In the months before the season, the average bettor was bemoaning the fact that the NBA had been on lockout for so long. It certainly was no fun thinking about the possibility of a year without the NBA, but in the end the tightened schedule could benefit the wise bettor. This is one of those cases where something good could come from what looked like a bad situation.
How could the lockout and condensed schedule help individual bettors? The savviest sports bettors use every situational angle possible to get an edge. This shortened schedule creates opportunities that wouldn’t normally present themselves in a normal year.
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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.
Friday Jan. 20 Games of Note
Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando (-4.5) – 8:00 p.m. EST
The Lakers are coming off a big matchup in Miami on Thursday night, but they are actually the better-rested team. Orlando will be playing its third game in four nights.
The Lakers will be playing their sixth back-to-back game this year. They are 1-4 against the spread in the back end of a back-to-back situation thus far this year. Orlando is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games coming off a single day of rest. Interestingly, the road team is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings between these two teams. The Lakers have some favorable matchups on the floor against the Magic.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles 97 Orlando 93
Denver (-7) at Washington -7:00 p.m. EST
The Wizards pulled off a stunning 105-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, but the oddsmakers still favor the Nuggets by more than two baskets in this one. Denver has one of the toughest schedules in the league this week. The Nuggets play five games in seven days this week, and they are right in the middle of a five-game road trip that takes them all over the country. Washington only has three games this week, and they are currently in the middle of a five-game home stand.
The Wizards haven’t handled prosperity very well over the last couple years. Washington is a miserable 13-38 ATS in their last 51 games following a straight up victory. Denver is 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 games following one day of rest. The Nuggets are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 meetings with the Wizards. It’s hard to imagine the Wizards showing up two games in a row.
Score Prediction: Denver 102 Washington 91
Memphis (-3.5) at Detroit- 7:30 p.m. EST
Memphis started the season slowly, but they are currently on a four-game winning streak. The Pistons have lost nine of their last 10, and they now have the second-worst record in the NBA. Detroit will be playing its third game in the last four days. Memphis is in the middle of a difficult stretch where they play five games in the span of seven days.
Detroit has been bad in general, but they have been awful in this particular spot. Detroit is 0-6 ATS in their last six games following a single day of rest. Memphis is 22-6 ATS in their last 28 games as the favorite. The Grizzlies are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in Detroit. Memphis is playing at a much higher level than the Pistons right now.
Score Prediction: Memphis 93 Detroit 83
Portland (-6.5) at Toronto- 7:00 p.m. EST
Portland is in the middle of a brutal stretch on the schedule. The Blazers will play six games in the span of just eight days. This is just the second game in that period, but Portland is coming off a tough loss at the hands of Atlanta on Wednesday night. Toronto has only three games in this calendar week, so the Raptors should be well rested.
Both teams have fared well this year on one day of rest. Portland is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a day of rest. Toronto is 5-2 ATS in the same situation. The home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams. Toronto may catch Portland overlooking this game.
Score Prediction: Portland 91 Toronto 89
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