NBA Odds: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/11/2014
Busy night in the NBA on Wednesday and there could be plenty of value to be found with several teams playing in the second of a back-to-back. Here's a quick look at the opening lines of every game or perhaps why there isn't one.
Nets at Heat (-8, 201)
Here's one bet I would back with just about everything I have in this game: LeBron James will attempt a free throw. He hasn't in back-to-back games, the first time that has happened since James was still a rookie and hadn't yet earned the benefit of the doubt from the referees. The Nets have won two straight to get back to two games over .500. They haven't been three over all season. Brooklyn beat Toronto 101-97 Monday despite missing Kevin Garnett for a sixth straight game. Andrei Kirilenko also sat out after being hurt Sunday, but Paul Pierce played. KG might have a chance to go here as he was in the starting lineup Monday before being pulled. The Nets' 22-9 record since Jan. 1 is tops in the East. The Nets are 2-0 against Miami this year, winning two close ones in Brooklyn (one without Deron Williams). The Heat have won eight straight at home in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The "under" is 5-1 in the past six in Miami.
Nuggets at Magic (+1.5, 212)
Orlando has lost three straight and blew an 18-point lead in Milwaukee on Monday night. Magic rookie Victor Oladipo returned after missing two games with a left ankle injury. The Nuggets lost in overtime in New Orleans on Sunday night and then 105-98 in Charlotte on Monday. That's four straight road losses overall. On Jan. 11 in Denver the Nuggets rolled the Magic 120-94 as 12.5-point favorites. Seven Nuggets had at least 13 points. The Magic didn't have leading scorer and former Nugget Arron Afflalo for that one. At the time it was Denver's fifth straight win and got the Nuggets two games over .500. They haven't won more than two straight since as the season has gone down the tubes.
Key trends: Nuggets are 1-9 ATS in their past 10 against the Eastern Conference. The "over" is 5-1 in Orlando's past six home games against teams with a losing record.
Kings at 76ers (+8.5, 217.5)
Ah, the Sixers. They were blown out yet again Monday night in New York for loss No. 17 in a row, the team's longest skid since the epically terrible 1972-73 team. Michael Carter-Williams at least had a triple-double vs. New York. Sacramento is 1-2 on its seven-game road trip entering Tuesday's game in Detroit. A bad team on the second of a back-to-back: This could be Philly's best chance to win the rest of the season. Remember that shocking four-game road winning streak out West that the 76ers had from Dec. 29-Jan. 4? Game 3 of that was a 113-104 win in Sacramento as an 8.5-point underdog. Thaddeus Young was great with 28 points, seven rebounds, six steals, four assists and no turnovers. DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and 14 boards for Sacramento.
Key trends: Philadelphia is 1-6 ATS in its past seven against teams with a losing record. The under has hit just once in the Kings' past six games playing in the second of a back-to-back.
Pistons at Raptors (-8, 207.5)
Detroit hosted Sacramento on Tuesday with the Pistons on a three-game losing streak and having lost 10 of 12, allowing 110 points per game in that run. At least it's a short flight to Toronto afterward. The Raptors had a three-game winning streak snapped on Monday night at short-handed Brooklyn. The Raptors and Pistons have met just once, a 112-91 Toronto home win Jan. 8 as a six-point favorite. Detroit was still coached by Maurice Cheeks then.
Key trends: Toronto has covered five of the past six meetings. The over is 11-2 in Detroit's past 13 in the second of a back-to-back.
Bobcats at Wizards (-6, 198)
Washington had a two-game winning streak snapped Monday night in Miami. The Heat were clearly desperate as Dwayne Wade played in the second of a back-to-back, which he hasn't been doing this year. The Wizards crushed the Heat on the boards, but Wade led a late 12-0 Miami run. Charlotte's in the midst of a weird schedule in that it alternates home and road games over an eight-game stretch. It beat Denver 105-98 on Monday behind another huge game from Al Jefferson. Starting Charlotte shooting guard Gerald Henderson missed his fifth straight game and is unlikely for this one. The Wizards won the only meeting so far, 97-83 in Charlotte on Jan. 7 as 1.5-point favorites. Jefferson was held to six points.
