NBA Odds and Predictions: Thursday, November 13 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/12/2014
Four games on the Thursday schedule this week with a pretty solid TNT doubleheader that will feature live betting at WagerWeb: Chicago at Toronto and Brooklyn at Golden State. The Raptors and Bulls have the two best records in the East with Chicago a +250 second-favorite to win the conference at Sportsbook.ag and Toronto third at +900. Assuming the Raptors win the Atlantic Division, they probably will have to get past both the Bulls and Cavaliers to win the East because obviously only one of Chicago or Cleveland can win the Central Division. Here's a look at each matchup on the schedule.
Bulls at Raptors (-3, 190.5)
Obviously it matters little at this point of the season, but first place in the Eastern Conference is on the line here. You never know, maybe this win becomes part of an important tiebreaker at the end of the season. Perhaps Toronto got caught looking ahead a bit to this one as the Raptors didn't play well for three quarters at home Tuesday night vs. Orlando. However, they did erase an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 104-100 victory as Toronto won its fifth straight game overall and remained unbeaten at home. Presumably the Bulls will have everyone healthy for a second straight game. All hands were on deck in Monday's 102-91 home win over Detroit. Derrick Rose had missed four of the previous five games with sprained ankles but looked good with 24 points in a season-high 32 minutes. This season series was a bit odd last year, with each team winning both games on the road.
Key trends: Chicago is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 after scoring 100 points or more in its previous game. Toronto has covered seven straight at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The road team has covered the past four meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in four of the past five.
Early lean: Bulls are as healthy as they've been and had an extra day of rest. Take the points and go under.
Kings at Grizzlies (-6.5, 193.5)
Memphis looks like a legitimate Western Conference contender at 7-1, and that lone loss came in the final seconds. The Grizzlies won Tuesday night at home against the Lakers 107-102. Not a typical defensive effort for Memphis. It was the 17th straight regular-season home victory for the Grizzlies dating to last season. If there's one concern with Memphis it's the bench, but that unit outscored L.A.'s 38-14. If you have seen the Lakers' bench, that's not saying much. The Kings lost their second straight Tuesday, 106-98 in Dallas. I thought these were the new-and-improved Kings, but they blew a 24-point lead in that one. Sacramento was outscored 58-28 from the middle of the second quarter to the end of the third. Kings guard Darren Collison missed that game with left shoulder stiffness but could return. If not, Ramon Sessions will get the start. Memphis was 3-0 vs. Sacramento last year and has won seven straight overall in the series and eight in a row at home.
Key trends: The road team has covered four of the past five meetings. The "under" has hit in the past four. Sacramento has covered 10 of its past 14 after a loss.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
76ers at Mavericks (-15, 208.5)
I believe this is the biggest spread of the early season, although the Sixers will get to +20 at some point. Philly fans might actually have a tiny reason to watch their team in this game. That's because last season's Rookie of the Year, point guard Michael Carter-Williams, is expected to make his season debut. Carter-Williams had shoulder surgery in May and has been recovering since. He returned to full practice last week. Nov. 13 was targeted as a return date by the team several weeks back. Rookie big man Nerlens Noel also might play after missing the past two games with a left ankle sprain. So the 76ers actually could have two guys you have heard of on the court at once. Philly is 0-7 for the first time since the 76ers lost their first 15 games during the 1972-73 season on the way to the NBA's worst-ever record of 9-73. As noted above, Dallas rallied from a 24-point deficit in its last game to beat the Kings. Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points to surpass Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon as the highest-scoring player born outside the United States. Dallas has won three straight in this series and eight in a row at home.
Key trends: Dallas has covered just one of its past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The over is 12-3 in Philly's past 15 after a loss. The "over" is 5-1 in the Mavs' past six Thursday game.
Early lean: I'm taking that huge number. Go over.
Nets at Warriors (-10, 206.5)
I can't imagine that Brooklyn will have much left in the tank here after likely being run up and down the court Wednesday night in Phoenix. Golden State stole away one of Brooklyn's better players last year in signing guard Shaun Livingston as a free agent this offseason. Livingston hasn't played heavy minutes yet as he comes off toe surgery, but his time on the court is staring to grow. Livingston was as a spot starter and defensive specialist for the Nets in 2013-14, averaging 9.1 points and 3.3 assists. Golden State has lost two straight, both by double digits. The Warriors were beaten 113-100 at home against San Antonio on Tuesday. Klay Thompson scored 29 points after missing the previous game with a sprained right hand. Warriors forward David Lee missed yet another game, and you won't see him for at least a week. The Warriors have won eight of the last nine games against the Nets at Oracle Arena.
Key trends: Brooklyn is 0-5 ATS in its past five in the second of a back-to-back. Golden State is 6-1 ATS in its past seven at home. The over is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: I'm guessing Coach Steve Kerr will have his guys' attention at practice on Wednesday after back-to-back lousy efforts. That plus a tired Nets team should equal a Warriors cover even though this number is a few points higher than I'd like.
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