Friday NBA Betting Report: Schedule Handicapping Breakdown
by Aaron Smith - 4/12/2012
Just two weeks remain in the NBA regular season. Some teams only have six games remaining, while others have as many as 10. Jockeying for position in the standings is starting to hit high gear as the playoffs draw near. Situational betting is a good way to play the NBA all season, but it is particularly crucial near the end of the season when different teams have varying amounts of interest in the game.
The single best situational angle this season has been the NBA schedule. The condensed schedule has given educated NBA handicappers an edge throughout the season. 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 April 13 Games of Note
Washington at New York (-11.5) – 7:30 p.m. EST
New York picked up a crucial win Wednesday night in Milwaukee. The Knicks would have been tied with the Bucks for the final spot in the standings if they had lost, but now they have a small two-game cushion. The New York Knicks schedule is pretty easy down the stretch, but they still have to take care of business. This is a game that the Knicks can’t afford to lose.
The Knicks will be playing their third game in the past four days here. Washington had a busy schedule last week, but they have two rest days in a row leading up to this game. The Wizards are 0-7 against the spread in their last seven games at Madison Square Garden. New York is 17-4 ATS in their last 21 home games.
Score Prediction: New York 103 Washington 89
New Jersey at Philadelphia (-10) – 7 p.m. EST
There were no odds available for this game at the time of this article, so I’m using my projected NBA odds for this game.
Philadelphia started the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. After a major slump, the 76ers were within a game of falling out of the playoff picture. They have righted the ship for the time being with two blowout wins over New Jersey and then Toronto on the road. It’s the Nets turn to visit Philadelphia on Friday night.
New Jersey hasn’t played since they were smashed, 107-88, by Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The 76ers are playing their third game in the past four days. Philadelphia is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games when playing on a single day of rest. New Jersey is 1-4 ATS in their last five games following two days of rest.
The Nets are just 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings between these two teams. Gerald Wallace is listed as questionable for this one, and the Nets are already short-handed. Philadelphia should take care of business.
Score Prediction: Philadelphia 99 New Jersey 85
Charlotte at Miami (-16) – 7:30 p.m. EST
Miami is reeling after a home loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Celtics shot 61 percent from the floor in that game, and the Heat were vocal about needing to improve their defense after the game. Charlotte is the worst team in the league by a mile right now. They had two chances to pick up a win against poor teams earlier this week, but they were blown out by both Washington and Cleveland.
The Bobcats are playing their sixth game in eight days. This will also be the second game of a back-to-back scheduling spot for them. Leading scorer Corey Maggette is out for the season due to an Achilles’ tendon injury. Miami is finally getting healthy, and the Heat will be looking to get in a groove as the playoffs are just around the corner.
Charlotte is 1-4 ATS in their last five games when playing in the second half of a back-to-back spot. Miami beat Charlotte 129-90 as 14-point home favorites earlier this year. This one should get ugly.
Score Prediction: Miami 112 Charlotte 88
Boston (-6.5) at Toronto – 7 p.m. EST
Boston is playing its best basketball of the season right now. The Celtics were ripped by Doc Rivers after their second-half meltdown against the Bulls last Thursday night on national television. Since that game, the Celtics have won four straight. All four of those wins have been against teams that should be in the playoffs.
The Celtics are also in their toughest portion of the schedule all year. This will be the first game of a back-to-back-to-back scheduling spot for Boston. By the end of this stretch, the Celtics will have played seven games in a period of just nine days. The Raptors will be playing their fourth game in the past six days in this contest.
The Celtics are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a single day of rest. The Raptors are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following one day of rest. Boston’s fatigue might show up later this weekend, but I think they’ll cruise in this matchup.
Score Prediction: Boston 93 Toronto 82
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