NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, November 29 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/28/2014
Do I have the guts? The guts to call a Philadelphia upset of Dallas on Saturday night? I am curious to see what the final score is because the 76ers are one of the worst offensive teams I have ever seen, while Dallas is the NBA's top-scoring team. Mavs-Sixers is one of six games on the schedule Saturday, with many involving the second of a back-to-back after a very busy Friday in the NBA. Pelicans-Wizards is your only national TV option on NBA TV. Here's a look at every game.
Mavericks at 76ers (+12, 205.5)
If Philadelphia is going to get that first win, it probably is going to have to come against a tired team in the second of a back-to-back. Well, the Mavericks had a tough one Friday night in Toronto (Mavs point guard Jameer Nelson was questionable). So you never know. Philly got a bit of a mental win Wednesday in losing only by eight at home to Brooklyn. When the Sixers lose by single digits, it's considered a success; it was only the fifth time this season it happened. Plus, Philly rallied from 20 down to take a lead briefly in the fourth quarter. It was loss No. 15 to start the season, tying the franchise record. Only four teams ever have started with more than 15 straight defeats. The record is 18. Dallas has won four straight in this series.
Key trends: The Mavs are 5-2 ATS in their past seven playing in the second of a back-to-back. Philly has covered five of its past six Saturday games. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the 76ers' past seven vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Mavs will be ragged. Take the points and under.
Pelicans at Wizards (-4.5, 201)
Advantage Washington as New Orleans played Friday night in Atlanta. Of course, this game features two of the past five No. 1 overall picks in the Pelicans' Anthony Davis and the Wizards' John Wall -- both from Kentucky. Washington enters on its first two-game skid of the season, allowing 106 points on Tuesday in a four-point loss to Atlanta and then 113 in 26-point blowout in Cleveland on Wednesday. Big man Nene missed both of those games with plantar fasciitis, and he's questionable. Nene would be the main guy to guard Davis. If Nene can't play, Kris Humphries would start again. Washington won both games vs. the Pelicans last season.
Key trends: New Orleans is 4-0 ATS in its past four playing on no days of rest. Washington is 1-5 ATS in its past six against teams with a winning record. The under is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
Hornets at Hawks (TBA)
Charlotte hosted Golden State on Friday (without Gary Neal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), while Atlanta hosted New Orleans. Clear advantage Hawks, both in terms of opponent and they don't have to travel. Atlanta lost in Charlotte on Nov. 7, 122-199 in double overtime. Lance Stephenson hit a lucky 33-foot bank shot at the buzzer to win it. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds in perhaps his best game yet in a Charlotte uniform before he got into Coach Steve Clifford's doghouse. Al Jefferson had 34 for the Hornets, who had lost six straight to Atlanta at home. The Hawks had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Paul Millsap missed an 18-footer at the buzzer.
Key trends: The over is 8-1 in Atlanta's past nine against teams with a losing record. The road team has covered seven of the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Atlanta will be a solid favorite, and I expect a rout.
Pacers at Cavaliers (TBA)
Indiana hosted Orlando on Friday night. Center Roy Hibbert was questionable for that one, but David West was probable to make his season debut off an ankle issue. The Pacers considered themselves the main rival of LeBron James the past few seasons while James was with the Heat, but LeBron won't even recognize these Pacers now. After a shocking four-game losing streak, the Cavs seem to have found something. They crushed Orlando by 32 on Monday at home and then the visiting Wizards by 26 on Wednesday. LeBron had 29 in both games and frankly looked like he was playing harder, which clearly rubbed off on his teammates. Guess Coach David Blatt's job is safe for now.
Key trends: Indiana has covered seven straight road games. The under is 5-0 in Cleveland's past five at home.
Early lean: This will be at least a 10-point win for the Cavs.
Clippers at Jazz (+7, 201.5)
I expect a flat Clippers team here after playing in Houston on Friday night. Not that Utah is any good, having lost four straight, three in blowout fashion. The Jazz have scored in triple digits just once in their past 11 games. They matched their lowest point total of the season in Wednesday's 97-82 loss at a terrible Oklahoma City team. I really don't get it because Utah has some good players. The Jazz lost at the Clippers on Nov. 3, 107-101, as Chris Paul had a triple-double (13 points, 12 assists and rebounds). Utah lost despite outrebounding the Clippers by 14. That will happen when you allow the opponent to shoot 50.6 percent from the field.
Key trends: Utah is 1-4 ATS in its past five against the West. The over is 6-0 in the Clippers' past six on Saturday.
Early lean: Clips giving way too many points. Jazz and under.
Rockets at Bucks (TBA)
Houston played without Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley on Friday night against the Clippers and almost surely will again here in what sure looks like a major letdown game after having to travel to Milwaukee. The Bucks, meanwhile, were in Detroit on Friday night. Houston swept the season series last year, but this Milwaukee team is much better. Howard averaged 23.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two games, some of his best splits against any club. I'm looking forward to seeing the athletic "Greek Freak," Giannis Antetokounmpo, guard James Harden.
Key trends: Houston is 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-0 in Houston's past five vs. the East. The under is 5-0 in the Bucks' past five vs. the West.
Early lean: Bucks win straight up. Go under regardless of number, which won't be very high.
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