|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-21-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Philadelphia 76ers +6.5||90-85||Win||100||14 h 54 m||Show|
On paper, this appears to be a big mismatch. But the Spurs aren't playing that well and the 76ers could start turning things around now that they're home for a while. Philadelphia has been home since Jan. 10 and has just one road game until Feb. 13.
Philadelphia had dropped 13 of 16 while suffering through an eight-game road trip until winning two of its last three. The final game of that extended road swing came on Jan. 5 at San Antonio and the Spurs bashed the tired 76ers, 109-86.
Now the 76ers catch San Antonio playing for the third time in four days. The Spurs have lost seven of their last nine road games. They are minus Manu Ginobili.
Philadelphia is 9-3 in its last 12 home contests. They have covered four of the past five times when hosting the Spurs. The 76ers are looking to build on a big overtime victory against Toronto this past Friday when they rallied from 19 points down in the second half. It was Philadelphia's biggest comeback of the season.
The 76ers have a strong revenge motive for their embarrassing showing at San Antonio. I see the 76ers also playing extremely hard on this special Martin Luther King Day game.
The key for the 76ers is point guard Jrue Holiday and he's playing at a high level averaging 30.7 points, 11.3 assists and shooting 54.8 percent from the floor during the last three games. Sparked by Holiday, the 76ers have averaged 104.7 points in their last three games.
|01-21-13||Georgia State +5 v. Towson||71-69||Win||100||6 h 29 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with Georgia State, which has covered 66 percent of the time as a 'dog this season.
The Panthers are off a 69-54 road win against Old Dominion this past Saturday.
Towson has surprised people, but the Tigers' lines are starting to get inflated. The Tigers also have a bigger game on deck facing George Mason at home on Wednesday.
Georgia State averages just one point less per game than Towson and gives up only one point more per game. Georgia State has the nation's No. 72-rated defense on the road, allowing 64.5 points per game. I see the Panthers keeping it close.
|01-21-13||Brooklyn Nets +4 v. New York Knicks||Top||88-85||Win||100||11 h 12 m||Show|
The Nets have a double-revenge motive, urgently need this game to stay close to the Knicks in the Atlantic Division and have been playing better than New York.
Brooklyn is 10-2 since P.J. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson. The Nets have won eight of their last nine. The Knicks reached their peak early breaking out to an 18-5 record. But New York is 5-5 in its last 10 games and is 4-9 ATS when facing opponents with a winning record.
The Nets remember the taunts from the fans at Madison Square Garden during their last visit, a 100-86 loss on Dec. 19. That was before the hard-nosed Carlesimo took over and got the ship straight. The Nets are not going to lack for motivation.
The Knicks remain without point guard Raymond Felton, who started all three of the games against Brooklyn. The Knicks also are returning from a Thursday game in London. They could have trouble getting adjusted returning from England and with this being a day game in celebration of Martin Luther King Day.
|01-19-13||Golden State Warriors v. New Orleans Hornets -5||Top||116-112||Loss||-110||12 h 59 m||Show|
Golden State came up with a gritty effort on Friday night but lost at San Antonio for the 28th straight time. To the Warriors' credit, they went all out. It was a physical game with playoff-like intensity.
Unfortunately for the Warriors they have to play again on the road tonight taking on a Hornets squad that is rested and playing their best ball with six wins and covers in their last seven games.
New Orleans has won its last three home games beating the Spurs by seven, Rockets by 9 and Timberwolves by 12. Getting Eric Gordon back has been huge for the Hornets. Point guard Greivis Vasquez has been playing extremely well, too.
The Hornets have been idle since Wednesday. Golden State is playing for the third time in four nights and second in two days. Stephen Curry, the Warriors' point guard and engine to their offense, is out with a sprained ankle. The Warriors aren't rushing him back anytime soon. Golden State is 10-32 when Curry doesn't play.
The Warriors had four of their starters log at least 38 minutes against the Spurs last night. These were hard minutes, too. Their bench is extremely short with Curry out. Jarrett Jack had to play a game-high 43 minutes. Jack isn't 100 percent either dealing with a sore elbow, but the Warriors don't have any other viable point guard options to reduce Jack's minutes.
|01-19-13||Northeastern +4.5 v. Delaware||74-70||Win||100||6 h 46 m||Show|
Northeastern has covered in their last nine road games. A main reason why the Huskies are a strong road 'dog is their experienced and talented backcourt.
Jonathan Lee and Joe Smith could be the best guard tandem in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Huskies also have covered the past eight times following a non-spread cover.
The 'dog in this series has covered four of the past five times. I see this game as a toss-up so there's value in taking this many points.
|01-19-13||Harvard +11.5 v. Memphis||Top||50-60||Win||100||4 h 21 m||Show|
I'll take double-digits with Harvard in this weird intersectional matchup against Memphis. The Tigers are 16-34-1 in their last 51 non-conference matchups. It will be hard for them to get highly motivated to play the Crimson.
Harvard is a tough foe, especially for teams that haven't faced or seen much of the Crimson. The well coached Crimson already have covered in road games versus Boston College, California, Connecticut and Saint Mary's. The Crimson upset Boston College and California straightup while losing by one to Saint Mary's. They can hang with a disinterested Memphis.
|01-17-13||Santa Clara -1.5 v. San Francisco||85-54||Win||100||9 h 21 m||Show|
San Francisco has dropped nine of its last 11, including losing 74-69 at Santa Clara on Jan. 2. The Broncos won that game despite shooting 39 percent from the floor while San Francisco shot 47.3 percent.
The Broncos grabbed 22 more rebounds than the smaller, perimeter-oriented Dons. Neither team shot more than 13 free throws.
Santa Clara has covered in four of its five lined road games. The Broncos average 77.4 points a game, 29th-best in the nation. San Francisco averages seven points fewer per game. Each team gives up 68 points per matchup.
I believe Santa Clara is the better team. San Francisco's home-court isn't enough for the Dons to beat the Broncos.
|01-17-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Phoenix Suns||Top||98-94||Loss||-110||15 h 56 m||Show|
The Bucks are bucking history in this matchup. Milwaukee has lost 24 straight times on the road against Phoenix. The Bucks have never won in 19 tries at US Airways Center, which opened in 1992. There are seven players on Milwaukee's roster who weren't even born when the Bucks last won in the desert.
The Bucks have fared well on the road versus Eastern Conference opponents going 9-4, but they are 0-5 when playing Western Conference opponents away from Bradley Center. This fits the Bucks' history. Milwaukee has covered just 32 percent of the time during the past 60 times it has played a foe from the Western Conference.
Milwaukee caught the Suns down in the dumps when the teams met nine days ago at Bradley Center. The Bucks won, 108-99. That was just the second time in the last 13 overall meetings the Bucks have defeated Phoenix.
The Suns are playing better now. They upset the Bulls on the road this past Saturday, 97-81, and in their last game trailed by just four points in the fourth quarter before losing to NBA-best Oklahoma City, 102-90. on Monday.
Phoenix was missing Jared Dudley in that loss to the Thunder. He's expected back for this matchup. The Suns are trying to avoid losing four in a row at home for the first time since 2004. They will be highly motivated. This is an instance, too, where history must be respected.
|01-16-13||Wyoming v. Fresno State +4||Top||36-49||Win||100||10 h 27 m||Show|
This is a matchup of the Mountain West Conference's two lowest-scoring teams. This, along with a key Wyoming suspension, makes the home 'dog Bulldogs attractive.
Wyoming is 5-0 on the road this season after going 5-9 in its true away matchups last season. I'm not convinced, though, the Cowboys can keep winning on the road especially now that it's conference time.
Fresno State is at full strength with Kevin Foster back from a family funeral and Tyler Johnson recovered from an ankle injury. Johnson has led the Bulldogs in scoring during the past eight games.
Wyoming will be missing senior guard Luke Martinez again. He's missed the last three games after being injured and suspended after being arrested this past Sunday and charged with assault for a fight that occurred last month. Martinez was Wyoming's second-leading scorer at 14.5 points a game. He also had made the most 3-pointers on the team and was No. 1 in steals.
The Cowboys are 2-1 minus Martinez winning in Dallas against SMU, in Reno against Nevada, but losing to Boise State at home as 6 1/2-point favorites.
|01-16-13||Chicago Bulls -3.5 v. Toronto Raptors||107-105||Loss||-109||17 h 33 m||Show|
The Bulls have the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 10-5. They've won eight of their last 10 away contests so I have no problem laying a short number with the Bulls against a banged-up Raptors squad playing for the third time in four days and second in two nights.
The Raptors were playing well winning 10 of 13. However, they are in bad form now with two consecutive losses, including a 113-106 road loss last night to the Nets.
Toronto is banged-up minus Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas. Now the Raptors might also be without Jose Calderon, who has a hip pointer, and Alan Anderson, who had dental work.
The Bulls are much stronger defensively than Toronto ranking third in fewest points allowed. Chicago surrenders seven fewer points per game than Toronto.
The Bulls have matched up well to Toronto in the past winning seven of the past eight time. Chicago also is 11-5 ATS at Toronto and has covered seven of its last 10 overall road games.
Chicago has its confidence back after blasting the Hawks, 97-58, at home on Monday. Atlanta had just 20 points at halftime.
|01-15-13||Northern Iowa +11.5 v. Creighton||Top||68-79||Win||100||7 h 48 m||Show|
Northern Iowa has the defense and ability to control tempo to stay within double digits of Creighton. The Panthers also have a quality big man, senior Jake Koch, who can defend Doug McDermott.
The Panthers and Koch held McDermott to fewer than 20 points in both meetings last season. Northern Iowa covered both games against Creighton last season winning by three at home and losing by three on the road. The Panthers held Creight to 60 and 65 points by mainly limiting the Blue Jays' possession.
Creighton ranks 10th in the nation in scoring at 79.8 points per game. Northern Iowa's strength always has been its transition defense, getting back to defend and not give up easy fast break points.
Creighton has had problems, too, with small quick guards. Northern Iowa has one of the fastest guard tandems in the conference with Anthony James and Deon Mitchell.
The situation also is good for Northern Iowa. Creighton has a one-game lead on Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Blue Jays and Shockers meet on Saturday in Wichita.
|01-15-13||New Orleans Hornets v. Philadelphia 76ers -3||Top||111-99||Loss||-116||13 h 2 m||Show|
There are certain key home games throughout the season. This is one of those games at Wells Fargo Center for Philadelphia.
The 76ers are 3-8 in their last 11 games. They are six games below .500 and would not make the playoffs if the season ended today. Is Philadelphia this bad?
No. The 76ers had played nine of their past 11 games on the road. This game is the start of Philadelphia playing 11 of its next 12 games at home. It's a crucial homestand. The 76ers opened the homestand in impressive style beating Houston scoring a season-best 107 points in regulation. The 76ers don't play again until Friday. The 76ers are focusing heavily on this matchup. It's a winnable game and the 76ers know it.
New Orleans has lost and failed to cover in five of its last six versus Philadelphia. The Hornets had been playing their best ball winning four in a row until going on the road and getting blasted, 100-87, by the Knicks on Sunday. The Hornets have a road game on Wednesday against the Celtics. The Hornets have struggled versus Atlantic Division teams failing to cover in 21 of their last 28 meetings.
|01-14-13||Miami Heat -2.5 v. Utah Jazz||Top||97-104||Loss||-110||18 h 6 m||Show|
Yes, I realize the Jazz are strong at home and Miami is mediocre on the road.
But the Heat are energized and focused after crushing Sacramento by 29 points this past Saturday. A focused Heat can beat any team in the NBA at any location. Miami opened its road swing losing to the Pacers and Trail Blazers. After this matchup they are at Golden State on Wednesday and the Lakers on Thursday. Those are difficult matchups. The Heat can't afford a loss here.
The Heat crushed Utah, 105-89, at home without Chris Bosh on Dec. 22. This is Utah's first game back from a three-game road trip that ended Saturday night so the Jazz might not be fully ready mentally. The Jazz won't be hitting the road for another 11 days so that might be a factor in treating this matchup in a less urgent matter.
The Jazz have failed to cover six of the last eight times when playing an opponent with a winning record.
LeBron James usually plays well against Utah. He's averaging 30.4 points versus the Jazz. Utah is without starting point guard Mo Williams and has been missing Marvin Williams (knee) for the past three games.
|01-14-13||Louisville v. Connecticut +7||Top||73-58||Loss||-106||13 h 24 m||Show|
This isn't a play against Louisville, maybe the best team in the country, but on Connecticut. The Huskies are 12-3 and unbeaten in their eight home games. Connecticut has won its home games by an average of 15.4 points. The Huskies have yet to be outclassed by any team.
The Huskies are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games when meeting a foe with a winning road record. They are ineligible for postseason so this is one of their trophy games. The Huskies should be sky high for the nationally televised matchup. The Huskies are expecting their largest crowd.
