Whatever the reason, scoring is through the roof. Between 1996 and 2015 the average total of points per game was never higher than 202 - bottoming out at 183.2 in the strike-shortened 1998-99 season. The average combined score in an NBA game went up to 205.4 points in 2016, before increasing to 211.2 in 2017, and 212.6 in 2018.
However, in 2018-2019 scoring really ramped up, soaring to 222.4 points per game. So far this year, it's stayed close to that level at 220.8 ppg. Those are numbers we haven't been seen since the mid 1980's. For NBA bettors, that means dealing with Over/Under totals more colossal than Boban Marjanovic in heels.
CASHING IN ON OVERS
While totals approaching 240 used to be rare, they've become increasingly more common. Last year there were 82 games that closed at totals of 235 or higher (according to our Covers line), with 17 of those contests closing at 240 points or more.
This season, as of December 20, there has already been 22 games that closed at totals of 235-plus. The Over has gone an impressive 15-7 in those contests. Interestingly, in the nine contests that had totals of 240 or more, the Over has cashed just three times.
That means that games that had totals between 235 and 239.5 have gone an incredible 12-1 O/U for an impressive 92.3 Over win rate. On the other hand, games with totals at 240 or above have trended strongly towards the Under at 3-6 O/U.
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THE USUAL SUSPECTS
It's little surprise that a few teams keep coming up in these matchups with tall betting totals: the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets. All squads that play at a fast pace, fire away from anywhere on the floor, and can't defend a lick.
The Wizards have been in eight games with totals of 235 points or more, while the Rockets have been in seven and the Pelicans in six. All of them have been terrific bets for the Over in those situations with Washington going 7-1 O/U, Houston going 4-3 O/U, and New Orleans going 5-1 O/U. If you're betting on games with these teams involved, don't be scared off by a massive number.
Based on the trends we've seen so far this season, don't expect scoring to go down any time soon (although the playoffs will be a different story entirely as defense becomes more emphasized).
If you see high game totals between 235 and 239.5 points, feel free to hit the Over. Although, you might want to exercise caution when you see that number creep over 240. And if you see Washington, Houston or New Orleans in those games, the Over looks like even more of a solid play.
But like all things in the sports betting world, these trends will likely even out eventually as scoring hits a plateau and sportsbooks get more comfortable adjusting these high numbers. So get on these totals and bet them while you can. After all, it's always more fun rooting for the Over.