NBA Handicapping: Hot or Cold Report
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/18/2009
Golden State Warriors
The easiest schedule in the NBA thus far has resulted in records of 3-7 straight up and 5-5 against the spread. Golden State had to get off to a better start with a light early season slate but that did not happen and the blame falls squarely on the defense. It is ranked last in the league in points per game and three-point shooting defense and second to last in the game in field-goal shooting defense.
An upcoming schedule featuring road dates against Dallas and San Antonio and a home game against the Lakers spells trouble for the Warriors.
New Jersey Nets
This may sound like a head scratcher but hear me out. Very few teams in the NBA will continue to see lines like the Nets have seen recently. They opened the season with five straight ATS losses (and of course 11 straight SU losses and counting). Back then the spreads were in the single digits. The Nets were actually favored by two points in the season opener.
Since then New Jersey has seen four double-digit lines and it has covered three of them. They are 4-2 ATS lately and with the losing streak growing they are sure to continue to get no love from the oddsmakers. Their defense has also continued to improve. Teams are rarely surpassing 90 points on them. Eduardo Najera, Courtney Lee and Devin Harris are inching closer to returning to the lineup. Don't expect too many SU wins in the future from the Nets but they will remain competitive in terms of the spread.
It's not too late to jump on the Hawks bandwagon just yet. They are 9-2, injury free, an unheard of 10-1 ATS, and winning convincingly. Besides an overtime win over Portland, the Hawks have won four straight games by an average of 18 points. The oddsmakers have caught on, making the Hawks 12.5 and 3.5-point favorites for their last two games and Atlanta responded with resounding wins. They got through the tricky part of their schedule and now until mid-December Atlanta plays 13 teams of which they went 10-2 SU and 8-3 ATS against during their last meeting with the team.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are about to embark on a four-game homestand. They are trying to snap out of a .500 funk, which is average for most teams but drastically underachieving for a team who many thought was a NBA Finals favorite. The road has not been kind to the Spurs. They are 0-3 ATS and 0-3 SU away from the AT&T Center. With the progression of rookie DeJuan Blair fitting nicely into an offense with the usually dominant Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, the Spurs are poised to jump to the top of the Southwest with this four-game homestand that includes Utah, Washington, Milwaukee and Golden State.
The streaky Bulls look to be headed to a losing streak in the coming weeks. They have fallen into a pattern of two losses, three wins, two losses and two wins and without the services of power forward Tyrus Thomas until mid December, the Bulls will struggle even more. They are 2-3 ATS without him in the lineup. They also happen to be 2-3 ATS on the road where they are headed to play a grueling five-game road swing. The road trip will take them to Los Angeles (the Lakers), Denver, Portland, Utah and Milwaukee. They lost their last three meetings with the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers. To start off with those three teams on the second largest road swing of the year could spell trouble for the young Bulls.
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