NBA Handicapping: Hot or Cold Report
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 3/25/2010
There are three weeks left in the NBA season and the playoff pictures in both conferences are taking form. The 16 seeds that will be playing late into April have been all but determined, now the teams battle for seeding. Here’s a look at teams that could have value in the coming weeks and also a look at teams that are due to burn backer’s money.
The team who traded with the Chicago Bulls is looking entirely the opposite of them. While the Bulls have faded out of the playoff picture, the Bucks have surged to the fifth spot in the conference. They have won 15 of 17 SU and are 13-3-1 ATS during that stretch. Even with their hot run Milwaukee still has value as they close out the regular season. Of their remaining 13 opponents, the Bucks are 11-2 SU against them in the last meeting.
In one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA, former Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is set to return to his former team. The Cavaliers have been winning without him, 13-1 SU in their last 14, but having trouble covering high spreads they are routinely seeing and are 7-7 ATS during that same stretch. That could change with the addition of Ilgauskas. The Cavaliers home stretch of the season is littered with cupcakes and teams they can exploit inside with the combination of Z and Shaq. The wins will keep coming and it looks like the covers will come as well.
The exact opposite of the Los Angeles Lakers when it comes to playing the NBA Elite, the Denver Nuggets have shown the ability to rise to the occasion against the better half of the NBA. Luckily for them the home stretch of their regular season features nine playoff-bound teams. On top of that the Nuggets have been playing inspired basketball while their coach George Karl battles cancer back in Denver.
Their trade deadline moves looked odd at first for a team sitting in sixth place in the conference, but Chicago started to win and everyone called it a smart move both for this year and the future. While the trades may still pay dividends in the future, one thing is certain: the Bulls likely cost themselves a trip to the playoffs with their play as of late. They lost 10 straight to drop to the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have rebounded to win back-to-back games and cover the spread five straight games. That sets up perfectly for a late-season meltdown. Of the Bulls final 12 games they are 3-9 SU against the competition.
Los Angeles Lakers
It’s no longer a secret that the Lakers struggle mightily against the best of the best in the NBA. They were able to feast on some of the league’s bottom feeders in a recent six-game winning streak but things are about to get tough for the Lake Show. Andrew Bynum is ailing with a strained left Achilles’ and almost on cue eight of their final 11 games are against teams with a winning record.
Since the All-Star break nobody in the Western Conference has been as hot as the Mavericks. And now Jason Terry is about to return to the lineup. The problem with that is he will be joining a revamped squad that has changed quite a bit since the trade deadline. The Mavericks have already had trouble covering, 1-5 ATS in their last six, and things will not get any easier while trying to allow Terry to transition into the lineup.
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