|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|06-16-22||Warriors v. Celtics -3.5||Top||103-90||Loss||-110||30 h 25 m||Show|
We’re rolling with Boston here to keep the season alive and force a deciding Game 7 in the NBA Finals. This will be the first time the Celtics are coming off back to back losses since the end of March, which was the regular season. They had been 7-0 SU and ATS in the playoffs off a loss, before losing Game 5 at Golden State, 104-94 as four-point underdogs.
Tonight, I think we’ll see the Celtics shoot a lot better than they did in Game 5. They were just 41.3% from the field on Monday, 34.4% from three. Being back at home obviously helps in that regard.
However, his game being in Boston may help the Celtics out more defensively. They allow only 103.1 points/game at home. Golden State’s scoring defense goes to 108.9 on the road, up from 103.0 at home.
Surprisingly, the Warriors are only 26-24 SU on the road. They will probably shoot better from three-point land tonight compared to Game 5 (when they were just 9 of 40 as a team and Steph Curry was 0 for 9). But that alone does not guarantee success.
The Celtics have not lost three straight games since late December. They are at home, with their season on the line, tonight. When off a double digit loss, they are 10-3 ATS this season. Also, they are a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS in the playoffs when trailing in the series. Lay the points in Game 6!
|06-13-22||Celtics v. Warriors -3.5||Top||94-104||Win||100||36 h 36 m||Show|
Neither of our two NBA Finalists have suffered consecutive defeats since the playoffs began. If that pattern holds, that means Boston will win this series in seven games. But that would also mean the Celtics win twice on the road. I don’t see that happening. Look for Golden State to take a 3-2 series lead Monday night as they are back home.
The Warriors have lost at home only 11 times all year. Game 1 of this series was one of those 11, but it was also the only home game they’ve lost during the playoffs. They are +10.5 points per game for the year at home and as I’ve mentioned before, defense improves for the Warriors here as they allow just 103.2 points per game compared to 108.9 on the road.
The Warriors have played 11 home games in the playoffs. Not only have they won 10 of them, but eight of those wins have come by double digits. They’ve covered five of the last six.
Steph Curry continues to be other-worldly. He’s averaging 34.3 points per game in the NBA Finals and has made 25 threes in four games. He’s shooting almost 50 percent from behind the arc. Curry’s supporting cast should help out more in Game 5 as role players typically shoot better at home.
This is a huge game where it’s very likely the winner goes on to take the series. I just see Curry and Golden State as being more likely to step up. Lay the points.
|06-08-22||Warriors v. Celtics -3.5||Top||100-116||Win||100||30 h 25 m||Show|
The best time to take the Celtics, at least in the playoffs, has been when they are coming off a loss. Since sweeping Brooklyn in the first round, they are a perfect 6-0 straight up and against the spread coming off a loss. Look for that trend to continue in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
After exploding in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Celtics fell apart in the third quarter of Game 2. They ended up losing 107-88, their largest margin of defeat in the entire playoffs (previous worst loss was 12).
The team shot 37.5% in Game 2. At home, they’ll easily improve that number. Three-point shooting has been good in both games. Interestingly, everyone except Jayson Tatum seemed to shoot well in the first game. In the second game, Tatum was the only one to really show up. I’m looking for a more balanced effort in Game 3.
Golden State is an average team on the road, 25-23 with 109.1 points per game scored and 109.0 allowed. They allow six more points per game on the road than they allow at home, which is a big difference.
Speaking of defense, look for Boston to do a better job on Steph Curry in this game. The Celtics are 9-2 SU and ATS off a double digit loss this year. I figured that the Warriors wouldn’t lose both games at home, which is why I was on them in Game 2. But they’ve lost three of four on the road and aren’t winning both games in Boston. Lay the points.
|06-05-22||Celtics v. Warriors -4||Top||88-107||Win||100||33 h 23 m||Show|
It’s difficult for me to believe that the Warriors will lose two straight home games. Before a Boston three-point barrage hit them in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Warriors held a double digit lead. They are 4-0 this postseason off a loss, three of the four wins coming by at least 10 points.
Since sweeping Brooklyn in the first round, the Celtics have not won three games in a row. They are 0-2 ATS off back to back wins in the previous two series, dropping those games by a combined 19 points.
Boston isn’t going to make more than half of its three point attempts again. Al Horford was 6 of 8 from distance while Derrick White went 5 of 8. Those specific contributions are highly unlikely to be repeated in Game 2.
Golden State is due for a strong effort at the defensive end. They’ve permitted an average of 113.7 points their last five games. For the year, they allow only 103.5 at home.
Steph Curry ran wild in the first quarter, but other than that, there were no standout performances from the Warriors at the offensive end. Lots of room for improvement in Game 2, whether you’re talking Draymond Green (2 for 12 in Game 1) or Jordan Poole (2 for 7). Lay the points.
|05-29-22||Celtics -2.5 v. Heat||Top||100-96||Win||100||29 h 50 m||Show|
I can’t say that I expected there would be a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but here we are. The Heat stayed alive with a 111-103 win on Friday night and get to host the deciding game. They are still underdogs, however. While that may sound tantalizing, look for Boston to advance to the NBA Finals.
Defensively, the Celtics had totally shut down the Heat for two games before Jimmy Butler exploded for 47 points in Game 6. Besides Butler, the rest of the Heat's starting five has scored just 89 points in the last three games combined. I do not think they can count on another game like that from Butler.
Boston is 15-4 straight up off a loss as a favorite this season and 14-5 against the spread. They are also 31-16 ATS on the road. Most important of all though is the fact the Celtics are a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS off a loss in this postseason.
All five wins have been by at least eight points and three of them have been by more than 20. They’ve already won a Game 7 in these playoffs, over Milwaukee, though that one was at home.
The last time the Celtics lost back to back games was late March. Before that, it was mid-January. Everyone was writing off the Heat going into Game 6, a mistake in retrospect, however now it is time to buy low on Boston
|05-26-22||Mavs +7 v. Warriors||Top||110-120||Loss||-110||30 h 59 m||Show|
Dallas kept its season alive with a 119-109 win in Game 4. Despite never trailing after the first quarter and enjoying a 29-point advantage entering the fourth, things did get a bit too close for comfort near the end of the game. Thankfully, here we need not worry about the Mavericks having to win by any kind of margin. I’m taking the points.
The “world” will likely be on Golden State to respond at home where they haven’t lost in this postseason. However, the Mavs did build a sizable halftime lead here in Game 2 (72-58) before imploding down the stretch.
After getting off to a horrible start in Game 1, the Mavs have played the Warriors tough in this series. Their season is still on the line and while no team has ever fought back from a 3-0 series deficit, we know that we’ll be getting Dallas’ best effort from here on out.
Golden State is surprisingly only 4-7 straight up following a double digit loss this year.
Dallas had its biggest edge from long range in Game 4. While I think it’s unlikely they can be +30 again, they have made more threes than the Warriors in all four games. The pointspread has yet to come into play in any Conference Finals game so far. It may very well here.
|05-25-22||Celtics -1 v. Heat||Top||93-80||Win||100||12 h 23 m||Show|
This Eastern Conference Finals between Boston and Miami has seen the two teams exchange blowout victories. The series is 2-2 heading back to Miami after the Celtics won easily in Game 4, 102-82 as seven-point favorites.
The Celtics have yet to lose back to back games in these playoffs. Going back to their second round series vs. Milwaukee, there’s also been just one instance of them winning back to back games. But if you think this is leading to an endorsement of the Heat for Game 5, guess again.
Boston was not favored in Games 1 and 2 here in Miami. They are slight favorites tonight. Game 1 they were missing Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Smart (questionable for tonight) was out again in Game 4, but that hardly mattered as Derrick White started in his place, scored the game’s first seven points and finished with 13-8-8.
Only Tyler Herro sat for the Heat in the last game. He and Kyle Lowry are listed as questionable tonight. After the Heat scored just 82 points in Game 4, which included just 18 from the starting five, I understand why many would feel there’s a Miami bounce back forthcoming. But I just happen to think Boston is better.
The Celtics’ two wins in the series have been by a combined 45 points. The Heat’s two wins have been by a combined 17 points. Boston has been up at the half in three of the games. Jimmy Butler is clearly not himself with just 14 points the last two games. Lay the points.
|05-22-22||Warriors v. Mavs -2.5||Top||109-100||Loss||-110||13 h 19 m||Show|
For the second series in a row, the Mavs return home for Game 3 down two games to none. We all recall what happened against Phoenix in the last round. Now I’m not saying the Mavs pull that off again, but I do like them here in Game 3.
Certainly, Dallas feels that this Western Conference Final should be all squared away at one game apiece. They led Game 2 for most of the first three quarters and were up 14 at half. Luka Doncic had 42 points. But it was not to be as Golden State raced past them in the fourth.
The Mavs have won five straight at home in these playoffs since losing Game 1 of the Utah series (without Doncic). Something I have mentioned before is that they are #1 in the league in fewest points allowed at home (101.0 per game). I can assure you that the Warriors will not be shooting 56% again as they did in each of the first two games.
Though Coach Jason Kidd quipped that his team “died by the three” in Game 2, I expect the Mavs will continue to fire from behind the arc in this game. They’ve attempted 93 threes in the series. They made 21 in Game 2. Golden State shot a higher percentage, but will not repeat going 50% from deep as they did in Game 2.
Golden State has failed to cover each of its last four road games. Dallas is 6-0 ATS after allowing 125 or more points in their last game. Lay the points
|05-20-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Warriors||Top||117-126||Loss||-110||13 h 11 m||Show|
I like Dallas to rebound here from its embarrassing Game 1 defeat. The Mavericks scored only 18 points in the first quarter and when you do that against a team like the Warriors, it’s pretty much “all over but the shouting.” The Mavs ended up shooting just 36% for the game, including 23% from three.
You’ve got to expect better shooting here tonight from the road underdog. Over the previous three seasons, Dallas is 29-9 ATS after a game in which it was held under 100 points. They are 19-4 ATS in that situation this season. Also, the team is 12-4 ATS in 2021-22 when coming off a double digit defeat.
I can’t fathom Golden State shooting 56.1 percent again like they did in Game 1. Dallas has been an excellent defensive team all season long and held Phoenix under 100 points three times in that series.
Dallas should shoot much better from long-range in Game 2 than they did in Game 1. Doncic, Brunson, Bertans and Bullock went a combined 6 of 29 from behind the arc.
Even with Games 3 and 4 taking place at home, the Mavericks obviously want to avoid falling into the dreaded 0-2 hole. They fought their way out of it against Phoenix, but it would be much tougher to do that against Golden State. Take the points in Game 2.
|05-18-22||Mavs +5 v. Warriors||Top||87-112||Loss||-110||14 h 50 m||Show|
I think most are underestimating the Mavericks coming into the Western Conference Finals. This is a team that has already eliminated Utah and Phoenix, two very good teams, and just delivered an emphatic 123-90 win on Sunday in Game 7 vs. Phoenix. So no one should be underestimating them.
Luka Doncic averaged 32.6 points per game against Phoenix. In four regular season matchups vs. the Warriors, he averaged 31.5. That was the fourth most points scored against Golden State in a single season since Steve Kerr became head coach.
Gary Payton II would have been the primary defender on Doncic, but he’s out with an injury. So I think Golden State is going to give up more points than what you might think for Game 1. Dallas did have the one bad offensive game vs. the Suns where they scored only 80 points. But since then, they scored 113 and 123.
The Mavericks are a perfect 9-0 straight up and 8-0-1 against the spread in the 2021-22 season following a game where they allowed 90 or fewer points. The Warriors are 0-5 ATS off their previous five SU wins and have only covered two of their last eight games overall.
In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m taking the points in Game 1. Doncic is playing at an elite level and the Mavericks have the higher net efficiency rating through two rounds of playoff action.
|05-13-22||Grizzlies +8.5 v. Warriors||Top||96-110||Loss||-110||15 h 33 m||Show|
Memphis sure fooled me in Game 5, beating Golden State by 39 points despite not having Ja Morant. The Grizzlies have won 21 of their 27 games without Morant in 2021-22 and have basically led throughout the last two games. So I’m pretty confident that the underdog keeps this one close.
Two of Golden State’s three victories in this series have been by a combined four points. As I just said, last time they were here at home, they were behind most of the way only to get bailed out by a Steph Curry fourth quarter surge. (The Warriors ended up winning by three).
Memphis has led for nearly 46 of the 48 minutes in the two games since Morant got hurt. All season long, the Grizzlies have demonstrated tremendous depth. Seven players were in double figures in the last three. Three scored exactly 21 points.
Steve Kerr is still not coaching for the Warriors because of COVID-19. It seems to have had an effect. Also, the Warriors have scored 101 points or less in three of the last four games.
The Grizzlies are 23-15 ATS as underdogs this season, winning 20 of those games outright. They are also 19-5 ATS vs. the Pacific Division, including 7-2 ATS vs. the Warriors. More importantly, they are 4-0 ATS this postseason when behind in the series. Memphis has covered four of the five games so far while Golden State is just 1-6 ATS its last seven overall.
|05-12-22||Heat v. 76ers -2||Top||99-90||Loss||-110||11 h 29 m||Show|
Philadelphia must win here to stay alive. The good thing is they are at home where they’ve already beaten the Heat twice, by 20 and 8 points. It’s difficult to imagine the 76ers’ shooting not improving from the last time out. Game 5 marked the fourth time in these playoffs that the 76ers were held below 100. They averaged 117 points the next time out, the previous three instances.
Similarly, look for Miami’s shooting to decline in Game 5. They were 7 of 30, then 7 of 35 from three-point land in the previous two games here in Philly.
No one on the Sixers scored more than 17 points in Game 5. Think that might change here? With Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris, I’m expecting at least two Sixers players to top 20 tonight.
