Friday NBA Betting Report: Schedule Handicapping Breakdown
by Aaron Smith - 2/17/2012
Isn’t it hard to believe that we are almost half way through the NBA’s regular season? Most teams have played about 30 games, and the shortened regular season will consist of 66 games. In the past week, the league has been hit by Lin Mania as Jeremy Lin has led the Knicks to seven straight wins. The All-Star Game is just a week away, and every team is looking to go into the break with some momentum.
For the first time this season, there will be no teams playing in a back-to-back situation this Friday night. Still, there are plenty of interesting scheduling spots to examine. The goal of this weekly NBA handicapping 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 Feb. 17 Games of Note
New Orleans at New York (-10) – 8 p.m. EST
New York City has been overcome by the amazing play of Lin during the team’s seven-game winning streak. Lin deserves the recognition, and it is hard not to root for a guy like him who has persevered for so long.
The Hornets are arguably the worst team in the league. New Orleans has had a light schedule of late. They will be playing just their fourth game in the past nine days. This will be the Knicks sixth game in the past nine days. The Hornets are 1-6 against the spread following a single day of rest. The Knicks have covered five straight times following a day of rest.
The Knicks have dominated the Hornets over the last few years. New York is 7-0 ATS in their last seven meetings with New Orleans. I see no reason to expect that dominance to end in this matchup.
Score Prediction: New York 101, New Orleans 90
Miami (-10) at Cleveland- 7 p.m. EST
Some time has passed, but Cleveland fans still haven’t forgiven LeBron James for leaving their beloved Cavaliers. The Heat were supposed to have a brutally tough back-to-back-to-back stretch earlier this week, but Miami dismantled all three teams it played during that stretch. The Heat are currently playing better than they have at any time over the last two years.
While Miami has been very busy of late, the Cavaliers have been getting a lot of rest and relaxation time. Cleveland will be playing just their second game in the past six days. Cleveland is 9-3 ATS this year after a single day of rest. Miami had two days of rest after their rough three-game stretch, and the Heat are just 6-16 ATS in their last 22 games following two days of rest.
Score Prediction: Miami 102, Cleveland 95
Denver at Memphis (-3.5) - 8 p.m. EST
Denver made the trip to Memphis on the final day of January and the Grizzlies came out on top, 100-97, in overtime. The Nuggets dominated almost the entire game before letting Memphis come back to tie and then win it in the extra session. The Nuggets frontcourt is really hurting right now without Danilo Gallinari and Nene.
This will be the third game in four days for both teams. Denver is 24-8 ATS in their last 32 road games. Memphis is 25-12 ATS in their last 37 home games. Current NBA odds show Memphis as a slight favorite here. The Nuggets looked flat in Dallas on Wednesday night, and their lack of depth up front will likely hurt them in this one.
Score Prediction: Memphis 99, Denver 93
Phoenix at Los Angeles Lakers (-8.5) - 10:30 p.m. EST
Phoenix has been busier than any team in the NBA this week. This will be the team’s fourth game in the last five days. Los Angeles is playing only its third game in the last seven days. Ironically, these teams will square off again Sunday in Phoenix.
The Suns have blown big leads in each of their last two games. Los Angeles is getting into a bit of a rhythm, and the team has won three of its last four games. There are few teams in the league that would be hurt more by a tough schedule than the Suns. Steve Nash and Grant Hill are both guys that need the days off at this point in their career.
The Suns are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. Los Angeles is only 4-9 ATS in their last 13 following two days of rest, but I think the fresh legs will help the team quite a bit in this game. The Suns weary legs should make the Lakers look good in this one.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles 97 Phoenix 83
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