Evaluating The Unrecognizable Spurs

The porous defense of the Spurs has led to a 23-37 ATS mark and an O/U record of 38-22

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  • Give Gregg Popovich credit for not breaking down and screaming to the press about how Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are not walking through that door. The San Antonio Spurs are currently 26-36 and projected to finish with a losing record and not make the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-1997 season. The Spurs have not done much for their backers either, posting an abysmal 23-37 ATS record.

  • The Spurs’ defense is the primary culprit for San Antonio’s decline. San Antonio is surrendering five more points per game than from a season ago. Opponents are hitting more three-pointers and free throws per game against the Spurs compared to last season. 

  • No team in the NBA has hit the OVER at the same rate as the Spurs have this season. The OVER/UNDER record in San Antonio’s games is 38-22. While the Spurs’ terrible defense deserves much of the credit for San Antonio becoming an OVER machine, the Spurs maintain a competent offense led by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

  • Bettors should continue to expect the Spurs to disappoint them against the spread. However, the run of OVERS in Spurs’ games does not show any signs of abating.

  • On Tuesday, the Spurs welcome the potent offense of the Dallas Mavericks to San Antonio for a clash between division foes. VIEW LIVE ODDS AND GAME PAGE

The Fall Of The Spurs

The Spurs showed promise in the 2018-2019 season after they traded a disgruntled Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan in the summer of 2018. The Spurs finished that season with 48 wins and took the second-seed Denver Nuggets to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

San Antonio unfortunately has not been able to build on or even replicate their success from a season ago. The Spurs are 26-36 and sit on the fringes of playoff contention. The last time San Antonio finished with a losing record and missed the playoffs was the season before they drafted Tim Duncan in 1997. The Spurs are just 23-37 ATS.

The Spurs’ regression this season can be attributed to the decline in their defense. This season, the Spurs give up 115.0 points per game, the sixth-worst opponent scoring average in the league. Last season, the Spurs only gave up 110.0 points per game, the 12th-best opponent scoring average in the league.

The Spurs prided themselves during the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker-Leonard era with being able to defend without fouling. Last season, the Spurs allowed the second-fewest opponent free throws made in the NBA. This season, the Spurs’ ranking for opponent free throws made has fallen to the 13th-best.

San Antonio has also fallen victim to the league-wide proliferation in three-point shooting. The Spurs give up 13.1 three-point field goals per game on an average three-point field goal percentage of 37.1%. These numbers place San Antonio in the bottom 10 of the NBA under both metrics. Last season, the Spurs gave up 11.7 three-point field goals per game on an average three-point field goal percentage of 35.9%.

An OVER Machine

While San Antonio’s ATS backers have been forced to eat microwave pizza this season, OVER bettors on games involving the Spurs have been booking reservations for the steakhouse. The Spurs are 38-22 OVER/UNDER on the season, the highest OVER rate of any team in the NBA. While San Antonio’s porous defense deserves much of the acclaim for the frequency with which the OVER has been hit in games involving the Spurs, the Spurs’ offense should be credited as well.

The Spurs average 113.1 points per game, which is higher than last season’s scoring average of 111.7 points per contest. The Spurs still maintain a competent offense. Former All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge lead the team in field goal attempts. For the first time in his career, DeRozan’s field goal percentage is over 50%. Aldridge’s field goal percentage is a respectable 49.5%, but he’s been dealing with a nagging injury lately.

Looking Ahead 

ATS bettors of the Spurs should expect to be disappointed for the remainder of the season. The Spurs have failed to cover the spread in their last five games and 10 of their last 13 games. Ten of the Spurs’ last 20 games are against opponents that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today. On the other hand, OVER bettors on Spurs’ games should continue to ride this train. The average score in the last five contests involving the Spurs is 236.1. 

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