NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, November 4 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/3/2014
I don't know about you, but I am thoroughly enjoying how bad the Los Angeles Lakers have been thus far this season. I fully expected them to be awful, but this bad? The only way they finish with a better record than horrible Philadelphia is if Kobe Bryant stays healthy all season. Not sure I believe that will happen. Here's a look at L.A.'s game on Tuesday as well as the rest of the NBA schedule.
Bucks at Pacers (TBA)
I'm trying to figure out why no opening line on this one. The Pacers will be without three key guys in David West, George Hill and C.J. Watson again. Maybe it's for Indiana guard Rodney Stuckey as he left Saturday's loss to Atlanta in the first half after tweaking a bothersome left ankle. Not sure I believe that Rodney Stuckey is worthy of holding up an opening line, but that's how depleted the Pacers are. He's questionable for the game. Milwaukee has lost both road games thus far, giving up 108 points exactly in each. The Bucks had a whopping 28 turnovers in Saturday's 11-point loss at the Wizards.
Key trends: Milwaukee is 1-4 ATS in the past five at Indiana. The "over/under" has gone under in past 12 meetings there.
Early lean: Certainly Indiana will be a favorite, but I think the Bucks can steal this outright.
Thunder at Raptors (-9, 192)
It's the second of a back-to-back for the injury-ravaged Thunder as they were in Brooklyn on Monday. There were some good news for that one as Reggie Jackson was expected to play. He missed the first three games with an ankle injury. The Thunder obviously need him badly with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook out. Toronto suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling 107-102 in Miami. The Raptors rank third in the NBA in scoring and haven't had fewer than 102 yet. They got killed on the boards by the Heat, however, in losing a 16th straight game to Miami. Patrick Patterson started at power forward in that one with Amir Johnson out with a sore left ankle. Johnson is listed as day-to-day.
Key trends: Toronto has failed to cover its past eight at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: This line actually dropped from an opening of 11. Now I like it for Toronto.
Wizards at Knicks (-2, 191)
I am presuming Washington's Paul Pierce will play here. He was ejected from Saturday's win over Milwaukee after getting back-to-back technicals for arguing a call with a referee. That itself isn't cause for a suspension, but Pierce at first wouldn't leave the bench, even when told to by the refs. He might get fined for that. Otto Porter really stepped it up in Pierce's place, scoring 19 of his career-high 21 in the second half. The 2013 No. 3 overall pick was a total bust last year, never scoring double digits. Meanwhile, new Knicks coach Derek Fisher is resting Carmelo a bit more during games, and it sure seems to be paying off as Anthony is shooting 50 percent from the field overall and 54.5 percent in the fourth quarters of games. He shot 38 percent in fourth quarters last year. Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani remain out for the Knicks, although Bargnani is close to playing.
Key trends: Washington is 2-10 ATS in its past 12 in New York. The over is 9-4 in the past 13 meetings there.
Early lean: New York and under.
Rockets at Heat (TBA)
This is a matchup of unbeatens if Houston won in Philadelphia on Monday. Normally that would seem a sure thing, but the Rockets listed both Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley as questionable for that one, so you can see why no opening line here. Miami is the only team in the East without a loss -- bet you didn't see that coming. Chris Bosh is playing terrific, now the clear-cut No. 1 option on the team. Of course, Bosh was very close to signing with Houston this offseason. The Rockets essentially gave away Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to create the wiggle room to sign Bosh to a huge free-agent deal, but Miami then stepped up its offer at the last minute.
Key trends: Houston has covered six straight vs. teams with a winning record. Miami has covered only one of its past nine vs. the West.
Early lean: Clearly have to wait on Howard and Beverley here to make an informed decision. But I'd imagine the Rockets players would really like to stick it to Bosh for leaving them at the altar so to speak.
Magic at Bulls (TBA)
The TBA here is for Chicago's Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson. They both missed Saturday's last-second win in Minnesota with ankle problems. Both guys did practice Monday, and Gibson said he's going to play. Coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn't commit to saying Rose would, and you know the Bulls are going to be extra cautious. At least it's nothing wrong with one of Rose's knees. The Magic are pretty lousy, with their closest loss thus far at seven points. They have yet to score more than 98 points in a game or allow less than 101. Kyle O'Quinn missed Saturday's loss to Toronto and is questionable to play here. Not sure that matters a whole bunch.
Key trends: The Magic have covered four of past five in Chicago. The Bulls are 1-6 ATS in their past seven after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game.
Early lean: If I'm the Bulls I sit Rose since you can beat this team without him. But you have to wait to see whether that's the case and what number is posted. I would go under regardless.
Hornets at Pelicans (-3, 189.5)
Yeah, I had to think twice while typing this one because of course the Pelicans used to be the Hornets. And the Pelicans crushed the Hornets' hearts -- back when Charlotte was the Bobcats -- by winning the 2012 NBA Draft lottery and landing superstar-in-waiting Anthony Davis with the No. 1 overall pick. Charlotte, which had the most ping-pong balls in the lottery, was stuck taking Davis' Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2 overall. He is questionable for this game after taking a hard fall against the Knicks on Sunday. He is dealing with bruised ribs but X-rays were good. Meanwhile, Davis has just been absurd in two games, averaging 28.5 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6.0 blocks.
Key trends: The road team has failed to cover past four meetings. The over is 7-0 in New Orleans' past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: If MKG is out that hurts Charlotte in a big way on defense. Go New Orleans.
Cavaliers at Trail Blazers (+1.5, 200.5)
You won't see Portland be an underdog much at home this season. The Cavaliers have been off since that exciting 114-108 overtime victory in Chicago on Friday. After a lousy first game, LeBron James was back to normal with 36 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. The Cavaliers won despite shooting 2-of-20 from outside the paint in the second half and overtime. Kevin Love still hasn't found his shot, hitting just 35.5 percent from the field. He's gobbling up rebounds like normal. Portland really needs to take advantage of all of Oklahoma City's injuries and get off to a big lead in the Northwest Division. So far the Blazers (1-2) aren't doing that. They were held to a season-low 90 points in Sunday's home loss to Golden State. Damian Lillard is really struggling out of the gate, averaging 13.7 points on horrific 26.8 percent shooting.
Key trends: The Blazers are 1-9 ATS in their past 10 playing on one day of rest. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings in Portland but that hardly matters.
Early lean: Cleveland and over.
Suns at Lakers (+7, 215)
The Lakers are dead last in the NBA in defense in allowing 118 points per game, and they really haven't even been very competitive. Kobe Bryant certainly didn't want to go out this way. You hear talk of the team trading him, but he'd never waive his no-trade clause. Plus, frankly, no one would want that contract. In one way, the Suns have incentive to lose to Los Angeles. That's because Phoenix gets L.A.'s first-round pick in the 2015 draft if it's outside the Top 5. Phoenix suffered its first loss Saturday in Utah, a defeat you could really see coming off the high of upsetting San Antonio on Friday night. Phoenix opened the season with a 119-99 home win over the Lakers. The Suns took control with a 39-24 edge in the third quarter. Kobe had 31 in that game despite not playing the fourth quarter. The Suns hit 16 3-pointers.
Key trends: The home team has covered 10 of past 13 meetings. The over has hit in nine of Phoenix's past 12 following a loss of more than 10 points.
Early lean: L.A. has to win at some point. Take the points and over.
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