The Odds and Ends of the NBA
A lot is made of the “line” for an NBA game in Daily Fantasy Sports. Players use the Over/Under line to determine if a team is worth playing, and then they couple that information with the line of the game to determine whether it is worth taking a superstar playing in a blowout situation. I decided to examine the data to see whether it actually makes a difference if you take a high-priced player in a blowout situation, and whether or not the line of the game matters.
I started by filtering all the 50 FP games that have occurred this season and identifying them by which team has the most 50 FP games. The results look like this:
This shows that the teams that give the most value when playing against are led by the ever porous Philadelphia 76ers. It’s obvious to anybody who watches the games that Philly doesn’t have defense in their game plan. Nor should they, they have two lottery picks in next years’ draft and have sat MCW for the majority of the last two weeks.
The rest of the league is somewhat bunched up together with the exception of a few outliers that I will call “keep aways”:
- Boston, Brooklyn. Two teams that have not allowed any 50 point games from their opponents.
- Memphis. Memphis has only allowed one fifty point game from an opponent and that was to Curry last week.
- Phoenix, Miami and the Spurs have each allowed 2 50 point games, with both of Phoenix’s games coming to DeMarcus Cousins, the Spurs allowing Kevin Love and Derrick Favors to go off and the heat allowing MCW (first game gem) and Alec Burks (wtf off the bench!) to get their piece of the pie.
With the exception of those 6 teams and Philly, everybody else is somewhat equally as likely to score 50 FPs against.
How about which teams have a player that scores the most 50 point games?
True to form, OKC and Minnesota and Houston lead the way with 14, 12 and 9 games respectively. These three teams have two players capable of going for 50 on a regular basis. While some teams have had fewer 50 point games than expected (Brooklyn, Dallas, Toronto)
This also shows the effect of being ‘Popped’ as san antonio has only one 50 point fantasy game, this is likely a result of Pop’s penchant to benching his players when games appear to be within winning distance.
Looking at odds and game lines
Next I took that data and combined it with the odds/lines before the game was started to try to see if any information can be gleaned after the fact. Here are the results. The table shows the number of games that match both categories
|less than 190||190 to 200||200 to 210||greater than 210|
|Favored by 10 or more||14||1||7||2||4|
|Favored by 9.5 to 5.5 points||36||2||11||21||2|
|Favored by 5 to 0.5 points||39||2||15||15||7|
|underdog by 0.5 to 5 points||16||1||5||9||1|
|underdog by 5 to 9.5 points||16||3||3||8||2|
|underdog by 10 or more points||7||0||5||2||0|
It appears that when a team is favored by anywhere between 5.5 and 9.5 points and the o/u is between 200 and 210, that is the sweet spot. The superstar on that team has a better chance than any other situation to go for 50 points.
There have also been no situations where a player scored 50 fantasy points where the line was a pickem/push.
Note however, This does not take into account the games which match this criteria but do not include a player that goes for 50. So I can’t judge how successful it would be to select the 50 point player every night based on this alone.