Connecticut is playing well having just ended Notre Dame's 17-game home winning streak. The Huskies have a strong backcourt with Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright to counter Louisville's strong guard tandem of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. The Huskies have shown recently, too, improved scoring in the paint.
|01-13-13||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Los Angeles Lakers -7.5||93-113||Win||100||18 h 14 m||Show|
The Lakers aren't nearly the team most people thought they would be going into the season. But Los Angeles isn't as bad as its shown recently with six straight losses. Four of those defeats came on the road. The other two were at home to Denver and Oklahoma City. There certainly is no shame in losing to those two quality opponents at home.
Still, the Lakers are desperate for not only a victory but a lopsided one at that to restore their sagging confidence and pride. Into Staples Center comes the Cavaliers, one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Cleveland is playing in the second of five consecutive road games. The Cavaliers were very competitive against the Nuggets in their first game on the road trip before losing, 98-91. The Cavaliers play Sacramento on Monday. That's a winnable game for them. They know that, so I wouldn't be surprised if the Cavaliers tank when they start falling behind. Cleveland is 2-7 ATS the game after covering a spread.
The Lakers aren't likely to have Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. However, the Cavaliers are missing their best frontcourt player, Anderson Varejo.
|01-13-13||Oklahoma City Thunder -5 v. Portland Trail Blazers||87-83||Loss||-110||18 h 47 m||Show|
Portland has won nine straight at Rose Garden. But the combination of a fatigue factor and very strong opponent are going to prove too much for the Trail Blazers.
Portland is playing its third game in four days. The Trail Blazers upset the Heat at home on Thursday and then came back hard in the second half in a loss Friday at Golden State. The Trail Blazers have a weak bench. That's going to hurt them in this matchup.
The Trail Blazers are 5-13 ATS when playing on one day rest. Oklahoma City is 16-5 ATS when playing on one day rest.
Oklahoma City has been highly reliable when facing quality foes on the road covering seven of the past nine times when taking on opponents with a winning home mark. The Thunder also are 8-1 ATS when laying four or more points on the road.
The Thunder has beaten Portland in seven of the past nine meetings, including the last four. Oklahoma City has yet to lose in 23 games when scoring in triple digits. The Thunder are averaging 110.7 points per game in their last four road contests. Kevin Durant is red-hot shooting 57.7 percent from the floor this month.
|01-13-13||New Orleans Hornets v. New York Knicks -6.5||Top||87-100||Win||100||9 h 45 m||Show|
The Hornets are playing their best ball winning four in a row. They are energized by the return of Eric Gordon. The Knicks have lost three in a row.
So how does this line make sense? It doesn't, but the oddsmakers aren't stupid. They're anticipating a big game from the Knicks and so am I.
The Knicks have lost three in a row falling to the Celtics, Pacers and Bulls. They are treating this as a must-win game. New York is stepping down in class drawing a lottery club from the other conference.
The Hornets have been in New Orleans for the last eight days. Now they're flying into the East Coast from the Big Easy. The Knicks have dominated this series winning seven of the last eight.
However, the Hornets won the last meeting at Madison Square Garden last February when the Knicks didn't have Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has been going through a tough time. He'll be home here and poised for a huge performance.
|01-12-13||Charlotte Bobcats +12 v. Indiana Pacers||88-96||Win||100||15 h 21 m||Show|
The Pacers are averaging less than 91 points a game. That's second lowest in the league. The Pacers have the third-lowest field goal percentage and are not a good free throw shooting team. They just don't have enough offense to cover big margins despite their excellent defense.
Indiana is 1-4 ATS this season when laying eight or more points.
The Pacers are also in letdown and look ahead spots. Indiana has won its last three home games beating the Bucks, Heat and Knicks. The Pacers were sky-high for those games. They face the red-hot Nets, winners of five in a row, on Sunday in Brooklyn.
The Bobcats had won their last two road games, beating the Bulls and Pistons, until getting blown out Friday night by the Raptors. I look for Charlotte to put forth a much stronger effort as Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap is talking about lineup changes.
|01-12-13||Northeastern +1 v. Towson||70-59||Win||100||9 h 34 m||Show|
Northeastern continues to be underrated by the linesmaker. The Huskies are 4-1 on the road, 3-0 in conference.
Towson is nothing special. The Tigers are 2-9 ATS the last 11 times they've played at home against a foe with a winning road mark.
|01-11-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Golden State Warriors -7||97-103||Loss||-109||13 h 48 m||Show|
The Trail Blazers are in a super letdown spot after upsetting Miami at home last night in perhaps their biggest win of the season. They aren't going to be ready physically or mentally for this matchup against a much-improved Warriors team.
Portland is 13-27-1 ATS following a victory. The Trail Blazers have only covered 38 percent of their road games this season while Golden State has covered in nine of its last 13 home contests.
Golden State is eager to get on track after successive losses to elite opponents the Clippers and Grizzlies. The Warriors are an up-tempo team that is going to take advantage of Portland's tired legs.
|01-11-13||Wright State +4 v. Loyola-Chicago||62-61||Win||100||11 h 17 m||Show|
Wright State is hot winning seven of eight, going 5-1 ATS. Loyola has yet to win in conference, including losing as a 5 1/2-point home favorite to Youngstown State.
This should be around a pick'em type of matchup in my view so getting this many points is a solid investment.
|01-11-13||Minnesota Timberwolves v. New Orleans Hornets -2.5||92-104||Win||100||10 h 15 m||Show|
This line is just too short. Maybe the oddsmaker has yet to catch up to the fact that the Hornets are on the upswing with Eric Gordon back. New Orleans is playing with revived energy and focus.
With Gordon and a much improved Greivis Vasquez running things, the Hornets just posted victories against the Spurs, Mavericks and Rockets. Now they're stepping down in class.
The Timberwolves, on the other hand, are short-handed minus Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Jose Barea, Chase Budinger and Malcom Lee. In addition, coach Rick Adelman hasn't been with the team the last couple of games.
|01-11-13||Utah Jazz +4.5 v. Atlanta Hawks||Top||95-103||Loss||-106||18 h 51 m||Show|
The Jazz are playing well winning four of their last five. Their lone defeat during this span came in a game at Denver without rest. The Nuggets are 12-2 at home.
Utah hasn't been a good road team, although it has won three of its last five on the highway. But the Hawks aren't a good home team going 5-13-1 ATS in their past 19 games in Atlanta. The Hawks are 3-10-1 ATS when hosting a foe with a losing road mark. Atlanta isn't playing well in general going 5-6 in its last 11 games. The Hawks have had a distinct lack of energy recently and there's no guarantee they break out of their funk in this matchup.
Hawks coach Larry Drew recently called his team soft. Drew wasn't just being sarcastic. The Hawks are soft and have maturity issues especially Josh Smith. The Hawks are going to encounter matchup problems because Utah has a tall, physical front line with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, who is returning to the city where he played college ball.
|01-10-13||Miami Heat v. Portland Trail Blazers +4.5||Top||90-92||Win||100||16 h 52 m||Show|
Indiana held Miami to a season-low 77 points in the Heat's last game this past Tuesday in an 87-77 victory. The Pacers give up the second-fewest points per game in the NBA and are ranked No. 1 in defensive field goal percentage, but the Heat have been out of sync for the past two weeks losing four of their last seven games. Of Miami's three wins during this span, two were in overtime and the other occurred against the lowly Wizards.
The Heat aren't getting steady production out of anyone not named LeBron James. Portland has one of the better defenders in the league to match up up against James or Dwayne Wade in Nicholas Batum.
Miami is just a .500 team on the road. The Heat are 5-9 ATS in their 14 road contests.They have failed to cover in their last four road contests. Portland has one of the stronger home-courts. The Trail Blazers have won 12 of their 16 games at Rose Garden, including the past eight. Portland has covered the past six times when meeting a foe with a winning record.
The Trail Blazers have an underrated starting lineup with Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and center J.J. Hickson. Matthews is particularly hot making 23 of 40 shots from the floor in the last three games.
This is a rare marquee home matchup for Portland on national TV against the defending world champions. No doubt Rose Garden will be rocking. Portland's major weakness is a weak-scoring second unit. The Heat, though, don't exactly have a strong bench either.
|01-10-13||Oakland v. South Dakota State -7.5||74-81||Loss||-108||4 h 58 m||Show|
South Dakota State is very strong at home. In fact, the Jackrabbits have the third longest winning home streak in the nation at 23.
This is South Dakota State's first home game since Dec. 9 following a season-long six-game road trip.
The Jackrabbits proved just how talented they are by knocking off then No. 16 ranked New Mexico on Dec. 22.
Oakland is just 2-7 ATS on the road. This is a revenge spot for the Jackrabbits. Things are in their favor. I see a double-digit victory for them.
|01-09-13||UNLV v. New Mexico -3||Top||60-65||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
UNLV has failed to cover in 13 of its last 16 road games. Now the Rebels are playing in one of the toughest road venues with a short spread. UNLV was 2-5 in Mountain West Conference road games last season with its only victories occurring in overtime against Air Force and Boise State.
New Mexico has had eight days to stew about a 60-46 road loss to Saint Louis. Both UNLV and New Mexico are 13-2, but the Lobos have played a very difficult schedule, 11th-hardest in the nation according to the Ratings Percentage Index.
|01-09-13||Philadelphia 76ers v. Toronto Raptors -4.5||Top||72-90||Win||100||18 h 51 m||Show|
The 76ers couldn't be in a more difficult situational spot. Philadelpia is playing its worst ball losing 15 of its last 20. The 76ers just returned from a grueling 2-6 road trip to get buried at home by Brooklyn last night, 109-89. Now they have to fly to Toronto to face the rested Raptors.
76ers coach Doug Collilns admitted his team is incredibly tired. Philadelphia has failed to cover 17 of the past 21 times when playing on zero rest. The 76ers also have lost 11 of the past 13 times when playing away from home.
The Raptors had won eight of their last nine before losing to Sacramento and then Oklahoma City this past Sunday. The Raptors lost twice to the 76ers in November. Toronto is rested and highly motivated. The Raptors have a new rotation since losing those earlier games to Philadelphia. The Raptors have been getting outstanding play from a number of under-the-radar young players, including Alan Anderson, Ed Davis and Terrence Ross. The league - and 76ers - still don't have a very good idea of these players.
Toronto has covered in eight of its last 11 home contests.
|01-09-13||Atlanta Hawks -4 v. Cleveland Cavaliers||83-99||Loss||-103||7 h 8 m||Show|
The Hawks have lost three in a row. Don't look for them to drop a fourth consecutive game.
Atlanta coach Larry Drew called out his team after last night's disappointing road loss to Minnesota. Drew called his players soft, a huge insult. I'm expecting a strong effort from the Hawks, which would be enough to cover this number against a dreadful Cavaliers team that has dropped five of their last six and has multiple injuries.
The Cavaliers aren't expected to have Anderson Varejao, their best frontcourt player, for the 11th straight game. The Cavaliers are vulnerable on the boards to Al Horford and Josh Smith without Varejao. Cleveland could also be without C.J. Miles and Daniel Gibson.
The Hawks are 7-2 SU and ATS in the second of back-to-back games. The Cavaliers are 3-11 ATS when facing a foe off a loss.
Atlanta has dominated this series winning eight of the past nine. This includes four straight victories in Cleveland by an average winning margin of 13 points.
|01-09-13||Butler +2 v. St. Joseph's||72-66||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
St. Joe's was the preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10, but right now I'm siding with Butler as the better team.
The Bulldogs have won nine in a row. They are stronger rebounding team than the Hawks, who have failed to cover the past four times when playing an opponent with a winning record.
The Bulldogs were a little flat in their last performance. I think they're primed for a much better effort here, which should result in a straight-up victory.
|01-08-13||Phoenix Suns v. Milwaukee Bucks -5.5||99-108||Win||100||16 h 53 m||Show|
Neither the Bucks nor Suns are playing well. Milwaukee just made a coaching change sacking Scott Skiles. Alvin Gentry probably is on borrowed time for Phoenix.
I see the Bucks playing with a lot of engergy and motivation for interim coach Jim Boyland. Milwaukee is home and taking on an easy opponent.
The Suns have lost eight of their last nine games. The Suns rank 25th defensively and second to last in defensive field goal percentage. They are the perfect antidote to the Bucks' struggling offense, which should be fortified with the expected return of Ersan Ilyasova.
The Suns need to have their offense going to make up for their lack of defense. But Phoenix's offense is in the tank. The Suns have averaged less than 19 points a quarter during the past seven quarters. Only once in their last nine games have the Suns reached triple digits. Phoenix's confidence is at a season low.
While the Bucks are a disppointing 16-16, they still are a borderline playoff team capable of winning their division. Phoenix, though, has the fifth-worst record in the NBA. The Bucks usually take care of business against such inferior competition covering five of the last six times verus a below .500 foe.
|01-08-13||Miami Heat -3 v. Indiana Pacers||Top||77-87||Loss||-102||15 h 52 m||Show|
The Pacers are a good, but not great team. This is proven by their 2-7 ATS record versus opponets with a winning percentage of at least .600.
The Heat figured out the Pacers during the playoffs last season outscoring them by an aveage of 17.3 points a game during the last three matchups to win the series. Miami has covered in six of its last eight visits to Indiana.
