NBA Odds: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/24/2014
Because of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 action , the TNT doubleheader this week is Tuesday night for your live betting pleasure at the books. The only game of the night that features two expected playoff teams is Oklahoma City at Dallas. Here's a look at all of Tuesday's games in order of tipoff.
Raptors at Cavaliers (+5, 197.5)
Just when I was ready to put a nail in Cleveland's coffin for the 2013-14 season, the Cavaliers went and upset the Knicks 106-100 in New York on Sunday to end a four-game losing streak. Jarrett Jack scored a season-high 31 points and appears to be the main scoring option with Kyrie Irving remaining sidelined. Cleveland's Luol Deng returned from a three-game injury absence and had 13 points. The Cavs are still about done. They are 5.5 games behind No. 8 Atlanta in the East. The Raptors beat Atlanta 96-86 on Sunday behind 25 points from Kyle Lowry. He has scored at least 19 points in nine straight games, a career high. Toronto trailed by 14 in the fourth quarter. Raptors big man Amir Johnson said he hyper-extended his knee in the game but expects to play in Cleveland.
Toronto goes for the three-game season sweep. The teams played the first two games over a four-day span in late February, with the Raptors winning 98-91 at home and 99-93 on the road. The Cavs didn't have either Anderson Varejao or Dion Waiters for both of those games, and they are back now.
Key trends: The road team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The "under" is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: I'm rolling with both trends listed above: Raptors and under.
Trail Blazers at Magic (+5, 207)
Second of a back-to-back for Portland, which was in Miami on Monday night. The Blazers played that one again without LaMarcus Aldridge, and he's not likely to play in this one, either. They are 7-3 without their all-star this year. Orlando completed a four-game Western Conference road trip with a 103-94 loss at the Lakers on Sunday. It was Orlando's ninth straight defeat. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson missed his third straight game with a knee injury. Rookie Victor Oladipo started at the point and had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Orlando is an amazing 1-23 in its past 24 road games. A loss in this game would give Orlando two double-digit losing streaks in the same season for the third time in the franchise's history. The Magic's last two wins overall have been against Philadelphia.
The Magic lost 110-94 in Portland on Jan. 8. Nicolas Batum had a triple-double and Aldridge had 36 points and nine rebounds. Orlando played without injured center Nikola Vucevic. The Magic have lost five of the past seven overall against Portland.
Key trends: Orlando has covered one of its past seven against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 4-1 in Portland's past five against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Wait and see how Portland fares Monday. It it's a draining, back-and-forth game the Blazers could be very sluggish here. If it's a blowout in either direction, the Blazers should roll the Magic.
Thunder at Mavericks (TBA)
Oklahoma City avoided potential disaster on Saturday. All-star Russell Westbrook left Friday's 119-118 double-overtime win in Toronto after banging knees with Toronto's Kyle Lowry. However, an MRI on those troublesome knees came back negative, and he's OK. The Thunder hosted Denver on Monday night, so Westbrook is either going to sit that game or this one out because of the back-to-back situation. Dallas lost 107-104 in overtime at home to Brooklyn on Sunday. Dirk Nowitzki had an off night, going 2-for-12 for 10 points. He shot an airball on a fadeaway that would have given Dallas a late four-point lead in regulation. The Nets would then tie it. The Mavs may not have starting point guard Jose Calderon for this one after he left Sunday's game with a mouth injury.
OKC and Dallas have split two meetings, both one-sided and both in Oklahoma City. The last was March 16, a 109-86 Mavericks win. That was the Thunder's worst loss of the season. Westbrook didn't play that game as it was the first of a back-to-back. It ended the Mavs' seven-game losing streak in the series.
Key trends: Oklahoma City has covered 12 of its past 15 in Dallas. The over is 4-1 in the Mavericks' past five at home.
Early lean: Wait to see on Westbrook.
Knicks at Lakers (TBA)
If New York misses the playoffs by one game, it will point to Sunday's 106-100 home loss to Cleveland as a killer. No way the Knicks should lose that game, especially leading by 15 at the half and against a Cavs team missing Kyrie Irving. It ended New York's season-high eight-game winning streak, and now the Knicks have to start a tough five-game trip through the Western Conference with five games in six days. The Knicks didn't have Iman Shumpert against Cleveland, and he's questionable here with flu-like symptoms. The Lakers ended a four-game skid with Sunday's 103-94 win over visiting Orlando. Steve Nash missed that game after finally returning to action Friday. Pau Gasol left at halftime with dizziness and nausea. Coach Mike D'Antoni said Nash probably will play against New York but that Gasol is questionable (thus no line; Gasol is the only current Laker who would even affect a side). Chris Kaman would start if he can't.
The Lakers visited the Knicks on Jan. 26 and lost 110-103. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, his first game after scoring 62. Gasol had 20 points and 13 rebounds. L.A. has won six straight at home in this series, but that was with Kobe Bryant.
Key trends: The Knicks are 5-1 ATS in their past six after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The over is 10-4 in the Lakers' past 14 overall.
Early lean: Knicks and the over whether Gasol plays or not. Carmelo should have a big game as he puts on a show for his potential future employers.
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