NBA Handicapping: Hot or Cold Report
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/17/2009
With temperatures dropping around the country, the Hot or Not report gets a little colder, too. It is becoming easier and easier to find teams struggling to cover and harder and harder to find teams getting hot around this time of the year but here are two:
The cardiac Bobcats have kept things close lately and when a team is usually getting points that is a good thing. So far this month the Bobcats have played a three-point game at Indiana, a one-point overtime game at Dallas and a one-point game against Philadelphia. When the Bobcats are getting points, even if it just three or four, they are valuable points and they usually end up making the difference.
With the way Charlotte has been playing expect some more close calls in the coming weeks with home games against Utah and Detroit and a road date in the garden against the Knicks.
The Suns have been as streaky of a team as there is in the NBA in terms of the point spread. Starting on Nov. 6 the Suns covered four straight games then went 1-3 ATS, then covered four straight games and failed to cover four straight games and then covered four more in a row. Logic says sell the Suns right now but the on-the-court trends tell us something different. The Suns have yet to lose at home this year and they just happened to be headed there starting Saturday for a four-game home stand and looking at the rest of the 2009, the Suns finish the calendar year with 10 home games in their next 12 games. Not only is Phoenix undefeated at home but they are also 6-3 ATS at home.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers finally leaving the Staples Center has been bad news for Laker backers. After playing 17 of their first 21 games at home, the Lakers have hit the road and run into some problems. First there was the 102-94 loss at Utah and then a win at Chicago where the Lakers failed to cover the spread. Then there was the Kobe buzzer-beater at Milwaukee giving the Lakers a one-point win but, once again, they failed to cover the spread.
The road woes are likely to continue for the Lake Show who travel to New Jersey, Detroit, Sacramento and Phoenix in their next six games.
Thanks to a Luol Deng's last second heave to cover the spread against the equally-as-cold Lakers, the Bulls snapped out of a horrendous stretch of seven straight games without covering a number. These are not your Bulls of last season; that much is evident. It does not matter whether they are home or on the road, against top competition or against the dregs of the league, the Bulls are not finding ways to cover or even come close to winning. At 8-15 SU through 23 games the Chicago season is quickly winding down before Christmas. And at 6-16-1 ATS, the Bulls are the worst bet in the league.
The Kings appeared to be much more comfortable in their role as an underdog. Now as an overachieving potential playoff contender they have found themselves in the favorite role. The Kings are 16-7-1 ATS, second best in the NBA, bust most of the time those were with a healthy dose of points from the oddsmakers. With an upcoming stretch against Minnesota, Milwaukee and Chicago, the Kings can be expecting to be slight underdogs, if underdogs at all. It is a new and unfamiliar role for the Kings. Steer clear of Sacramento until they prove they can win as favorites.
Eight out of 10 covers for the Timberwolves since Nov. 29 but now is the time to sell Minnesota. For a team who is 4-22 overall, here is a stat that will that make you look twice, the Timberwolves are 3-4 in their division. That means they are 1-18 against everyone else and there are no teams from the NBA Northwest coming up on the Minnesota schedule. Four of their next five games are against Eastern Conference foes who have feasted on the Minnesota defense. Yes, the Timberwolves are on an 8-2 ATS run but this is the same team who failed to cover in eight straight games back in November. Expect them to revert to that sooner rather than later.
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