NBA Odds and Predictions: Wednesday, November 5 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 11/4/2014
Here's guessing there will be plenty of good seats available on Wednesday night in Philadelphia when the 76ers host the Magic in the NBA's Toilet Bowl matchup of the week. At least we know one of those two wretched teams won't start the season breaking the NBA record of 26 straight losses (overall, not to start a year). Of course, Philly tied that record last year. Here's a look at Wednesday's full schedule, with Pacers-Wizards and Clippers-Warriors having live betting at the major sportsbooks, with both on ESPN.
Magic at 76ers (-3, 196)
It's the second of a back-to-back for Orlando as it played a tough one in Chicago on Tuesday night. Have a feeling that will be yet another double-digit loss for the Magic. Meanwhile, the 76ers have to lose by less than 11 points. They have been off since falling 104-93 at home to Houston on Monday. Sixers center Henry Sims did not start for the first time this season as he battled an illness. Rookie forward Nerlens Noel is 6-foot-11 and can jump out of the gym. Yet he didn't get his first rebound in that game until there was 2:40 left in the game. Philly actually has played well the first three quarters of all four losses before talent simply won out in the fourth.
Key trends: The "over/under" has gone under in six of past seven meetings. The under is 10-1 in Orlando's past 11 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: This you won't see more than a few more times all year: Philly as a favorite! I have zero opinion on the side here, but crush the under. Neither team can hit the side of a barn.
Heat at Hornets (TBA)
This seems like a major letdown game for Miami after hosting unbeaten Houston on Tuesday night. Heat big men Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem were iffy for that one, so keep an eye on that here. It's the second of a back-to-back for Charlotte as well as it played in New Orleans on Tuesday. The Heat have totally owned Charlotte, winning 20 straight in this "series." But those were all with LeBron James, and the then-Bobcats played Miami pretty tough in the first round of last year's playoffs even though they were swept. The Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was iffy for Tuesday, so watch his status here as well.
Key trends: The Heat have covered six straight in Charlotte. The under is 5-1 in Charlotte's past six at home vs. teams with a winning road record.
Early lean: Hornets will win this straight up and end that skid. They should be favored by a couple when it opens -- obviously depending on what might transpire Tuesday.
Raptors at Celtics (+1, 202)
Boston may be able to steal this one as Toronto comes in off playing Tuesday night at home against Oklahoma City, although as injury-ravaged as the Thunder are they might not put up much of a fight. Boston has somewhat been the opposite of what it was last year in that the C's are scoring a ton through three games (108.0 ppg) but also giving up a lot (109.0 ppg). Rajon Rondo looks healthy, and he nearly had a triple-double in Monday's 118-113 loss to Dallas. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley combined for 67 points in that one. The C's nearly erased a 31-point hole.
Key trends: Toronto has covered just one of its past 10 in Boston. The over is 5-0 in the Celtics' past five at home.
Early lean: Yeah, the Raptors seem to never play well in Boston. Take that point.
Timberwolves at Nets (-6, 201)
Brooklyn looked very sharp on Monday night in thrashing the visiting Thunder 116-85. Brook Lopez played his first game in almost 11 months and had 18 points in Brooklyn's biggest home-opening win ever. Lopez was averaging a team-best 20.7 points when he broke his right foot last Dec. 20 against Philadelphia and had season-ending surgery. The Wolves have been off since falling 106-105 at home to Chicago in the final seconds Saturday. Andrew Wiggins committed a rookie-type foul on Jimmy Butler to allow Butler to win it with two free throws. Keep an eye on Minnesota starting forward Thaddeus Young here as he left before halftime with a strained neck after colliding with Butler. Young did practice Monday, so it seems he should play.
Key trends: Brooklyn is 8-1 in its past nine vs. the West. The over is 8-1 in Minnesota's past nine on the road.
Early lean: Nets and the over.
Knicks at Pistons (-1.5, 193)
Second of a back-to-back for New York as it hosted Washington on Tuesday night. I really thought Stan Van Gundy would make the Pistons better, but so far that's not the case as Detroit looks for its first win. The Pistons haven't scored more than 91 points yet and are last in the NBA in scoring. They have been off since a 12-point home loss to Brooklyn on Saturday. Detroit was a terrible home bet last year and isn't off to a good start in 2014 there. Through three games, the Pistons are shooting 21.9 percent on 3-pointers but taking more than 20 a game.
Key trends: The Knicks are 5-0 in their past five playing on zero days of rest. Detroit has failed to cover seven straight at home. The under is 6-0 in the past six meetings in Motown.
Early lean: Pistons get their first win rather easily. Go under.
Pacers at Wizards (-11, 189.5)
Here's another double back-to-back with Indiana hosting Milwaukee on Tuesday and Washington visiting the Knicks. The Pacers are still waiting for George Hill (knee contusion), C.J. Watson (bruised foot) and David West (sprained ankle) to debut, but none are expected to here. Also, guard Rodney Stuckey was iffy Tuesday, so watch his status. Of course, Washington and Indiana met in last season's conference semifinals, with the Pacers winning in six.
