NBA Team Win predictions as of now vs the Lines

Posted on 10/18/2010 by

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I love over/under columns.  They’re always great fun to read and they give us an opportunity to gauge the value of the insight being provided by the author. Does he truly have something with his process of evaluation or does he need to go back to the drawing board?

You may be aware that I’ve been building such a model for predicting NBA win totals (See here for the latest version and here for the Basics). Now, the model’s not quite done yet as rosters aren’t final, I need to add in some additional player projections and I need to adjust the minute allocations to reflect injuries and final depth charts but it’s at a point where I can look for teams that are being undervalued or overvalued by the public and the media. How do I do that? Simple enough I go look for the moneylines.

Now before we continue, I’m going to drop an explanation from wikipedia on what the moneylines are and mean :

Moneyline odds

Moneyline odds are favoured by American bookmakers. There are two possibilities, the figure quote can be either positive or negative.

Moneyline odds are often referred to as American odds. Moneyline refers to odds on the straight-up outcome of a game with no consideration to a point spread.

Positive figures
If the figure quoted is positive, the odds are quoting how much money will be won on a $100 wager (this is done if the odds are better than even). Fractional odds of 4/1 would be quoted as +400, while fractional odds of 1/4 cannot be quoted as a positive figure.
Negative figures
If the figure quoted is negative, then the moneyline odds are quoting how much money must be wagered to win $100 (this is done if the odds are worse than even). Fractional odds of 1/4 would be quoted as -400, while fractional odds of 4/1 cannot be quoted as a negative figure.
Even odds
Even odds are quoted as +100 or -100. Some bookmakers display the negative symbol while others do not.

The rest of the explanation is here. To put it in table form:

What this means in plain terms is if you’re quoted a +X line it means that if you bet $100 and win you’ll get 100 + X back and if you’re quoted a -X line it means that if you bet X and win you get X+100 back. Got it? Excellent, let’s get to the lead.

To get the over/unders I went to betus.com (see here), which currently has the bets listed and open. If I line up all the over/unders against the current predictions it looks like this:

Based on the current model, there are ten lines where you would have an advantage (you know if you were into that sort of thing).  I’d discount the Pacers, Rockets and Spurs for having extenuating circumstances (in order Collinson and being to close to the error margin, Yao, the whole Splitter/Blair minute allocation thing).

So we are left with seven lines with advantages. The Wizards line is laughable (go read this).  The Nets,Kings , Blazers and GSW are undervalued but I would stay away from the Nets because if they swing the Carmelo trade they would be valued right.  The Clippers and 76ers are undervalued but I would be nervous about Griffin who might have a Bird/Magic type of rookie season.

Finally we have five lines with clear advantages and no concerns as of now:

  • Under: Washington, Philadelphia
  • Over: Kings, Blazers, Warriors

We will revisit this again once the final model is set (and prior to the bets being closed).

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