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Apple Turnovers

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 2/21/2011 11:46:27 AM

When hoop bettors watch NBA games it’s easy to just get caught up in just the team that you have the wagered on but the most astute bettors around view games with an open mind and an eye to the future.

As any game unfolds even the casual fans can notice if the game is being played efficiently or sloppily. Helen Keller could figure that much out but to really get some data into some future action, bettors should look at the big picture.

What teams are defending the outside shots poorly? Which teams are active enough to get into the passing lanes and disrupt and offense? And which teams make turnovers pay at the opposite end of the floor?

Part of the joy of saying watching football often means yelling at the TV because a coach is playing some soft prevent defense or throwing things at the tube when a pressured quarterback throws into the teeth of a double team.

It would behoove any hoop gambler to know what NBA teams have done the best job of forcing turnovers this season? Do you know which NBA teams are the most passive in that regard?

After some research, the clue unearthed can be used to make intelligent wagers down the line and for this purpose we’ll use stats from the hoop data site that recounts most forced turnovers per 100 possessions from opponents just as 2010 ended.

Surprisingly, the league leader for most forced turnovers is the Memphis Grizzlies at a little over 16 for 100 possessions.

Considering that the Griz are only 31 and 26 straight up through the All Star game, this is a tribute to the youth movement in Memphis and the style of play adapted by Coach Lionel Hollins.

Looking inside the Memphis squad the forced turnovers statistic has been a direct reason why they have such a good against the spread record at 35-21-1. Only two teams, the Knicks and the Sixers, have lost less games ATS.

Examining the roster of the Grizzlies, it becomes obvious that they have the youth to play defense for years to come. Point guard Mike Conley is quick and will only improve. Zach Randolph is tricky on the defense block because he is left handed and former Celtic Tony Allen is not only one of the toughest players in the league, but a flat-out monster playing one on one defense.

The next 6 teams forcing turnovers vary by only about 1 per 100 possessions but only two of those teams are quality squads. They are the Celts and the Bulls. The other 4 are either young or just hard nosed and those teams are Portland, Milwaukee, Washington and Golden State.

Four of the top 7 passive teams in forcing turnovers are toward the bottom of the league in New Jersey, Houston, the Clippers and the Pacers.

But again as it would seem unlikely. Miami is one of the most passive along with Denver and the Hawks, who opened the season with a very solid 34-21 straight up record.

All stats are built to lie, but these turnover stats can be projected into possible point spreads as the season goes on but one word of caution.

Be careful before just teeing it up on Memphis because they lost a key player right before the All Star game. Rudy Gay, separated this shoulder and will be out for at least a month.

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