This is Miami's first of six consecutive road games. The Heat want to start their trip out right as their next five games are on the West Coast.
Indiana has won seven straight at home, but nearly all of those victories came against sub-quality foes (Cavaliers, 76ers, Suns and Wizards), bad road teams (Jazz) or a slumping foe (Bucks).
|01-08-13||Northeastern +5.5 v. Drexel||63-58||Win||100||14 h 7 m||Show|
I'm taking the points with visiting Northeastern against Drexel in this early-season Colonial Athletic Association matchup.
The Huskies have covered five of the past seven times on the road. They have a winning straight road record this year. Drexel is 1-4 at home.
The Dragons have failed to cover in 12 of their last 15 games and are 1-6 ATS during their past seven home contests.
Northeastern has played a stronger schedule than Drexel. The Huskies failed to cover as 10-point home favorites this past Saturday in beating NC Wilmington, 68-64. Northeastern, however, is 7-0 ATS following a non-spread cover.
|01-05-13||Golden State Warriors +6 v. Los Angeles Clippers||Top||89-115||Loss||-110||14 h 7 m||Show|
Golden State is well rested. The Warriors last played on Wednesday when they rolled past the Clippers, 115-94, at home. The Clippers meanwhile had a huge victory last night beating the Lakers, 107-102, in an extremely hard-fought, emotional game. That loss halted a two-game losing streak for the Clippers and showed that right now they are the No. 1 team in Los Angeles. That's heady stuff.
Now, though, the Clippers have to turn right around and lay mid-sized points to a much improved Warriors team that has covered 62 percent of their road contests. Golden State has covered 20 of the past 27 times when playing on the road against a foe with a winning home record. The Clippers are 1-4 ATS the past five times when playing on zero rest.
The Warriors, like the Lakers, have no love lost for the Clippers considering them an in-state rival. So they won't lack for motivation.
Golden State beat the Clippers at Staples Center, 114-110, on Nov. 3 outrebounding the Clippers, 48-33. Golden State also had a 53-38 rebound advantage when the teams met this past Wednesday. The Clippers could be without Jamal Crawford, their top scoring reserve.
|01-04-13||Utah Jazz v. Phoenix Suns -2||Top||87-80||Loss||-110||19 h 53 m||Show|
It's rarely wrong to fade the Jazz on the road where Utah is 6-14-1 ATS the past 21 times. Phoenix is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 home games when taking on a foe with a losing road mark.
The Jazz are 10-4 straight-up at home, but have lost 13 of their 19 away games.
Phoenix is decent in the desert where it's gone 5-1-1 ATS the past seven times. In their last seven home contests, the Suns have defeated the Grizzlies, beat Utah by 15, defeated the Kings by 11, defeated the Bobcats by 17, suffered a blowout loss to the red-hot Clippers, lost by just two to the Knicks and knocked off the 76ers, who had just beat the Lakers in LA, by six.
The Jazz are struggling minus point guard Mo Williams. They are 3-8 in their last 11 and 1-4 during their past five road matchups. The Suns crushed the Jazz, 99-84, at US Airways Center three weeks ago. It was Utah's fourth straight road loss to Phoenix.
The Suns are in good enough current home form to cover this short number. Utah isn't playing well, has a key injury and doesn't have the road history to pull the upset.
|01-04-13||Indiana Pacers v. Boston Celtics -2.5||Top||75-94||Win||100||7 h 19 m||Show|
This is a stop-the-pain game for Boston, which has lost eight of 10. The losses, though, have come mainly on the road versus good competition.
This is Boston's second game back home following a four-game road swing. After this matchup, the Celtics go back on the road to take on the Hawks and Knicks. So this becomes a crucial matchup for Boston.
Indiana isn't as desperate having won six of its last seven. The Pacers play tough defense, but rank among the bottom in scoring and field goal percentage. The Celtics just got back their best perimeter defender in underrated Avery Bradley.
The Celtics are better when facing slow, half-court type opponents such as the Pacers rather than athletic foes in the open court. So the Pacers are a good from a matchup perspective. The Pacers are just 4-9 ATS, too, as road 'dogs having lost straight-up to quality road opponents Milwaukee, New York, Golden State, Atlanta, San Antonio an Oklahoma City.
|01-02-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Toronto Raptors -2||Top||79-102||Win||100||9 h 13 m||Show|
Both teams are playing well, but Toronto has the advantage of being home and rested. Portland is in a letdown spot after upsetting the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last night. Portland is 5-10 ATS in its first 15 road contests and 11-22 ATS on the road when facing a foe with a winning home mark.
Toronto is 7-1 in its last eight games. The Raptors have excellent chemistry right now, an underrated point guard tandem and have improved their defense since Andrea Bargnani suffered a serious elbow injury.
The Raptors have been getting excellent production from their unsung bench. Portland has the lowest scoring bench in the league. Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers' star point guard, has not played as well on the road as he has at home.
Toronto just concluded a three-game road swing. But the Raptors last played on Saturday. So they should be focused and ready. The Raptors should be highly motivated, too, having lost eight in a row to Portland.
Portland is averaging 95.3 points on the road. The Trail Blazers are 1-10 away from Rose Garden when failing to score at least 103 points. Toronto has held its last eight opponents to an average of 91.9 points a game. So the Raptors' season defensive average of 99.8 points is misleading.
|01-01-13||Dallas Mavericks -3.5 v. Washington Wizards||Top||103-94||Win||100||7 h 18 m||Show|
This is a golden opportunity for the Mavericks to end their six-game losing streak - and they know it.
Dallas is off consecutive home blowout losses to Denver and San Antonio. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was livid about those defeats. The Mavericks had a good practice on Monday. They are stepping way down in class. They should be primed for a full effort, which should be enough to cover this small number. Dallas has covered 11 of the last 14 times in which they are coming off a double-digit loss.
The Wizards are the only NBA team that doesn't have at least seven wins. The Wizards have multiple injuries. Trevor Ariza, A.J.Price, Trevor Booker and John Wall all are out. Leading scorer Jordan Crawford is dealing with a sore left ankle.
The Wizards have dropped nine of their last 10. They are the worst shooting team in the league averaging 40.6 percent from the floor. The Mavericks are a respectable 17th in defensive field goal percentage. No team scores fewer points per game than Washington at 88.8.
This will be Dirk Nowitzki's fifth game back since returning from knee surgery. His timing has been off, but he'll be getting back to form as his conditioning improves.
The Mavericks have won the past five meetings in the series, including defeating the Wizards, 107-101, at home in mid-November.
|12-28-12||Toronto Raptors v. New Orleans Hornets -2.5||Top||104-97||Loss||-107||10 h 32 m||Show|
New Orleans is headed to the lottery, but the Hornets are better than they've shown. The Hornets are 1-9 in their last 10 home games, but are ready to make a move upward. The timing is good for the Hornets as the Raptors recently overachieved with a five-game winning streak that ended this past Wednesday in a 20-point road loss to the Spurs.
Of the Raptors' five wins during their streak, four came at home. Toronto is 2-15 on the road. The Raptors are 0-10 versus Western Conference foes with an average loss of 16.1 points. They are 1-5 ATS in their last six road contests.
The Raptors are without two of their key big men, forward Andrea Bargnani and center Jonas Valanciunas. Point guard Kyle Lowry has been out, too, although he may return for this game. If he does, his minutes will be limited.
The Hornets are going to be getting Eric Gordon back soon. Morale is up because of that. Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez are playing well and star rookie Anthony Davis is getting back into good form after being out.
|12-28-12||Orlando Magic -1.5 v. Washington Wizards||97-105||Loss||-108||9 h 33 m||Show|
The Magic defeated Washington, 90-83, at home just nine days ago and I like Orlando's chances of duplicating that feat. Orlando has defeated Washington in 10 its last 11 meetings.
Orlando is putting a lot of emphasis on this matchup and tomorrow's home game against Toronto because after those games the Magic face the Heat, Bulls and Knicks before going on the road to take on the Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Clippers.
The Magic also have added incentive because Glen Davis suffered his shoulder injury against the Wizards on a hacking foul by Emeka Okafor with just 47 seconds left.
Orlando has struggled without Davis, but the Wizards are an NBA-worst 3-23 and are more banged-up than the Magic. Out for Washington is its first two point guards, John Wall and A.J. Price, along with starting forwards Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker.
The Magic average just 92.8 points per game. Washington, however, is last in the NBA in scoring at 88.6 points a game.
Orlando is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games while the Wizards are 2-11 at home with a losing home spread mark. The Wizards are 1-5-1 ATS the past seven times they've hosted a foe with a losing road record.
|12-26-12||Miami Heat v. Charlotte Bobcats +10.5||Top||105-92||Loss||-110||21 h 49 m||Show|
While most people in the country were celebrating and enjoying Christmas on Tuesday, the Heat were involved with their most intense game of the season surviving a hectic ending to beat Oklahoma City at home. This was a rematch of the NBA Finals and the Heat survived the Thunder's best punch.
Now the Heat have to fly into Charlotte and take on the coldest team in the NBA, Charlotte. The Bobcats have dropped 15 in a row. It's going to be near-impossible for the Heat to get up for this matchup.
The Heat also have to look ahead because after this matchup they have road games on Friday, Saturday and Monday. That should mean reduced minutes for LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, who logged 42 and 38 minutes, respectively, yesterday against Oklahoma City.
Miami is under .500 against the spread this season when laying more than eight points. Charlotte has lost only one game by more than 10 points at home and that was to San Antonio.
This is Charlotte's first home game since returning from a brutal four-game, five-day road swing. The Bobcats have been idle since Saturday. This is their marquee home game of the year against the defending champions. Unlike Miami, they should be highly motivated and rested.
The Bobcats aren't likely to have big man Byron Mullens, but shooting guard Gerald Henderson and key reserve Ben Gordon should be back from their respective minor injuries.
|12-25-12||Denver Nuggets +7 v. Los Angeles Clippers||Top||100-112||Loss||-107||26 h 13 m||Show|
The Clippers are the headline team in the NBA these days riding a 13-game winning streak. Granted, this may be the Clippers' finest team ever. But this huge winning streak isn't as cracked up as you might think.
The Clippers' last six victories have been against the Suns, Kings, Hornets, Pistons, Bucks and Bobcats. The Bucks are the only serious playoff contender of that sad lot - and that's only because they play in the Eastern Conference.
The only team the Clippers have beaten during their long winning streak who is more than two games above .500 is the Bulls. Denver is the toughest team the Clippers have faced. Note, too, that the Clippers are 2-5 ATS the past seven times they've met a foe with a winning record.
This line is inflated due to the Clippers' winning streak and subsequent publicity. The schedule-makers didn't do the Clippers any favors either scheduling them as a home team on Christmas Day. Road teams are more focused facing less distractions when playing on a major holiday.
Denver is playing well, too, winning four its last five while going 6-1 ATS in its past seven games.
The Nuggets have the point guard depth to keep pace with Chris Paul, have the bench strength to match up against the Clippers' excellent reserves and the inside game to cause the Clippers problems in the paint. Denver leads the NBA in points in the paint at 55.6 per game.
Despite making just 26.6 percent of their 3-point shots during the last four games, the Nuggets still are averaging 109.3 points a game during this time frame.
The record shows Denver to be just 7-12 on the road. However, the Nuggets have a winning spread mark away from home. They have hung in during most of their road contests despite playing a tough away slate. Denver has posted road victories against the Rockets, Warriors and Grizzlies. They have lost road games by six or fewer points to the Heat, Jazz, Hawks and Knicks.
|12-22-12||Los Angeles Lakers +1 v. Golden State Warriors||Top||118-115||Win||100||14 h 45 m||Show|
Steve Nash won't be back for this game, but Pau Gasol is and the Lakers have finally started to play better.
Los Angeles has won three in a row for the first time this season. Those victories, however, have come against unimpressive competition - the Wizards, 76ers and Bobcats.
The Lakers have been playing with more energy and ball movement, but want to prove they are indeed better by defeating a quality team, which the Warriors have become.
Scheduling dynamics and history are on LA's side. The Warriors are playing for the fourth time in five nights. They just played last night. The Lakers, on the other hand, have been idle since Tuesday. Gasol returned in the Lakers' last game after missing eight games with knee tendinitis. He helped spark the Lakers past Charlotte by scoring 10 points, pulling down nine rebounds, dishing off five assists and blocking four shots in 29 minutes.
The Lakers have owned the Warriors defeating 17 of the past 18 times. This includes an 8-1 mark at Oracle Arena. The Lakers defeated the Warriors for a fifth straight time on Nov. 9, burying them, 101-77. Both Gasol and Kobe Bryant have strong histories against the Warriors with Bryant averaging 33.3 points versus Golden State during the last six meetings. Gasol is averaging 23.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game the past 18 times he's faced Golden State.
|12-21-12||Sacramento Kings +14 v. Los Angeles Clippers||85-97||Win||100||9 h 30 m||Show|
Why step in against the Clippers, winners of 11 in a row? Line inflation that's why. The Clippers have posted many of their 11 straight victories against weak opposition, including beating the Hornets, Bobcats, Raptors, Pistons, Suns and yes, the Kings. The Clippers humiliated Sacramento, 116-81, at the beginning of the month. So the Kings shouldn't lack for motivation.