Other than Jimmy Butler, only Bam Adebayo in Game 4 has turned in a 20+ point effort for the Heat over the last three games.
Philadelphia is 17-5 straight up, 14-8 against the spread this season following a sub-100 point game. The previous time they got held below 90 (Game 5 vs Toronto), they responded by scoring 132 in the next game. Lay the points here.
|05-11-22||Warriors -4 v. Grizzlies||Top||95-134||Loss||-110||14 h 17 m||Show|
I like the Warriors to close out the Grizzlies Wednesday night and also to cover the spread. Memphis won’t have Ja Morant, which is a big loss even if the team is 20-6 (straight up) this season without its star point guard and also turned in an admirable effort in Game 4 Monday night.
But you can’t expect Golden State to go 9 of 35 on three-point tries again like they did in the last game. The Warriors also had a bad night from three in Game 2 (7 of 38). The next game they bounced back to make 17 of 32 from beyond the arc and shot 63.1% overall.
Memphis shot a similar three-point percentage in Game 4 (25.7%). The difference is that without Morant, their chances of improving aren’t as great. Let us not forget that even when Morant was healthy, the Grizzlies needed three huge comebacks in the first round to eliminate Minnesota.
The expectation is that Steve Kerr will again not coach for the Warriors as he remains in health and safety protocol. But that doesn’t really concern me. Golden State is 12-0 SU all-time in the playoffs when associate Mike Brown fills in as the head coach.
Golden State should smell “blood in the water” here and be looking for the kill. It is in their best interest to end this series tonight with the chance Phoenix could move to the Western Conference Finals with a win tomorrow. The Warriors winning here and that Phoenix-Dallas series going seven games would be the dream scenario. Lay the points tonight.
|05-10-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Suns||Top||80-110||Loss||-110||14 h 10 m||Show|
When Dallas headed home to face Phoenix for Game 3, they had lost to the Suns 11 straight times and were facing an 0-2 series deficit. Now the series is all tied up after a couple of impressive wins at home. The Suns are the team that is reeling entering Game 5 tonight.
We’re back in Phoenix, but I see the Mavericks playing a lot better Tuesday night than they did in either Games 1 or 2. Though they did end up losing by 20, the Mavs were ahead at halftime in Game 2. And though they were down the whole way in Game 1, they only ended up losing by seven with a chance to “steal the cover” late (they did not).
Remember something I’ve previously written. The Suns posted the lowest net efficiency rating of any team that advanced out of the first round. That was against the 8th seeded Pelicans.
Dallas was +33 from behind the three-point line in Game 4. We probably shouldn’t count on that transpiring again. But they’ve made more threes than Phoenix in the series and in every game but one (both teams made 13 in Game 3).
I happen to think the teams are a lot closer than these odds would seem to suggest. Dallas is definitely the better defensive team in this Western Conference semifinal. Grab those points.
|05-08-22||Heat v. 76ers -1.5||Top||108-116||Win||100||11 h 25 m||Show|
This series feels a lot different now that Joel Embiid is back for Philadelphia. The 76ers rolled to a 99-79 win in Game 3 as the home team has yet to lose in this best of seven affair. While we can’t count on Miami shooting as poorly here as they did in Game 3, I still like the Sixers to win and cover Game 4.
Still at +285 to win the series, the Sixers seem a bit undervalued to me. Embiid had only 18 points in Game 3, well under his season average, and eight of those came from the FT line. It was a bit of a surprise return Friday night. I’m expecting more from Embiid tonight.
James Harden also has yet to “go off” in this series, even with Embiid not playing either of the first two games. Harden has scored only 53 points in the series, on 15 of 39 shooting. He’s 4 of 19 from behind the arc. If we get anything approaching “typical” performances from Harden and Embiid here, then we should be in VERY good shape.
Also, the Sixers’ other three starters (Harris, Maxey, Green) have all shown an ability to contribute in meaningful fashion.
For Miami, Jimmy Butler scored 33 points in Game 3, but only one other teammate (Tyler Herro) joined him in double figures and it took a rather inefficient effort. Kyle Lowry didn’t score (attempted only four shots) in his first game back from a hamstring injury and Bam Adebayo was a non-factor, going just 2 of 9 from the floor. I really like the Sixers here.
|05-07-22||Celtics +2 v. Bucks||Top||101-103||Push||0||8 h 54 m||Show|
After losing Game 1 on their home floor, 101-89, the Celtics bounced back to win Game 2 109-86 and are now back to being favored to win this best of seven series, which now moves to Milwaukee. Despite the change in home court advantage, I like Boston to still walk away with the ATS win in Game 3.
The Celtics are 10-1 ATS vs. the Bucks the last three seasons. With Khris Middleton still out for Milwaukee, it feels like laying points would be a bad idea here. Sure, the Bucks will shoot better than they did in the last game, but will improved shooting be enough?
Overall shooting was pretty even in Game 2, but it was from three where the Celtics had a huge edge. They were 20 of 43 while Milwaukee was 3 of 18. Boston was up 25 points at halftime.
Boston had the best regular season point differential in the Eastern Conference and is considered the favorite to make the NBA Finals. So it makes sense to bet them here. I’m just not sure Milwaukee can maintain its current defensive rating in the playoffs.
Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is expected back for Game 3. His Celtics are now 33-8 SU their last 41 games. They’ve covered five in a row as underdogs and are the better team.
|05-06-22||Suns v. Mavs||Top||94-103||Win||100||14 h 6 m||Show|
Both home teams on Friday are down 0-2 in their respective series. You would have to go all the way back to 2019 to find the last time the Mavericks beat the Suns head to head. The losing streak is now 11 games. I think tonight is the night they snap it.
This projection may seem a bit “brave,” but Dallas is 32-12 straight up at home this year. Looking at the home vs. road splits for both them and the Suns, one thing really stands out. The Mavs are only allowing 101.5 points per game at home, well down from the 108.0 points per game they give up on the road.
So you should expect Phoenix to score a lot fewer points here than they did in either Games 1 (121) and 2 (129). The Suns made 64.5% of their shots in Game 2 and were 13 of 25 from three. That’s just not sustainable, especially when now going out on the road and facing what has been one of the better defensive teams in the league.
Dallas is 5-0 ATS the previous five times they’ve been off a game where they allowed 125 or more points. So recent history points to them putting the clamps down and bouncing back here.
I think the other key is that Dallas needs someone to step up besides Luka Doncic. At home, that should happen. In each of the first two games, Doncic has scored more than the other four starters combined. Look for a more balanced effort from the Mavs tonight as they get back into the win column.
|05-06-22||Heat v. 76ers +3.5||Top||79-99||Win||100||12 h 31 m||Show|
Joel Embiid has been downgraded to OUT for Game 3 and that’s not the news Philadelphia wanted to hear as the Sixers are already down 2-0 in this series with Miami. But the Heat have a number of “banged up” players themselves and considering the sense of desperation for the Sixers (who are now back home), I like them to cover in this spot.
The market reacted swiftly to the Embiid news with Miami now favored by a few points on the road. But don’t forget, up two games to none in the first round, they lost Game 3 at Atlanta. Even without Embiid, the 76ers are a stronger team than the Hawks. They have James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris.
Maxey and Harris each turned in a breakout game in Miami. But Harden was disappointing in the two games, scoring only 36 points and shooting 11 of 28 from the field. I expect him to play a lot better tonight.
As a team, look for Philly to shoot much better from three-point land than they did in either of the first two games. They are 14 of 64 from behind the arc in the series. That’s well below their season average of 36.4% for the year.
This will be the 76ers first time playing at home in 12 days and only their second game here since April 18th. I expect the place will be “rocking.” Take the home underdog.
|05-04-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Suns||Top||109-129||Loss||-110||11 h 36 m||Show|
The Mavs have now lost nine straight times to the Suns following a rather dismal performance in Game 1 where they lost 121-114 as 5.5-point underdogs. While the ATS result came down the wire, that final score really isn’t indicative of how the game actually went. Dallas was down double digits most of the way.
Luka Doncic did his part for the Mavericks in Game 1, turning in a 45-12-8 game. But the rest of the starters combined for just 39 points. Both Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie finished well below their respective scoring averages in Game 1. I’m expecting both to play better tonight.
For Phoenix, Devin Booker still seems hobbled by a hamstring injury. He’s shot just 12 of 32 in the two games since returning.
Defensively, the Mavs have been one of the top teams in the NBA this year. They allow only 104.5 points per game and kept Utah, one of the league’s most efficient offenses, to only 99 points per game.
Doncic has only played two of the four games against Phoenix this year. I think the Mavs’ three-point shooting keeps them in this game and I would not rule out an upset here. Grab those points.
|05-03-22||Bucks v. Celtics -4.5||Top||86-109||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
Boston should bounce back in Game 2. They shot 10 of 34 (just 29.4 percent!) from inside the arc in Game 1. That was their lowest shooting percentage on two-point attempts all season. There have been only seven times all year that the Celtics shot below 45 percent from two-point range.
Following those poor shooting nights, the team has consistently been able to rediscover its shooting touch, making an average of 55 percent from inside the arc the next game.
I think it’s a given that Boston improves offensively for Game 2. Defensively, they were #1 in points allowed during the regular season. They held Milwaukee to 101 points on 41.1% shooting in Game 1 and I think they are capable of doing the same again tonight.
Just to reiterate what I’ve said so far, the Celtics are 10-5 against the spread this season after being held under 100 points. They are 11-5 ATS off a straight up loss as a favorite.
Remember that Milwaukee is missing its second leading scorer Khris Middleton. His production is more difficult to replace on the road. Not sure the Bucks can count on another 25-point performance from Jrue Holiday tonight. They are 1-4 ATS this season after allowing 90 points or less the previous game. Lay the points in Game 2.
|05-02-22||Mavs +6 v. Suns||Top||114-121||Loss||-110||37 h 9 m||Show|
Phoenix, who has the league’s best record, is a big favorite to win this series with Dallas. But it was by no means a dominant first round effort by the Suns. They needed six games to eliminate the 8-seed New Orleans and posted the lowest net efficiency rating of any team that advanced.
Some of the subpar performance could be pinned on leading scorer Devin Booker missing most of the series. Booker played in only three games and only once did he log more than 32 minutes. The Suns did win both games Booker finished.
But what about Dallas eliminating Utah, despite not having Luka Doncic the first three games? That was more impressive than the Suns without Booker. The Mavericks have covered five in a row and the only game they lost was decided by one point.
The Mavs last win over the Suns came in November of 2019. They’ve lost nine in a row to Phoenix since. But recall Milwaukee’s history vs. Boston was not good. Until yesterday when I backed the Bucks. Two of the three games Dallas lost to Phoenix this season, Doncic was out.
These teams are more even than you’re being led to believe. Not only does Dallas have Doncic, they have Jalen Brunson, who averaged 27.8 points per game in the first round. Defensively, the Mavs are one of the top teams. They held Utah to 99 points per game. For the year, they are holding opponents to 104.3 points per game.
|05-01-22||Warriors v. Grizzlies +2.5||Top||117-116||Win||100||17 h 51 m||Show|
Needing all those late game heroics to overcome Minnesota in the first round, Memphis almost seems like it’s being “written off” for Game 1 against Golden State. But the Grizzlies are at home Sunday where they are 8-2 straight up and against the spread as underdogs this season. I say grab the points in Game 1 as the Warriors look like a VERY “public” side.
Memphis won three of the four regular season games against Golden State and handed the Warriors their worst loss of the season. That comes with an asterisk though as the Warriors’ 28-point loss here in Memphis came without the services of Curry, Thompson and Green.
But that doesn’t mean the Grizzlies won’t win again here. Golden State is only 23-20 on the road where it gives up about six more points per game than they do at home. Also the Warriors might be rusty. They haven’t played since Wednesday.
Five Grizzlies averaged double figures in round one and it was not Ja Morant leading the way. It was Desmond Bane, who averaged 23.5 points and made 27 threes. Morant wasn’t far behind with a 21.5 PPG average vs. Minnesota.
Memphis is 32-12 at home, winning by almost nine points per game. They are a great value play in Game 1. Grab those points.
|05-01-22||Bucks +4.5 v. Celtics||Top||101-89||Win||100||14 h 23 m||Show|
The Celtics were the only team to pull off a sweep in the first round, making it look easy against the Nets. But the Bucks needed only five games to oust the Bulls. It’s not a surprise to see Boston as the favorite to win this series, they do have the home court advantage after all, but it would be a mistake to write off the NBA Champs.
The teams split four regular season matchups with the home team winning every time. Only one of the meetings has been since Christmas, so I’m not looking into them too much. The Bucks did win the last one though, earlier this month, 127-121.
Shockingly, the Bucks are 0-9 ATS the last nine games vs. the Celtics. But today’s game marks just the second time that the Celtics will have been favored to beat the Bucks.
Khris Middleton is a big loss for the Bucks (he’s their second leading scorer), but consider the way Milwaukee played defense in the first round. They posted the best defensive efficiency rating of any team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo can still carry this team to victory. For Boston, Jaylen Brown is dealing with an injured hamstring. This is a far more even matchup than what the series odds say. Grab the points in Game 1.
|04-28-22||Suns v. Pelicans +2.5||Top||115-109||Loss||-110||9 h 51 m||Show|
The Suns were expected to roll in this series, but now are hoping just to avoid a Game 7. Leading scorer Devin Booker hasn’t played since Game 2. Phoenix has won two of the three games without him and a Game 6 return by Booker is now considered a possibility. But I like the Pelicans at home in this one.
The old trusty zig-zag theory has played out according to script in this series. Neither team has been able to cover two in a row. If that pattern holds, then New Orleans will likely force a Game 7 (they are short underdogs).
