All-Star Weekend has a definite impact on NBA scoring after the break

There is an interesting theory circulating amongst the disgruntled American left in regards to the early stages of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. Essentially, the opposition asserts that Trump and his administration are deliberately and intentionally doing everything in their power to overload the news cycle in an effort to create a series of distractions that divert attention away from what is really taking place behind the scenes.

For example, create an uproar over a proposed “travel ban” in an attempt to keep the media from investigating further into your administration’s alleged ties with Russia.

Whether or not you side with the Trump administration is irrelevant for the purposes of this column. Instead, what I want you to take away from this introduction is the idea that it is important to remain vigilant at all times in order to avoid falling for the dreaded “banana in the tailpipe” ruse.

And in this instance, I’m not talking about politics. I’m talking about sports betting as it pertains to the National Basketball Association.

NBA All-Star weekend is upon us and with it comes a plethora of intriguing storylines. For starters, this appears to be the “Year of the Beef,” as the Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook, Charles Barkley vs. LeBron James and Phil Jackson vs. Carmelo Anthony rivalries will all take center stage in New Orleans.

In addition, the game itself will provide plenty of distracting fodder, as the public and media alike continue to theorize as to who Western Conference head coach Steve Kerr will select from his roster to play alongside the “Golden State Four” of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Side bar: From a drama perspective, it has to be Russell Westbrook. From a basketball standpoint, I’d love to see Boogie Cousins.

And all this will be discussed ad nauseam before we even reach the point where the discussion shifts to the fact that All-Star Game scoring has been on the rise in each of the last three years, from 281 total points in 2013 to 318 points in 2014, 321 points in 2015 and a staggering 369 points last year during the 2016 installment of the NBA’s midseason spectacular.

However, I’m once again here to remind you of the importance in remaining vigilant in regards to the true task at hand. And in this instance, that pertains to the commencement of the second half of the professional hoops season on Thursday, February 23.

Why, you ask? For starters, instead of getting distracted by All-Star weekend, how about shifting your focus to the fact that over the last three years, the 30 NBA teams have combined to post an over/under record of 54-35-1 (.606) to the over in their first game back off the All-Star break.

Here’s a look at how each NBA franchise has fared in regards to the Las Vegas total in its first game back from the All-Star break over the last three seasons:

NBA Over/Under results in first game following All-Star break 2014-2016

*Note: The following records list the “over” first and “under” second.

Atlanta Hawks: 2-1
Boston Celtics: 2-1
Brooklyn Nets: 3-0
Charlotte Hornets: 2-1
Chicago Bulls: 1-2
Cleveland Cavaliers: 1-2
Dallas Mavericks: 2-1
Denver Nuggets: 2-1
Detroit Pistons: 1-2
Golden State Warriors: 1-2
Houston Rockets: 2-1
Indiana Pacers: 2-1
Los Angeles Clippers: 2-1
Los Angeles Lakers: 3-0
Memphis Grizzlies: 2-1
Miami Heat: 3-0
Milwaukee Bucks: 1-2
Minnesota Timberwolves: 2-0-1
New Orleans Pelicans: 1-2
New York Knicks: 3-0
Oklahoma City Thunder: 0-3
Orlando Magic: 2-1
Philadelphia 76ers: 2-1
Phoenix Suns: 3-0
Portland Trail Blazers: 2-1
Sacramento Kings: 2-1
San Antonio Spurs: 2-1
Toronto Raptors: 1-2
Utah Jazz: 1-2
Washington Wizards: 1-2

Additionally, this profitable trend isn’t limited to only the first game off the All-Star break. If we extend our sample size from “first game” to “first week” off the break over the last three years, we get a record of 89 overs, 69 unders and two pushes, good for an over covering percentage of 56.3 percent.

Broken down by season, the overall over/under record for every NBA game played in first seven days following All-Star weekend looks like this:

2013-2014: 32 overs, 21 unders, 1 push
2014-2015: 24 overs, 28 unders, 1 push
2015-2016: 33 overs, 20 unders

All for a grand total record of 89-69-2 to the over (.563).

Here’s a look at how that information breaks down by team over the last three seasons:

NBA Over/Under results in first week following All-Star break 2014-2016

*Note: The following records list the “over” first and “under” second.

Atlanta Hawks: 6-4
Boston Celtics: 10-2
Brooklyn Nets: 7-3
Charlotte Hornets: 6-5
Chicago Bulls: 7-5
Cleveland Cavaliers: 2-10
Dallas Mavericks: 7-5
Denver Nuggets: 6-6
Detroit Pistons: 6-1
Golden State Warriors: 4-9
Houston Rockets: 7-4
Indiana Pacers: 6-4-1
Los Angeles Clippers: 6-6
Los Angeles Lakers: 9-2
Memphis Grizzlies: 6-5
Miami Heat: 7-4
Milwaukee Bucks: 6-6
Minnesota Timberwolves: 6-4-1
New Orleans Pelicans: 7-5
New York Knicks: 9-3
Oklahoma City Thunder: 6-5
Orlando Magic: 8-3
Philadelphia 76ers: 9-2
Phoenix Suns: 9-4
Portland Trail Blazers: 6-5
Sacramento Kings: 6-3
San Antonio Spurs: 6-5
Toronto Raptors: 6-6
Utah Jazz: 7-4
Washington Wizards: 5-7-1

So, while it’s going to be plenty fun watching Russell Westbrook play alongside the Golden State Four Sunday evening in New Orleans, should Steve Kerr pull the trigger on the lineup the entire world wants to see, don’t let those theatrics distract you from the potential profits that are there for the taking once the Association returns to action on Thursday.


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