Dec 29 NBA Play: Betting Total on Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets
One computer simulation system that we employ points to a narrow Kings victory (straight-up), with a final score of 97.5-95.5 (193 total). The other points to the Nets garnering the outright win, 100.8-98.7 (199.5 total). In either case, the minimum five point cushion that we deisre is in place, making a bet on the UNDER an enticing proposition.
The scores these teams have posted this season also hint that the UNDER is the highest probability outcome for the total. The Kings median road score is 102.5, while the Nets at-home median is 91 points per game, suggesting a total of 193.5.
It stands to reason though that the Nets might overachieve in the scorer's column tonight given that the Kings are particularly soft guarding the ball. Sac generally allows their opponents to score 2.8 points more than the league average. Also the Kings rank in the bottom quartile in steals, blocks and free throws allowed. Factoring in Sacramento's lackadaisical attitude toward defense boosts the estimate for Nets scoring to by roughly three points, to 94.
On the other hand, Brooklyn takes its defensive responsibilities more seriously, giving up an average of one point per game less than the typical NBA defense. Our approach hints that the better than average stopping ability of the Nets will shave 1.5 points off of the Kings scoring total.
Thus, our quantitatively-derived estimate for the total is 94 + 101 = 195 (see here for details on how we adjust median scores for defensive ability). This figure is consistent with the signal from the computers. Accordingly, we are betting the UNDER.