The last game in New Orleans was won by the Pelicans 118-103. The Pels were then betrayed by three-point shooting in Game 5, making only 5 of 25 attempts. They’ll be far better than that in tonight’s game. CJ McCollum was 1 for 8 from distance in Game 5 and 3 for 17 the last two games. I expect him to start making shots at a higher percentage here.
The Suns have yet to score more than 114 points in any game during the series. New Orleans is averaging 111.5 at home for the season. If they hit their average, we’re in good shape tonight.
Don’t think Mikal Bridges will score 31 again like he did in Game 5. (That was a career playoff high). Booker or no Booker, I don’t like the Suns’ chances here. Take the points.
|04-26-22||Hawks v. Heat -7||Top||94-97||Loss||-115||11 h 13 m||Show|
After completely destroying the Hawks in Game 4, 110-86, the Heat have a chance to close out this series at home. All three of Miami’s wins in this series have been by double digits while Atlanta’s lone triumph was by a single point after a Trae Young game winner. The Heat probably should have swept this series. Look for them to close things out tonight.
Atlanta just isn’t any good defensively. They are allowing 112.5 points per game in the series, which I guess is not all that surprising as they allowed 112.4 in the regular season and came into the playoffs with the worst defensive efficiency rating of all remaining teams.
It hasn’t helped that Young has struggled mightily. He’s averaging just 16.5 points per game while shooting 32.1 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from three. He was held to just nine points on 3 of 11 shooting in Game 4 and he attempted just one free throw as 10 of his 11 shots were launched from behind the arc.
Young and the Hawks have now been held under 100 points in two of the four games. Miami clearly knows what it’s doing defensively and Atlanta has no game plan to solve it.
The Hawks are 0-42 ATS in their straight up losses this season, including 0-23 as underdogs! They are 6-20 ATS as road underdogs. Series over.
|04-25-22||Celtics +1.5 v. Nets||Top||116-112||Win||100||12 h 39 m||Show|
Could the Nets really be swept right out the first round? Bet on it! Boston, who many believed could come out of the East if they won this series, is quickly cementing itself as the team to beat in this conference. They are clearly the better team in this series and I will take the points in Game 4.
Though both Philadelphia and Golden State failed to sweep their series, teams holding a 3-0 series lead are still on a 29-15 straight run in Game 4’s.
There is simply no homecourt advantage for Brooklyn this year as they’ve gone 9-33 ATS at the Barclays Center. While the knee-jerk reaction to that record is to blame the absence of Kyrie Irving for most of those games, the bottom line is the Nets are 1-7 ATS their last eight games here, including the 109-103 loss in Game 3.
Kevin Durant is struggling mightily in this series. He’s averaging only 22 points per game on 36.5% shooting. That scoring average would be the lowest in any postseason series in Durant’s entire career. I can’t say that I’m that surprised as Boston is arguably the top defensive team in the NBA. They are even stronger with Robert Williams back. Al Horford is having himself an excellent series. Jayson Tatum is averaging 29.7 points and Jaylen Brown is averaging 22.7 while shooting better than 50 percent.
Boston is 14-8 ATS in the underdog role this season. Brooklyn is 17-38 ATS as a favorite. I expect the Celtics to end this series Monday night.
|04-23-22||Mavs v. Jazz -5.5||Top||99-100||Loss||-115||9 h 19 m||Show|
The Jazz ought to be embarrassed here as they are down two games to one in this series, despite Luka Doncic having not played a single minute for the Mavericks. Doncic says he’s feeling “no pain” in his calf and thus his status has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4. Either way, I like Utah minus the points in this one.
Perhaps the Jazz got overconfident when it was announced that Doncic would miss Game 3. They were down 17 at halftime and while it turned into a close game in the fourth quarter, Utah still lost by eight points. This despite shooting 56.5% overall from the field and going 31 of 33 from the free throw line!
The big difference in Game 3 was Utah shooting 9 of 28 from three while Dallas was 18 of 42. Making twice as many three as your opponent is a big deal and is a discrepancy that certainly isn’t likely to be repeated here in Game 4. I also can’t see Jalen Brunson continuing his run, whether Doncic returns or not, as Brunson has averaged 36 points the last two games.
Utah is an outstanding team at home where it has outscored its opponents by 9.4 points per game this year. Only Golden State has beaten its visitors by a wider margin over the course of 2021-22.
This is a must win game for the Jazz. Whether or not Doncic returns for Dallas, look for the Jazz to cover the spread.
|04-22-22||Suns -1 v. Pelicans||Top||114-111||Win||100||14 h 25 m||Show|
Even without Devin Booker, I expect the Suns to beat the Pelicans in Game 3. They outscored opponents by 7.6 points per 100 possessions without Booker when Chris Paul was on the court. Look for Cameron Payne to step it up in Booker’s absence as well.
In Game 2, New Orleans took full advantage of Booker leaving, springing a 125-114 upset. They shot the lights out, making 17 of their 30 three-point tries and finishing at 54% overall from the field. Even though they are now back at home, don’t look for the Pelicans to match their Game 2 shooting.
It is important to note that Phoenix is 14-3 against the spread this season when seeking revenge for a loss. They are 63-34 in that situation the previous three seasons.
The Suns are simply the better team here, having won 63 games in the regular season. Booker missed 14 regular season games. The team has the second highest defensive efficiency rating on the road and can claim a 13-3 ATS mark when the spread is three points or less, in either direction.
Coming off its best three-point shooting night of the entire season, there’s no way that New Orleans doesn’t regress offensively here. It would be a shock to see the Pelicans win this series, so I’m playing this one accordingly.
|04-19-22||Pelicans +10 v. Suns||Top||125-114||Win||100||15 h 5 m||Show|
The Suns did nothing in Game 1 to dissuade you from thinking they are the best team in the league. They jumped all over the Pelicans, taking a 28-16 lead after the first quarter and never looking back after that. They led by 19 at halftime and ended up winning 110-99, just barely covering the 10-point spread.
Remember that New Orleans had to win twice just to get here, so they were at a severe disadvantage heading into the first game.
But that disadvantage no longer exists for Game 2 and I’m liking the Pelicans to at least cover the spread in tonight’s matchup. While Phoenix is 24-3 straight up this season as a favorite of eight points or more, they are only 14-13 against the spread.
New Orleans shot especially poorly from two-point range in Game 1. They made only 27 of 72 attempts inside the arc, which is 37.5%, a very low number. Expect them to be more efficient there tonight. Eight missed free throws in Game 1 didn’t help the Pelicans either.
Despite digging themselves into such an early hole, the Pelicans found themselves down only six in the fourth quarter. I don’t expect them to fall into that kind of an early hole again in Game 2. Take the points here as New Orleans is 5-1 ATS following its previous six SU losses.
|04-16-22||Wolves +6.5 v. Grizzlies||Top||130-117||Win||100||8 h 35 m||Show|
Minnesota had to win a game in the Play-In Tournament to get here, but I believe they are being undervalued in Game 1 at Memphis. The Timberwolves were very much on par with some of the teams in the West’s top six - like Dallas and Denver - and I expect them to make this a competitive series.
I am pretty confident that the Timberwolves will get a better game out of Karl-Anthony Towns than what they got Tuesday vs. the Clippers. Towns played one of the worst games of his career, finishing with 11 points on only three made baskets. He also fouled out. But teammates Edwards (30 points) and Russell (29) bailed KAT out.
These teams met four times in the regular season and each won twice. While the home team won all four games, all but one was close and that was a 138-95 win for the Timberwolves. Thanks to that one blowout, Minnesota outscored Memphis in the four games and shot better - both overall and from three.
The fact Memphis hasn’t played a meaningful game in quite awhile may have an adverse effect here. Ja Morant has played only one game since March 18th. He was 3 for 20 on three-point attempts in the four games vs. Minnesota this year.
The Timberwolves have won and covered all three times this year when they’ve played with three or more days of rest. Memphis did have the second best record in the league and isn’t what I’d call a “public team,” but they are overvalued here. Take the points.
|04-15-22||Pelicans +4.5 v. Clippers||Top||105-101||Win||100||15 h 56 m||Show|
It’s win or go home for the Pelicans and Clippers tonight on ESPN. The winner of this game will be the 8-seed in the Western Conference. The loser’s season will come to an end.
Home teams have gone 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS so far in the play-in tournament. New Orleans was one of the four winners by beating San Antonio 113-103. They were up by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter. The Clippers were not as good down the stretch in Minnesota and they lost 109-104. But by virtue of finishing in 8th place, they get a second chance and are the home team for this game.
The Pelicans’ top three players all got the job done Wednesday. CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 81 points on 32 of 56 shooting. I do not think you should look too much into the team’s 37-46 SU record. They are 34-30 since a dreadful 3-16 start and have been a much better team since acquiring McCollum.
The Pelicans were 3-1 vs. the Clippers this season with the three wins coming by an average of 18.7 points. Also, Los Angeles is 1-10 ATS this season when playing with exactly two days of rest.
Even with the home court advantage, I’m not sure that LA should be favored here. Certainly not by this many points. Take the underdog here as an outright win would not surprise me. Paul George just doesn’t have enough help.
|04-10-22||Pistons +14.5 v. 76ers||Top||106-118||Win||100||15 h 41 m||Show|
The 76ers won Saturday 133-120 against Indiana. Joel Embiid had 41 points and 20 rebounds, the first time this season that any player had a 40-20 game. Embiid all but wrapped up the scoring title and the Sixers are guaranteed home court advantage for their first round playoff series.
There’s a chance that by the time this game tips off, the Sixers will be locked into the 4-seed. In order to move up into third, they would not only need to win this game, but have Boston lose earlier in the day to Memphis. If Boston wins that game, then the Sixers are locked into 4th.
With the chance the Sixers have nothing to play for, I’ll take my chances here and grab the points. And even if the 3-seed is still a possibility, I don’t think the Sixers will win by enough to cover the spread.
There’s a chance that a Pistons’ win might hurt their lottery odds, but I still expect a semblance of pride and professionalism to take place here. "We just want to finish with the right spirit and the right togetherness," Pistons head coach Dwayne Casey said.
Detroit has been on some incredible runs at the betting window. They are 18-3 ATS L21 as an underdog and 11-0 ATS L11 road games. Grab the points.
|04-08-22||Knicks v. Wizards||Top||114-92||Loss||-110||12 h 18 m||Show|
The Wizards and Knicks enter Friday with identical 35-45 straight up records. It’s been a disappointing campaign as both made the playoffs last year. The Knicks have really fallen as they were 4th in the East last season.
New York has lost three of four, the only win coming against last place Orlando. They blew a 21-point lead to the Nets on Wednesday and ended up losing that game 110-98, not even covering!
Washington also experienced a double digit setback two days ago. They fell 118-103 in Atlanta. Before that though, they’d won three of four and put up 127 or more points in all three wins.
I think by virtue of being at home, the Wizards have the edge Friday. This is their last home game of the season, so there should be some motivation to win the final game in front of fans. They are 5-1 ATS following a SU loss, going back to the end of March.
The Knicks have covered eight straight times as road underdogs and won their last four road games straight up. But those streaks end tonight. Two of those road wins were Orlando and Detroit. The Knicks (27th in scoring) just won’t be able to match the Wizards (119.8 PPG L5) offensively.
|04-05-22||Spurs v. Nuggets -7||Top||116-97||Loss||-110||14 h 34 m||Show|
It may seem like San Antonio is getting “a lot” of points in this matchup, but consider this is a team that has been well below .500 most of the year. There is a reason they are just trying to squeak into the play-in tournament. They simply aren’t that good.
It’s true that the Spurs have been winning lately, six of their past seven games. But three wins were against a dreadful Portland team and they also beat last place Houston. Denver is in a different class of those aforementioned foes.
The Nuggets are looking to clinch a spot in the top six of the conference standings, which will allow them to avoid the play-in tournament. They just need to win two of their final three games, all of which are at home
The Spurs’ leading scorer Dejounte Murray has been ruled out for tonight. That’s significant.
Denver has scored 125 or more points in each of its last three contests. This is a team that’s been on fire offensively and without Murray, I don’t see how the Spurs keep up.
|04-05-22||Bucks -4.5 v. Bulls||Top||127-106||Win||100||13 h 34 m||Show|
The Bulls just can’t beat the top teams in the league. On Saturday, they lost by 16 here at home to the Heat, dropping them to 2-19 for the season against the four best teams in the East and West. The Bulls’ record vs. Milwaukee this year is 0-3, two of those losses coming last month, the last one by 28 points.
Throw in the fact the Bucks are going to come in motivated tonight and I’m all about fading the Bulls in this one. The Bucks have lost two straight. One of the losses saw them give up 153 points. The other, Sunday vs. Dallas, saw them blow an early lead.
That game where Milwaukee allowed 153 points should be disregarded as they rested their starters. The Bucks should be at full strength tonight. Look for Antetokounmpo and Middleton to shoot the ball better than they did vs. Dallas. In that last game, the duo combined to go 15 of 38 from the field and 0 for 7 from three.
The Bulls have the worst point differential of the Eastern Conference’s top six teams. In fact, eight teams in the East have a better point differential. Chicago would be fortunate to avoid the play-in round.
Milwaukee is all but assured of a top four seed and home court advantage for the first round. But they still have an outside chance at finishing first (2.5 games out) so roll with them Tuesday. The Bucks are 10-1 ATS their last 11 games in Chicago.
|04-03-22||Pelicans v. Clippers -1.5||Top||100-119||Win||100||13 h 4 m||Show|
Talk about a shocking performance. The Clippers beat Milwaukee 153-119 on Friday night. Now both teams elected to rest starters in that game. But that can’t take away from the fact that it was the most points scored EVER in a regular season game in Clippers’ history.
