NBA Odds and Predictions: Thursday, November 20 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/19/2014
After getting carpal tunnel syndrome every Wednesday with always a big schedule of NBA games that I have to examine, I look forward to Thursdays because it's almost always a light schedule thanks to TNT's national TV contract with the NBA. And that's definitely the case this week with only the two TNT games on the slate. Here's an in-depth look at both. Alas, due to key injuries, both lines are not likely to be released until Thursday morning.
Clippers at Heat (TBA)
Second of a back-to-back for Los Angeles, which started its seven-game road trip in Orlando on Wednesday night. Honestly, NBA coaches like when their teams play the second of a back-to-back in Miami in one regard: the players won't be out clubbing in South Beach the night before. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
Miami ended a three-game losing streak on Monday with a moderately surprising 95-83 win in Brooklyn. The Heat played without both Dwayne Wade (hamstring) and Luol Deng (wrist). It was Wade's third straight game on the sideline, and it's not clear if he or Deng plays here. Mario Chalmers started again for Wade vs. Brooklyn and had 22 points. Chalmers has led the Heat in scoring the past three games and could be the team's primary scorer again Thursday if Wade sits. Deng has a good shot to play, but both are listed as questionable on the team's official game notes. Danny Granger, in his season debut, started for Deng on Monday and had four points in 20 minutes. The Heat generally go as Chris Bosh goes now. In the three-game skid he couldn't hit the side of a barn, shooing 12-for-49. He was better vs. the Nets, going 5-for-11 for 15 points with nine rebounds.
Key trends: The Clippers are 0-5 ATS in their past five Thursday games. L.A. has failed to cover its past four in the second of a back-to-back. The "over/under" has gone over in five straight Clippers games in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 7-1 in Miami's past eight. The Heat have covered five of their past six at home vs. L.A.
Early lean: Last season, Miami swept the season series 2-0 and has won five straight home games against the Clippers. That obviously matters little because LeBron James was part of four of those home wins. If Wade plays, take the Heat to win outright. If not, go with Clippers to. Over regardless.
Bulls at Kings (TBA)
Just assume that a majority of Chicago lines are going to be TBA this season the day before because Derrick Rose probably is going to play maybe 75 percent of the team's games either due to minor injuries or just rest and caution on the Bulls' part. The team also would like to get All-Star center Joakim Noah the occasional day off as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. Rose looked great in wins over Detroit and Toronto last week, totaling 44 points in a combined 62 minutes, but he tweaked a hamstring last Thursday against the Raptors and has sat out the last two, a home loss to Indiana and a win Monday at the L.A. Clippers. I have no clue if he plays here. My guess is no because Chicago plays again Friday night in Portland, and I see no way Rose plays in both games. Chicago beat the Clippers also without Pau Gasol, who has been terrific in his first season in a Bulls uniform. Gasol is averaging 18.6 points and 10.6 rebounds and could be the East's best center right now. Gasol was initially probable Monday but a late scratch with a strained calf.
I was disappointed in the Kings on Tuesday night as I expected them to beat visiting New Orleans, which was on the second of a back-to-back and without center Omer Asik. However, Sacramento lost 106-100. The Kings were outscored 31-15 in the third quarter and never recovered. DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Rudy Gay scored 15 for Sacramento, which dropped to 3-2 at home. Gay had been listed as questionable.
Key trends: Chicago has covered six of its past seven Thursday games. The Bulls are 3-9 ATS in their past 12 after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. Sacramento has covered 12 of its past 16 after a loss. The under is 5-1 in Chicago's past six vs. the Western Conference. The Kings have covered five straight meetings.
Early lean: Sacramento and under. Chicago, the only team without a road loss thus far, often struggles in Sacramento and has lost two straight there (and six of 10). Why? It's always part of the long Circus Trip, which the Bulls are currently on. Players don't exactly look forward to visiting that town, and it used to be easy to overlook the lousy Kings. I think Sacramento wins outright because I doubt Rose plays and Gasol is 50/50. Think Kings win even if both do suit up. I also believe the Bulls care more about Friday's game in Portland.
Doc's Sports NBA handicappers are offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people. Get your free NBA picks right now. Also, for a limited time only get three top NBA handicappers for the price of one! Click Here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Saturday 8/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 8/21/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Thursday 8/20/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/19/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Tuesday 8/18/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 8/14/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Thursday 8/13/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/12/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Tuesday 8/11/2020 and Opening Line Report