LAS VEGAS (AP) — A recent surge in NBA and NHL results has betting markets reacting, immediately putting up unimaginable sums.
Before Thursday, NBA teams were averaging 113.8 points. That's the highest number since the 1969-70 season, when the average was 116.7, but it's a broader trend.
He averaged over 110 points in five straight seasons since 1985-86, when the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets were dominant teams under the future Hall of Famer.
According to SportRadar, NBA games account for 51.5% of all games in Las Vegas this season, the second-highest total since the site began tracking the trends in 2012-13.
The total is the expected number of points combined in the game and bets are placed on whether the actual number will be lower or higher. Sports bettors try to bet as much as possible. Each bet carries a payout or commonly known as a vig.
Chris Andrews, sports book manager at South Pointe in Las Vegas, said the lowest NBA total for a Wednesday game was 229. That wouldn't have been unusual in the mid-1980s, but it's more attractive now.
"The game is constantly changing and every game is in constant flux," Andrews said. "That's part of our job. It's always been that way for hitters and shooters."
As team average scores increased, so did individual averages. Someone is scoring over 50 points every night.
Last Monday, Golden State's Klay Thompson scored 54 points in a 71-game victory over Cleveland's Donovan Mitchell. Dallas' Luka Doncic scored 60 points on Dec. 27, one of three in a five-game streak of 50 or more.
As of Thursday, there have been 14 50-point games and 90 40-point games.
The distribution of player points has affected the betting offering, where bets are often placed on individual games. Andrews said those bets paid off for the team one day.
A similar boom is observed in the NHL.
Through Thursday, teams were averaging 3.17 goals per game, their highest mark of 3.24 since the 1993-94 season. That's not much different from last season, when the average was 3.14, and it's the fourth time in five years that number has been north of 3.0.
But he has a sub-3.0 grade point average for 12 straight seasons.
"Every game is 6 or better," Andrews said of Wednesday's performance. “Last year or so it was rare to get 6 or more on the board in any game. Sometimes we had 4 1/2. But I can go back to the '80s when (Wayne) Gretzky was 8-for-9."
Minnesota's Alex B. Smith, one of the NHL's leading national experts on disability, says the number of highly skilled players is the main reason more pucks are going through the net. He cited the underdog Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers as prime examples.
"You have more offensive players on the third and fourth lines," Smith said of the league as a whole. “More offensive linemen, guys like Kale Makar [from Colorado]. The carriers are good, but they have reduced the tables.
“They're looking for more cross-validation. They are looking for more goaltending. You have a lot of teams that play games where they check goaltenders. All this is the reason for the high scores."
The teams are now back to their best form after the Christmas break and results have resumed after the short festive break.
"This is definitely the new normal," Smith said. "Six and 6 1/2 will be the total for a while, and over time you may start seeing more 7s as the breasts seem to tire."
A high-scoring College Playoff semifinal follows recent scoring trends. no 1 Georgia defeated no. 4 Ohio State 42-41 in the semifinals and the no. 3 TCU won another 51-45 over no. 2 Michigan.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the total for Monday's Nationals is 62 1/2. That's the consensus number for Las Vegas sports betting, according to Vegas Insider.
While the overall trend of this year's college football results isn't as high as recent years, it's in line with the sport's overall offense.
“I remember when I started (in 1979), most of the totals in college football were probably in the 40s, 45s, 47s,” Andrews said. "Nowadays you won't see that, most sums are at least in the 50s.
The Sports Betting Managers and Players test is to determine what is a small sample size compared to the overall trend. What's happening in the NBA and NHL seems to fall into the latter category.
Goldfoil's Bruce Marshall said in a text message that it's hard to gauge how the increased points will change betting habits.
"I don't think the overall rate has increased," Marshall said.
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