The Clippers are going to be in the play-in tournament, probably as the 8-seed, which means they’ll only have to win once to make the playoffs. That means the Pelicans, currently 9th, will have to win two games in the play-tournament. It would take New Orleans winning all of its remaining games - and the Clippers losing all of theirs - for the teams to trade spaces.
The Pelicans have won the last five meetings vs. the Clippers, including all three this season. I understand that coupled with the fact NO is still looking to guarantee its spot in the play in tournament makes them seem like the more attractive side here. But I still like the Clippers.
New Orleans is just 16-22 on the road and was lucky to come from behind to beat the Lakers on Friday. They came back from 20+ down to beat the Lakers earlier in the week.
The Clippers have scored at least 121 points in three straight games and I cannot see them being swept in the season series. Paul George is back. Lay the short number.
|04-03-22||Nuggets v. Lakers +3.5||Top||129-118||Loss||-110||7 h 4 m||Show|
The Lakers desperately have to have this game. Five straight losses have them on the outside of the playoff picture. We tried with them Friday in what was a key showdown vs. New Orleans. LeBron James and Anthony Davis returned to the lineup, but it was not enough as the Lakers blew a fourth quarter lead. Time to try again on Sunday.
While the Lakers are just trying to get into the play-in tournament, the Nuggets are trying to preserve their status as a top six team in the West and thus avoid the play-in tournament. A 136-130 loss to Minnesota on Friday, the team chasing them, didn’t help. Utah losing last night did help Denver, who can finish anywhere from 3rd to 7th.
One more win will all but seal a top six spot for Denver. But LA is going to be more desperate here. I know the Lakers seem difficult to back right now - they’ve lost 15 of 19 - but James and Davis are both back now and that makes this a much better team. Getting points at home is a bonus!
This is a massive revenge game for the Lakers as well. They lost to Denver by 37 back on January 15th in what was their worst loss of the season.
Denver is 1-7 ATS this season after it scored 130 or more points in the last game and 4-10 ATS its last 14 games overall.
|04-02-22||Nets -1 v. Hawks||Top||115-122||Loss||-110||19 h 14 m||Show|
Two teams that could end up meeting in the play-in round face off on Saturday in a key Eastern Conference clash. Both Brooklyn and Atlanta are 40-37, part of a three-way tie with Charlotte for eighth place. All three teams want to finish 8th as it would mean they only need to win one game, rather than two, in the play-in round.
Atlanta, despite being the hotter team (four wins in a row) and at home, is the slight underdog tonight. That’s because Brooklyn still carries a lot of weight with the oddsmakers. I thought the Nets should have won at home over Milwaukee on Thursday. (They ended up losing in overtime, on some last second free throws, after blowing a seven-point lead with two minutes left in regulation).
Brooklyn has been a better team on the road this season. Some of that has to do with Kyrie Irving just recently being cleared to play at home. But recently they went on the road and easily beat Miami. The Nets are 23-16 in road games in 2021-22.
Atlanta has scored 131 or more points in each of its last three games. That’s pretty impressive. But I don’t think they can keep that up and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an off-shooting night from the Hawks here. Trae Young did leave the last game with a groin injury, though he did return. Could there be any ill-effect tonight?
Before the current four-game win streak, Atlanta was just 1-12 ATS when coming off a SU win. Brooklyn is 5-1 ATS the last six times it has been a road favorite. The Nets are the better team here.
|04-02-22||Hornets v. 76ers -5||Top||114-144||Win||100||12 h 14 m||Show|
This game carries importance for both teams, but more so for Philadelphia, who has lost three straight games and thus fallen behind the other three teams in the chase for the top spot in the East. Losing to Detroit Friday was inexcusable.
Charlotte is guaranteed to be in the play-in round, but would like to finish eighth so that they’d only need to win one game rather than two. With eight wins in their last 10 games, the Hornets are probably feeling pretty good about themselves. I still have concerns with a team that is last in the East in scoring defense.
The Hornets give up 116.4 points per game on the road. I think they’ll struggle here to stop Joel Embiid and James Harden. Embiid carried the offense vs. the Pistons, but got no help. Harden shot 4 of 15 and had only 18 points. The bench contributed very little, just eight points in fact.
Harden will shoot better and, at home, the bench will play better this afternoon. Speaking of the start time, these early ones always seem to favor the home team.
Just not a believer in Charlotte in this spot. Philadelphia will be hungrier.
|04-01-22||Pelicans v. Lakers -1.5||Top||114-111||Loss||-110||15 h 15 m||Show|
So there’s been some movement with the line here as the statuses of LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain “questionable.” The Lakers lost again last night (fourth straight time) and are in danger of not even qualifying for the play-in round.
It’s the Lakers, Pelicans and Spurs that are battling for the last two play-in spots. One will be left out. The Pelicans are two games up on the other two, so they are in good shape. The Lakers need this win more.
This past Sunday these teams played. New Orleans won 116-108. In that game, which LeBron played in, the Lakers were up 23 in the first half. That was in New Orleans. The Pelicans are 15-22 on the road though, so I have my doubts about them here, LeBron or no LeBron.
New Orleans has only been favored in 20 games all season and just six times on the road!
Hopefully, James and/or Davis plays tonight. Even if they don’t, my money is on LA.
|03-30-22||Hawks v. Thunder +13||Top||136-118||Loss||-110||13 h 54 m||Show|
In the NBA, taking a double digit favorite on the road is typically not all that wise. When the favorite is a team that is just a game over .500, laying the points in this situation seems very head-scratching.
Then you’ve got the matter of Oklahoma City having covered the spread seven straight times.
The Thunder are short-handed, but that was the case when they took on Portland Monday and OKC won that game, in overtime, 134-131. They scored a season-high in points despite being without their top five scorers.
Atlanta just faced another short-handed team (Indiana) Monday, on the road, and won by only nine. I just don’t know how you can trust the Hawks to beat the oddsmakers’ projection in this one.
The Hawks are just 12-25 ATS on the road and 1-5 ATS this season if they scored 130 or more points in their last game. The Thunder have the best ATS winning percentage in the entire NBA at 65.8%. They are 46-24 ATS as underdogs. Grab the points.
|03-28-22||Spurs -6.5 v. Rockets||Top||123-120||Loss||-110||21 h 42 m||Show|
San Antonio still has a shot, folks. A shot of making the play-in round as they are just one game back of the Lakers, who lost yesterday, for 10th place (the last spot). Having won three straight, the Spurs now have an excellent chance of making it a perfect 4-0 road trip as they take on the Rockets tonight.
Houston has won two in a row, both games in Portland, but has not posted three consecutive victories at any time this season, outside of a stunning seven-game win streak in late November/early December. In fact, this is just the second time in 2022 that they have won back to back games.
Before beating Portland two straight times, the Rockets had the worst record in the NBA. The Spurs have won the last two meetings by a combined 55 points.
Spurs’ leading scorer Dejounte Murray had an “off” shooting night in the last game, but the team still won anyway. I certainly expect Murray to shoot better than 4 of 19 tonight and make a three. (He was 0 for 5 on threes Saturday). Houston gives up a league-worst 117.6 points per game.
This is a game that the Spurs simply MUST have, if they are to make the play-in round. I don’t think it will be close.
|03-27-22||Jazz v. Mavs -2.5||Top||100-114||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
This is an important game that could determine who gets the home court advantage in a possible first round playoff series. Utah and Dallas are tied for fourth place in the Western Conference, both teams sporting 45-29 records. The Jazz won the first two meetings this season, but the Mavs took the last one. All three times the home team has won.
Both teams are coming off losses. Utah is actually coming off three straight losses. They have not scored more than 106 points in any of those games. It was a 107-101 loss in Charlotte on Friday. This is the Jazz’s fifth straight game on the road, all played in the last eight days.
While Utah was losing in Charlotte, Dallas suffered a critical loss in Minnesota, 116-95. Not only did that loss prevent the Mavs from overtaking the Jazz, but it moved them closer to 7th place, which would mean the play-in round. They are now only 2.5 games ahead of the Timberwolves.
The good news for Dallas is that they are 15-3 ATS this season following a game where they did not score 100 points. I can’t see them shooting as poorly tonight as they did on Friday when they made only 38 percent from the field, including 10 of 43 three-point shooting. Defense should improve tonight as well. The Mavs are giving up just 102.1 points per game at home, best in the league.
The Jazz have not fared well as underdogs, going just 3-7 ATS when getting points. That includes a 28-point loss in Boston earlier in the week. The offensive downturn coincides with the absence of Bojan Bogdanovic, who is set to miss his eighth straight game tonight. Lay the short number with the home team here.
|03-26-22||Spurs v. Pelicans -5||Top||107-103||Loss||-110||10 h 37 m||Show|
This is a big game for both teams. New Orleans is tied with the Lakers for the last play-in spot in the Western Conference. San Antonio is two games back and can cut that difference in half with a win tonight.
The Spurs are 2-0 on the current trip, including a 37-point win at Portland in their last games. Before that, they took advantage of Golden State not having Steph Curry and won 110-108.
In that Portland game, the Spurs made 19 three-pointers, tying a season-high, and 13 of those came in the first half. I do not anticipate them being that prolific from long range here.
The last time these teams played, the Pelicans ran away with a 33-point victory, 124-91. That game took place last week. Not enough has changed in the last eight days to convince me the Spurs can make up the gap.
New Orleans is coming off a 126-109 win over Chicago Thursday night. Over the last six games, they are 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS. They are also 8-2-1 ATS their last 11 games as a favorite while San Antonio is on a 6-13 ATS run as a dog + 4-12 ATS run off an ATS win. Lay the points here.
|03-25-22||Rockets v. Blazers +3.5||Top||125-106||Loss||-105||15 h 47 m||Show|
In what is surely a sign that the Trail Blazers are at their nadir, tonight they are underdogs - at home - to the Rockets. Having won just two games after the All-Star Break and announcing Damian Lillard’s season is over, there’s little to celebrate in Portland right now. The team just lost by 37 here to San Antonio. But look for “pride” to kick in and them to beat Houston.
The Rockets have the worst record in the NBA and the worst point differential. I don’t believe they should ever be favored on the road. It’s happened only one other time all season. There have been only five games that Houston has been favored in, period. They just lost by 19 at Dallas and have only three wins since the Break.
The teams will also play in Portland tomorrow night. The Blazers have captured seven of the previous eight head to head encounters, including 125-110 at Houston in late January.
Not only has Houston lost 19 of its last 22 games overall, they are 0-11 L11 road games. And they are favored tonight! I just don’t see why. This is the worst team in the NBA!
"It was a disappointing effort. It was a really embarrassing first half. Give up 81 points, they I think at that time had 21 fast-break points, 30 points in the paint, they had it everywhere. I don't know how many threes they made (it was 13). They had it going every which way. By way of that, it was pretty ugly. "I don't think we prepared for the battle that was going to happen. Our guys looked tired, man. They looked really tired to be honest with you."
Those were the comments of Blazers’ head coach Chauncey Billups after the loss to the Spurs. Again, look for his team to come out with some pride, at home, after suffering such an embarrassing loss.
|03-23-22||Nets -2.5 v. Grizzlies||Top||120-132||Loss||-110||12 h 9 m||Show|
Memphis won’t have Ja Morant on Wednesday and that puts them at a disadvantage in this non-conference showdown versus Brooklyn, who will have Kyrie Irving in its lineup (not to mention Kevin Durant as well).
The Nets have finally started to put it together, winning six of seven. The lone game they dropped in that stretch was by two points to Dallas in the second night of a back-to-back. In their last game, the Nets beat the Jazz 114-106 and that was short-handed. The team was led by Durant’s 37 points.
With the winning run, Brooklyn is only three games back of a top six spot in the East. Getting into the top six is the goal as it would allow them to avoid the play-in round.
Memphis is second out West, but not having Morant is huge for this contest. I know the team has won without him in the past. But now they’re facing a team that has two of the best players in the league.
The Nets have been better on the road this season, averaging 115.5 points and going 22-15. A lot of that is due to Irving’s status. With the opposition missing its best player and the Nets surging, it’s appropriate to back the visitors here.
|03-22-22||Hawks v. Knicks||Top||117-111||Win||100||22 h 47 m||Show|
The Hawks currently hold what the Knicks want; that being the last spot for the NBA’s play-in round. Fortunately for Atlanta, they have a five-game lead over New York, even after losing two of three. That should tell you what kind of a struggle it’s been for the Knicks this season. I like Atlanta here … big.
These teams developed a bit of a “rivalry” last year with Trae Young’s antics in Madison Square Garden. The Hawks ousted the Knicks from the playoffs and wound up going to the Eastern Conference Finals. As you can tell from looking at the current standings, there’s been some severe regression for both sides.
Pointspread wise, the Knicks have been doing better than the Hawks … lately. New York is 7-2 ATS its previous nine games, Atlanta is 1-8 ATS its L9. But the Knicks have failed to cover two straight and lost three of five, straight up.
New York is looking for a season sweep here. They’ve beaten Atlanta three times this season, including on Christmas Day when Young was out. But I’m anticipating a much different result on Tuesday with Young in the lineup.
I look at this matchup in rather simple terms. The Hawks are better than the Knicks and this is a really short number. While they haven’t been covering much of late, Atlanta has won four of its last six games straight up. The revenge angle should work in their favor tonight. I just can’t see them losing for a fourth straight time to a Knicks team that is 11 games under .500.
|03-21-22||Wizards -4.5 v. Rockets||Top||97-115||Loss||-110||12 h 18 m||Show|
Washington finally ended its losing streak, defeating the Lakers on Saturday by a score of 127-119. They had to erase a 16-point deficit to do so, but no one is complaining in the Nation’s capital. The Wizards are still 4.5 games back of the last “play-in” spot in the Eastern Conference and desperately need more wins.
