NBA Odds: Tuesday, March 11 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/10/2014
Is it time for Indiana Pacers futures backers to worry? They have lost a season-high four games in a row and have coughed up the best record in the NBA. About the only good news is that Miami has lost three straight, so the Pacers still lead the East by 1.5 games. They certainly should win Tuesday night at home against Boston. Here's a quick look at all of Tuesday's action, in order of tipoff, and their opening lines.
Celtics at Pacers (-12, 191.5)
It's not like Indiana is losing to lousy teams during this skid: Golden State, Charlotte, Houston and Dallas. Only one of those -- the Warriors -- was in Indianapolis. The schedule gets much easier now as after this one are the Sixers, Pistons, Sixers again and Knicks. What is worrisome is that the NBA's best defense has allowed at least 105 points in the past three losses. Indiana's bench was outscored a whopping 41-4 in Sunday's 105-94 defeat to Dallas. Improving the bench was why the Sixers traded for Evan Turner, but he had just two points in 25 minutes vs. the Mavs. Boston has won two straight, both at home. These teams played on March 1 in Boston, and the Pacers won 102-97. Indiana was a 7.5-point favorite in that one. It's possible that Celtics guard Rajon Rondo sits this one out as he doesn't play back-to-backs, and the Celtics play Wednesday at home against New York in a more winnable game. One would think Boston would rather sit Rondo in a road game than in front of the home folks, but early reports are that Rondo will sit Wednesday.
Key trends: Pacers are 1-11 ATS in their past 12 playing on one day of rest. Boston is 7-0 ATS in its past seven against the East. The "under" is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Kings at Pistons (-3.5, 213)
Sacramento plays Game No. 4 of a seven-game road trip Tuesday in Motown, and the Kings have dropped the past two, both by double-digits, in Toronto and Brooklyn. The Kings turned the ball over a whopping 25 times in Sunday's loss to the Nets, and the Sacramento bench was outscored 59-19. DeMarcus Cousins was a beast with 28 points and 20 boards. Detroit has lost three straight and seven of eight. The Pistons allowed at least 104 points in each of those seven losses. Somehow the Pistons lost to Boston on Sunday despite three guys each with at least 18 points and 11 rebounds. On Nov. 15 in Sacramento the Pistons won 97-90 as 1.5-point dogs.
Key trends: The road team has covered 11 of the past 12 meetings. The "over" is 5-1 in the past six.
Spurs at Bulls (+4, 188)
San Antonio enters on a six-game winning streak , the signature victory of which was Thursday's 111-87 blowout of visiting Miami. Chicago has won six of eight, the signature victory of which was Sunday's 95-88 overtime win over Miami in which Jimmy Butler harassed LeBron James into one of his worst games of the season. Chicago went to San Antonio on Jan. 29 and won 96-86 as 7.5-point dogs. A bit surprising the Spurs were that heavily favored as they played without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter, who were all out due to injuries. It was also the second of a back-to-back for San Antonio.
Key trends: The Bulls are 6-1 ATS in their past seven home games. The over is 6-1 in San Antonio's past seven on the road.
Trail Blazers at Grizzlies (-3, 198)
Memphis has temporarily taken over the West's final playoff spot from Phoenix as the Grizzlies have won two straight and four of five. They beat two Eastern Conference playoff teams over the weekend in Chicago on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday. The latter was Memphis' season-high sixth straight home win. Portland, meanwhile, is 0-2 on a tough five-game road trip, losing in Dallas on Friday and Houston on Saturday. The Grizzlies defeated the Trail Blazers 98-81 in the first matchup of the season on Jan. 28 in Portland. Memphis has won four straight in the series. Five of the last seven games between Portland and Memphis have been decided by six points of fewer.
Key trends: The road team is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 7-1 in the past eight.
Bucks at Timberwolves (-14, 213.5)
Time is running out for Minnesota to make its playoff push as the Wolves are five games behind No. 8 Memphis with 20 games left for both. Minnesota simply can't afford to lose games like this, which concludes a four-game homestand. The Wolves are 1-2 in their first three, losing to the Knicks and Raptors and beating Detroit. Milwaukee has lost three straight, allowing at least 112 points in each, entering Monday. The Bucks also will be playing the second of a back-to-back here after hosting Orlando on Monday. The Wolves routed the Bucks 117-95 in Milwaukee as 7.5-point favorites on Dec. 28.
Key trends: Minnesota is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 10-1 in the Bucks' past 11 overall entering Monday.
Rockets at Thunder (-3.5, 216)
Oklahoma City now finds itself behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference standings as the Thunder have lost two straight and five of eight. Sunday's 114-110 defeat at the Lakers was easily the most puzzling in that stretch. The Lakers have no right scoring 114 on anyone. Jodie Meeks blew up with 42 for L.A., ruining Kevin Durant's triple-double. Russell Westbrook had 20 but was only 7-for-23 from the field. This losing skid started in his return. Houston is just two games behind OKC now and has won five straight, including impressive victories over Miami and Indiana. This starts a very tough three-game road trip with visits to Chicago and Miami to follow. The Thunder have blown out the Rockets in two meetings this season but haven't seen them since Jan. 16.
Key trends: OKC has covered just two of its past nine games. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Mavericks at Warriors (TBA)
I'm not sure why no line on this one as neither team plays Monday and there aren't any key players expected to sit out. Warriors star Stephen Curry is playing with a strained quad that will limit his minutes somewhat for a while, but he played 30 minutes in Sunday's 113-107 win over Phoenix, Golden State's fourth straight victory. The Mavericks enter on a two-game winning streak, beating playoff teams Portland and Indiana in Big D. These two have split two close meetings: Dallas won 103-99 at home on Nov. 27 and lost 95-93 in Oakland on Dec. 11 on Curry's winner with 1.5 seconds left. Four of the last five regular-season meetings between Dallas and Golden State have been decided by four points or less.
Key trends: The road team has covered six of the past seven meetings. The under is 4-0 in the past four.
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