NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, November 18 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/17/2014
You've got marquee teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder in action on Tuesday night. However, those are marquee teams in name only this season -- well, the Thunder still might be worth something once healthy. Thus, the best matchup on the four-game schedule is New Orleans at Sacramento. It's also the only nationally-televised game, on NBA TV, and WagerWeb will offer live betting. Here's a look at each matchup.
Lakers at Hawks (-10, 214.5)
Is this the worst Lakers team ever? I truly think so. Los Angeles fell to 1-9 with Sunday's 136-115 home loss to Golden State, the worst start in team history. It's actually hilarious to me watching Kobe Bryant these days because he just doesn't care about anything but getting his shots. Frankly, the Lakers don't have anyone worthwhile taking them but Kobe. He jacked up 34 against the Warriors and made 15 to finish with 44 points despite sitting the fourth quarter because the Lakers were down by 36 points entering it. The Lakers' point differential of minus-10.5 points per game is also the worst in team history through the first 10 games of a season. Coach Byron Scott is talking about changes to the starting lineup, but I'm not really sure what he can do. He should suit up perhaps. The Hawks saw their four-game winning streak end on Saturday with a 127-94 loss in Cleveland. It was 41-25 after one quarter, and that was it. Hawks starting forward DeMarre Carroll missed his third straight game with a strained groin and is questionable for this one. Thabo Sefolosha would start again if Carroll sits.
Key trends: Atlanta is 2-12 ATS in its past 14 vs. the West. The "over/under" has gone over in the Lakers' past four. The home team has covered four of the past five meetings.
Early lean: Few too many points for my liking with Atlanta. Take L.A. and the over.
Knicks at Bucks (-5.5, 192.5)
New York ended its seven-game losing streak on Sunday in beating terrible Denver 109-93 at Madison Square Garden. The game was tied at 31 after a quarter, but then the Knicks outscored the Nuggets 31-8 in the second. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith each had 28 points. Smith started in place of shooting guard Iman Shumpert, who sat out after suffering a right hip contusion Friday night. Shumpert could return for this one. The Bucks have won three of four and pulled a minor surprise in winning 91-84 in Miami on Sunday night. That Milwaukee is 5-5 is pretty impressive considering it started 5-21 last year in finishing with the NBA's worst record. The "Greek Freak" Giannis Antetokounmpo made his first start of the year for Milwaukee against Miami and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. New York won three of four against the Bucks last season.
Key trends: New York has covered seven of the past nine meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five in Milwaukee.
Early lean: Over and Knicks.
Thunder at Jazz (-5.5, 191.5)
I love the NBA. But Oklahoma City's game against Houston on Sunday was pretty unwatchable as the Thunder lost 69-65 in what I can almost guarantee you will be the lowest-scoring game of the 2014-15 season. Both teams shot below 30 percent from the field, which hadn't happened in a game since 2003. OKC finished 20-for-68 from the field (29.4 percent). Rotation guys Perry Jones and Andre Roberson both sat out again with injuries. Neither is likely to play Tuesday. So it's Reggie Jackson and a bunch of nobodies for the Thunder, who not surprisingly are last in the NBA in scoring. Utah lost 111-93 in Toronto on Saturday in the second of a back-to-back. Gordon Heyward played through the flu but not all that well, going 3-for-10 for 12 points.
Key trends: The home team has covered the past four meetings. The under is 5-1 in OKC's past six vs. the West.
Early lean: Not a strong feeling on the side but huge on the under.
Pelicans at Kings (-1.5, 198.5)
This should be fun to watch, especially checking out former Kentucky big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins go at it. Although they won't be guarding each other too much as Omer Asik will get most of the work on Cousins. It's the second of a back-to-back for New Orleans as it visited Portland on Monday night. The Kings come off an impressive 94-91 home win over San Antonio on Saturday (called that cover). Cousins had 25 points and 10 rebounds despite missing the entire second quarter due to foul troubles and part of the third after getting a cut over his left eye. The win ended Sacramento's nine-game losing streak to the Spurs. The Kings are the only team this season to not allow an opposing player to score 25 or more points in a game. That 10-game streak matches the single-season record in the shot clock era. I'd bet Davis gets 25 here. The Kings signed guard Rudy Gay to a $40 million extension over the weekend. That looks like a steal with Gay averaging a career-best 22.5 points. The last time the Kings began a season with a 6-4 record was in 2004-05. Sacramento has a three-game winning streak vs. New Orleans.
Key trends: The Pelicans have covered four of their past five in the second of a back-to-back. The over is 9-1 in the past 10 meetings. The under is 4-1 in the Kings' past five at home.
Early lean: I think the Kings should be bigger favorites, so jump on that small number.
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