Fortunately for them, they’ll be in Houston Monday night to face a Rockets team that is 17-54 on the year and already eliminated from playoff contention. That 17-54 SU record is the worst in the entire NBA. Houston has lost its last five games, four of them by at least 13 points.
The Wizards will take this game seriously as they actually lost to the Rockets earlier in the year, at home, by a score of 114-111. The Rockets have won only six times since that victory, which was back on January 5th.
Houston has only two wins in its last 20 games. All things considered, this is a very short number to go against them.
The Rockets have given up more than 120 points in six of the last seven games. That’s a problem when you only average 108.9 PPG like they do. Washington put up 127 on the Lakers with Porzingis leading the way with 27. Back the road favorite here.
|03-19-22||Bucks -3 v. Wolves||Top||119-138||Loss||-110||9 h 38 m||Show|
These are two of the hotter teams in the league right now. Milwaukee comes in having taken eight of their previous nine games and has covered the spread in seven of them. Minnesota has been even more profitable with a 9-1 SU and ATS run.
Wednesday night, the Bucks couldn’t miss as they shot 51.4 percent from three on their way to a 135-126 win over Sacramento. Offense has not been in short supply for the defending champs during this winning run of theirs as they have averaged 124.6 points per game this month, getting held under 110 just once.
Minnesota is probably not the team that can slow down the Bucks. While the Timberwolves’ defensive numbers are better at home, they’ve still given up an average of 113.4 points over their last five games.
This is a revenge spot for Milwaukee as they lost at home to the T’wolves, back in October. The final score was 113-108. The Bucks were short-handed going into that game.
No such issues tonight as they look to go to 7-2 ATS their last nine games at Minnesota. Lay the short number.
|03-15-22||Grizzlies -6.5 v. Pacers||Top||135-102||Win||100||11 h 2 m||Show|
I won with the Pacers, plus the points, Sunday night. They were getting double digits in Atlanta and “slid in” through the “back door,” meaning they outscored the Hawks by 10 in the fourth quarter to lose by just three points. Indiana is now 2-13 SU in games decided by three points or less this season.
Though I was happy to cash a ticket, it was not a great effort from the Pacers on Sunday, at least in the first half. They let Atlanta shoot 60% before halftime, 59.1% from three, and Trae Young scored 33 of his game-high 47 in the first half. Indiana was down by 19 at one point. Seven Hawks finished the game in double figures.
Now Indiana must contend with Memphis, who has been one of the better teams in the league this season. The Grizzlies have won their last three games and are tied for second in the West.
Memphis has failed to cover the spread its last two times out, but continues to score lots of points. Over the last five games, the team is averaging 122.2 PPG. Dillon Brooks is now back in the lineup after missing 27 games.
The Grizzlies have won 21 of their last 28 road games and should not have much difficulty here defeating the injury-riddled Pacers, who play little defense. Three of Indiana’s last four games have seen them surrender at least 127 points. Memphis has covered nine straight Tuesday games.
|03-14-22||Nuggets v. 76ers -2||Top||114-110||Loss||-115||13 h 35 m||Show|
Philadelphia was able to get by Orlando last night, though they needed overtime to do so. The Sixers won 116-114, obviously not covering the large spread, but all that matters to them is that they bounced back from the embarrassing home loss to Brooklyn from three nights prior.
The Sixers being in a back to back here has definitely created some value as it’s a really short number that they’re being asked to lay, at home no less. They are up against a Denver team that not only is 0-4 ATS its last four games, but was soundly beaten by the 76ers (103-89) back in November.
Since James Harden came over in the blockbuster trade, Philadelphia has lost only one time. They’ve scored 116 or more points in each of the six wins.
The Nuggets have been giving up lots of points lately, an average of 118.8 over their last five games. They got torched for 127 by Toronto on Saturday and that was at home.
I don’t think that the back to back matters too much for Philadelphia, even with last night’s game going to OT, as they’d been off for two days prior to that. The Sixers are 12-4 ATS off an ATS loss.
|03-13-22||Pacers +11.5 v. Hawks||Top||128-131||Win||100||12 h 48 m||Show|
This is a big number, considering Atlanta is only tied for ninth in the conference with a below .500 record. While they’ve been a bit better of late, going 6-4 the last 10 games, the Hawks haven’t beaten anyone by more than six points in over two weeks.
Atlanta did beat Indiana by 21 when they played last month. But the Pacers don’t get blown out all that often. They have 12 losses this year by three points or less. That’s the most in the league. They are being outscored by an average of just 2.3 points per game.
Last night was a win for the Pacers as they went to San Antonio and prevailed by a score of 119-108. The last time this team won two straight was mid-January. Oddsmakers don’t like their chances of ending that streak tonight. But I do believe Indiana will cover in this spot. They are 7-4 ATS in the second game of a back to back.
The Hawks have a game tomorrow night, so they may not be looking to go “all out.” Expect this to be a close game and take the points.
|03-12-22||Raptors v. Nuggets -5||Top||127-115||Loss||-110||13 h 8 m||Show|
Denver hasn’t lost two straight games in over a month. They’ll look to keep that streak alive tonight when they play host to Toronto, who was in action last night. The Raptors won in Phoenix last night, thanks to 42 points from Gary Trent Jr. But it will be exceedingly difficult to match that level of performance in the second night of a back to back.
The Nuggets lost to Golden State Thursday, 113-102. It was just their third loss since Feb 6. Off the previous two, Denver bounced back to not just win, but cover as well. One of those spots was against Toronto, whom they defeated 110-109 as a 4.5-point road dog back on Feb 12.
Steph Curry got hot at the right time against the Nuggets in that last game. The Warriors closed on a 13-0 run, so the final score was a tad misleading.
This is Toronto’s fourth straight game on the road, third in four nights and second in two nights. A bad spot. They are 4-9 ATS this season after playing three straight on the road.
Furthermore, the Raptors are 7-22 ATS their last 29 meetings with the Nuggets and 0-6 ATS their last six trips into Denver.
|03-11-22||Wizards v. Lakers -4.5||Top||109-122||Win||100||15 h 29 m||Show|
So there is a question whether or not LeBron James is going to suit up tonight. Regardless if he does or not, I’m on the Lakers.
Wednesday may have been a new nadir for LA as they lost in overtime to the lowly Rockets. With or without James, the Lakers are going to come out motivated on Friday after being ripped in the media.
Facing the Wizards helps. They too are off a gutting loss, letting the Clippers score the game’s final 11 points on Wednesday, sending Washington to yet another defeat, their 20th in the last 32 games.
The Wizards are 5-16 ATS vs. the Western Conference and 0-6 vs. the Pacific Division.
If LeBron plays, obviously I’m a lot more confident. Either way though, expect the Lakers to win and cover.
|03-09-22||Thunder v. Wolves -14||Top||102-132||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
Minnesota is playing its best basketball of the season right now. The Timberwolves have won five in a row, covering the spread each time, and averaged 130.6 points per game. They are winning by an average of almost 23 points during the win streak!
Now it helps to play the likes of Oklahoma City and Portland, the latter twice, but guess who the T’wolves see tonight? OKC again! It was 138-101 the last time these teams met and that was in Oklahoma City. Minnesota turned in both its highest scoring half (77 points) and quarter (45) of the season in that win. They shot 57% before halftime and for the game, made 22 of 47 three-point shots.
Oklahoma City is coming off a loss last night where it surrendered 142 points. So this game could get very ugly in a hurry. The Thunder have lost their last three games and allowed 124 or more points in five of the last seven.
The Timberwolves are 3-0 vs. the Thunder in 2021-22. The last two wins were by 30 and 37 points. Let’s not overthink this one. Minnesota has covered all eight home games this season when the total is 230 points or higher. They are 3-0 ATS as a home favorite of -12.5 or higher.
|03-08-22||Pelicans v. Grizzlies -5.5||Top||111-132||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
There’s been a bit of a “cooling off” with the Grizzlies, as they are just 4-4 SU the last eight games overall. But after a bad loss, 123-112 at Houston, I expect them to start strong tonight at home vs. New Orleans.
No reason to panic in Memphis. Owing mostly to the Warriors’ recent struggles, the team has moved up into second place in the Western Conference. Looking back, the Grizzlies have won 25 of 33. They are still one of the best teams in the NBA.
The Grizz probably should have beaten the Rockets considering they were up 10 at halftime. But they finished the game an uncharacteristic 5 of 28 from three-point range.
Similarly, the opponent for Tuesday blew a double digit lead on Sunday and lost. New Orleans was more egregious, letting an 11-point advantage slip away in the final 3:22 of regulation and ending up going down in overtime, 138-130 at Denver. That snapped a four-game SU/ATS win streak for the Pelicans.
The Grizzlies typically do very well off losses. Since Christmas, there’s been only one instance of them losing back to back games. Look for those threes to start falling here and the home team will cover the spread.
|03-07-22||Knicks v. Kings -3.5||Top||131-115||Loss||-110||15 h 5 m||Show|
The Kings get to host the Knicks, who are in the second night of a back to back. Furthermore, since the Knicks won on Sunday (beat the Clippers 116-93), I think we’re getting a really good price on the home side.
Sacramento is coming off a 2-3 road trip. It could have been better, but two of the losses were by five points or less. They lost 114-113 in Dallas on Saturday, blowing a 19-point lead.
Before winning Sunday, the Knicks had lost seven straight and 10 of their last 11. They aren’t a good team either. This is the middle of a seven-game, 12-day trip that has Dallas, Memphis and Brooklyn still to come. I’d say the Knicks are about to fall out of playoff contention for good.
The Kings have revenge for a 20-point loss they suffered in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks shot 50 percent in that game, something they haven’t done since.
New York has failed to cover 15 of the last 22 times it has been off an ATS win. Most of those games came with rest, something that isn’t the case here. Lay the points.
|03-07-22||Hawks -7.5 v. Pistons||Top||110-113||Loss||-110||12 h 35 m||Show|
All of a sudden, Detroit has turned into a covering machine, winning its last seven in a row ATS. But let’s not sugarcoat the fact the Pistons are still a bad basketball team. They are thirty games below .500 and have the worst point differential in the Eastern Conference.
During the 7-0 ATS run, the Pistons have won straight up a total of five times. They are coming off back to back wins here, first beating the Raptors in Toronto on Thursday night, 108-106, followed by a 111-106 home win over the Pacers on Friday. The team had the weekend off.
You can look for the win streak to end Monday against Atlanta. First off, Detroit has not won three in a row at any point in the season. They are 1-2 ATS when coming off two straight wins and the one cover came as 12.5-point underdogs.
Atlanta has been playing better recently. They too have won five of their last seven and didn’t play over the weekend. The Hawks’ most recent wins came over the Bulls and Wizards. Trae Young has averaged 34.0 points and 9.5 assists over the last four games.
The last time the Pistons won three in a row was the 2018-19 season. The last time these teams met, the Hawks won by 18. John Collins is now back for them. The home team is due to play poorly.
|03-06-22||Suns +9 v. Bucks||Top||122-132||Loss||-110||7 h 20 m||Show|
The Suns are playing shorthanded, but even so this is too many points to pass up. The team with the best record in the NBA, the Suns have lost just three of their last 24 games. After beating Portland by 30 on Wednesday, they came from behind to beat the Knicks on Friday.
Milwaukee comes into this NBA Finals rematch on a three-game win streak. The last two wins, over Miami and Chicago, were both hard fought. Only one of the Bucks' last five games have been decided by more than six points. I bring this up, because they may not have enough left in the tank to run away with this one.
Brook Lopez is still out for the Bucks. As great as Giannis has been recently, that kind of production can’t continue forever.
Not only have the Bucks failed to cash in seven of their last nine games against teams that have winning records, but they are just 13-21 ATS at home. Phoenix has an incredible road record of 23-5 SU.
As short-handed as they might be (no Paul or Booker), look for the Suns to compete here. They dominated Milwaukee (131-107) in the first meeting since last year’s NBA Finals. This is the most points they’ll get in any game all season.
|03-05-22||Spurs v. Hornets -3||Top||117-123||Win||100||11 h 47 m||Show|
I like the spot for Charlotte here. They just handed Cleveland a 119-98 defeat and have had two days off. Now the Hornets can turn their full attention to San Antonio, who just got beat at home by Sacramento.
That loss to Sacramento was the Spurs’ first home game following the annual “Rodeo Road Trip,” which spanned eight games and nearly three weeks. The Spurs went 4-4 on the trip. But then they came home and lost to the Kings. Now it's back on the road, to the East Coast no less. They are 13-20 in road games this season.
Charlotte beat San Antonio, at the Alamo, 131-115 back in December.
What makes this game so important to the Hornets is that they are just 1-9 their last 10 at home. Prior to that, they had a very good home record. I just can’t see San Antonio coming in here and winning.
|03-04-22||Rockets v. Nuggets -13.5||Top||101-116||Win||100||13 h 25 m||Show|
Denver had its season-best six-game win streak come to an end in shocking fashion Wednesday night. They lost to the lowly Thunder, at home no less, 119-107 as a 14.5-point favorite. Now they’ll host the only team lower than the Thunder in Western Conference standings, that being Houston. I don’t see the Nuggets making the same mistakes they did two nights ago.
Houston has not won a game since February 2nd. They’ve lost 11 straight and have a legit claim to be the worst team in the league. Seven of those 11 straight losses have come by double digits.
Making matters worse tonight for the Rockets is that they could be without several key players. Dennis Schroeder has a sprained ankle, Eric Gordon missed the last game with a groin injury and Jae’Sean Tate is also dealing with an ankle. While they were still able to take Utah to overtime on Wednesday, I can’t see a potentially short-handed, bad team being competitive two straight times. Houston is 0-4 ATS off its previous four ATS victories.
