NBA Odds: Thursday March 6, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/5/2014
Only three games on the NBA schedule Thursday night, but it features four title contenders in the Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Clippers in action. The sportsbooks will have live betting on Heat-Spurs and Clippers-Lakers as those are the two TNT nationally-televised games. Here's a quick rundown of the NBA opening odds on each game.
Heat at Spurs (-3, 206)
It's Miami's first visit to San Antonio since the Spurs won Game 5 of the 2013 Finals. Miami had won eight straight games and didn't suffer an ATS loss in any of them before falling 106-103 in Houston on Tuesday night as a two-point underdog. Wise NBA bettors might have seen that coming. It was the second of a back-to-back for the Heat as they crushed Charlotte 124-107 in Miami on Monday night.
So you add travel to the fact that LeBron James had a career-high 61 points against the Bobcats and took an exhausting 33 shots in 41 minutes. He admitted he had to sleep essentially all day Tuesday because he was so worn out. James was held to 22 by Houston and missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He didn't make one from long range the night after making eight. Houston was plenty rested in not having played since Saturday and has the NBA's best record in the New Year.
The Spurs have won four straight (2-2 ATS), but it's somewhat surprising they are 3-point favorites. For one, San Antonio is just 11-18 ATS at home. Secondly, the Heat haven't lost back-to-back games since the middle of January. Miami swept the Spurs last regular season, but you can take nothing from that. San Antonio didn't play its Big 3 stars in the game in Miami, and the Heat sat LeBron and Dwyane Wade in their trip to San Antonio.
The Heat rolled the Spurs 113-101 in Miami earlier this season, covering the 8.5-point spread. San Antonio was without Danny Green, Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard in that one.
Key trends: Spurs are 1-7 ATS in their past eight at home against teams with winning road records. The under is 4-0 in Miami's past four after a loss.
Thunder at Suns (+5, 217)
Phoenix has lost four of six, and its only two wins and covers in that stretch were against two of the current worst teams in the NBA right now in the Hawks and Pelicans. The Suns will be short-handed Thursday as starting center Miles Plumlee sat out Tuesday's 104-96 home loss to the Clippers -- maybe he plays -- and reserve guard Leandro Barbosa left with a broken hand that will sideline him at least a month.
Oklahoma City struggled out of the all-star break with three straight losses (and ATS), all at home, as the team tried to figure things out with Russell Westbrook's return. However, the Thunder have won three straight since (all covers), and the offense has scored at least 113 in each. Westbrook had a triple-double in Tuesday's 125-92 blowout of Philadelphia. He's coming around.
The Thunder have won 11 straight in this series but didn't cover the lone meeting of the season thus far, a 103-96 victory at Phoenix (+12.5) on Nov. 3.
Key trend: OKC had covered the previous six meetings before that November game. The “over” is 9-3 in the past 12 meetings.
Clippers at Lakers (+10.5, 223.5)
The Clippers have really made a statement in their five-game winning streak, covering all five. They have beaten Western Conference favorites Oklahoma City and Houston -- the team with the NBA's best record since Jan. 1 -- in that stretch as well as in Phoenix on Tuesday night. The last time the Clippers lost was the last time they didn't score at least 100 points. They have won their past two without potential Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, and he's not expected to play in this one.
The Lakers are playing somewhat better of late in covering three of their past four and winning two of them. However, they allowed 132 points in a seven-point home defeat Tuesday night to an injury-ravaged New Orleans team that had lost eight straight games overall and nine straight at Staples Center to the Lakers. Rather amazingly, Lakers starting point guard Kendall Marshall had his fourth scoreless game in the past five on Tuesday despite playing an average of 21.6 minutes per game.
After losing their season opener at the Lakers, the Clippers got payback in the last meeting, a 123-87 victory on Jan. 10 that was the Clippers' largest ever win against their Staples Center rivals.
Key trends: The Clippers are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 10-1 in the past 11 meetings.
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