NBA First-Quarter Totals (O/U) Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

It is not uncommon to see teams go long stretches without scoring a point, and double-digit leads evaporate like they never even existed.

Any NBA bettor who has dabbled in the Over/Under (Totals) market can tell you the roller coaster of emotions that comes with watching an NBA game can sometimes be extreme.

Maybe that is part of why NBA First Quarter O/U betting is becoming so popular.

Casual fans might enjoy the 12-minute sweat of a single quarter instead of a complete game.

Maybe some bettors believe they have an edge because first-quarter totals are still a bit of a niche bet.

Sportsbooks don’t have the time and effort to create those lines compared to the mainstream NBA markets.

Whether you like the 12-minute action or found the first-quarter edge against the sportsbooks, BestOdds has information and insights to help you make better decisions when it comes to first-quarter totals betting.

Betting NBA First-Quarter Over/Unders

Understanding team tendencies and trends can be a significant advantage when handicapping first-quarter over/unders.

One would expect that teams who score a lot of points in the first quarter will finish the game with a lot of points in most cases.

2021 Top 5 Scoring Teams

Team1st QTR PTSRankFull Game PTSRank
Minnesota Timberwolves301st115.41st
Memphis Grizzlies29.92nd115.22nd
Brooklyn Nets29.63rd112.78th
Denver Nuggets29.54th112.610th
San Antonio Spurs29.45th1137th

Our table above quickly shows us that overall scoring is heavily correlated to first-quarter scoring.

The T-Wolves and Grizz finished first and second in the first quarter and overall scoring.

Tough to be more correlated than that.

Where it does get interesting from an analysis standpoint is understanding how many points teams score on average per quarter.

1st QTR vs. 4th QTR scoring comparison

Team1st QTR PTS4th QTR PTS
Minnesota30.026.9
Memphis29.927.6
Brooklyn29.626.3
Denver29.525.5
San Antonio29.426.6

Our table above quickly points out that as the game clock winds down, so does the scoring tempo of an NBA game.

All five teams who led the league in first-quarter scoring averaged at least two points less in the fourth quarter.

This tells us that Over/Under odds for an NBA first quarter should not just be 25% of the game total. Instead, it should be slightly higher because, as shown above, teams score more in the first than in the fourth.

NBA First Quarter Over/Under Odds

If you like to bet on NBA game totals, it is always in your best interest to shop around for your Best Odds.

Often you will find lines that give you an added advantage. In our example below, the game total is set at 230.5.

A bettor who likes the Under might find the total at 231.5 or 232 with another operator.

It’s not unreasonable to find an extra two points in your favor when you do some line shopping.

With first-quarter totals betting, it can be a bit tougher to find a variance in odds because we deal with smaller numbers.

However, they do exist, and although one point in one particular game might not come into play, over time, an extra point will pay off.

MatchupGame Total (O/U)1st QTR Total (O/U)
Minnesota vs. MemphisOver 230.5 | -110Over 61.5 | -120
Under 230.5 | -110Under 61.5 | +100

The other essential part of O/U odds we need to be aware of is the moneyline associated with our bet.

In the case of the game above, we can see the first quarter over moneyline is shaded at -120, while the Under is +100.

Again, if a bettor is willing to shop around, there is a good chance they could find the Over total at -110 somewhere else. The difference in payout with a -110 or a -120 line is 10% ROI.

The biggest advantage bettors have over sportsbooks is their ability to shop around.

Over time, shopping for your Best Odds can increase your bottom line by 20% or more.

Handicapping NBA First Quarter Totals (O/U)

When handicapping over/unders, it’s always fun to run to the offensive team stats page, but we have to remember there are two sides to the ball.

1st Quarter – Offense vs. Defense Comparison

Team1st QTR PTS For1st QTR PTS Against
Boston27.125.2
Miami27.425.5
Dallas27.526.0
Milwaukee29.326.6
Utah28.326.7

Our table above is an excellent example of why a bettor needs to understand both a team’s offensive and defensive capabilities in the first quarter.

The Boston Celtics allow only 25.2 points in the first quarter, which is a very low number.

Understanding which teams score a lot is only part of the equation when handicapping totals.

A bettor could take that a step further and break down the stats by home and away.

  • The Celtics allow an average of 25.2 points per first quarter.
  • At home, the points allowed is 25.7
  • On the road, the Celtics average less than 25 points allowed in the opening 12-minutes.

What Is The NBA First Quarter Totals Standings Page

If you are into NBA First Quarter betting, then BestOdds.com needs to become a regular destination.

After every NBA game, we will provide an updated standings page, ranking each team’s performance with first-quarter totals for every team.

Who leads the league in first-quarter overs, which team has the most first-quarter unders, and everyone in between.

How To Use The NBA First Quarter Totals Standings Page

The BestOdds.com NBA first-quarter standings page will be a very valuable tool for bettors because it allows them the ability to source team and league-wide trends for information that is really hard to find on the web.

The standings page will also let you break down first-quarter over/under stats by favorites, underdogs, home and away teams.

Not only will a bettor quickly be able to realize teams who are regularly going over or under the first quarter total, but they will also be able to identify league-wide trends before the majority of the betting market can see them.

Using this past MLB season as an example, the month of April produced historically low league-wide batting averages, slugging percentages, and, ultimately, runs.

This caused MLB unders to cash at a significant rate.

Those who were tracking MLB totals in April or following along with someone who was, had a considerable advantage until sportsbooks could adjust their odds.

If you are into NBA first-quarter betting, make sure you have the BestOdds.com standings page bookmarked for easy access to the information you need throughout the entire season.

Looking for more stats? Check out the NBA First-Half Totals (O/U) stats for betting.

Latest update: 3 hours ago
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About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.