Sacramento is 1-10 on the road, but only one other time have the Kings lost by more than 13 points. The Kings are 4-7 ATS on the highway. But that poor spread mark would look more respectable at 5-6 if the Kings wouldn't have lost at Indiana by 12 points in overtime as a 7 1/2-point 'dog.
The Kings received a much needed confidence boost in their last game beating Golden State, 131-127, at home this past Wednesday to end a five-game losing streak. Point guard Aaron Brooks had a big game with 23 points, five assists and two steals. Brooks is a key for the Kings and his strong play should carryover when he matches up against Chris Paul.
Tyreke Evans may still be out for Sacramento, but the Kings did get back Marcus Thornton, their strongest bench player. He scored 19 points against the Warriors after missing the previous three games to be with his ill mother.
|12-20-12||Miami Heat -5 v. Dallas Mavericks||110-95||Win||100||20 h 31 m||Show|
The Mavericks are an under .500 team through their first 25 games, which isn't a surprise since they haven't had Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks aren't going to be a respected playoff contender until Nowitzki starts playing and that's not going to happen for this matchup. The Mavericks have beaten just one winning team at home.
Dallas ranks 27th in scoring defense giving up 101.5 points a game. The Heat averaged 103.1 points per game and rank No. 1 in field goal percentage at 49.5 percent.
The Heat are rested. This is just their second road matchup in their last 12 games. Miami has covered 12 of the past 16 times when playing on one day rest.
Ever since Dallas defeated Miami in the NBA Finals two years ago, the Heat have taken this matchup very serious with lots of intensity. The Heat swept both games last season winning by an average of 18.5 points.
The Heat is 7-2-1 ATS during its past 10 games a Dallas. The Mavericks are 4-10 ATS when meeting an opponent with a winning record.
|12-19-12||Utah Jazz v. Indiana Pacers -3||Top||84-104||Win||100||17 h 28 m||Show|
Both Utah and Indiana were in action on Tuesday night. The Jazz posted a rare road victory beating the Nets in Brooklyn, 92-90. That was a nice win for Utah, but I don't see the Jazz winning back-to-back road games. Utah is 5-10 away from Salt Lake City, 5-9-1 ATS. Utah has not won two road games in a row all season.
The Jazz are 2-4 ATS in the second of back-to-back games this season and playing for the fourth time in six days. Utah is 1-7 ATS in its last eight away contests when meeting a foe with a winning home record.
Indiana lost 98-93 on the road to Milwaukee last night. The Pacers are a strong rebounding team and rank first in defensive field goal percentage and third in fewest points allowed. But they were done in by a rare hot-shooting performance from Brandon Jennings while connecting on only 40 percent from the field themselves.
The Pacers have been playing well, though, going 9-5 in their last 14 games and 4-1 during their past five matchups. Look for the Pacers to shoot better while maintaining their defensive excellence. This will be enough to cover this short number against a road-challenged Jazz squad that is far more effective at home.
|12-18-12||Indiana Pacers +3 v. Milwaukee Bucks||Top||93-98||Loss||-110||16 h 18 m||Show|
The Pacers fell to 3-6 when the Bucks beat them in Milwaukee, 99-85, back on Nov. 14.
Indiana is playing much better now winning nine of its last 13, including three in a row. The Pacers haven't forgotten about that embarrassing loss to Milwaukee. The Bucks were burying the Pacers by 29 points when Larry Sanders committed a flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough that left Hansbrough sprawled on the court.
This has become a bitter rivalry so getting points is huge in what shapes up to be a defensive battle. The Pacers are clearly the better defensive club ranking first in defensive field goal percentage and third in scoring defense holding foes to 90.4 points per game. The Bucks shoot 43.3 percent from the floor, which ranks them 23rd. Milwaukee is giving up an average of 97.2 points per game.
Indiana has been playing exception defense holding its last three opponents - the Cavaliers, 76ers and Pistons - to an average of 81 points and 38.4 percent field goal shooting.
The Bucks are not a good home club failing to cover in 15 of their last 16 at Bradley Center. The Pacers have won five of their last seven away games. They also have beaten Milwaukee in five of their last six meetings.
|12-18-12||Atlanta Hawks -6.5 v. Washington Wizards||100-95||Loss||-109||8 h 16 m||Show|
Even though the opponent is the Wizards, the Hawks should be very focused for this road matchup. Atlanta is off an embarrassing 115-93 home loss to Golden State this past Saturday. The Hawks never showed up for that game. Hawks coach Larry Drew said it was his team's low-energy game of the year.
I see Atlanta bouncing back strong against a beat-up Wizards team that ranks last in scoring at less than 90 points a game. Atlanta is 5-1 ATS following a defeat. The Hawks have a top 10 defense and force the most turnovers in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards are starting a pair of shooting guards as they are down their top two point guards. They are ripe to commit a lot of turnovers.
The Hawks are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 road contests. They have dominated the Wizards winning 17 of the past 18 in the series going 10-4-2 ATS in the last 16 meetings.
|12-14-12||Minnesota Timberwolves v. New Orleans Hornets +4||Top||113-102||Loss||-110||18 h 1 m||Show|
Minnesota is playing well going 5-2 in its last seven games. But I see the Hornets ending their five-game losing streak with a home win against the Timberwolves.
Considering their upcoming schedule, this becomes a must-win, stop-the-pain game for New Orleans. The Hornets go on the road for four games starting on Sunday following this matchup with road games versus Portland, Golden State, the Clippers and San Antonio. They will not be favored in any of those matchups.
The Hornets are stronger defensively with Anthony Davis back in the lineup. The Timberwolves are 7-16 ATS the past 23 times when facing a foe with a losing record.
Kevin Love missed the first nine games with a broken hand. He's still struggling to regain his shooting touch shooting just 34 percent from the floor during his last nine games.
Already without Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves will be without another guard in this matchup, Malcom Lee. He suffered a knee injury in the Timberwolves' last game, a win this past Wednesday against Denver. Lee had started 12 of the last 13 games at shooting guard.
|12-12-12||Los Angeles Clippers v. Charlotte Bobcats +8.5||Top||100-94||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
Granted the Clippers are playing well. But this is their second game in two nights and fourth matchup in five days. The Clippes are 6-13-1 ATS in their last 20 road contests versus a foe with a losing home mark. The Clippers have failed to cover in four of their last five away games.
Charlotte has fallen back after a surprise beginning. The Bobcats are mired in a nine-game losing streak. Still, they are a much improved team capable of springing upsets having beaten Indiana, Dallas and Milwaukee. In their second to last home game, they lost by two on a buzzer shot to the Knicks.
The Bobcats received a boost at yesterday's practice when owner Michael Jordan played one-on-one with several of the players. Expect a strong effort from the Bobcats while the Clippers take it easy in a tired, let down spot.
|12-12-12||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Indiana Pacers -8||81-96||Win||100||12 h 47 m||Show|
This would be a tough matchup for Cleveland anyways, but it's made worse by the timing.
The Cavaliers are in a huge letdown spot after an improbable 100-94 home win against the Lakers that put an end to a five-game Cleveland losing streak.
Now the young Cavaliers have to turn around and play the rugged Pacers on the road. Indiana has been idle since Sunday. The Pacers are not in a good frame of mind either after one of their poorest defensive efforts in their last game, a 104-93 road loss to the Thunder.
The Pacers rank first in defensive field goal percentage. They are No. 1 in rebounding and surrender the third-fewest points. Kyrie Irving is back for the Cavaliers after missing 11 games with a broken finger. But the Cavaliers are soft up front, which is reflected in a 2-11 road record. They are 5-11 ATS the past 16 times they've played a winning home team on the road.
The Cavaliers have lost their last four road games to the Pacers and are 1-8 overall in the series.
Indiana's offense is its weakness. The Cavaliers limited the Lakers to 41.3 shooting, but even with that effort still rank last in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense at 47.8 percent. The Cavaliers also may be missing guard Daniel Gibson, who hyperextended his right elbow against the Lakers and missed the second half.
|12-11-12||New York Knicks -3 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||100-97||Push||0||7 h 21 m||Show|
The Knicks have dropped only five games, but the one that really bothers them is a 96-89 overtime defeat to rival Brooklyn on Nov. 26. Brook Lopez had a huge performance in that game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Lopez, though, is out with a foot injury. He's missed the last five games and won't play here. The Nets have lost four in a row minus Lopez with the closest loss being by six points. Opponents are taking advantage of Lopez's absence in the middle shooting 52.1 percent against the Nets during the past four games.
The Knicks rank fifth in scoring at 102.8 points a game and have Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup and playing at a high level. Anthony is averaging 30.1 points in his last eight games. The Knicks should get a major contribution, too, from their backcourt in this matchup. Jason Kidd missed the first Nets game. He's back in the lineup. Raymond Felton has been pointing to this matchup, too, after playing one of the worst games of his career in the first Nets game with five turnovers and 3-of-19 shooting from the floor.
Timing means a lot in the NBA. The Nets are 2-6 ATS versus foes with a winning road. They are going to be good, but right not they are a work in progress and not close to fulfilling their potential with Lopez out. The Knicks are a much better team right now and highly motivated for this matchup.
|12-10-12||Golden State Warriors -4 v. Charlotte Bobcats||Top||104-96||Win||100||10 h 9 m||Show|
Golden State's 13-7 record is no fluke. The Warriors are much better defensively and on the boards than they've been in a long time. They are playing their best ball right now with a 10-3 mark in their last 13 games.
That record probably is going to take a hit as the Warriors are in the middle of a seven-game road trip. So far the Warriors have beaten the Pistons, Nets minus Brook Lopez and Wizards. The Bobcats are easier than the first two road opponents. The Warriors know they can't slip here because their last three road matchups are against Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. That's probably at least two losses.
The timing is right to play Charlotte now. The Bobcats have dropped seven in a row as opponents take them fully serious now. The Bobcats' big people have gone in the tank and their defense has been horrendous surrendering 110 points per game during the losing streak.
David Lee and Stephen Curry are playing at a very high level for Golden State. Lee has never played better, which is saying a lot since he's been a good player for a few years. Curry went to high school in Charlotte and then nearby Davidson college. He is averaging 24.5 points while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor in four lifetime games against the Bobcats.
|12-09-12||Orlando Magic v. Phoenix Suns -4||Top||98-90||Loss||-105||8 h 6 m||Show|
The Suns are 1-7 in their last eight games and mired in a six-game losing skid. Only one of these losses, however, has occurred on the road.
This is just Phoenix's second home matchup in its last nine games. It's a big game for the Suns and they draw a weak opponent that is tired and having their own problems on the road.
Orlando is 3-7 away from home. The Magic are concluding a five-game, nine-day road trip with this matchup. The Magic are dragging and anxious to get home. The Magic have become a perimeter team without Dwight Howard, living and dying by the 3-pointer. Tired legs are not a good thing for an outside shooting team. The Magic are just 5-for-30 from 3-point range in their last two games.
Phoenix is vulnerable inside, but the Magic don't have the inside forces to take advantage although Glen Davis is playing better.
The Suns are not a playoff team anymore. But they are better than they've shown. Their recent record looks bad because they just finished a demanding East Coast trip where they went 1-6. Except for a horrible effort in Detroit, though, they were in the other games. Their lone home game during this span came against the Mavericks and they lost in the final minute still dragging from the three-hour time change.
I'm expecting the Suns to be ready, rested and strongly motivated. Orlando is the team in the bad spot. The Magic lack the talent to win against a motivated opponent on the road unless producing a super effort and hitting a large number of their long-range bombs. I don't see that happening here.
|12-08-12||Philadelphia 76ers v. Boston Celtics -6||Top||79-92||Win||100||15 h 47 m||Show|
The 76ers nipped Boston, 95-94, at home on Friday night. It was the second time in two meetings the 76ers have defeated Boston this season.
This was a particularly tough loss for the Celtics. Boston did a great job defensively on point guard Jrue Holiday, who is having an All-Star caliber season. But every bounce and loose ball seemed to go against the Celtics. The Celtics also missed several open shots.
I don't see the 76ers beating Boston three straight times. It's going to be a different game in Boston tonight. The Celtics are the more talented team, have the stronger bench and will be highly motivated to get their immediate revenge. This is a home series with the host covering five of the last six times.
The Celtics have age on them, yes. But Philadelphia is the team that has really struggled when playing with zero rest going 4-12 ATS in that situation.
|12-07-12||Orlando Magic v. Sacramento Kings -2.5||82-91||Win||100||20 h 10 m||Show|
Orlando is deep into its lengthy road trip playing its fourth away matchup in the last six days. The Magic don't go home until they play Phoenix on the road Sunday. So Orlando could really be dragging in this game.
