After the All-Star Break, how motivated will NBA players be in their first games back?

Defense is about effort and motivation.  Where there is a lack of motivation, there are typically higher scores.  Nowhere is this more apparent than the All-Star game itself, but there are regular season situations where defensive energy is low as well.  One of these situations is after the break, where players are on five or more days of rest.

Handicapping NBA Totals First Game After the All-Star Break

Since 1995, 52.6% of a team’s first game after the All-Star break end up over.  This is not enough to be profitable on its own, but it gives us a good starting point.

Segment#OversUndersPushesOver %Over MarginAvg Total
Overall218112101552.6%0.71199.9

Team Performance

One key factor to consider in this situation is how good the teams in the matchup are.  Keeping in line with our expectations on motivation and scoring, a game between two teams that are unlikely to make the playoffs should go over the total more often than a game between two franchises with playoff aspirations.

The results strongly support our theory.  Matchups between teams with winning records in this situation go over just 42.6% of the time, while matchups between two squads with losing records hit the over at 67.9%.

Segment#OversUndersPushesOver %Over MarginAvg Total
Below .500543617167.9%5.71199.3
Above .500612635042.6%0.42203.2

2019 Below .500 Matchups (BET OVER)

  • Suns at Cavaliers
  • Pistons at Hawks
  • Wizards at Hornets
  • Timberwolves at Knicks
  • Bulls at Magic

2019 Above .500 Matchups  (BET UNDER)

  • Celtics at Bucks
  • Trail Blazers at Nets
  • Kings at Warriors
  • Spurs at Raptors
  • Jazz at Thunder

Divisional vs Non-Divisional

Another variable that could impact motivation is whether or not the game is a divisional one.  In all regular season contests, divisional contests hit the over 48.6% of the time, where non-divisional matchups get past the number 50.2% of the time.  This may not seem like a major advantage, but in a sample of thousands of games it does show a clear tendency for more overs in non-divisional showdowns.

Again, the results for this situation come out exactly how we would expect based on our assumptions.  Non-divisional games exceed the number, while divisional matchups tend to go under.

Segment#OversUndersPushesOver %Over MarginAvg Total
Non-Divisional Games1729474456.0%1.53199.5
Divisional Games461827140.0%-2.36201.4

2019 Division Games (BET UNDER)

  • Kings at Warriors
  • Wizards at Hornets
  • Jazz at Thunder

Winning Betting Strategy for Handicapping NBA Over/Under Bets

Losing Teams in Non-Divisional Matchups

This gives us our key segment for this situation, a non-divisional matchup between two teams with losing records.

The results below show that matchups hitting this precise situation go over the total an impressive 70.2% of the time and by almost seven points per game.  A sample size of 47 games is by no means ideal, however, with the strong logic behind our theory this should continue to be a profitable system.

Segment#OversUndersPushesOver %Over MarginAvg Total
Losing & Non-Divisional473314070.2%6.69199.0

2019 Qualifiers (BET OVER)

  • Suns at Cavaliers
  • Timberwolves at Knicks
  • Bulls at Magic