The Nuggets are 2-0 against the Rockets so far this season. While the first game came down to the final possession, it was a 13-point win in Houston on New Year’s Day. I expect this to be the biggest margin of victory to date.
Denver is 4-0-1 ATS off its previous five ATS losses. So all signs point to a bounce back here.
|03-03-22||Lakers +2.5 v. Clippers||Top||111-132||Loss||-110||14 h 29 m||Show|
The Lakers are in serious trouble. Seven games below .500 and in 9th place in the Western Conference. All they can hope for at this point is making the play-in round, which means they’d probably need to win twice to get into the playoffs proper.
One spot ahead of the Lakers are the Clippers, but the gap in the standings is 4.5 games. The reason the Clips are lower than expected is due to injuries. They’ve been playing without their two top superstars for awhile now. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t even suited up for a single game this season.
So who is going to take this battle of underachieving teams from the City of Angels? I like the Lakers. They should have beaten Dallas on Tuesday. It’s also time for a little payback. The Lakers are 0-3 vs. the Clippers this season, but those three losses have been by a total of eight points.
The Clippers’ four-game win streak does include a 105-102 win over the Lakers. But the other three wins were all against Houston. So it’s a bit of a “phony” win streak.
The Lakers led the Clippers going into the fourth quarter in that recent meeting. With their backs against the wall, look for LeBron James and company to “step up” here and deliver a big win.
|02-28-22||Pacers v. Magic||Top||103-119||Win||100||11 h 9 m||Show|
Two of the Eastern Conference’s bottom teams square off to start the week. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for Orlando to make it a rare two straight wins.
The Magic won on Friday, beating the Houston Rockets here at home, 119-111. Both Chuma Okeke and Wendell Carter Jr played well. Tonight, Okeke and Carter are set to be joined by former #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, who is set to make his season debut.
As was the case Friday, Orlando is the slight favorite in this game. Indiana, though they won yesterday, is just 4-12 over its last 16 games and basically “disassembled” its roster at the trade deadline. There has been just one time since mid-December that the Pacers have won back to back games.
The fact that the Pacers are in the second game of a back to back while the Magic had the weekend off is a big edge to the home team.
Orlando overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to win in Indiana at the beginning of the month. They shouldn’t fall into that kind of hole tonight. Expect them to get the ‘W’ here.
|02-27-22||Mavs v. Warriors -4||Top||107-101||Loss||-110||12 h 15 m||Show|
Golden State’s second half of the season began with a convincing 132-95 win over Portland. Dallas blew a seven-point halftime lead in Utah and lost 114-109. That’s the setup for this Sunday night contest.
Yes, the Warriors had failed to cover six in a row going into the All Star Break. But they looked like the best team in the league Thursday, mostly because of Steph Curry, who had a season-high 14 assists to go along with 18 points.
These teams have met two times previous to this. The home team won both matchups. Curry struggled to make shots, but I’m banking on him having a big game here. Dallas didn’t have many answers defensively against Utah, allowing the Jazz to hit 54% for the game and 57% in the first half.
This is a low number on the Warriors at home. Too low.
That’s because Klay Thompson is questionable and Draymond Green is still out. But Curry should lead his team to a win and cover tonight.
|02-27-22||Jazz v. Suns -1||Top||118-114||Loss||-105||8 h 15 m||Show|
Big game on this afternoon’s NBA schedule with the Jazz taking on the Suns. The Suns are playing without Chris Paul and are off a loss. Paul being out hurts, but Phoenix is 19-2 over its last 21 games and has the best record in the league. They have not dropped consecutive games since December.
For those reasons, I’m siding with the Suns in this one. They are also at home on Sunday. Their home record is 26-6.
The Suns are 2-0 vs. the Jazz this season. Both wins were in January. They won 115-109 here at home and 105-97 in Salt Lake City.
Utah needed to come from behind to defeat Dallas Friday night, 114-109. The Jazz did not cover the spread in the game. They trailed by seven at halftime. That was the largest halftime deficit they’ve overcome all season.
The fact that the Suns haven’t lost back to back games in over two months weighs heavily on this selection. So too does the fact they are basically a “pick ‘em” at home. You won’t get a better value on this team all season.
|02-25-22||Spurs -2.5 v. Wizards||Top||157-153||Win||100||11 h 28 m||Show|
The Spurs are better than their record and I think can move up to “steal” the last play-in spot for the Western Conference Playoffs. Among teams out West, San Antonio has the eighth best point differential.
The Wizards started the season well, but have really fallen off, especially at the pay window. They are 4-15-1 ATS over the L20 games. Tonight’s spread is simply not generous enough for them to turn these woes around.
San Antonio has covered six straight times against teams with losing SU records. Washington comes in at 27-31 SU overall, 11th in the East. But like I said, the Wizards have really fallen off. It wasn’t that long ago they were in the top six.
The Spurs are still on their annual Rodeo Road Trip, which began back on Feb 9 in Cleveland. Prior to breaking for All Star Weekend, they’d won three of four. The only loss was to Eastern Conference leader Chicago and even in that game they had the lead going into the fourth quarter.
Washington is just 5-12 ATS vs. Western Conference teams this season.
|02-24-22||Grizzlies -2.5 v. Wolves||Top||114-119||Loss||-110||31 h 34 m||Show|
No one is going to argue the point that Memphis had a great first half. They have the third best record in the NBA at 41-19 after winning 32 of 41 and 22 of their last 27. Now in the last game before the All Star Break, the Grizzlies did lose, as an 11.5-point favorite to Portland 123-119. But I am willing to chalk that up to a case of looking ahead to the break.
Minnesota also had a first half they should be happy with. While not as good as Memphis, the Timberwolves are 31-28 and seventh in the Western Conference. It would be a real shock if they didn’t at least make it out of the play-in round. But here they are overmatched.
The Grizzlies are 8-1 ATS against the Timberwolves the last three seasons. The one loss was a bad one, earlier this year in Minnesota. But that was also back in November, before the Grizzlies’ season really took off.
Ja Morant had 44 points in the loss to Portland. The Grizzlies are 28-12 vs. the rest of the Western Conference. Minnesota is only 20-18 in such games. Memphis also has a much better record against winning teams.
The defensive edge also goes to Memphis. The Timberwolves give up 111.7 points per game, more than you’d like to see, and in the last five games they gave up an average of 121.8 points. Lay the points here.
|02-17-22||Mavs -3 v. Pelicans||Top||125-118||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
Were Dallas to win here, that would make it six wins in the last seven games, going into the All Star Break. The only loss was by two to the Clippers, who they had just beaten the previous game. Tonight the Mavs are in the Big Easy to face the Pelicans and I like their chances of getting another win.
Dallas is pretty solidly a top six team in the Western Conference right now. That didn’t stop them from making some moves at the trade deadline and the two new additions have already been a big help. Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie were instrumental in the Mavs’ bench outscoring the Heat’s 38-25 in a 107-99 upset on Tuesday.
That was a solid win for the Mavs, on the road, and the fact they did it with Luka Doncic going just 5 of 19 from the field speaks volumes. Doncic didn’t even have any fourth quarter points in the win over Miami. He had previously averaged 43 points over the previous three games.
New Orleans has lost three of four, all the games coming at home. All three losses have been by double digits. They did not shoot well from three in a 121-109 loss to Memphis on Tuesday.
I just see the Mavs solidly as the better team and have no problem laying a short number in this one. They are 7-3 ATS the last 10 meetings.
|02-17-22||Heat v. Hornets +5||Top||111-107||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
With a win here, MIami would go into the All Star Break tied (with Chicago) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. But Charlotte will not roll over on Thursday as they are rather desperate for a win to close out the first half.
Tuesday brought a particularly painful loss for the Hornets, in Minnesota, where they led most of the way only to fall in overtime. It was their eighth loss in nine games, the one win being against Detroit. Still 9th in the East, it’s getting a little “too close to comfort” when it comes to the cut line for the play-in round.
Shockingly, Charlotte has lost its last six home games. This is a team that averages 113.9 points per game, most in the NBA, but during the six game home losing streak they have scored more than 101 just two times.
I’m expecting more points from the home team tonight. They are 0-2 so far against the Heat this season, scoring just 86 and 99 points in those losses. Again, that’s atypical from a team that leads the league in scoring.
Miami only scored 99 in a home loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday. It’s hard to win big on the road and with this being the final game before the All Star Break, I can see the Heat being flat. Two thirds of their losses have come on the road. More motivated and at home, Charlotte covers the spread here.
|02-16-22||Rockets v. Suns -15.5||Top||121-124||Loss||-110||14 h 34 m||Show|
Look for the Suns to rock and roll tonight. Yes, this is the second game of a back to back for them, they are laying double digits and it’s their last game before the All Star Break. But the opponent is Houston, the worst team in the conference.
Phoenix has been the NBA’s best team in the first half of the season. Since January 10th, they’ve lost only once and that was almost two weeks ago, at Atlanta. Last night saw them record a sixth straight victory, beating the Clippers 103-96.
Two prior meetings this year vs. the Rockets have gone well. The Suns won those games by a combined 38 points.
Houston has won just once in its last ten games. Last time out, they lost by 34 to the Jazz. It was the third time in the past five games where the Rockets surrendered more than 130 points. They are 2-8 ATS this season after giving up 130+ points in the previous game.
The Suns have every conceivable edge in this matchup. Unless, for some reason, they choose “not to care,” they will win big. Lay the points.
|02-16-22||Spurs -6.5 v. Thunder||Top||114-106||Win||100||13 h 34 m||Show|
The Spurs ought to have a better record. They have scored roughly the same number of points that they have allowed this season. They have a positive efficiency rating, which means they also score more than they allow on a per possession basis. Several teams ahead of them in the West - such as the Clippers and Lakers - cannot say any of the above.
Yet the Spurs are somehow buried 14 games under .500 and in 12th place in the conference. Statistically, they are probably the eighth best team. Does this mean they are likely to make a run in the second half? I’m not sure about that. But I am confident they can wax Oklahoma City tonight.
The Thunder are one of two hopeless teams in the West. If not for the Rockets, they’d be in last place. They did win last time out, as a 10-point dog, beating New York 126-124. I’ll concede the fact that the Thunder have been more competitive than you think. They are 37-19 ATS for the season.
But tonight marks the first time in six games where Oklahoma City is NOT a double digit underdog. The last time this happened, they lost by 10 to a bad Sacramento team. The last time the Thunder and Spurs met, the latter won by 22.
OKC still doesn’t have its leading scorer back (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). The Spurs had won three of four before letting one slip away in Chicago Monday night (led by 6 going into the fourth quarter). They have some new reserves coming in that were acquired at the deadline. Lay the points here.
|02-15-22||Hornets +6.5 v. Wolves||Top||120-126||Win||100||10 h 10 m||Show|
Minnesota has been on a bit of a roll of late. Charlotte has not. This has led to a spread that is much larger than what it should be for tonight’s matchup, at least in my opinion.
The Timberwolves have been favored in less than half their games this season. The percentage was even more skewed before the last couple weeks when they faced the likes of the Pistons (twice) and the Kings (twice). Those are some of the weakest teams in the league. While Charlotte is struggling right now, they are a lot closer to average over the course of the season.
The Hornets have faced some of the league’s top teams during this losing streak that has seen them drop seven of eight. They lost to Boston (who is red hot) by six, to Cleveland by one and also faced Memphis, Miami and Toronto. Minnesota is a step below all of those teams.
Back in November, Charlotte beat Minnesota 133-115. They are 4-0 ATS their last four meetings with the Timberwolves.
Also, the Hornets are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a road underdog. Take the points.
|02-14-22||Spurs v. Bulls -5.5||Top||109-120||Win||100||13 h 44 m||Show|
The Bulls are back on a winning run, having captured each of the last three games. They did not cover Saturday against Oklahoma City, but that was a large number. The previous two wins were both by 12 points.
The Spurs are in the midst of their annual “Rodeo Road Trip.” Things didn’t get off to a great start with a loss at Cleveland on Feb 9, but the Spurs have since pulled back to back upsets, beating Atlanta and New Orleans. A third straight upset seems unlikely though.
I say that based on the fact the Spurs are still 13 games below .500. Their last three game win streak was around Christmas time.
Chicago has DeMar DeRozan, who has scored 30 or more points in six consecutive games, the longest stretch by anyone in a Bulls uniform since Michael Jordan. Nikola Vucevic had 31 points and 15 rebounds against Oklahoma City.
With a 21-8 record at the United Center, the Bulls are a very strong home team. They are also 23-14 ATS when favored this year. Lay the points
|02-12-22||Clippers v. Mavs -7||Top||99-97||Loss||-110||13 h 6 m||Show|
This is the second meeting in three days for the Clippers and the Mavericks. The latter took Thursday’s game, which was also here in Dallas, 112-105. Hours after saying goodbye to teammate Kristaps Porzingis (traded to Washington), Luka Doncic ran wild with a 51-point game.
The Clippers have failed to cover their last five games. Blame the defense. During the 0-5 ATS skid, they are giving up an average of 123.2 points per contest. That is bad.
Dallas has won four straight, all at home. They now have a 20-10 home record for the season. They are simply better than the Clippers, who are still without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
So can the Mavericks cover the spread again? I think so. They’re playing good defense this year: #3 in points allowed for the season, allowing 101.4 points per game at home and 100.6 the last five games.
Before losing to Dallas on Thursday, LA was blown out in two straight games. They lost by 24 to Milwaukee and 26 to Memphis. Lay the points here.
|02-11-22||Thunder v. 76ers -12.5||Top||87-100||Win||100||12 h 36 m||Show|
Well, this game is not likely to be close. Oklahoma City has lost three in a row and 10 of its last 13. They are 17-37 on the season. The last three losses have all been by double digits.
