NBA Odds: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 4/7/2014
Think the Heat will be just slightly motivated on Tuesday night against Brooklyn? The Nets are going for the four-game sweep and would be full of confidence in a potential conference semifinals matchup with Miami. The Heat will want to put the Nets in their place. Here is a look at all of Tuesday's action in order of tipoff.
Pistons at Hawks (-6, 209)
Well, well, it looks like Atlanta has some heart after all. Now it would take a huge collapse for the Hawks to not grab the East's No. 8 seed. They had one of the surprise wins of the season on Sunday, beating the Pacers 107-88 in Indianapolis. If you saw that coming, kudos. The Hawks are now three games ahead of the Knicks in the loss column. Atlanta's Paul Millsap played through a thumb injury Sunday and should start. However, guard Lou Williams is questionable with a sore left hamstring. How good has Detroit's Andre Drummond gotten? He has the most offensive rebounds of any player in 16 years. The guy is 20. Drummond is working on a streak of four straight double-doubles, with Detroit going 2-2 in that stretch. The Hawks lead the season series 2-1.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-5 ATS in its past six at home against teams with a losing road record. The "over" is 4-1 in the past five meetings at the Hawks.
Early lean: The Pistons actually have more talent, and I don't trust Atlanta not to lay an egg after Sunday's nice win. Take Detroit to cover.
Nets at Heat (TBA)
The TBA here is again for Miami's Dwyane Wade, who has played just once in the past nine games because of his hamstring and simply to rest Wade for the playoffs. With only a few games left during the regular season you would think the Heat would want to integrate him back into the lineup so the team is in sync. Of course, the Heat don't need much from Wade to win their first-round playoff series. Chris Andersen also sat out Sunday's win over the Knicks, and he's iffy. Brooklyn clearly got caught looking ahead to this one (as I projected) in squeaking by the 76ers on Saturday. Kevin Garnett made his return in that one, but he'll continue to play very few minutes. This might be the last game of the regular season the Nets care about because they are going to finish with the No. 5 seed likely regardless.
Key trends: The Nets are 8-0 ATS in their past eight against teams with a winning record. The "under" is 4-0 in the past four meetings in Miami.
Early lean: I'd be willing to bet the Heat haven't been swept in a four-game season series since LeBron and Chris Bosh joined the team. Nor do I expect they want to be. They make a statement here.
Spurs at Timberwolves (TBA)
San Antonio really has nothing to play for the rest of the way, so I doubt we see an opening line on any Spurs game until Gregg Popovich reveals who is sitting or not. It's all but a sure thing that Tony Parker doesn't play in this game. He left Sunday's win over Memphis with back spasms and was undergoing an MRI on Monday. Obviously, if it's something serious that could change the entire dynamic of the playoffs. The team doesn't think it is, however. Minnesota's Kevin Love sat out Saturday with back issues and is questionable. So are Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger.
Key trends: The Spurs are 7-1 ATS in their past eight road games. The over is 6-1 in Minnesota's past seven against the Western Conference.
Early lean: Too soon to call.
Mavericks at Jazz (+8, 200)
It's a must-have game for Dallas as the Mavericks are No. 7 in the West but just 1.5 games ahead of No. 9 Memphis. Those two finish the season against one another. Dallas has won five straight road games, including at the Thunder and Clippers. Are the West playoffs going to be fun or what? Utah, meanwhile, has just two wins since March 9. The Jazz were blown out by 28 in Golden State on Sunday despite 24 points and a career-high 15 assists from rookie Trey Burke. Dallas leads the season series 3-0, winning each by at least eight points and scoring at least 103 in all of them.
Key trends: Dallas is 1-6 ATS in its past seven after a win. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Utah.
Early lean: End of a four-game trip, so I could see the Mavs playing a bit sluggish. They will still win, but take Utah to cover. Over for sure.
Thunder at Kings (TBA)
The TBA here is for both starting point guards, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas. The Thunder play again Wednesday night at the Clippers, meaning Westbrook will sit one of the two out. I would presume it would be this game because the Clippers are just a game behind OKC for the West's No. 2 seed. Sacramento has played six straight without Thomas, and there's little point bringing him back now. The Thunder lead the season series 3-0, but the one game in Sacramento came down to the wire.
Key trends: The Thunder are 0-5 ATS in their past five road games. The under is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: I like whatever points the Kings get here because the Thunder will be looking past this one toward Wednesday.
Rockets at Lakers (+10, 225.5)
It's not clear if Lakers fans will get to boo Dwight Howard in this one as he hasn't played in the past five games. Omer Asik is playing well in his spot, and there's no reason for the Rockets to put Howard back out there yet if he's not 100 percent. Meanwhile, the Lakers' Pau Gasol is likely done for the year. But guard Jordan Farmar says he will return for this one.
Key trends: The Lakers are 1-7 ATS in their past eight against teams with a winning record. The over is 10-2 in the Rockets' past 12 overall.
Early lean: Houston still has something to play for -- holding onto the No. 4 seed. That should be enough to cover.
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