Lower scoring has been a hot topic in NBA betting circles as we get ready for a modest 5-game Thursday night slate, highlighted by a TNT doubleheader.
The league scoring average is 94.6 PPG this year, a 5.0 percent decrease from the 99.6 PPG in last year’s regular season. The lockout has been mostly blamed with teams not jelling offensively and many players out of shape. One indisputable fact is the ‘under’ has been greatly affected, hitting at 59.1 percent.
Oddmakers are adjusting with lower totals, and the ‘over’ did go 7-3-1 on Tuesday, so this is a trend to keep an eye on.
New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies – 8:00 p.m. (ET) on TNT
The Knicks (5-4 straight up, 2-7 against the spread) are riding a modest 3-game win streak over Washington (99-96), Detroit (103-80) and Charlotte (91-87). However, those three have a combined 5-24 SU record and New York needs to avoid a letdown Thursday after a big division game versus Philly on Wednesday (Knicks -4 with the result pending)
The much maligned defense has stiffened to allow 87.7 PPG the last three, although poor competition is once again a factor. The ‘under’ is 3-0 the last three and 6-3 this year, with a consistent third scorer needed after Carmelo Anthony (26.6 PPG) and Amare Stoudemire (21 PPG).
The Grizzlies (3-6 SU and ATS) have dropped three in a row after a 100-95 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. They were 2½-point home ‘dogs and are also 0-3 ATS in the last three.
Memphis is feeling the effects of losing power forward Zach Randolph (knee) back on January 1. He’s out for a couple of months. The team inserted Dante Cunningham into the starting lineup, but he’s a limited scorer and has now been replaced by Marreese Speights.
The ‘under’ is 3-1 in Memphis last four games, scoring 88 PPG, after putting up 113 in the first game after Randolph got hurt.
The ‘over’ has been prevalent between the Knicks and Grizzlies, 6-0 in the last six in Memphis and 4-0 in last four overall.
Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors – 10:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT
Orlando (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS) has gotten solid coaching from Stan Van Gundy considering superstar and impending free agent Dwight Howard wants out and keeps requesting a trade. This 4-game road trip started with a win (104-97) at Sacramento on Sunday. The Warriors tilt on Thursday will come after playing in Portland on Wednesday (Orlando +3½ with the result pending).
The Magic are 2-1 SU and ATS this year playing the second half of a back-to-back. The ‘under’ is 7-2 on the year with the league’s fifth-ranked scoring defense (90.3 PPG).
Golden State (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS) is one of the poster children for lower scoring teams, averaging 92.2 PPG (ranked 22nd) after 103.4 PPG last year (ranked seventh). Losing point guard Stephen Curry (ankle, out indefinitely) the last three games hasn’t helped, but the offense was struggling with him in there.
The Warriors did have a breakout home win on Tuesday, 111-106 over Miami in OT as 9-point underdogs. Each team scored 96 points in regulation which would have gone ‘under’ the 197-point total.
The matchup between Orlando and Golden State has been dominated by the home team lately, 5-0 ATS in the last five.
Stuckey doubtful, Bogut back in Thursday quick hits
Detroit (2-8 SU and ATS) visits Milwaukee (3-6 SU and ATS) in a Central Division battle. Point guard Rodney Stuckey (groin) has missed the last four games and is doubtful. Rookie Brandon Knight has started in his place and scored 13.5 PPG, but the team is 0-5 SU and ATS in the last five, not scoring more than 86 points in any of them.
Milwaukee got a nice 106-103 home win over San Antonio on Tuesday as 2-point ’dogs. That snapped a 5-game losing streak (1-4 ATS). It was also the first game since January 2 for center Andrew Bogut (personal reasons) and he responded nicely with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Cleveland is at Phoenix with both sitting 4-5 SU and 5-4 ATS. The Cavaliers only won 19 games all of last year and were rewarded with point guard Kyrie Irving (15.6 PPG, 5.1 APG). This is the fifth game of a 7-game trip that’s started 1-3 SU and ATS.
Phoenix’ scoring (93.6 PPG) and points allowed (92.3 PPG) are both at least 11 points per game less than last season. That’s helped the ‘under’ go 7-2. A go-to scorer is badly needed as evidenced by center Marcin Gortat (12.3 PPG) the team leader. The Suns are 3-0 SU and ATS in their last three home games.