Sacramento has tightened up its perimeter defense. This is huge because the Magic have showed a tendency under first-year head man Jacque Vaghan to live and die by the 3-point shot. Sacramento ranks 11th in defending against the 3-point shot holding foes to 34.2 percent. The Kings also were averaging 46.1 points in the paint per game, which ranks them fourth-highest.
The Magic are going to have trouble containing DeMarcus Cousins inside. Tyreke Evans has been hot, too, for the Kings averaging 20.3 points per game in his last seven game while connecting on seven of his last 15 shots from 3-point range.
Sacramento has won its last three of its last five home contests, beating the Lakers and Jazz during this span.
|12-07-12||Washington Wizards +9.5 v. Atlanta Hawks||Top||95-104||Win||100||18 h 37 m||Show|
The record shows Washington to be 2-13 overall and 0-7 on the road. Those records are deceiving, however.
The Wizards have a winning point spread road mark and are playing their best ball having won two of their last three, including a huge confidence-building victory against the defending world champion Heat this past Tuesday.
Washington is in action for just the second time in seven days. The Wizards have a strong revenge motive as the Hawks nipped them in overtime in Atlanta on Nov. 21.
It's a much different situation for Atlanta. The Hawks defeated the Nuggets, 108-104, at home this past Wednesday. Up next for Atlanta following today's game against Washington is much more challenging and high-profile games - road matchups on Saturday against Memphis and on Monday versus Miami. The Hawks have a tendency to play up or down to the level of their competition.
The Hawks also had covered only two of their last 11 home games.
|12-05-12||Portland Trail Blazers v. Indiana Pacers -4||Top||92-99||Win||100||8 h 59 m||Show|
Indiana has compensated for its lack of offense without Danny Granger by playing outstanding defense. The Pacers rank No. 1 in the league in both scoring defense and defensive field goal percentage. They also rank No. 3 in defending against 3-pointers, which is a staple of Portland's attack.
Meeting the top defensive team is tough any time, but it's especially so in this matchup for the Trail Blazers because it marks the conclusion of a seven-game, 11-day road trip that began before Thanksgiving.
In their last two games, the Trail Blazers have had to play three overtimes. They were fortunate to beat Charlotte in overtime this past Monday because of Bobcat mistakes.
The Trail Blazers are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games when playing on one days rest. Portland is at a real disadvantage when turning to its bench because its reserves are averaging less than 15 points per game. That's the lowest in the league. Because this is the end of their trip and off consecutive overtime games, the Trail Blazers are going to be forced to use their bench. Indiana has a big advantage there when the reserves play.
The Pacers have been on the road for their last four games, although they had a short trip to Chicago last night and posted an impressive 80-76 win to even their record at .500. The Pacers went 3-1 on their road trip. They are playing better and their confidence is up.
Indiana is a rugged rebounding and defensive club. The Trail Blazers aren't a very good team to start with and they lack the height and bench strength to hold up playing in their seventh consecutive road game. Portland also doesn't have a good history versus the Pacers failing to cover in seven of the last nine meetings.
|12-04-12||Phoenix Suns v. Memphis Grizzlies -10.5||Top||98-108||Loss||-108||15 h 6 m||Show|
Perhaps at first glance this number seems high. On closer inspection it's actually a bargain. The Grizzlies are good, darn good and this is a kill spot for them.
Memphis and Miami are tied for the best winning percentage in the NBA with 12-3 records. The Suns are a lottery team facing a bad situational spot.
The Grizzlies last played on Saturday against the Spurs in San Antonio. This was the second of back-to-back games for the Grizzlies, while the Spurs had sat out their three main stars against Miami in their previous game to give them two full days of rest instead of one. Still, the Grizzlies took the Spurs to overtime before losing. Memphis also played without Tony Allen, who may be back for this game. The Grizzlies led San Antonio by 14 with less than 10 minutes left.
That defeat left a bad taste in the mouth of the Grizzlies. Now the Grizzlies are the rested team. They are 8-1 at home this season, covering seven of the nine. Memphis leads the NBA in defense yielding 90.7 points a game and ranks in the top six in defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point percentage. The Grizzlies have covered 12 of their last 14 games.
Phoenix is 2-8 on the road. The Suns are playing in their sixth straight road game. They are 1-4 on this road trip with their lone win coming against the Cavaliers.
The Suns' confidence is down. In their last three games they lost by 40 points to the Pistons, lost by four to Toronto and lost by seven to New York this past Sunday with the final losing margin not indicative of how bad the Suns played because the Knicks relaxed in the second half after building a 59-42 halftime lead.
The Suns desperately want to get back to the desert. They rank last defensively allowing 102.7 points per game. They've surrendered 108 points per game in their last three matchups. Phoenix could be missing Jermaine O'Neal, the team's second-leading shot-blocker who has a right quadriceps strain.
|12-03-12||Milwaukee Bucks v. New Orleans Hornets +4.5||Top||81-102||Win||100||11 h 11 m||Show|
New Orleans hasn't been playing well, but the Bucks aren't playing well enough either to be laying this many points on the road. The Hornets have won the last 10 times they've hosted Milwaukee, covering four of the past five, and can't afford a loss here. After this game, New Orleans plays the Lakers, Grizzlies and Heat.
New Orleans can hit from the perimeter with underrated Ryan Anderson. The Bucks are a below average rebounding and defensive field goal percentage team. Milwaukee is just 2-5 in its last seven games with the victories coming against the Bulls in Chicago by one point when the Bulls blew a 27-point lead and in their last game against Boston at home on Saturday when the Celtics were playing in the second of back-to-back nights and missing suspended Rajon Rondo. Milwaukee is 3-15 ATS following a straightup victory.
The Bucks are averaging just 88.6 points in their last five games. Scott Skiles is still searching for the right frontcourt combination and guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings were shooting a lowly 40 and 41 percent, respectively, from the floor.
|12-03-12||Portland Trail Blazers v. Charlotte Bobcats -1||118-112||Loss||-107||10 h 12 m||Show|
Early money has moved Charlotte into the favorite role. I agree. The Bobcats are vastly improved under Mike Dunlap. They've beaten much tougher teams at home than Portland, a terrible road club. Portland is 1-5 ATS on the road this season. The Trail Blazers have to deal with fatigue issues, too, as this is their sixth road game in nine days.
Depth is huge on long road trips and the Trail Blazers don't have it. They have the lowest scoring reserves in the league. Portland has failed to cover nine of the last 11 times when playing with just one day rest. Portland also is 7-20-1 ATS following a straight-up victory. The Trail Blazers are off a one-point double overtime victory against Cleveland this past Saturday winning on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
That's what it took for the Trail Blazers to beat Cleveland. The Trail Blazers already have lost to Detroit and Washington on this current trip. It's not a fluke. Portland isn't very good this season ranking 29th in defensive field goal percentage and 27th in points allowed per game at 101.8. Charlotte was ranked in the top 10 in both steals and blocks, a rare distinction.
Unlike the Portland players, who just want to get home, the Bobcats have major motivation. The Bobcats suffered the worst loss in team history last Feb. 1 in Portland when the Trail Blazers rolled them, 112-68. It was the low point of the lowest of seasons. They want to avenge that loss in a big way.
|12-01-12||Indiana Pacers v. Golden State Warriors -4||92-103||Win||100||14 h 58 m||Show|
Both Indiana and Golden State are playing well. But this spot and matchup set up well enough for the Warriors to cover this spread.
This is Indiana's third of four straight road games. The Pacers began their trip shocking the Lakers, 79-77, this past Tuesday. Frank Vogel is an underrated coach. He had four days to devise a game plan against the Lakers. Victory achieved. The Pacers then beat Sacramento, 97-92, on Friday night. The Pacers had two full days to practice and scheme for the Kings. Victory achieved.
Now, however, Vogel has no time to specifically game plan and practice for the Warriors since Indiana played last night. Indiana is 1-2 ATS the past three times its played on the second night of back-to-back games.
Golden State has won its last four home games beating Denver by one, Minnesota by 11, Brooklyn by nine and Atlanta by four. All of those teams except the Timberwolves are better than the Pacers.
The Warriors are averaging eight points more per game than the Pacers. Minus their leading scorer Danny Granger, the Pacers' offense is down this season ranking near the bottom at 90.8 points per game.
Indiana wins by playing tough defense, getting points in the paint and rebounding well. Golden State has been deficient in these areas - until this season. The perception is the Warriors are soft and not a good rebounding team. That perception is false.
Golden State ranks fifth in rebounding margin, one spot ahead of Indiana. The Warriors have won the rebounding battle during each of their last five games by a combined 45 rebounds. Twice in this span they've outrebounded Denver, which is the No. 2 rebounding team in the NBA.
The Pacers don't have enough firepower to outscore the Warriors, especially on the road when Golden State is more likely to dictate pace. The Pacers will try to control the paint and outrebound Golden State. I don't see that happening. David Lee is playing tremendous and the Warriors have greatly improved their defense ranking in the top 10 in defensive field goal percentage and in defending against 3-pointers.
Indiana has lost in four of its last five visits to Oracle Arena. The Pacers also have a more important game on deck traveling to face division rival Chicago on Tuesday.
|11-30-12||Philadelphia 76ers -3 v. Charlotte Bobcats||Top||104-98||Win||100||15 h 13 m||Show|
The 76ers are playing better realizing that Andrew Bynum is not coming back any time soon. Doug Collins is an excellent coach, adept at getting the best from his talent. The 76ers have talent despite missing Bynum, who I find to be the most overvalued big man in the game.
Jrue Holiday has emerged as one of the best point guards in the league averaging 18.5 points and 9.1 assists per game, which ranks him No. 3 in the NBA. Evan Turner is stepping up after coming on strong last season. Turner is averaging 17.8 points while shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor during his last six games.
Charlotte has been the surprise of the season so far. The Bobcats are much improved from last season when they were the worst team in NBA history. But they're still not very good and they no longer have the element of surprise on their side. The Thunder buried the Bobcats, 114-69, this past Monday. The Bobcats played much better on Wednesday, but lost 94-91 to Atlanta.
Now the Bobcats return home for the first time in four games. This will be their fifth game in eight days. The Bobcats rank second to last in field goal percentage at 40.7. They haven't shot above 35 percent from the floor in their last two games. Philadelphia gives up the fewest points on the road of any team at 87.4.
|11-28-12||Phoenix Suns v. Detroit Pistons -3||Top||77-117||Win||100||16 h 48 m||Show|
This is the time to back Detroit as a favorite. Yes, a favorite.
The Pistons began the season losing their first eight games. But now they've turned things around going 4-3 in their last seven games, including winning their last three home contests.
Lawrence Frank is doing a better job of figuring out his lineup. Elevating Kyle Singler into the starting lineup replacing a struggling Rodney Stuckey was the right move. The Pistons are playing better defense and catch Phoenix in a bad situational spot.
The Suns are playing their third road game in four days. They have three more road games in a row after this one. Phoenix played the 76ers tough in Philadelphia in the opener of their current road swing losing by three. Then, last night, the Suns beat the Kyrie Irving-less Cavaliers, 91-78.
What are the chances of the Suns turning in a third straight solid road performance? Phoenix is 1-10 ATS following a straight-up victory.
The Suns are giving up 101.6 points per game even after holding the punchless Cavaliers to 78 points. The Pistons have revenge for a 92-89 loss suffered to the Suns in Phoenix on Nov. 2 when they were playing terrible. Stuckey was 0-for-7 from the field in that game scoring one point in 22 minutes.
|11-27-12||Toronto Raptors +5.5 v. Houston Rockets||Top||101-117||Loss||-110||14 h 14 m||Show|
Their won-lost record reads 3-11. But the Raptors are better than that as evidenced by a more convincing 7-7 ATS mark. The Raptors have lost four in a row since defeating Orlando by 11 at home.
In each of those four losses, though, the Raptors had the lead during the fourth-quarter. They lost a pair of one point road games to much-improved Charlotte and Detroit and then nearly upset San Antonio at home losing in double overtime on Sunday. The Raptors played the Spurs tough despite go-to-scorer Andrea Bargnani missing a staggering 19 of 21 shots from the floor.
Toronto is 5-0 ATS following a straight-up loss.
The Rockets last played on Friday at home when they played their finest game of the season crushing the Knicks, 131-103. The Rockets had little time to savor that great win, however. The daughter of their coach, Kevin McHale, died on Saturday. The organization has been in mourning since. It's not hard to envision the team thinking more about their grief-stricken coach rather than the Raptors.
Another side note to this matchup is the return of point guard Kyle Lowry to Houston. The Rockets dealt Lowry to the Raptors this past year. Lowry is very underrated, a superior player to the more overpublicized Jeremy Lin, who is shooting less than 35 percent from the floor and has three more turnovers than assists in his last three games.
The fiery Lowry wants this win bad. So does Bargnani who stunk up the joint against the Spurs. The Raptors are not nearly as bad as their record. They are going to be motivated for this matchup.