Meanwhile, you’ve got Philadelphia coming off a loss. So they should be plenty motivated. Plus, they just traded for James Harden, so there will be a renewed sense of optimism here. The last 10 times Philly has been off an ATS loss, they are 9-1 ATS.
Harden likely won’t play on Friday, but the 76ers won’t need him. Joel Embiid has scored 25 or more points in 21 straight games. He had 34 points and 12 rebounds Tuesday against Phoenix.
While the Sixers are just 1-3 in February, they closed January with a five-game win streak. They are fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 32-22 record. Back in October they defeated the Thunder by 12 points and that was in Oklahoma City. They are now 17-5 ATS L22 games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400.
OKC lost its leading scorer awhile ago and it shows. Already the league’s lowest scoring team, the Thunder have failed to hit 100 in four of the last six games. Lay the points in this one.
|02-10-22||Nets +3 v. Wizards||Top||112-113||Win||100||12 h 57 m||Show|
Last night, in College Basketball, I said “something had to give” in the California-Oregon State matchup. My call on that one ended up being right. Now we turn to a similar situation in the NBA with the Nets taking on the Wizards.
Brooklyn has lost its last nine games. That seems inconceivable, but Kevin Durant hasn’t played in any of them while James Harden and Kyrie Irving have also both missed time for their own reasons. Of the three, only Irving is set to play tonight’s game. (Harden could be traded?)
Fortunately, for the Nets, tonight’s game is against a Washington team that has lost eight of its last nine games and is 2-14 ATS in its last 16. The Wizards just learned that leading scorer Bradley Beal is done for the season. I’d say the team’s season is now done as well.
Who will win tonight? I say Brooklyn. They are 17-11 on the road and the better team, even without Durant and Harden. Thus, I will gladly take the points.
The Wizards’ starting lineup is Aaron Holiday, Spencer Dinwiddie, Thomas Bryant, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma. The only teams in the East with worse YTD point differentials are Orlando and Detroit.
|02-09-22||Spurs v. Cavs -6.5||Top||92-105||Win||100||12 h 35 m||Show|
Cleveland has been THE biggest surprise this year. At the start of the season, most had them ranked near the bottom of the league. But here we are, almost at the All-Star Break, and the Cavs have a 33-21 SU record.
If you were betting on the Cavs in the early portion of the season, then congrats. From November 1st through December 18th, they went an incredible 19-3-2 against the spread.
Oddsmakers started to catch up to what was going on in Cleveland, but now the team is even stronger. Trading for Caris LeVert and the impending return of Darius Garland make this a true force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs have won two in a row after beating LeVert’s old team (Indiana) on Sunday. They had to rally from a 20-point deficit, but still ended up winning by 13. As home favorites this year, the Cavs are not only 13-2 straight up, but winning by an average of 12.7 points per game. That’s impressive.
San Antonio hasn’t played since Friday when they defeated Houston 131-106. This is the start of the annual “Rodeo Road Trip” as they won’t be at home again until March 3rd. The biggest issue for the Spurs tonight is that it’s been more than a month since they won back to back games. I’ll lay the short number.
|02-08-22||Magic v. Blazers -3.5||Top||113-95||Loss||-110||15 h 48 m||Show|
Portland has been a disappointment. But covering a small number, at home, against the league’s worst team sounds doable? Orlando, who is 12-43 on the year, has dropped two in a row by a combined 53 points after previously winning four of six.
That 4-2 stretch was the Magic’s best run of the season. The last two games have brought a return to form as they lost by 20 to Memphis and 33 to Boston. Those were both home games. The road has seen them go 7-23 thus far. You look at this spread and if one were inclined to back the underdog, then it’s an admission that you think they have a good chance of winning the game. I would almost never expect Orlando to win.
Now Portland has lost five in a row and seven of eight. So this matchup is just what the doctor ordered as far as they are concerned. They’ve beaten the Magic 10 straight times, including 98-88 in Orlando on January 17th.
Before getting blitzed by Milwaukee on Saturday, the Blazers had held three straight opponents under 100 points. They’ve already done that once to Orlando. I think they can do it again as the Magic come in as the league’s third lowest scoring team. Lay the points.
|02-07-22||Suns -6 v. Bulls||Top||127-124||Loss||-110||13 h 59 m||Show|
Playing for a second straight day, Chicago should be no match for a Phoenix team that’s won 12 of its last 13 games. While this is a matchup of first place teams in the respective conferences, one team is clearly better than the other.
The Bulls lost Sunday, 119-108 to Philadelphia. They were also home dogs in that one. There is a long list of injured players right now as Zach LaVine and Coby White joined Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso on the bench yesterday.
Defensively, Chicago has issues. They’ve given up at least 115 points in six straight games. Yesterday, they found themselves down 17 in the fourth quarter before a late rally made things a little interesting.
Look for the Suns to have no mercy on the Bulls tonight. The Western Conference leaders held Washington to 80 points in an easy win on Saturday. They led by 34 going into the fourth quarter.
DeMar DeRozan really tried yesterday for the Bulls, scoring 45 points in 41 minutes. There’s no way he’s going to be able to match that performance here though. Lay the points.
|02-04-22||Rockets v. Spurs -3.5||Top||106-131||Win||100||13 h 17 m||Show|
After losing a couple of close ones to top teams (Phoenix, Golden State), the Spurs never had a chance last night, losing to the Heat by the score of 112-95. Because of inclement weather, the start time for the game was moved up 90 minutes. Missing five players, including two starters, San Antonio was held to a season-worst 38 percent from the field.
One of the missing players was leading scorer Dejounte Murray. He’s listed as questionable for tonight. The team could get a boost from the season debut of Zach Collins. Regardless, I think Gregg Popovich will have enough pieces to guide his team to victory over the last place Rockets.
This is a critical game for San Antonio. The annual “Rodeo Road Trip” is set to begin next week. They are 15 games below .500 entering Friday. A win here would give them some much needed momentum going into the upcoming eight-game trip, which goes through the All-Star Break and into March.
When these teams met last month, the Spurs scored 82 points in the paint en route to a 134-104 victory.
Houston picked up a rare win on Wednesday, ending an 11-game home losing streak by upsetting Cleveland 115-104. It was just their fifth win since 12/19. Only once during that time have they won two straight games. So the decision to lay the short number in this one seems prudent.
|02-03-22||Lakers +3 v. Clippers||Top||110-111||Win||100||15 h 32 m||Show|
The Lakers look to make it back to back wins here as they face the Clippers Thursday night on TNT. This isn’t your “usual” second night of a back to back for the Purple & Gold. While listed as “the road team,” this is the same building they won in last night, defeating Portland 99-94.
The Lakers did have to rally to get the win last night. They outscored Portland 27-19 in the fourth quarter. They also got 30 points from Anthony Davis, 19 of those coming in the final stanza.
Both LA teams are under .500 and just trying to catch up to the top six in the West. I think it’s unlikely either will do so, and thus they’ll be relegated to the play-in round come April. The Lakers are playing without LeBron James right now, but the Clippers don’t have either Paul George or Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers are coming off a 4-4 road trip that took them all over the country. They were a bit lucky to finish the trip at .500 as there were multiple huge comebacks. They trailed the Sixers by 24, Wizards by 35 and Magic by 14. Those were all games that they somehow WON.
Not tonight though. Even with two days rest, I expect the Clippers to struggle coming off the long road trip. They are actually 0-5 ATS this season when playing with exactly two days of rest. The Lakers are 8-2 ATS after a game where they failed to score 100 points.
|02-02-22||Magic v. Pacers -4.5||Top||119-118||Loss||-115||12 h 57 m||Show|
Indiana is having a really disappointing season thus far, but should certainly be able to take advantage of Orlando playing the second night of a back to back. The Magic have the worst record in the NBA, 11-41, and lost 126-115 in Chicago last night.
Despite a hot start where they shot over 60% in the first quarter, Orlando just couldn’t keep pace in the Windy City. They rallied to tie the game up in the last four minutes, only to run out of gas. I think it’s going to be tough for them to dust themselves off after another loss. The Magic have won just one time in ten tries when playing without rest this season. They are also 8-15 ATS off a double digit loss.
The Pacers beat the Clippers Monday, 122-116. They are now 4-4 over their last eight games, including a win over Golden State, as they try to stay in playoff contention. Don’t judge the Pacers by their 19-33 record as they have played better than you’d think. What has really hurt them is a league-high 10 losses by three points or fewer.
Even though they’re short-handed right now, the Pacers know this is a game they must win. Lay the points as Orlando is rarely a good bet to keep a game close, let alone win.
|02-01-22||Nuggets v. Wolves -3||Top||115-130||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
Minnesota has an excellent shot at ending Denver’s five-game win streak, regardless if Nikola Jokic plays or not.
The Nuggets will be playing their fifth straight game on the road this evening. Two days ago, they shot over 60% from the field and laid waste to Milwaukee, winning by 36. Jokic dominated down low against a Bucks team that really had no post presence. If Jokic (questionable) even plays tonight, he will be going up against Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Timberwolves are likewise coming off an impressive win. They beat Utah by 20 on Sunday. It was the fourth time in the last six games that the T’wolves topped 120 points.
There is a huge difference in what Minnesota allows at home and on the road. They allow almost 11 points per game less here in the Twin Cities.
The first two meetings of the year have seen Denver win here and Minnesota win in the Mile High City. Now it’s time for the home team to win one. Lay the points.
|01-26-22||Hornets -1.5 v. Pacers||Top||158-126||Win||100||11 h 7 m||Show|
Charlotte looks to pick up the pieces after losing 125-113 in Toronto last night. Giving up 39 points in the first quarter is what ultimately doomed the Hornets, although another tough night from behind the arc didn’t help either. In their last two games, the Hornets are a wretched 10 of 67 on three-point attempts.
Perhaps taking it to the basket would be a prudent move tonight against Indiana. The Pacers have allowed 130 points in the paint during their last two games, both of which have been losses.
Both of these teams are somewhat relegated to the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. But there should be no argument as to which is having the better overall season. Charlotte remains four games over .500 while Indiana is languishing, 14 games below the Mendoza Line.
The Hornets have had the Pacers number this year, winning all three previous meetings. All three were close, but Charlotte has averaged 120 points per game.
Charlotte is also a top five team in offensive efficiency. They are the second-highest scoring team in the league. Lay the short number on the road.
|01-25-22||Mavs v. Warriors -3||Top||92-130||Win||100||13 h 5 m||Show|
Dallas just beat Memphis 104-91 for its 12th win in 14 games. So they are likely feeling good about themselves heading to Golden State. The Mavericks have never lost in the Warriors’ “new building.” They are 3-0 SU/ATS all-time at the Chase Center. Every win has come by at least 20 points.
Golden State, meanwhile, seems to be reeling a bit even though they’ve posted back to back wins. But the two wins were each by just two points and they did not cover the spread in either game. The Warriors are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
Poor shooting, especially from Steph Curry, has plagued the Warriors a bit recently. Curry is averaging only 20.1 points while shooting 27.6% from three the L10 games. Over the last 14 games, the team has failed to reach 100 points a total of seven times.
But even though Dallas has been dialed in defensively, I believe that Golden State will break out of its “slump” tonight at home, on TNT. The Warriors are still averaging 111.9 points at home.
They also remain better than the Mavericks at the defensive end. Golden State is #1 in the league in scoring defense and gives up just 99.3 points per game at home. This is a short number for them and I say lay it.
|01-23-22||Celtics +1.5 v. Wizards||Top||116-87||Win||100||7 h 18 m||Show|
I like this play quite a bit. Looking at the standings, Washington is 9th and Boston is 10th. Neither has played all that well of late. Boston has dropped two in a row, both as a favorite, while Washington is 1-8 ATS its last nine games. The Wizards have also lost two straight as a favorite.
But what sticks out here is that the Celtics have a better point differential. They are better defensively than the Wizards. Looking at all the realistic playoff contenders in the East, the Wiz have the worst point differential.
Boston lost twice to Washington early in the year. In the second game, they sank only 2 of 26 three-point attempts. That’s very bad and also unlikely to repeat itself. Speaking of bad three-point shooting, leading scorer Jayson Tatum has missed his last 20 3PA. This is a player that ranks 10th in the NBA at 25.2 points per game.
I believe the Celtics are due to make a lot of threes in this game. If nothing else, the law of averages is in their favor.
Going back to January 4th, the Wizards have beaten only one team that wasn’t Orlando or Oklahoma City. Go with the better team on Sunday. TAKE BOSTON
|01-19-22||Thunder v. Spurs -6||Top||96-118||Win||100||13 h 39 m||Show|
San Antonio’s quest to make it back to .500, or at the very least get back in the top 10 in the West, requires that they win games like this. Tonight they host Oklahoma City, unquestionably one of the four worst teams in the league.
The Thunder have been covering at a high rate this year, as they are always underdogs. But they’ve got just one win in the last eight games.
Truthfully, the Spurs haven’t been much better, with just two wins in their last 12 games. But they led Phoenix in the fourth quarter, here at home, the other night. I just have a “feeling” this is the game where SA “puts it all together.”
OKC was down 22 Monday in Dallas. That they were able to close the gap to two when the final buzzer sounded is a little bit misleading.
The Spurs have covered four straight times following a double digit loss at home. Take them minus the points here.
|01-19-22||Wolves v. Hawks -2||Top||122-134||Win||100||12 h 39 m||Show|
Minnesota played last night, so this is a good chance for Atlanta to pick up a much needed victory. The Hawks are 18-25 right now. This is a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
The Timberwolves haven’t exactly been “playoff regulars,” so they’ve got to be thrilled to be seventh in the West. They picked up a win last night, 112-110, but did not cover as three-point favorites. I picked up a win with the Over.
