th
  • 2017: 10th
  • 2018: 16th
  • 2019: 9th
  • 2020: 5th
  • 2021: 1st

Remember, pace isn’t simply running fast breaks, and it’s just as much a defensive stat as it is about offense. It also includes taking and allowing quick shots in halfcourt sets, as well as committing and creating turnovers. Plenty goes into pace, and the Wizards have checked just about every box (that 2018 outlier notwithstanding).

Consistent Offensive Results

Pace creates more scoring opportunities, and more opportunities means more points. No, Washington hasn’t been terribly efficient during this incredible run. But Overs aren’t concerned with being pretty. We don’t care about percentages here. Just the raw numbers, and in that sense, Washington has been excellent. Here’s how the Wizards have ranked in terms of points per game since 2015:

  • 2016: 9th
  • 2017: 5th
  • 2018: 13th
  • 2019: 10th
  • 2020: 7th
  • 2021: 10th

Top-10 in scoring each season but one, and even when they had their poor 2018 season, they were still above league average in points per game. Wall and Beal have been two of the elite scorers in basketball much of the last six seasons, and adding the speedy, shot-happy Russell Westbrook to the fold this season has only added to the Overs.

In this span, the Wizards have two playoff appearances and just one playoff series win. How is that possible despite having such a high-scoring offense? Of course, their defense has been woeful during this span. Here’s where they rank in points per game allowed:

  • 2016: 21st
  • 2017: 21st
  • 2018: 15th
  • 2019: 29th
  • 2020: 29th
  • 2021: 30th

For all Wall, Beal and Westbrook were able to accomplish on offense, the defense has been among the league’s worst this entire span. Granted, an increase in possession is going to inflate points per game allowed, but even their defensive efficiency has been better than league average just once. They made a choice to play a run-and-gun style, and regardless of the on-court results, it has meant plenty of wins for Over bettors during that stretch.

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WRITTEN BY
VirginiaIsForBettors.com
Mark Strotman
Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
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Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
... Read More