Houston is nothing special, just a .500 team capable of beating elite teams and losing to bottom-feeders. The Rockets might come out fired-up, too. They also could be in a sad funk. The Rockets also could be thinking ahead as they play the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
|11-24-12||Chicago Bulls +2.5 v. Milwaukee Bucks||93-86||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
For the first time under the tenure of defensive guru Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls are saddled with a three-game losing streak. No, the Bulls aren't nearly as good as they were last season when they had Derrick Rose. But they aren't as bad as they've shown recently either.
Now the Bulls draw their favorite patsy, the Bucks. Chicago has beaten Milwaukee eight consecutive times, winning by an average of 11.1 points during this span. This is the first meeting of the year between the two teams although the Bulls defeated the Bucks, 100-94, in a home preseason game.
The Bucks aren't a very good home team spread-wise failing to cover 21 of their last 29 at Bradley Center. The Bulls have covered in six of their last seven visits to Milwaukee.
The Bulls are 12-4 SU when facing the Bucks under Scott Skiles, who used to coach the Bulls. The Bulls have the Bucks' number and will be highly motivated for this matchup. Thibodeau put his team through a 135-minute practice on Friday to specifically game plan for this matchup and sharpen his team's defense.
Milwaukee nearly pulled a road upset this past Wednesday against Miami losing in overtime,113-106, but covered as 9 1/2-point 'dog. The Bucks are 1-8 ATS following a cover.
|11-24-12||Oklahoma City Thunder -4.5 v. Philadelphia 76ers||Top||116-109||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
Philadelphia is a very ordinary team weak offensively without a stable rotation.
The 76ers aren't at a stage right now where they can hang close with Oklahoma City.
The Thunder are looking for redemption after a loss to Boston last night. The Thunder are 23-11 ATS following a defeat. They won't lack for motivation in this matchup and own a huge talent gap across the starting lineup.
Before losing to the Celtics, the Thunder had won eight of their last nine going 6-3 ATS. All of their victories during this span except one were by at least six points.
Oklahoma City is averaging 102.8 points per game and shooting 47.9 percent from the floor. Both are top-four figures. The 76ers rank second-to-last in points per game and field goal percentage. They are averaging 89.8 points, 13 points per game fewer than Oklahoma City.
The 76ers are 3-3 in their last six games with their three victories coming at home against Utah, a terrible road team, Toronto and Cleveland. The 76ers' losses during this span have occurred to the Pistons and Bucks at home and Cavaliers in Cleveland, who were minus its best player, Kyrie Irving. The 76ers are just 2-9 ATS at home versus foes that have a winning road mark.
The 76ers haven't been able to slow down Kevin Durant even when they had premier defender Andre Iguodala. Durant has averaged 29.4 points per game in the last five matchups against the 76es. The Thunder have defeated Philadelphia six times in a row.
|11-23-12||San Antonio Spurs -3.5 v. Indiana Pacers||Top||104-97||Win||100||15 h 30 m||Show|
The Spurs own the Pacers having defeated them 10 straight times, including a 101-79 blowout victory earlier this month. The Spurs beat the Pacers in that game despite Tony Parker making just three of 13 shots from the floor.
The Pacers are playing better, but there remains a huge gap between these two teams. The Spurs have only lost to two teams - the Knicks and Clippers whose combined record is 16-5.
Indiana has defeated just one team above .500 and that's 7-6 Dallas. The Pacers' offense has gone down the tubes without leading scorer Danny Granger. Indiana ranks 27th in scoring and 28th in field goal percentage.
San Antonio ranks in the top 10 both offensively and defensively. Gregg Popovich is the most dangerous coach when having at least a day to game plan. San Antonio is 26-11-1 ATS when playing with one day rest. Indiana is 1-5 ATS following a victory.
|11-21-12||Toronto Raptors +2.5 v. Charlotte Bobcats||97-98||Win||100||17 h 11 m||Show|
I'm not comfortable laying points with Charlotte and neither should you. The Bobcats are a shocking 5-4. They are much improved. Do note, though, that every one of their victories except one has been by four or fewer points. Their lone lopsided win came against winless Washington.
The Raptors aren't pretty, but they are a gutty bunch. They have covered five straight times when playing on zero rest. This includes three straight-up victories in three games this season when playing on the second of back-to-back days.
The Bobcats are missing Gerald Henderson and reserve Tyrus Thomas. Charlotte is 1-7 ATS against opponents with a losing record.
Star point guard Kyle Lowry is back for Toronto.
|11-21-12||Detroit Pistons v. Orlando Magic||Top||74-90||Win||100||17 h 10 m||Show|
This is a big game for Orlando, which begin a five-game homestand desperately needing a victory. I see the Magic getting that win against a Pistons squad they defeated, 110-106, on the road this past Friday.
The impressive thing about that victory against the Pistons wasn't just that it came on the road. The Pistons shot 53.7 percent from the floor and also out-shot the Magic from the free throw line connecting on 16 of 20 for 80 percent. Still, the Magic won.
The key for the Magic in that game was the return of point guard Jameer Nelson, who had missed six games with groin and hamstring injuries. The Magic have good 3-point shooters in Arron Affalo and JJ Redick. The problem was that minus Nelson the Magic were turning the ball over too much and not getting their shooters in the right spots.
Detroit ranks 21st in defensive field goal percentage.
|11-20-12||New York Knicks v. New Orleans Hornets +6||Top||102-80||Loss||-105||19 h 44 m||Show|
The Hornets are one of those under-the-radar teams that quietly cashes nearly all the time when getting points at home. The Hornets are 11-2 ATS the last 13 times they've been a home 'dog.
The Knicks have been playing great. No knock on New York at all, I just see this as a tight defensive battle where the Hornets produce a strong effort and the game is tight.
The Hornets are a good defensive team. However, they are off their worst defensive game of the season, a 117-113 loss to Milwaukee. The Hornets go on the road for four games after this matchup. So they should be focused, primed and highly motivated.
After so many marquee games already this season, the Knicks can't be too excited about this game.
New Orleans has covered 12 of its last 14 home contests. Star rookie big man Anthony Davis tweaked his ankle, but is expected to play so no worries there.
|11-17-12||New Orleans Hornets +8 v. Milwaukee Bucks||Top||113-117||Win||100||17 h 19 m||Show|
New Orleans laid an egg last night at home against Oklahoma City trailing by as many as 34 points before losing, 110-95.
Look for a much better effort from the Hornets today. The Hornets are a top-10 defensive team and have been tremendous as an underdog covering 18 of the past 26 times in that role, including 4-2 this season.
The Bucks are playing well, but are not strong enough to cover a mid-range number like this unless they produce an "A" game while their opponent plays horrible. I don't see the Hornets playing back-to-back horrendous games. They've defeated Milwaukee in 11 of the past 12 meetings.
A key for the Hornets is defending Brandon Jennings, who is shooting just 34.7 percent in five career meetings against the Hornets.
|11-16-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. New Orleans Hornets +7||Top||110-95||Loss||-110||6 h 25 m||Show|
It's hard to go wrong backing the Hornets as an underdog. New Orleans is 18-7 ATS the past 25 times it has received points under Monty Williams, one of the more underrated coaches in the NBA. The Hornets have covered five of their six games so far, going 4-1 ATS when taking points.
Oklahoma City has a great offense led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. New Orleans, though, is giving up the third-fewest points per game at 90.5. No opponent has managed to reach triple digits this season against New Orleans.
A key to the Hornets' defensive success is they are the second stingiest team in letting opponents get to the free throw line. This is huge because the Thunder are the best free throw shooting team in the league sinking 84.3 percent.
The Thunder are playing for the sixth time in nine days. This heavy duty schedule is taking a toll as the Thunder barely won at Detroit this past Monday and then on Wednesday lost by double-digits to Memphis. Durant and Westbrook each had to play more than 40 minutes in those games.
|11-15-12||New York Knicks v. San Antonio Spurs -5||Top||104-100||Loss||-108||11 h 59 m||Show|
Are the 5-0 Knicks really for real? Improved yes, but not in San Antonio's class. This matchup should prove it.
The Knicks caught the Heat in a flat spot and have reeled off wins against Dallas,Orlando and twice against Philadelphia in going 5-0. Aside from the Heat, I haven't been impressed in the early going with the 76ers, Magic or Mavericks, who also have lost to the Bobcats.
Carmelo Anthony is off to a hot start. But the Knicks still are missing two starters, Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert.
The Knicks have lost their last nine games in San Antonio averaging just 88.6 points in those nine losses. The Spurs are 17-1 in their last 18 regular-season home contests.
The Spurs are out of the gates fast, too, going 7-1. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are all healthy, Gregg Popovich is the premier coach in the league and he has a stronger bench this season. The Spurs are 13-2-2 ATS versus Eastern Conference opponents. As good as the Knicks have been, there's still a class difference between these two clubs plus San Antonio is at home.
|11-14-12||Chicago Bulls -2 v. Phoenix Suns||Top||112-106||Win||100||17 h 24 m||Show|
This is just Chicago's second road game of the season. It's the start of a five-game, 10-day road trip for the Bulls and their best opportunity to win. They've beaten the Suns three consecutive times in Phoenix.
The Bulls are primed for a strong effort after losing to Boston, 101-95, this past Monday. That was the first time Chicago has given up triple digits this season. Tom Thibodeau will have Chicago focused and ready for a much better game against the Suns, who lack a go-to scorer. The Bulls had the best road mark in the league last season and defeated Cleveland, 115-86, in their lone away contest this season.
Chicago has a history of bouncing back strong off a loss going 39-18-2 ATS following a defeat.
Despite giving up 101 to the Celtics, the Bulls rank fifth defensively giving up 90.4 points per game. The Suns, by comparison, rank 29th defensively surrendering 103 points a game. Only once have the Bulls been out-rebounded.
Phoenix upset Denver, 110-100, at home this past Monday. The Suns have failed to cover eight straight times in their next game after posing a victory. Phoenix is 4-10 ATS at home versus winning teams and is 1-5 ATS in its last six home contests.
The Suns are 4-4, a record that may surprise since the Suns aren't expected to do well this season. That record isn't impressive, though, considering the Suns don't own a victory against a foe with a winning record. Denver is off to a slow start and is at .500. The Suns' three other wins are against lottery-bound opponents Detroit, Charlotte and Cleveland.
|11-13-12||San Antonio Spurs v. Los Angeles Lakers||Top||84-82||Win||100||10 h 45 m||Show|
In time the Lakers will turn things around. But that time isn't yet. The Lakers remain in disarray amid heavy distractions involving who is replacing Mike Brown. It's Mike D'Antoni much to Phil Jackson's displeasure. D'Antoni, though, won't be behind the Lakers' bench yet.
The Spurs are 6-1 and unlike the Lakers their players are in sync with clearly defined roles. Gregg Popovich is an elite coach. Bernie Bickerstaff is simply a fill-in. Popovich is at his best with time to prepare. The Spurs have covered the past eight times when having two days rest.
The Lakers haven't faced a team the caliber of San Antonio. The toughest team the Lakers have faced have been the Clippers and Jazz and they lost those two games by a combined 19 points. The only victories the Lakers have cobbled together have been against Detroit, Golden State and Sacramento - three lottery bound clubs.
The Lakers aren't help by having a cluster injury problem at point guard with Steve Nash and Steve Blake both out.
|11-10-12||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Chicago Bulls -7||Top||80-87||Push||0||16 h 48 m||Show|
The Timberwolves have been a huge early-season surprise going 4-1. But Minnesota is due for a fall and finds itself in a horrible spot here.
The Timberwolves face an aroused Bulls squad that is off a tough nationally televised loss to Oklahoma City this past Thursday. The Timberwolves are extremely banged-up and off a tough two-point victory last night against a physical Indiana team that wasn't decided until the final second. This marks the Timberwolves' fifth game in seven days and second in two nights.
Already without Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio - their two best players - Minnesota now must deal with a depleted backcourt with J.J. Barea not expected to play due to a sprained foot and Brandon Roy leaving last night's game with a sore knee, a problem that caused him to retire last season.
The Bulls are 64-14 during the last two plus seasons at United Center. Chicago has won the last five against Minnesota, winning by an average of 15.8 points. The combination of Timberwolves' injuries and fatigue plus the Bulls being motivated and still a talented, excellent defensive team without Derrick Rose should ensure a double-digit victory.
|11-09-12||Utah Jazz v. Denver Nuggets -4.5||84-104||Win||100||14 h 28 m||Show|
Denver is home for just the second time. The Nuggets have played four of their first five games on the road. Their scoring is up after a bad first two games. Denver is averaging 106 points in its last three games despite being the second-worst free throw shooting team in the league. Expect the Nuggets to improve from the charity stripe while maintaining their league-leading scoring form of a year ago.
Utah beat the struggling Lakers at home in its last game this past Wednesday. The Lakers, though, are playing terrible. Utah plays much worse on the road. The Jazz have failed to cover in their last five road games.
The Jazz are 0-3 ATS away from home this season losing to the Hornets by two, to the Spurs by 10 and to the Grizzlies by 9. The Nuggets are of similar quality to San Antonio and Memphis.
