NBA Handicapping: Hot or Cold Report
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/29/2009
Oklahoma City Thunder
The NBA’s third best team against the spread (18-11 ATS) has the potential to get even hotter against the number as the new decade arrives. The Thunder have finally figured out how to play on the road as evidenced by their 117-113 win at Phoenix and their competitive three-point loss against the Lakers on the road as 10-point underdogs. Of Oklahoma City’s next four games, three are on the road, but three are also against, Washington, Utah and Milwaukee. The last time around against each of those teams the Thunder won by an average of 16 points per game.
The Rockets are the kind of team that allows bettors to buy low repeatedly throughout the season. Just when you think they are getting hot, SU or ATS, they fall into a three-plus game slide only to turn it around again. They are at the buy low point of their constantly changing value. After three wins and easy covers during the weekend, the holiday weekend proved tough with blowout losses at Orlando and Cleveland sandwiched around a five-point win against the lowly New Jersey Nets.
So after failing to cover in their previous three games the Rockets now host New Orleans and Dallas before kicking off 2010 at New Orleans and at the Lakers. The Rockets are 4-0 ATS and SU against those four teams the last time around. Time to buy the Rockets for now, but do not hold on for too long.
The Raptors return to the cold list despite the team’s first four-game winning streak of the season. That has been a bright spot in an otherwise dreary first few months for Toronto. The four-game winning streak was the good news for the Raptors. The bad news is those wins were against New Jersey, New Orleans and Detroit twice. Now comes the part where the Raptors struggle mightily. They have been absolutely unable to contend with the Eastern Conference elite since an opening day win against the Cavaliers. Next up on their schedule in the next five games are two games against Boston and a trip to Orlando. When the Raptors are underdogs of at least seven points, a situation they will surely find themselves in against the Celtics and Magic, they are 3-9 ATS and 0-12 SU.
New York Knicks
Just when the Knicks have you believing they are clearly not as bad as the Nets, they fall into one of their many multiple game slides. They started their five-game home stand with three straight wins but once Christmas hit, the Knicks reverted to their old ways, dropping back-to-back games against Miami and San Antonio, and not covering in either. The road awaits the Knicks now as they head to Detroit, New Jersey and Atlanta with a lot less optimism than was around the team just a week ago.
It is tough to go far in the NBA when you struggle against your own division. That is exactly the dilemma staring down the Jazz who are 1-4 against teams from the Northwest and 16-9 against everyone else. The cruel schedule makers gave the Jazz a triple whammy for the holidays. Back-to-back-to-back games are on the docket for Utah starting Wednesday at Minnesota, continuing Thursday at Oklahoma City and wrapping up Saturday against Denver. The Jazz are 0-3 SU and ATS against those three teams this year.
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