Key trends: The Wizards have covered just two of their past 12 home games against teams with a losing road record. The over is 7-1 in Washington's past eight Wednesday games.
Knicks at Celtics (+2, 200.5)
Boston played at Indiana on Tuesday night, and apparently Rajon Rondo was going to play in that one and not against the Knicks as he won't be playing in back-to-backs most likely all season. A victory here would be New York's fifth straight, tying a season high. The Knicks have scored at least 107 points in each of the current four. Center Tyson Chandler missed Monday's game for personal reasons but is likely to be back for this one. The Celtics lead the season series 2-1, but both wins were early in the season, and the Knicks blew out Boston 114-88 in the last meeting Jan. 28.
Key trends: The Knicks are 1-8 ATS in their past nine against the East. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings in Boston.
Grizzlies at Pelicans (+4, 187)
It's the second of a back-to-back for Memphis as it entered Tuesday's home game against Portland having won two straight and allowing only a combined 166 points in those two. New Orleans now seems all but assured to not finish with one of the NBA's first-worst records, meaning it must send its 2014 first-round pick to Philly unless the Pelicans move up in the lottery. They have won three straight, scoring at least 111 points in all of them. All were against bad teams, however. Anthony Davis has had at least 28 points and 14 rebounds in each game during the winning streak. The Pelicans have won four straight against Memphis, two each on the road and home.
Key trends: New Orleans hasn't covered in its past five against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Mavericks at Jazz (+5.5, 204.5)
This looks like a big-time sandwich game for Dallas. They took a two-game winning streak into a big game in Golden State on Tuesday night, and up next is a visit to rival Oklahoma City. Likely it will be hard to get too worked up for a bad Utah team in the second of a back-to-back. Especially after the Jazz lost at home Monday to an Atlanta team that had lost 14 of 15 games overall and 10 straight on the road. Utah has lost six of seven overall. Dallas is 2-0 against Utah this year, winning each by double-digits and scoring exactly 103 points in both.
Key trends: The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in their past four against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in Utah's past six home games.
Trail Blazers at Spurs (-6, 213.5)
Tough second of a back-to-back for San Antonio as the Spurs played in Chicago on Tuesday night, and the Bulls usually leave teams feeling exhausted and a bit beaten up. Of course, the Blazers could say the same thing as they face a Bulls-like team in Memphis on Tuesday night. Thus, this game figures to be somewhat ugly with two teams on tired legs. The Blazers are 2-1 this season against the Spurs and a very good 5-3 in their past eight games in San Antonio.
Key trends: Portland is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 6-2 in the past eight.
Cavaliers at Suns (TBA)
Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe, barring a setback, is expected to play his first game since Dec. 30 in this one, certainly on a bit of a minutes limit. It will be interesting to see what Coach Jeff Hornacek does with Gerald Green as he's been red-hot. Perhaps Bledsoe comes off the bench the rest of the season. Look for Suns forward P.J. Tucker to be suspended for the game after he punched the Clippers' Blake Griffin and was ejected from Monday's game. There's likely no line because of Bledsoe's and Tucker's status. On Jan. 26 in Cleveland the Suns won 99-90 as two-point underdogs (total was 203.5). Phoenix was down 18 at the half but blew out Cleveland 56-29 in the final two quarters. The Cavs were 2-for-22 for six points in the third quarter. Suns forward Markieff Morris had one of the best games of his NBA career with 27 points and 15 rebounds. He outscored the Cleveland bench by 10 points alone.
Key trends: Phoenix is 8-1 ATS in its past nine against teams with a losing record. The under is 6-1 in the Suns' past seven against teams with a losing record.
Warriors at Clippers (-5.5, 214)
Is Los Angeles the best team in the NBA right now? An argument can be made as the Clippers have won a league-high eight straight games and lead the NBA in average point differential at plus-7.1. Blake Griffin had 37 points in Monday's win over Phoenix, his franchise-record 23rd straight game with at least 20. He was in a bit of a scuffle with the Suns' P.J. Tucker, but Griffin didn't throw a punch or anything, so his status shouldn't be affected. The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season, but they haven't played since late January. Golden State has to travel Tuesday night after hosting Dallas.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 in the past six meetings. The over is 7-1 in the past eight.
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