Utah is 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 meetings at Denver, including losing six of the past eight times at Pepsi Center.
|11-09-12||Detroit Pistons +11.5 v. Oklahoma City Thunder||94-105||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
After getting past the Bulls on the road Thursday night in a tough nationally televised game, the Thunder are in a letdown spot traveling home to take on the winless Pistons.
The 0-5 Pistons should be primed to give a full effort. This is Detroit's fifth of six consecutive road game. They've been competitive in all but one of these games
Detroit lacks talent, but the Pistons showed some grit this past Tuesday at Denver when they cut a 19-point deficit to six before losing by 12 as 10-point underdog. The Pistons then lost by two at Sacramento covering as 6 1/2-point 'dogs.
The Thunder plays the Pistons again on Monday so the backdoor should be open as there is even less reason for Oklahoma City to run up a score.
|11-09-12||Milwaukee Bucks -3 v. Washington Wizards||Top||101-91||Win||100||11 h 2 m||Show|
The Wizards don't have the bench, nor the guard play, to match up well to Milwaukee with its explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Making things worse for the Wizards is they may be without Jordan Crawford, who averages 21.8 points in six career matchups versus Milwaukee. Crawford suffered a sprained ankle six days ago and limped through just 15 minutes in Washington's last game this past Wednesday.
Milwaukee had a weak frontcourt last season. The Bucks' frontline still isn't very good, but it doesn't have to take a backseat to the Wizards' cast of no-names. Washington still is missing Nene. The Bucks have been getting good play from Larry Sanders, who is emerging in his third season averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while proving to be an excellent shot-blocker.
The Bucks have fared well against the Wizards winning seven of the last nine in the series, while covering six of the last eight times on the road.
|11-08-12||Oklahoma City Thunder -1.5 v. Chicago Bulls||Top||97-91||Win||100||16 h 20 m||Show|
Don't read too much into the Bulls' 3-1 start and Oklahoma City just 2-2 after four games. The gap is much bigger than this short spread between these two teams with Derrick Rose out even with the Bulls playing at United Center. The Thunder hammered the Bulls, 92-78, at home in their lone meeting last season on April 1.
Chicago has played only one road game. The Bulls' opponents have been Sacramento, Cleveland, New Orleans and Orlando. None of these teams figures to make the playoffs.
Here's a telling quote from Bulls center Joakim Noah, "... we need to play better. This isn't going to cut it against a better team. We've just got to keeping fighting."
Oklahoma City has made the adjustment from James Harden to Kevin Martin. The Thunder will create a lot of matchup problems for the Bulls and not just with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Look for Serge Ibaka to come up big, too.
|11-07-12||Phoenix Suns -2 v. Charlotte Bobcats||Top||117-110||Win||100||17 h 56 m||Show|
Yes, Phoenix is down this season. The Suns no longer are a playoff contender. But they still have more talent than Charlotte especially with the Bobcats missing injured Gerald Henderson, who led the team in scoring last season and was playing well this year before going down with a sprained foot.
The Bobcats were the worst team in NBA history last season with a .106 winning percentage. They were terrible against the spread, too, covering just 35 percent of their games. The Bobcats are going to be improved this season, but they still will be the worst team in the league.
This short point spread is an overreaction to the Suns getting blown out by Miami and Orlando during the first two games of their current road trip and the Bobcats upsetting Indiana, 90-89, in their season opener this past Friday.
The Heat and Magic combined to make 24 of 37 shots from 3-point range against the Suns. That's a fluke 65 field goal percentage from beyond the arc. The Bobcats don't have that kind of perimeter game.
Phoenix has better talent than Charlotte with underrated point guard Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat, who leads the NBA in blocked shots at 3.5 per game. The Suns won't be overlooking the Bobcats as they try to salvage the final game of their three-game road trip, especially knowing the Bobcats beat Indiana.
|11-06-12||Detroit Pistons v. Denver Nuggets -10||Top||97-109||Win||100||18 h 55 m||Show|
Both of these teams are 0-3. The Pistons are a legitimate bad team. The Nuggets are not.
Denver opened with three straight road games. The Nuggets shot poorly in their first two games with Danilo Gallinari missing the opener and struggling with his shot when he came back. Denver also is working in newcomer Andre Iguodala.
The Nuggets led the NBA in scoring last season. They got their offense going in their third road game scoring 116 points against the defending world champion Heat. The Nuggets should have defeated Miami, but lost by three when Ray Allen made a miracle-type four-point play with six seconds left.
This is a Stop the Pain game for the Nuggets, who have several days of rest and practice to get Gallinari back in rhythm and adjust to Iguodala, a major new presence.
The Pistons are a natural victim. The Lakers got well at Detroit's expense this past Sunday. The previously winless Lakers beat Detroit, 108-79. This is the Pistons' third of a six-game road trip. The Pistons are losing by an average of 14 points during their three losses.
Besides Greg Monroe, a decent but by no means outstanding player, the Pistons lack talent, chemistry and confidence. They are a team with no identity. Pistons coach Lawrence Frank still is seeking the right lineup - if his team even has one.
The Nuggets are motivated, finally at home and have the explosive offense with a strong bench to easily win by double-digits against such a weak opponent.
|11-05-12||Golden State Warriors v. Sacramento Kings -2||92-94||Push||0||14 h 28 m||Show|
As expected the Kings dropped all three of their road games to begin the season. But the Kings showed promise playing much better defense. They should have covered two of the three losing by eight in overtime to Indiana as 7 1/2-point underdogs.
The oddsmaker has a good early feel on Sacramento. They've installed the Kings a basket favorite at home against Golden State, which is seeking its first 3-0 road start in 18 years. They are indicating Sacramento should win, which I agree.
The Warriors are off an emotional 114-110 road win against the Clippers on Saturday after losing guard Brandon Rush for the season when he suffered a torn ACL during Friday's home loss to Memphis.
Now it's the Kings who will be emotional playing at home for the first time and in desperate need of a victory.
Keith Smart has Sacramento playing hard and with intensity. The offense should start to come because there are weapons. Tyreke Evans has looked impressive with the switch from point guard to off guard and Marcus Thornton is one of the best instant scorers off the bench.
The Warriors sat out center Andrew Bogut in their win against the Clippers. He's expected to play,but has been averaging only around 18 minutes as he gets back into shape. Rush's injury puts the Warriors into a bind at shooting guard and small forward, where they lack depth. Harrison Barnes isn't ready yet to step in as a quality starter.
|11-02-12||Memphis Grizzlies +1 v. Golden State Warriors||Top||104-94||Win||100||20 h 23 m||Show|
Golden State, with its lack of height, has problems matching up against the tall and physical Grizzlies. Memphis has won six in a row from the Warriors, including sweeping all four meetings last season.
The Warriors are trying to transition their trademark run-and-gun offense/no defense approach to more of a balanced attack. Monta Ellis is gone and 7-foot center Andrew Bogut is in. Bogut was healthy enough to play 18 1/2 minutes in the Warriors' opener after being out since Jan. 25 when he suffered a broken ankle.
Bogut could help the Warriors reduce Memphis' size and rebounding advantage, but not so much in this matchup. The Warriors are taking it easy with Bogut in the beginning. His minutes probably will be limited again tonight and he's not expected to play on Saturday against the Clippers because it's a back-to-back spot.
It's going to take time for the Warriors to get comfortable learning a new style. The Grizzlies led the NBA in steals and forced turnovers last season. They opened the season like they always do - with a loss. But the Grizzlies still came up with 14 steals and 22 turnovers against the Clippers in an 11-point road loss. The Grizzlies don't play again until Monday. I see them playing hard and much better than they did in their opener. They'll get the job done against a team they always beat and is in transition.
|11-02-12||Denver Nuggets -6 v. Orlando Magic||89-102||Loss||-101||17 h 54 m||Show|
Denver led the NBA in points per game last season at 104.1. The Nuggets have way too much scoring for Orlando, which no longer has Dwight Howard to clean up their defensive mess and cover up its many weaknesses.
Orlando is putting up a brave front acting excited about a new post-Howard era under first-year head coach Jacque Vaughn. Truth be told, though, the Magic are going to be terrible. While Howard's departure is a monster blow, the Magic also lost the much underrated Ryan Anderson. That really hurts their perimeter shooting and rebounding.
The Magic were 5-12 without Howard last season. They are going to be among the worst teams in the league this year with a weak backcourt, no shot blockers and learning a new offense. The Magic lack a focal point on offense now with Howard gone. Vaughn will have the Magic play at a faster tempo, which fits right into the Nuggets' hands. Denver has one of the quickest point guards in basketball with Ty Lawson.
George Karl has a much deeper bench than Vaughn even if Danilo Gallinari has to miss a second straight game due to a sprained ankle. Gallinari had a good workout on Thursday, but remains a game-time decision. The Nuggets can go big or small. Karl has a lot of versatility with his lineup because of his team's outstanding depth. The Nuggets have improved their defense, too, with the addition of Andre Iguodala.
The Nuggets laid an egg in their opener, a bad road loss to the 76ers. Denver, though, is 9-1 ATS following a straight-up loss. There's a class difference between the Nuggets and Magic and Denver is not going to lack motivation after its poor opener.
The Nuggets have covered 69 percent of their last 55 road games and are 6-0-1 ATS the past seven times playing Orlando, going 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings at Orlando.
|11-01-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. San Antonio Spurs -2.5||Top||84-86||Loss||-110||16 h 15 m||Show|
The Spurs have been anxious for this matchup ever since the Thunder eliminated them in the Western Conference finals. The Spurs had a tough time last night beating the Hornets in New Orleans, but some of that was due to focusing on this game.
The Spurs will be a much different team tonight against the Thunder. Yes, it's the second of back to back games for San Antonio. But it's just the start of the season so the Spurs should have fresh legs. It's actually an advantage for San Antonio because they've played a game while the Thunder haven't.
This also is the Thunder's first game without departed James Harden. The team still could be reeling from the organization's surprising decision to trade Harden on the eve of the season. Oklahoma City has a much weaker bench now without the NBA's top sixth man.
It's very tough to cover, let alone win, for a visiting team in San Antonio. The Spurs are 23-6-1 ATS in their last 30 home games.
|10-31-12||San Antonio Spurs v. New Orleans Hornets +6.5||Top||99-95||Win||100||18 h 33 m||Show|
The Hornets are anxious to put last season's injury-plagued disaster behind them, especially now that they have stability with solid ownership in place.
The Hornets are going to be much improved this season. San Antonio is a veteran team that typically starts slow and peaks during the spring right before the playoffs. I see the Spurs pacing themselves in this matchup with a much bigger game on Thursday when they take on their main rivals, Oklahoma City, on national television.
The Thunder eliminated San Antonio in the Western Conference finals. That loss, coming after San Antonio had won the first two games, left the Spurs fuming all summer and pointing to the early-season matchup. First up, though, are the Hornets tonight.
Because this is the first of a back-to-back situation, don't look for savvy Gregg Popovich to dole out big minutes to Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Popovich already has said he'll hold out Manu Ginobili, who has been dealing with back spasms. Popovich wants his Big Three fresh for Thursday's game against the Thunder. This game is far more important to New Orleans, which needs to get off to a good start to win back their fan base. The Hornets finished last season covering in their last nine home games.
I like Monty Williams. He'll have the Hornets playing hard the entire game. Under Williams last season, the Hornets finished eighth in defense holding foes to 93.4 points a game. They should be even better this season with the addition of big man Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick. Davis was impressive during preseason averaging 14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
|10-30-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Los Angeles Lakers UNDER 186||99-91||Loss||-102||17 h 57 m||Show|
Both teams have new identities and key injuries that hurt them offensively. Neither team is remotely in sync yet.
Kobe Bryant hasn't practiced or played since suffering a bruised foot on Oct. 21. He's questionable to play. If the league's No. 2 scorer last year at 27.9 points per game does play, he'll be limited. His shot could be off, too, because of rust.
Things are worse on the Dallas side where Dirk Nowitzki, the league's No. 8 scorer last year at 21.6, is out following knee surgery. The Mavericks aren't going to have center Chris Kaman either. He's nursing a strained Achilles'. This is a huge plus for the under as Kaman is far more offensive-minded than defensive-minded. His replacement is the well-traveled Eddy Curry, a wide body who has played 24 games during the past four years and is far less limited offensively than Kaman.
The Mavericks are a team in transition. They are struggling right now. Where are their points going to come from with Nowitzki and Kaman out and Jason Terry gone to Boston? There's a new point guard, Darren Collison. He shot 44 percent from the floor last season. Newcomers O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand shot poorly during preseason. There's also a shortage of backcourt scoring with Delonte West suspended and then cut from the team on Monday.
The Lakers have their own issues. They went 0-8 in preseason averaging just 85.8 points per game. That average would have put them on the bottom in scoring last year.
It's going to take time for the Lakers' new superstars to get to know their teammates. Dwight Howard is a tremendous defensive force. He's a terrible free throw shooter. That could factor with Curry guarding him. Howard will be able to help out more than normal on defense since he doesn't have to worry about Dallas getting scoring from the center position.
|10-30-12||Boston Celtics +6.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||107-120||Loss||-105||15 h 2 m||Show|
The Celtics have been thirsting for revenge ever since blowing a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals last season.
