NBA Defensive Stats

Defenses might be overshadowed in the highlight reel on SportsCenter in the NBA, but we can guarantee you those players, coaches, and oddsmakers believe that it still plays a very important role. As a result, this page is all about how NBA defensive statistics can help you when betting at USA online sportsbooks. For understanding every defensive statistic, this is the page that you want to check out. The statistics below can help you to breakdown the different defensive strengths and weaknesses of teams. That way when choosing a specific game to wager on, you can research how defensive matchups could go – which can go a long way to helping you win your bets.

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NBA Betting Defensive Stats

Points Allowed Per Game

There are several different defensive categories that are important to understand. At the end of the day, it's about how many points a team gives up. The fewer points given up, the higher the team is ranked under that category. However, it can get a little more interesting than just pure point-based numbers, as some analytics tools break down defensive efficiency as well.

Points per game allowed is a good method of understanding the raw numbers of how many points per game a team allows. This is generally relatively accurate, but certain teams’ defensive deficiencies can be obfuscated by a slow pace of play, which provides both them and their opponents fewer chances to score. To sum up, points per game is generally accurate, but not specifically so, and is worth understanding in that context.

Defensive Shooting Stats

Additionally, breakdowns of field-goal percentages and three-point percentages allowed are worth knowing, which details how a team lets opponents shoot on them. Teams that don't allow a high percentage of made shots going up against a team that shoots the ball poorly would definitely be a favorable matchup.

These are useful statistics for analyzing matchups as well, which is an important way of approaching NBA basketball. As an example, if the team with the best 3 point defense in the league goes up against the team who shoots the most threes, they might do a little better than their record predicts, or there might be less scoring in the game than predicted. This can be easily compared to the offensive statistics.

Defensive Rating

Finally, we’ll cover some advanced stats, like defensive rating. Defensive rating is functionally the number of points allowed over 100 possessions, on average. What this does is allow us to measure the quality of the defense over a normalized period of time, which lets us compare them to each other. When you compare purely on points allowed, it’s a little less accurate to reality because points allowed has a lot of confounding factors such as pace of play involved in it. The 2023 defensive rating in the NBA can tell you a truer story about what a team’s quality is on the defensive end.

Halfcourt vs. Transition

One other thing you can look at is defensive rating in halfcourt vs. transition situations. This tells you about how well a team runs their planned offense vs. how well they improvise. For example, the 2020 Champion Los Angeles Lakers were actually 15th in halfcourt offensive efficiency during the regular season. As always, these numbers require context. The Lakers averaged a low number of points when running their average halfcourt offense. When they took players like Dwight Howard and Javale McGee out of the game, and had Anthony Davis at center, they were far better in the halfcourt. This was demonstrated in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals.

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