Key trends: The underdog has covered the past seven meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Lean under here.
Bulls at Bucks (+7, 191.5)
I would be very dubious that Derrick Rose might play. It sounded like he would Tuesday night vs. Orlando despite, missing a game with sprains to both ankles. However, he's going to get a few games in a back-to-back situations off, and this sure feels like one even though it's an easy trip north to Milwaukee from Chicago. As noted above, Milwaukee played in Indiana on Tuesday night. Bucks rookie Jabari Parker is from Chicago so no doubt will be excited to face the team he grew up rooting for.
Key trends: The underdog is 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 5-2 in the past seven in Milwaukee.
Early lean: Milwaukee is pretty decent value at that number. Take the Bucks to cover.
Hawks at Spurs (-9.5, 202.5)
Atlanta is of course coached by Mike Budenholzer, who was a long-time assistant under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs. Both teams will be plenty rested. The Hawks have been off since beating the Pacers 102-92 on Saturday. First-round pick Adreian Payne missed his second straight game with an injured left foot. The Spurs have been off since falling last Friday 94-89 in Phoenix. Not a shock the Spurs lost, but only 89 points? Kawhi Leonard was back in the lineup after missing the opener with an eye infection. He was 0-for-5 shooting and scored six points.
Key trends: Atlanta is 3-13 ATS in its past 16 vs. the West. The Spurs are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 at home.
Early lean: This line seems a bit too high, so take the points.
Grizzlies at Suns (-3, 193.5)
Couple of key injuries to note for Memphis. Very underrated point guard Mike Conley re-aggravated his right ankle sprain during Monday's win over New Orleans, but he said the injury is nothing to worry about. He stayed in the game, so it seems like he's fine to play here. Fellow starting guard Courtney Lee is expected to play after missing the past two with a concussion. Memphis has looked terrific in starting 4-0 and leads the NBA in scoring defense (85.0 ppg), which is not a surprise. Phoenix played at the Lakers on Tuesday night and got forward P.J. Tucker back off an opening three-game suspension. He probably will come off the bench for a while. Memphis and Phoenix couldn't be much more different. The Grizz are front-court based while the Suns want to run with their terrific three guards.
Key trends: The Grizzlies have covered the past four meetings. The under is 7-0 in the past seven in Phoenix.
Early lean: Interesting total as the books obviously expect a pace more toward Memphis' style. As long as Conley and Lee play, take the points. Do go under.
Cavaliers at Jazz (+7.5, 202)
This absolutely looks like a major letdown game for Cleveland after it had to play in the frenzied atmosphere of Portland on Tuesday night. You know that's likely to be a track meet. Just for a point of comparison, LeBron's Miami Heat lost in Utah last year. It's just not an easy place to play. Utah is a very bad defensive team but can put up some points. It has been off since a 107-101 loss at the Clippers on Monday. This could be the highest-scoring game of the night.
Key trends: Utah has covered one of its past seven at home. The over is 5-1 in the Jazz's past six overall.
Early lean: Over for sure and I like the points. An outright Jazz win wouldn't shock me.
Nuggets at Kings (pick'em, 205.5)
I was high on the Kings being much improved this year and so far so good as they are 3-1 following Monday's 110-105 win in Denver. That game was very chippy with a whopping 63 fouls called. Sacramento was an obscene 40 of 47 from the line. New addition Darren Collison led the Kings, who are 3-1 for the first time in four years, with 21 points. The Nuggets put seven guys into double figures. Denver's Danilo Gallinari remains on a strict minutes restriction off knee surgery and played just 14:01. He was 0 for 6 from the field off the bench with Wilson Chandler moving into the starting lineup.
Key trends: Denver has covered six straight at the Kings. The over is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Have to love those pick'ems! Hard to beat a team twice in a home-and-home but Kings just look better. Take them.
Clippers at Warriors (-2.5, 210.5)
I'm not a fan of either of these teams personally, but you aren't a basketball fan if you don't like watching their games. It's always entertaining and usually high scoring. The Clippers beat the Warriors in a terrific seven-game West quarterfinals series last season. L.A. has started this season 3-1, but the wins are against lousy teams Oklahoma City, the Lakers and Utah. Chris Paul did have a triple-double -- the first in NBA this season -- in Monday's win vs. the Jazz. Jamal Crawford returned from missing a game with bruised ribs and had 19 points. He says he's not 100 percent yet but will play. The Warriors are unbeaten and off a 95-90 win in Portland on Sunday. Maybe the Warriors were right not to trade Klay Thompson. He leads the NBA in scoring at 29.7 ppg. Golden State forward David Lee hasn't played yet this season (hamstring) but is targeting this game.
Key trends: The home team has covered five of the past six. The over has hit in 12 of the past 16.
Early lean: Golden State and the over.
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