NBA Odds: Saturday, March 8 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/7/2014
By far the most intriguing game on the schedule Saturday night has to be Utah at Philadelphia. Of course, it involves two of the worst teams in the NBA pulling tank jobs to land a high pick in this summer's draft. But the Sixers are doing it in almost unprecedented fashion, having lost 15 straight games and showing no signs of being competitive any time soon. Bovada has a cool prop on whether the 76es win another game: yes is 1/5 and no 3/1. Here's a quick look at all of Saturday's action, in order of tipoff, and their opening lines.
Knicks at Cavaliers (-1, 201)
The second of a back-to-back for both, and travel-wise neither has an advantage as the Cavaliers have to fly from Charlotte on Friday night while the Knicks must fly from home. Cleveland won't have injured rotation players Anderson Varejao and C.J. Miles again. Because this is the second game in two nights for New York, look for Amare Stoudemire to sit this one out. The last time the Knicks saw Cleveland, on Jan. 30, they won 117-86. However, that was back when New York was playing well and it completed a 10-6 January. The Knicks haven't held a team to that few points since.
Key trends: The Knicks are 2-9 ATS in their past 11 Saturday games. The "under" is 13-3 in Cleveland's past 16 at home.
Jazz at 76ers (+5.5, 208.5)
I give Philly seven decent chances to win the rest of the way: here, March 12 vs. Sacramento, March 21 vs. the Knicks, March 29 vs. Detroit, March 31 at Atlanta, April 14 vs. Boston and April 16 at Miami because the Heat will play their entire second string in the season finale. The Sixers were so bad in Tuesday's 125-92 blowout in Oklahoma City -- as NBA season-high 21-point underdogs -- that Russell Westbrook had a triple-double in 21 minutes and then sat. Kevin Durant probably could have scored 60 but took the fourth quarter off. At least Philly will be rested with three days off. The Jazz will be coming off Friday night's game at the Knicks and entered that one having lost all four road games on this six-game trip. Teams usually are really dragging in the finale of a long trip as Utah will be. The Sixers actually played a decent game Feb. 12 in Utah, only falling 105-100. That's the last time they didn't lose by at least 11.
Key trends: Utah is 1-6 ATS in its past seven in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 9-1 in Utah's past 10 on the road.
Bobcats at Grizzlies (TBA)
Both Charlotte and Memphis have to travel on Friday night, the Bobcats from home and the Grizzlies from Chicago. When you add in the fact Charlotte is No. 5 in points allowed and Memphis No. 3, this one could be really sloppy with tired legs. Something like the Feb. 22 matchup between the Grizzlies and Bobcats in Charlotte, a 92-89 Bobcats win. Charlotte won despite a season-low-tying six points from Al Jefferson. Memphis guard Mike Conley missed two 3-point attempts to tie it in the final seconds. The Grizz shot only 43 percent overall and the Bobcats 36.6 percent. Memphis should open around -6 and have Zach Randolph, who was expected to return Friday after sitting out one game with an illness.
Key trends: Charlotte is 0-4 ATS in its past four road games against teams with a winning home record. The over is 8-0 in Memphis' past eight overall.
Magic at Spurs (TBA)
Orlando may have the benefit of catching the Spurs in a major letdown game after San Antonio won 111-87 in a very impressive effort at home against Miami on Thursday in a Finals rematch. The Spurs, who have won five straight, never trailed in the game. They are going to be emotionally drained, no doubt about it, as they badly wanted that game and played all out. The Magic have been off since losing 101-89 against Houston on Wednesday. Orlando played without guards Jameer Nelson (illness) and Victor Oladipo (sore left ankle), so keep an eye on their status here. They both did make the trip to Texas. Oladipo had been the only Magic player to appear in every game. The Spurs won 109-91 in Orlando on Nov. 29. The Magic are only 4-21 all-time in San Antonio and will be double-digit dogs.
Key trends: Orlando has covered once in its past 11 road games against teams with a winning home record. The over is 10-2 in San Antonio's past 12 Saturday games.
Wizards at Bucks (+5.5, 206)
Somehow, the Wizards are playing some of their best basketball without injured big man Nene as they have won seven of eight and seem all but assured of finally getting back to the postseason and likely saving Randy Wittman's job. Washington forward Martell Webster has missed the past two games with a sore back, but he's not going to affect the line either way. Washington will get a Bucks team off playing in New Orleans on Friday night. These teams have split two meetings, each winning a road overtime game. Those were more than three months ago.
Key trends: Washington is 7-1 ATS in its past eight road games against teams with a losing home record. The over has hit in seven of Milwaukee's past nine home games against teams with a winning road record.
Hawks at Clippers (TBA)
Atlanta has lost four straight and 12 of 13, and those streaks were likely to grow by one Friday night in Golden State. Atlanta's last road win shouldn't even count: Jan. 31 at Philadelphia. The Hawks hosted the Clippers on Dec. 4 and beat them 107-97. That was back when the Hawks had Al Horford and were competitive. Atlanta forward Paul Millsap, the team's best player left standing, hasn't played since Feb. 21 but was set to return Friday night (his status likely why the line TBA). The Clippers could be due a letdown of their own after they destroyed the Lakers 142-94 on Thursday, the Lakers' worst loss since leaving Minnesota. It was also the biggest win in Clippers history. They have won a season-high six straight (6-0 ATS) and will likely open around -9.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in its past five in the second of a back-to-back. The over is 6-1 in the Hawks' past seven in the second of a back-to-back.
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