If you’re an NBA over/under totals bettor, then you’re aware that the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and Brooklyn Nets are among the league’s top teams on which to bet the over. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers have two of the best defenses in the league, which is why they are the top NBA teams on which to bet the under.

Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans NBA best totals betting teams over under New York Knicks
Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket against the Chicago Bulls.  (Image: Jonathan Bachman/Getty)

The NBA recently hosted its All-Star Game as the league passed the season’s halfway point. Most teams played about 35 games out of a condensed 72-game season, instead of the normal 82-game season.

Several teams dealt with postponements and cancellations in the first half due to COVID-19 health protocols. Several teams will have to make up games in the second half of the season, which means playing extra, back-to-back games. That group includes the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets.

Keep an eye on the second-half schedule, especially for road teams playing the second game of a back-to-back.

Over/Under Basic Primer: Betting NBA Totals

Sometimes the simple things are the hardest to explain. When it comes to betting NBA overs, you want to back high-scoring teams with potent offenses. You also want to key in on teams with horrible defenses, especially teams that badly defend the 3-point shot. Sometimes there’s a perfect storm when a high-octane team plays against a team with a horrendous defense.

When you fire away at NBA under bets, you want to back teams with smothering defenses that don’t allow much scoring. Once again, you can sometimes find an ideal matchup between a great defensive squad playing against thirst teams that struggle to score.

Also, keep an eye on the best and worst 3-point shooting teams. Back the top gunners and high-volume snipers. Fade teams that are averse to shooting treys.

If you’re not going to make more treys than your opponent, then you better shut down their long-range shooters.

The teams that best defend the perimeter and whose opponents have the lowest 3-point shooting percentage are the New York Knicks (33%), Phoenix Suns (34.3%), Atlanta Hawks (34.6%), Oklahoma City Thunder (34.7%), Chicago Bulls (35.2%), and Utah Jazz (35.4%).

The teams with the worst 3-point shooting defense are the Sacramento Kings (40.3%), Cleveland Cavs (39.8%), New Orleans Pelicans (39.3%), Washington Wizards (38.5%), and San Antonio Spurs (38.3%).

High-Octane Offenses and Swiss Cheese Defenses

The Sacramento Kings are ranked #9 in scoring, averaging 114.7 ppg, but they’re the worst defensive team in the NBA, allowing 120.4 ppg. That’s a recipe for the second-best over record in the NBA at 25-11.

Stan Van Gundy’s New Orleans Pelicans are in the top five in scoring (115.5 ppg) and top five in points allowed (115.9 ppg). That’s why the Pelicans are the top over team in the league with a 26-10 record.

The Brooklyn Nets are the highest-scoring team in the NBA, averaging 121.1 ppg. They have Mike D’Antoni as an assistant coach, who is the Godfather of the spread offense, and one of the pioneers of a run-and-gun 3-point heavy offense.

NBA Best Over Record
  • New Orleans Pelicans 26-10
  • Sacramento Kings 25-11
  • Brooklyn Nets 25-12
  • Denver Nuggets 23-13
  • LA Clippers 22-15-1

Both the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets have strong over/under records, hitting the over at a 20-14-1 clip.

The NBA’s five best 3-point shooting teams are the LA Clippers (41.9%), Brooklyn Nets (40.7%), Utah Jazz (42.8%), Milwaukee Bucks (38.8%), and Denver Nuggets (38.7%). It’s not surprising to see three of the best 3-point shooting teams — the Clippers, Nets, Nuggets — are also among the best teams on which to bet the over.

Stellar Defenses and Poor Shooting Teams

Keep fading the Houston Rockets until they prove otherwise, and that includes bombing the under. The Rockets headed into the All-Star break with a 13-game losing streak. No one needed a break more than the Rockets, but they’re still dealing with numerous trade rumors for Victor Oladipo and PJ Tucker.

Tom Thibodeau has a reputation of being a “defense first” head coach. The New York Knicks bought into his philosophy and they’re the top defense in the NBA, allowing 104.9 ppg. The Knicks also have the best under record in the league at a 23-14 clip.

NBA Best Under Record
  • New York Knicks 23-14
  • LA Lakers 23-14
  • Houston Rockets 20-13-1
  • Golden State Warriors 22-15
  • Cleveland Cavs 20-15-1

Even with Anthony Davis missing games, the LA Lakers are still the best defensive squad in the West, allowing 106.3 ppg.

The five worst 3-point shooting teams are the Houston Rockets (33.3%), Oklahoma City Thunder (34%), Washington Wizards (34.4%), Cleveland Cavs (34.6%), and Minnesota Timberwolves (34.6%). If you can’t sink treys, then you’ll struggle to score points. It’s no shocker to see poor shooting teams like the Rockets and Cavs among the top under teams in the league.