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Handicapping Detroit
The Detroit Pistons Are Pumping Cash Right Now

Here’s a sentence I thought I’d never write in the near future: The Detroit Pistons are sitting pretty atop the NBA Central division. At 7-3 SU and 7-2-1 ATS they’re also one of the best bets overall, and a lot of that has to do with inherent value. Nobody expected Detroit to be a factor this season, let alone the hot hand right out of the gate.

The Regular Season Win Total for Detroit was set at 38.5 games in the BetOnline.ag futures market and that seemed to be on point. During the Stan Van Gundy era, the Detroit Pistons have won an average of 37.7 games per season (32, 44 and 37 wins in three campaigns). There was also zero reason that this standard would improve heading in to the 2017-18 NBA betting season.

In an off-season that was absolutely bonkers, Detroit ended up doing a lot of addition by subtraction. They rightfully gave up on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope whom they selected eighth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. Most notably, the Pistons traded Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for defensive guru Avery Bradley. And that’s really it.

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What Detroit really needed was for their existing talent to play at their potential, and that’s exactly what started happening. Tobias Harris is having a career year with 19.7 points per game as the team’s leading scorer, and doing it in the nick of time. Reggie Jackson, who signed what many thought of as a ridiculous max contract just two years ago, is finally healthy again and living up to his price tag after an injury plagued campaign that saw him miss a third of the season.

Most importantly, Andre Drummond has taken a step in the direction we always expected of him. Drummond is a throwback center who needs to make his money closer to the rim, and he’s doing just that by staying close to the basket as much as possible. He is now taking 68-percent of his shots from within three feet of the basket, which is up from 49-percent last season.

A lot of those shots are coming off of put-backs and second chances, which is what a 6-foot-11 big man should be doing when he weight 279 pounds. Essentially, Drummond is being put in to a situation where he can succeed. He’s no longer posting up or trying to be the next Tim Duncan.

Someone has also finally fixed Drummond’s hilariously bad free-throw percentage. Through the first five years Drummond shot .386 from the charity line, and this year he’s rocking an unsustainable .750 rate. That will level out, and a rate of .600 would be totally fine for a man of his size. Drummond is also getting fouled at a high rate because opposing teams, who have elected to go small, are perilous to stop him on the offensive end.

Upcoming Detroit Pistons Schedule
vs. Indiana (11/8), vs. Atlanta (11/10), vs. Miami (11/12), at Milwaukee (11/15), at Indiana (11/17)

Where Detroit is making their money as a whole is in overall shot quality. They took the worst kind of shots in 2016-17 in the entire league, ranking dead last in shot quality. This year, they’ve bought in to what Van Gundy wants to do and simply been average in this department, ranking 17th overall.

The big difference in terms of shot quality comes with their defence. Detroit is forcing the third-worst shot selection from opposing teams in the league, which is the sign of a team that not only knows what it’s doing, but is applying it well. Considering that their recent opponents have included the Clippers, Warriors, Bucks and Timberwolves, it’s no wonder that they’re ranked 14th overall in defensive output.

However, considering just how well the technical inner workings of their defence are playing out, the Pistons are definitely a team that will see immediate returns on their lockdown system that is forcing bad shots. That’s the kind of stat that plays out over the course of the season.

If the defensive effort stays steady, and the foundation of the Pistons’ offence keeps improving, then this is a dangerous under-the-radar team in the NBA sportsbook.

Right now there’s no reason to overthink it. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Feel free to back the Detroit Pistons as spread busting superheroes until the trend levels out.

Bet on the spread busting Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA sportsbook at BetOnline.ag!

  
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