The NBA all-star break was probably a good thing for quite a few of the players this year. Many players reported out of shape after expecting the lockout to last all season. In addition, the scheduling this year has taken a toll on quite a few veteran teams. Over the past week the ‘over’ is 32-25 in the NBA as a whole, which is a big change from the first few months of the year. It might be that players are finally getting into an offensive rhythm.
The average bettor has to find ways to get an edge on the oddsmakers in a major sport such as the NBA. There is no better way to do that this year than to examine the schedule and find strange scheduling spots. The goal of this weekly NBA article is to help bettors learn how to take advantage of these unusual situations. Every Friday we’ll break down a few of the games on that night’s slate where some tough scheduling could play a major role in the outcome of the game.
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Friday, March 9, Games of Note
Dallas (-2) at Sacramento – 10:00 p.m. EST
There is no better example of a player who really wasn’t ready for the season to start this year than Dirk Nowitzki. In a recent interview Nowitzki said after last year’s championship and the busy offseason that his “motivation was gone for a little bit.” It seems to be back in a big way of late. Nowitzki has scored 40, 27, and 28 points in the Mavericks last three games.
The defending champs have had the toughest schedule in the NBA since the break. Dallas will be playing their sixth game in eight days in this one. This is also the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back scheduling spot. Sacramento has been busy as well, and this will be their fourth game in six days.
Dallas is 8-6 against the spread on no rest this year. Sacramento is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven following a single day of rest. Nowitzki and the Mavericks have been much better lately, and I think they win this one.
Score Prediction: Dallas 98, Sacramento 93
New York (-1) at Milwaukee- 8:30 p.m. EST-
Jeremy Lin is still a very popular guy, but Linsanity has cooled off a bit over the last couple weeks. The Knicks have lost three straight tough road games, and they really need to get back on the winning track. Milwaukee has lost six of eight games. They are coming off a heart-breaking loss against the Bulls Wednesday night.
This will be the third road game in the past four days for the Knicks. Milwaukee is playing its third game in five days, but all of those have been at home. The Knicks are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a day of rest. The Bucks are just 3-7 in the same situation. In the last 12 meetings between these two teams, the Bucks have covered 11 times.
The over is 13-3 in the Bucks last 16 home games. I expect very little defense in this game.
Score Prediction: Milwaukee 108, New York 107
Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio (-5) – 8:30 p.m. EST
The latest NBA odds show the Spurs as a five-point home favorite in this one. The Spurs are one of the teams that I believe is hurt by the condensed schedule this year, but the schedule has been very kind to them of late. This will only be the team’s fifth game since the All-Star break. Other teams have played as many as seven or eight times during that span. This is the Clippers sixth game in the past nine days.
The Clippers have lost back-to-back games by a single point against Minnesota and New Jersey. The Spurs are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following a day of rest. They are also 11-2 ATS in their last 13 meetings with the Clippers. The Spurs are in a good spot here.
Score Prediction: San Antonio 102, Los Angeles 93
New Jersey (-1) at Charlotte- 7 p.m. EST
The last time these two teams met Deron Williams scored 57 points to set a New Jersey Nets franchise record for most points scored in a game. Did the Bobcats learn anything from that game or will it be more of the same? Charlotte looks like a shoe-in for the worst record in the NBA this year. The Nets basically consist of Williams and a bunch of guys whose names you’ve probably never heard.
Both teams will be playing their third game in four nights in this one. Charlotte has been at home the entire time, while New Jersey has done a lot of traveling. The Nets are 4-21-1 ATS in their last 26 road games against teams with a losing record. Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in their last five as a home underdog. The best bet here might be the over, but I think Charlotte might show a little pride in this one.
Score Prediction: Charlotte 101, New Jersey 99
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