Friday NBA Betting Report: Schedule Handicapping Breakdown
by Aaron Smith - 3/23/2012
The new look of some teams after the trade deadline has been an interesting story to follow over the past week. While there were no blockbuster deals, there were certainly some trades that have changed the way the playoff picture looks in both conferences. For some franchises, coaching changes have led to a change in the team’s philosophy. These are all factors that bettors must keep a close eye on in the coming weeks.
At Doc’s Sports, we continue to believe the most important angle to follow this year is the schedule. The condensed NBA schedule has led to many strange scheduling spots, but that is a good thing for bettors who are a step ahead of the game. 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.
Friday March 23 Games of Note
New Jersey at Atlanta (-8) – 7:30 p.m. EST
No one is going through a more brutal stretch in the schedule than Atlanta Hawks right now. Atlanta is in the middle of a stretch where they will play six games in eight days and 10 games in the span of 14 days. The Hawks suffered a disappointing home loss against Boston Monday, but they did bounce back with a win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
New Jersey has played three games in the last six days, and all of those were at home. This is a single-game road trip for the Nets, who have lost four straight games. Deron Williams was ejected from Wednesday night’s embarrassing home loss to the Washington Wizards. It is the second time this week that Williams has had a melt down with a referee.
On the Atlanta side, Marvin Williams is listed as questionable for this game. Brook Lopez is still a little ways from returning for the Nets. The Nets are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games following a single day of rest. The Hawks are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a day of rest. The Nets seem to have some major chemistry issues right now.
Score Prediction: Atlanta 101, New Jersey 88
Phoenix at Indiana (-5.5) - 7 p.m. EST
The Suns had their very difficult back-to-back-to-back scheduling spot last week. While they haven’t played quite as many games this week, it has been far from an easy schedule for Phoenix. This will be the team’s third game in four days, and the previous games were at Miami and at Orlando.
Indiana is in the middle of a stretch where they will play eight games in 11 days. The Pacers play Thursday night in Washington before returning to host the Suns Friday evening. Indiana is a brutal 8-25 ATS in their last 33 games in a back-to-back scheduling spot. The Suns are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a day of rest.
The latest NBA odds show the Pacers as a 5.5-point home favorite, but that might be a bit much here. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two. Phoenix has been playing much better basketball of late, and I think this game stays close.
Score Prediction: Indiana 96, Phoenix 94
Dallas at San Antonio (-4) – 8:30 p.m. EST
Tony Parker is listed as doubtful, which shaved a few points off the favorite in this one.
Parker left Wednesday night’s game against the Timberwolves with a strained left hamstring. San Antonio really can’t afford to be without Parker this year since they no longer have George Hill as a safety net at the point guard spot. The timing is bad for the Spurs too, since this game marks the beginning of a tough back-to-back-to-back scheduling situation for the team.
Dallas has been inconsistent of late. The Mavericks picked up an impressive road win at Denver early this week, but they were blown out at home by the Lakers on Wednesday night. The Mavericks are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games at San Antonio. The Spurs are an impressive 10-2 ATS following a single day of rest.
Score Prediction: San Antonio 101, Dallas 94
Milwaukee (-7) at Charlotte – 7 p.m. EST
Milwaukee is one of the hottest teams in the league right now. The Bucks picked up Monta Ellis at the trade deadline and this offense is really firing on all cylinders. Milwaukee is 8-1 ATS in their last nine games.
Milwaukee will be tested by an extremely difficult schedule over the next few days. This is the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back situation for the Bucks. The team will play five games in a period of just six days. Charlotte has had only one game in the last five days leading up to this matchup.
The Bucks are just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games on zero days rest. On the other hand, the Bucks are 6-0 ATS in their last six against a team with a losing record. Corey Maggette, the leading scorer for the Bobcats, is listed as questionable in this one. Milwaukee has a lot of youth, and I think they’ll pile up the points against the hapless Bobcats.
Score Prediction: Milwaukee 109, Charlotte 95
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