Seeing the Heat get their championship rings and former teammate Ray Allen on the Miami side is going to make Boston even more determined.
Unlike other teams, the Celtics play the Heat tough. Boston has covered in eight of the last 11 meetings.
The Celtics aren't just talking revenge. They went into the off-season determined to narrow the gap between themselves and the Heat. Even though the Celtics lost the aging Allen to the Heat, they still made improvements by becoming more athletic, faster and have more scoring options on the perimeter. Boston added an influx of youth, picked up Jason Terry to come off the bench and provide a spark along with Courtney Lee and have a healthy Jeff Green, who missed last season after undergoing heart surgery. Green played well during preseason.
Sure the Heat have LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. But Boston has three potential Hall of Fame players, too, in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. The Heat figure to be distracted by the pregame awarding of the rings ceremony. It may take them a while to settle down and get in rhythm. Boston is taking this game very serious. It's grudge time for them.
|10-30-12||Washington Wizards +5 v. Cleveland Cavaliers||84-94||Loss||-107||14 h 19 m||Show|
Washington's starting five of A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Booker has to rank as one of the most obscure opening-day lineups in NBA history. The top reserves are Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Jordan Crawford.
But these guys give the Wizards what they've lacked in previous years - intensity, full effort and unselfishness. Gone is the lingering stench left from the Gilbert Arena period. Underachievers and head cases JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche and Nick Young have moved on.
Chemistry and morale are up in Washington. The Wizards are going to be undervalued minus injured John Wall and Nene, their two most talented players. This opening game is a good example. The teams met less than three weeks ago during a preseason game in Cleveland. The Cavaliers were healthy. Their starters all logged more than 20 minutes. The Wizards were minus Wall, Nene, Okafor, Booker and Singleton. Yet Washington won, 99-95.
Both teams have plenty of youth. The Cavaliers are in new territory here being a mid-range favorite. The Cavaliers, though, are only in Year 3 of the post LeBron James era in what probably is going to be five-year rebuilding job. Cleveland has failed to cover in 15 of its last 20 home contests.
The Cavaliers' best player, point guard Kyrie Irving, had all four of his wisdom teeth extracted on Wednesday. He was bedridden until the weekend losing five pounds. He's likely to play, but he won't have all his strength and his minutes could be reduced.
|06-19-12||Oklahoma City Thunder +3.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||98-104||Loss||-110||13 h 1 m||Show|
If we've learned anything about this championship series it's that it is highly unpredictable.
Just when one team seems to assert dominance, the other team rallies. Now it's the Thunder's turn.
Can Oklahoma City do it, though? The Thunder have proven resilient all season. They took out San Antonio after being down 2-0 and are 20-9 ATS the past 29 times following a straight-up loss.
Miami is tough at home. Certainly I'll concede that point. However, Oklahoma City is not outclassed. I would argue the Thunder are the better team.
Oklahoma City has more size and a better bench. Kevin Durant is proving unstoppable shooting 57 percent from the floor, which is nine percent better than LeBron is shooting.
The Thunder also have proven themselves in Miami having covered in seven of their last nine visits.
A major problem for the Thunder has been the subpar play of key reserve James Harden. The Heat have held him to 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 11.7 points per game, marks that are way down from his season averages.
Harden is past overdue for a breakout game. If the Heat, with their smaller lineup, continue to key on Harden it will open things up more for the Thunder's big people.
|06-17-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Miami Heat OVER 193||Top||85-91||Loss||-110||38 h 7 m||Show|
This is the lowest total of the series and there's no reason for it. Yes, the series is switching to Miami but that's not cause for the linesmaker to open Game 3 so low.
Oklahoma City is averaging 105.4 points in its last seven games. The Thunder scored 96 in their Game 2 loss despite shooting 43 percent from the floor, making 34.6 percent of their 3-pointers and sinking 73.1 percent from the foul line. These numbers are all down from their season average of 103.1 points per game, 47.1 percent shooting from the floor, 35.8 percent from beyond the arc and 80.6 percent shooting from the foul line.
The Thunder have gone over in five of their last six road games. The Heat are 6-1-1 to the over in their past eight games.
Miami has averaged 102.8 points during its last five home matchups. Those games were against Boston and Indiana, much stronger defensive teams than the Thunder.
|06-14-12||Miami Heat v. Oklahoma City Thunder -5||Top||100-96||Loss||-114||32 h 53 m||Show|
The Thunder battled jitters and a six-day rust period of not having played yet still beat Miami by 11 points in Game 1 this past Tuesday.
Yet the oddsmaker still stubbornly clings to the belief that Miami is better by opening the Thunder such a low home favorite again.
The Thunder will be even more confident this game having outscored the Heat by 18 points in the second half. The Thunder settled down and committed only two turnovers in the second half.
The Thunder have one of the strongest home-courts in basketball. They are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games. They are 6-0 ATS the past six times they've been chalk.
Miami is 0-7-1 ATS as a road 'dog. These are strong trends and they are backed up by fundamental matchup analysis that clearly favors the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is the better rebounding team, has the better bench and has a superior offense. Kevin Durant is the one player who can outscore LeBron James.
The Thunder outrebounded Miami by 10 in Game 1 and outscored the Heat by 16 points in the paint. The Thunder were the No. 3 scoring team in the NBA averaging 103.1 points per game. They've been even more dominant in the postseason averaging 105.4 points in their last nine games.
Oklahoma City also was the best free throw shooting team in the league at 80.6 percent. The Thunder shot just 74 percent (20 of 27) from the foul line in Game 1 yet won by double-digit points.
Maybe Miami gets back in this series. But if that happens, it's not going to come until the Heat return home.
|06-14-12||Miami Heat v. Oklahoma City Thunder OVER 195.5||100-96||Win||100||32 h 52 m||Show|
Oklahoma City was the third-highest scoring team in the NBA during the regular-season averaging better than 103 points and the Thunder have taken it up a notch recently during the playoffs,
The Thunder are averaging 105.4 points during their last nine games. They put up that average against Miami in Game 1 this past Tuesday despite being rusty from being inactive for six days and shooting 74 percent from the foul line when their season average is an NBA-best 80.6 percent.
The Thunder were able to easily run on Miami outscoring the Heat, 24-4, on fastbreak points. The Heat have no answer for Kevin Durant.
Of course no one can defend LeBron James and Dwayne Wade when they're at the top of their games like James has been. James and Wade combined to make just 18 of 43 shots from the floor in Game 1. That's less than 42 percent. Expect better shooting from Miami's duo superstars.
The Heat can't match the Thunder on the boards. So look for them to do more running. Game 1 was a feeling out game. Despite that the teams still combined for 199 points, going above the total. It's the 11th time in the last 16 meetings between the two clubs that the over has cashed.
Expect more of a fast-pace in Game 2. The feeling out process is over. The Heat can't succeed playing half-court, especially in such a tough road venue. They were outscored, 56-40, in the paint. So look for the Heat to do more running contributing to a high pace game and plenty of points.
|06-09-12||Boston Celtics +8 v. Miami Heat||Top||88-101||Loss||-110||14 h 26 m||Show|
This has been a tough series to get a grasp on, but the Celtics have the history, experience and due factor to cover this large number.
Miami, for all its glory and superstars, has yet to prove it is a clutch team. The Celtics aren't going to be intimidated in this setting and spot. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo all should play much better than they did in Game 6.
Boston has responded with a victory during five of the last six times following a loss in the playoffs. The Celtics are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Heat, including 4-1 ATS in Miami.
Yes, Boston is the older team. But the Heat are only 1-4 ATS the past five times they've played on one day's rest.
LeBron James had a game for the ages in Game 6. One of his many impressive statistics was going 8-for-14 shooting from the floor when being isolated by Boston. Keep in mind that during the first five games of the series, James was 9-for-30 shooting when being keyed on by the Celtics.
Improved play from Boston's proven stars and James having anything less than a monster performance should be enough for the Celtics to stay within this big number.
|06-05-12||Boston Celtics v. Miami Heat -8||Top||94-90||Loss||-110||21 h 8 m||Show|
I don't see the Celtics having anything left in the tank for this matchup, This is the aging Celtics' fifth game in 10 days.
The Celtics did what they had to do - win twice at home to tie the series, including going overtime this past Sunday. But the physical and emotional cost was high. The Celtics' tired legs already were on display in the second half during Sunday's Game 4 when Miami outscored the Celtics, 42-28.
The Heat are younger and more athletic. They will take advantage. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade are in their prime. The same can't be said for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
James and Wade are going to get their points. The same can't be said for Boston's Big Three. It's a nice plus for Miami if Chris Bosh can play.
The Celtics can't be trusted to score enough to keep this game close. Boston is averaging 86.2 points in eight playoff games. That average shrinks to 83.2 points per game if you take away the 107 points the Celtics put up against the 76ers.
Miami is 7-1 at home in the playoffs. The Heat are 6-1 ATS when laying seven or more in the playoffs.
|06-04-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. San Antonio Spurs OVER 202||Top||108-103||Win||100||11 h 25 m||Show|
San Antonio has the best offense its ever had under Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have gone above 100 points in 20 of their last 22 games.
If you discount Game 3, the Spurs are averaging 108 points in this series. Oklahoma City is averaging 107.3 points during the series. That's a combined average of better than 215 points, which would soar above this total.
Both teams ranked in the top three in scoring and field goal percentage during the regular season. In their last eight head-to-head matchups, the Thunder and Spurs have gone over six times.
|06-02-12||San Antonio Spurs +4 v. Oklahoma City Thunder||Top||103-109||Loss||-110||10 h 6 m||Show|
Oklahoma City played hard and well in dispatching the Spurs, 102-82, during Game 3 of this Western Conference finals.
The Thunder caught the Spurs by surprise by frequently switching on defense. That took the Spurs out of their rhythm and was a key in San Antonio scoring the fewest points it has all season.
But let's not overreact to one game. San Antonio had won its previous 20 games. The Spurs will be more prepared for the Thunder's multi-facet defense this time. The gamble in frequently switching off defensively is that the offense can take advantage by creating mismatches.
Gregg Popovich's is a tremendous coach. This is the best offense he's had in San Antonio. He has the talent and versatile players to adjust and get his team back on track.
You always hate to lose a playoff game, but this was a major wake-up call for the Spurs. They will match the Thunder's intensity from now on. San Antonio has a tremendous record in bouncing back from a loss covering eight of the past nine times. They also are 9-4 ATS when taking points.
The Spurs have proven themselves on the road, too, going 18-8-3 ATS. Oklahoma City is 3-9 ATS the past 12 times it has played at home when facing an opponent with an above .500 road mark.
|06-01-12||Miami Heat v. Boston Celtics -2||Top||91-101||Win||100||14 h 42 m||Show|
Normally I would look to fade the aging Celtics when playing for the fourth time in seven days. Not this time, though.
Home-court and playing with the desperation of an 0-2 team will get Boston past Miami in this Game 3 matchup.
Rajon Rondo is playing at the highest level. However, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce - Boston's Big Three - are a combined 34 for 89 shooting from the floor. They are better shooters than this.
Yes Boston has tired legs. But coming home is huge. The Celtics are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 home contests. The Heat are 0-5-1 ATS the last six times they've been a road 'dog.
Boston has been hurt by fouls. The officials did serve up some home-cooking to the Heat. It's realistic to believe that if the Celtics don't at least get the benefit of some calls, at least they won't be hurt by bad calls.
The Heat had 18 second-chance points in Game 2. The Celtics will clamp down on this.
This is the Celtics' game to win. I see them getting the job down here based on adrenaline spurred on by their crowd, veteran savvy. a fair break on fouls and the continued brilliance of Rondo.
|05-31-12||San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder UNDER 206||Top||82-102||Win||100||32 h 15 m||Show|
Lose this game and the Thunder very well could get swept. The zig/zap theory, which I do respect, says Oklahoma City. But I can't lay points into a San Antonio team that has won 20 in a row and so far has looked superior to the Thunder in all facets.
This leaves the total for which one play is worth an investment - under.
As good as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are, they aren't going to make a combined 30-for-54 field goals like in Game 2, nor is Tony Parker going to make 16 of 21 shots from the floor.
The Spurs have sharpened their defense during the playoffs giving up an average of 91.9 points per game during their 10 postseason matchups.
Oklahoma City has been playing hard. I see the Thunder going all out, though, to crack down on the Spurs' pick-and-roll game, which has been highly effective. The Spurs are a much better offense team than some perceive, but their perimeter game is far from a sure thing.
Down 2-0, the Thunder need to slow down the pace in order to guard against the Spurs' pick-and-roll and to make that extra pass, which Thunder coach Scott Brooks has stressed leading up to this game.
The pressure is all on the Thunder here. Because of that, I see them being more methodical than usual and caring on defense. The Thunder aren't a great defensive team, but they are better than they've showed.