Good Friday NBA Action: Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors u223.5 (-105) Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
March 25, 2016, 7:30PM PDT
Our simulation work expects Golden State to prevail this evening, 115-104. As such, under 223.5 appears a compelling proposition. As the Vegas-implied team totals are (roughly) 119-105, our work implies that the anticipated shortfall in scoring will come almost exclusively at the Warriors expense.
While the Golden State's season-to-date o/u record is 40-30-1, the Warriors' scoring has cooled in recent months. This decline is evident in the Dubs' 30-21 o/u record prior All-Star break, versus their 10-9-1 showing since. The team's current three-game under streak might be yet another indication of their diminished output.
Being the small-time wonks that we are, we looked at Golden State's rolling 10-game average score to quantify this effect. Note in the following chart that the Warriors productivity per game peaked coincident with the All-Star break (the high water mark for the Dubs' 10-game average score was 122.3, registered February 9th; their last pre-All-Star contest was February 10th). Since the All-Star break, scoring has dipped by a full six points per game, on average--greater than the difference between the output of the third highest scoring team in the league and #22.
Along a similar vein, the Mavericks over went 9-1 in February. However, Dallas' o/u is 5-6 since, including a 3-2 stretch most recently. The Mavs' recent inconsistency in the totals arena coincides with a six point slide in offensive productivity (Dallas' 10-game average PPG closed February at 107, but has slipped to 100.8 since).
The Mavs rank in the bottom quintile in points in the paint, while the Warriors rely on the long-ball (as a percentage of total points scored) more than any other team in the league. Given that conventional wisdom holds that jump shooters are more impacted by fatigue than post players, these observations suggest that the grueling NBA season may have worn down, to some extent, key offensive contributors for these teams.
But whatever the reason for the drop-off in scoring and diminution of the over's dominance, betting trends as well as a quantitative examination of the numbers (in addition to our primary, computer simulation framework) suggest the under has a good shot at cashing in after tonight's matchup.