Minnesota is still a “young” team, so I see them as being prone to a “letdown” this evening. The last time they were off a win and playing with no rest, they scored 88 points and lost to the Knicks. That was at home.
It’s a losing road record for the Timberwolves this season. I can’t stress how desperate the Hawks will be for a win here. They are coming off a win, against Milwaukee, so you know what they’re capable of doing. They won at Minnesota last month. Lay the short number with the HAWKS
|01-17-22||Thunder v. Mavs -11.5||Top||102-104||Loss||-110||12 h 26 m||Show|
Save for one bad game at Madison Square Garden last week, the Mavericks have been tearing it up of late. They come into Monday having won eight of their last nine games. On Friday, they ended the long win streak of the Memphis Grizzlies with an emphatic 112-85 beatdown. That was followed by another double digit victory, 108-92 over Orlando on Saturday.
This should be a third straight double digit victory for the Mavs as they host Oklahoma City on Monday. While the Thunder have been more competitive than expected so far, they don’t win games. Saturday marked their eighth loss in the last 10 tries. They blew a double digit lead at home against Cleveland and ended up going down 107-102.
The key to the Mavericks’ recent success has been their defense. They’ve led the league in defensive efficiency over the last three weeks - by a rather wide margin, in fact. Oklahoma City, despite averaging 116 points in its last three games, is still last in the league at 100.8 points per game.
This is the third meeting of the year between these teams. In the first two, both of which were played in OKC, the Mavs held the Thunder to 84 and 86 points. Should be another easy win here. Lay the points.
|01-16-22||Jazz -4.5 v. Nuggets||Top||125-102||Win||100||12 h 9 m||Show|
Utah, who has slipped to fourth in the West, could really use a win here. They’ve lost four in a row despite being favored in their last three games.
Even more surprising is that all four Jazz losses have been by double digits. This has been their worst stretch of the season.
But tonight sees them returning to the site of their last win, which came on January 5th, 115-109 in Denver. At that moment in time, the Jazz had won eight of nine.
The Nuggets are in the second game of a back to back and playing their third game in four days. The last two have gone well for them. Not only did the blowout Portland 140-108, they did the same to the Lakers last night, winning 133-96.
But it’s probably not possible for Denver to match last night’s shooting where they were 23 of 40 from three. Depth looks like it will be an issue tonight with JaMychal Green entering health and safety protocol and Austin Rivers out with a non-COVID illness. Utah is too good to continue losing like this. I still think they’re one of the top teams. Lay the points!
|01-14-22||Cavs v. Spurs +3.5||Top||114-109||Loss||-110||13 h 10 m||Show|
San Antonio is desperate for a win here. They lost at home to the Rockets on Wednesday. That was their fourth straight loss as well as their eighth in the last nine games. The only win was by the slightest of margins (99-97) over Boston.
Cleveland is no longer a pushover as it proved again on Wednesday when they went to Utah and smashed the Jazz 111-91, despite being a five-point underdog. The Cavs shockingly own the top point differential in the Eastern Conference.
But their ATS record has slipped a bit this month. They’ve covered just two of the last nine games, Wednesday being one of them. Oddsmakers are going to start catching up with the Cavaliers and this is an instance where I don’t think they should be favored.
Two starters could be returning tonight for the Spurs. That would greatly aid the likes of Dejounte Murray, who had a triple double in the last game. Murray was backed up by six teammates scoring 11 or more points. I really don’t know how San Antonio managed to lose to Houston. They were up nine in the third quarter.
An interesting tidbit on the Spurs: their home record is 7-11, but they have scored more points than they’ve allowed in those games. They average 115.6 PPG here. Take SAN ANTONIO
|01-13-22||Thunder v. Nets -8.5||Top||130-109||Loss||-110||13 h 50 m||Show|
After thrashing the Bulls 138-112 last night, Brooklyn is back at home Thursday to play Oklahoma City. That means no Kyrie Irving (unvaccinated) but it’s not like the Thunder should provide a ton of resistance here. My view is that after seven straight ATS losses (going into last night), the Nets are due to pick up steam.
Due to the blowout nature of last night’s game, Steve Nash was able to give some much needed rest to key players. Kevin Durant played just 30 minutes while James Harden played 33. That duo still found a way to combine for 52 points against the Bulls. We should get similar production, if not more, with them on the court for a longer amount of time tonight.
Oklahoma City has lost five in a row and hasn’t been able to even score 100 points in five of its last seven games. They are last in the league in scoring, a big problem when getting ready to face Brooklyn, who is one of the top scoring teams.
Back in November, the Nets beat the Thunder 120-96 and they were nine point ROAD favorites. It wasn’t the second night of a back to back, but there was no Irving.
The real sad thing for the Thunder is that they turned in one of their better offensive games on Tuesday and still lost. I don’t think they’re going to score a ton of points tonight, so lay the points with BROOKLYN.
|01-09-22||Cavs v. Warriors -10||Top||82-96||Win||100||13 h 57 m||Show|
Golden State will finally get Klay Thompson back on Sunday. It’ll be a familiar foe Thompson and the Warriors are up against. Cleveland is the team they played in four consecutive NBA Finals (2015-18) and they won three of them.
Klay hasn't played a single minute since landing awkwardly on his leg in the 2019 NBA Finals. After that, he then tore his Achilles in November of 2020. That's now 900+ days of being sidelined.
Over the course of his career, Thompson is shooting an extraordinary 41.9% from deep. He's also accomplished one of the most incredible feats in NBA History. 37pts on 13/13 shooting in a SINGLE QUARTER. I mean that's a great game for most people. He went on to score 52 in the game. Also, Klay once dropped 43 pts while taking only 4 dribbles. Some things that this man has done are just out of this world.
Cleveland has been a major surprise this season, which is emphasized by them having the NBA’s best against the spread record. But I think the oddsmakers are going to catch up with the Cavs over these next couple months. While this is obviously a big spread, it really says something about how oddsmakers’ perceive the Cavs compared to one of the top teams in the league.
Thompson’s return couldn’t have come at a better time as the Warriors have lost two in a row for the first time this season. Steph Curry and Draymond Green missed the last game, a 101-96 loss in New Orleans, but they are both listed as probable to join Thompson on the court Sunday. Lay the points with GOLDEN STATE
|01-08-22||Magic v. Pistons -1.5||Top||92-97||Win||100||11 h 9 m||Show|
Orlando and Detroit have the two worst records in the NBA. Orlando is 7-32. Detroit is 7-30. Someone’s gotta win here and I think it will be Detroit. Orlando has lost seven in a row. Though Detroit is coming off consecutive 30 point defeats, both of those were on the road. They’d won two straight prior to those losses.
The last time the Pistons were at home, they beat San Antonio. Then they went out and won in Milwaukee, which was rather shocking. Back in October, they won the first matchup of the year with Orlando, 110-103 as six-point favorites. The line is obviously much shorter this time and that’s why we like it. No way you can take Orlando getting such a short number on the road.
Having won a couple of games recently and playing at home, the Pistons should be more confident heading into this one. They are on an 11-3 ATS run following an ATS loss. Also giving them confidence is the fact they are 6-2 ATS the last eight meetings with Orlando and 5-1 ATS the last six meetings here in Detroit. Take the PISTONS
|01-07-22||Kings v. Nuggets -7.5||Top||111-121||Win||100||13 h 21 m||Show|
Denver badly needs to win tonight as they’ve lost their last two games. The losing is tied to injuries and COVID-related absences. But Nikola Jokic is still here and he had 26-21-11 the other night. The Nuggets lost that game, but only by six to a very good opponent (Utah).
Facing a “lesser” team tonight, I look for the Nuggets to get back into the win column. They’ve had only one losing streak longer than two games all year.
Sacramento has also dropped two in a row. Recently, they’ve been losing to teams that have been without their superstars. There was a loss to Dallas (who was without Doncic), a loss to the Lakers (who didn’t have LeBron or Davis) and most recently a loss to Atlanta (who was without Young, Collins and Bogdanovic).
Unlike Denver, the Kings don’t have a Jokic that they can count on to help turn things around.
Defensively, Sacramento really struggles on the road. They give up 117.4 points per game when playing away from home. Lay the points with DENVER here.
|01-06-22||Warriors v. Pelicans +2.5||Top||96-101||Win||100||10 h 9 m||Show|
Golden State finds itself in a real predicament tonight. Steph Curry, already mired in a shooting slump, suffered a quad contusion in last night’s loss to Dallas and almost certainly isn’t going to play tonight as a a result. It was a really poor effort from the Warriors last night as they lost 99-82 to the Mavericks.
Curry was just 5 of 24 on field goal attempts, which included 1 of 9 on three pointers. He finished with 14 points.
The team was only 5 of 28 on three last night. It is next to impossible to fill Curry’s shoes, especially with Klay Thompson still not back. Were Curry playing here, then I’d say there’s an excellent chance Golden State would bounce back from last night’s shooting slump. But that’s not the case,
After facing last year’s NBA Champs and two of the West’s top three teams, New Orleans is getting a big break here with Curry injured. The Pelicans need to start winning as they are just 13-25 this year.
It’s an opportunity the Pelicans must take advantage of here. They’d won five of six before losing the last three. Leading scorer Brandon Ingram has struggled in back to back games, but should bounce back here. Take the points.
|01-05-22||Rockets +7 v. Wizards||Top||114-111||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
I know things haven’t been pretty for Houston of late with losses piling up and some “insubordination” to boot. The team has lost eight in a row, all by at least nine points. But tonight the Rockets will have a full complement of players and they are taking on a Washington team that doesn’t blow many opponents out.
Going back to mid-November, the Wizards have just one win that came by greater than seven points. It was against a Cleveland team that was severely undermanned because of COVID. Since starting the season 10-3, Washington is six games below .500 and a lot of underlying metrics suggest they are very lucky to be in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Five of the last six games have seen the Wizards give up 117 points or more. They actually own the third worst point differential in the conference! The team did win on Monday, but by only three points over Charlotte.
Out West, you’ll find Houston at the bottom of the standings. This is their second losing streak of eight or more games this season, but remember they also had a seven-game win streak in between. A couple of players were suspended for Monday’s loss to the 76ers. Those players are going to be back in the lineup tonight.
Just think this is too many points for a middling Washington team to be laying against anybody. Take HOUSTON plus the points
|01-04-22||Grizzlies +2.5 v. Cavs||Top||110-106||Win||100||11 h 28 m||Show|
Both these teams have been defying expectations this season. The Grizzlies have gone 15-4 in their last 19 games, which includes a shocking 10-2 record in the 12 games they were without leading scorer Ja Morant. The Cavs have the best ATS record in the NBA right now at 24-11-2 ATS.
But Cleveland is not close to being 100 percent right now. There are multiple injuries in the backcourt, including a season-ender to PG Ricky Rubio, which could be a crushing blow. Darius Garland could return to the lineup tonight, but he’s been in health and safety protocol for the last week. How effective will he be in his first game back?
The Cavs did just beat Indiana on Sunday, 108-104. But they did not cover the spread. It was their fourth straight ATS loss, so predictably they are starting to “give some back” at the betting window. Before beating Indiana, they’d lost each of the previous three games straight up.
Memphis won its fifth straight last night, beating Brooklyn 118-104 as a 6.5 point underdog. Morant, who is back, has scored 30 or more in four straight games. He had 37 when the Grizzlies beat the Cavs 132-121 in the opening game of the season.
The Grizzlies are a better team than the Cavaliers. Not too worried about this being the second night of a back to back for the Grizz as they are hot right now and 9-3 this year when coming off a double digit win. Take MEMPHIS plus the points
|01-02-22||Heat -3.5 v. Kings||Top||113-115||Loss||-110||10 h 27 m||Show|
Miami may be undermanned at the moment, but they continue to win. Friday’s 120-110 triumph over Houston, which came on the heels of a game being postponed, was the Heat’s fifth straight victory. We think they’ve got enough to cover against Sacramento here on Sunday.
On Friday, the Heat were led by Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry. That trio is strong enough to carry the team, moving forward. Butler scored a season-high 37 points vs. the Rockets.
Going back a bit further, Miami has won seven of eight and has the best net efficiency rating this season in the Eastern Conference. While they are 23-13 on the season, Sacramento is just 15-22.
The Kings were beaten by 16 here at home on New Year’s Eve. The loss was to Dallas, who they had just beaten on a buzzer-beater two days earlier. Sacramento has lost four of its last six, even though all but one of the games took place at home. They have a losing home record.
The Kings’ biggest problem is lack of defense. They give up 113.7 points per contest, which is third most in the NBA. Also of concern is a 1-8 ATS run against teams that have winning records. Take Miami to win and cover here.
|01-01-22||Pelicans v. Bucks -10.5||Top||113-136||Win||100||9 h 14 m||Show|
Tough spot for New Orleans going against one of the top teams in the league. Milwaukee has started to hit their stride with five straight wins, the last being a 136-118 beatdown of Orlando. Expect a similar final score in this game.
The Bucks are averaging 121.6 points during the five-game win streak while allowing only 108.4. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on a real tear, averaging 32.3 points and 10 rebounds the last three games while shooting 56.3 percent from the field.
The Bucks’ bench has contributed at least 36 points in each of the last three games, so it’s been a very well-rounded effort from the defending champs at the offensive end of late.
New Orleans has played some of its best ball of late, winning five of its last six games. They just beat Cleveland, who had several players out, 108-104 in their last game. But the Pelicans are dealing with several absences of their own right now. Three players are in health and safety protocols. Brandon Ingram, who generally carries the scoring load, is questionable with an Achilles injury.
Milwaukee will remember losing to New Orleans in overtime two weeks ago and be out for revenge. The Pelicans are just 3-9 ATS their last 12 games as a road underdog. 10* NBA PLAYBOOK on MILWAUKEE