The knock on the NBA season thus far has been that there have been so many sloppy games. The lockout has affected teams in many different ways, but it does seem like most offenses are starting to get their rhythm back after a poor start to the year. Even with the offenses getting back into the swing of things, the condensed scheduling is going to continue to create chaos in the NBA.
Clearly, everyone knows that the schedule is playing a major role this year. The factor that some bettors don’t realize though is that teams respond in very different ways when it comes to odd 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, Feb. 3 Games of Note
Memphis at Oklahoma City (-9) – 8 p.m. EST
Last year these two fought tooth-and-nail in the playoffs, with the Thunder coming out on top in Game 7 in Oklahoma City. There hasn’t been a streakier team in the NBA than the Grizzlies so far this season. Memphis won seven straight before dropping four in a row, but they have now gotten back on track with two straight wins once again. Oklahoma City has the best record in the NBA at 17-4.
The strange schedule this year has meant that these two teams see a ton of each other early in the year. Oklahoma City has beaten the Grizzlies twice in Memphis already this season. Memphis will be on the back end of a back-to-back here, but that could actually be a good thing for them. The Grizzlies are 20-5-1 against the spread in their last 26 games in this situation. This one might stay a little closer than most expect.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma City 99, Memphis 93
New York at Boston (-6.5) – 8 p.m. EST
These two teams squared off on opening day of the NBA season. New York looked decent in a 106-104 win over the Celtics in the season opener. It has been all downhill since for the Knicks, who have been the single most disappointing team in the NBA. While the majority of the league has been solving their offensive problems, the Knicks offensive woes continue. Mike D’Antoni might not last much longer if this team doesn’t turn it around in a hurry.
Rajon Rondo has targeted this game as his possible return date, but he is still listed as questionable for the Celtics. Boston has won five of their last six games thanks to solid play on the defensive end of the floor. The Celtics will be playing their fourth game in the last six days. New York is in the middle of the toughest part of their schedule this season. This will be the middle game of the Knicks back-to-back-to-back scheduling this weekend.
The Knicks are 0-4 ATS in their last four games without a day of rest. I don’t see any reason to expect an inspired performance from the Knicks in this one.
Score Prediction: Boston 93 New York 82
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver (-3.5) – 8 p.m. EST
Denver comes into this matchup with a 15-7 record, while the Lakers have struggled to a 13-9 record. Los Angeles has been extremely inconsistent so far this season. George Karl doesn’t have a single dominant player on his team, but this Nuggets team seems to have some great team chemistry.
This game is a perfect example of how odd the scheduling spots are this year in the NBA. Los Angeles comes into this one having played in only one game in the last four days. On the other hand, Denver will be playing its third game in the last four days, and they are in the middle of the dreaded back-to-back-to-back portion of their schedule.
Typically, one would think that this scheduling spot would favor the Lakers, but the numbers say otherwise. The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following two days of rest. Denver is a stunning 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games without a day of rest. The Nuggets are the more balanced team right now.
Score Prediction: Denver 100 Los Angeles 93
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