NBA Odds and Predictions: Friday, February 20 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 2/19/2015
One of the busiest nights of the season on Friday with 26 of the 30 teams in action on the first full day after the break. This story was be posted right after Thursday's NBA trade deadline, so a handful of deals affected several game odds, taking some off the board. Some of the trades, like Phoenix sending out Goran Dragic, were expected. Some were not. It was a great, but crazy, afternoon. Here's a look at each matchup, but lines will be in flux because you don't know if the traded guys will be cleared to play in time Friday.
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Pelicans at Magic (+3.5, 195)
New Orleans got bad news on Wednesday when it was learned that injured point guard Jrue Holiday had a setback with his leg injury and is expected to miss
at least another three weeks. Anthony Davis missed the All-Star Game with an injury but should be good to go here.
Small forward Ryan Anderson missed the final two games before the break but also should play. The Pelicans made a minor deal Thursday, getting point guard Norris Cole from Miami for John Salmons. Orlando has announced it will keep interim coach James Borrego for the rest of the season. The team is 2-2 under him. New Orleans beat the Magic 101-84 in the season opener.
Key trends: New Orleans has covered seven of its past eight Friday games. The Magic have covered only two of their past eight at home. The "over/under" has gone under in Orlando's past four.
Early lean: Pelicans and under as long as Davis plays.
Pacers at 76ers (TBA)
Indiana enters the second half only two games out of the final playoff spot in the East and with rumors of Paul George possibly returning from his broken leg in mid-March. That apparently meant the Pacers weren't sellers ahead of the deadline. They were rumored in the Dragic sweepstakes but didn't get him. The 76ers shockingly traded 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year Michael-Carter Williams in a three-team swap (MCW to Milwaukee) and got back only draft picks. Philly also got Isaiah Canaan from Houston for K.J. McDaniels, and Canaan likely starts at the point now. The teams have split two meetings, with Philly winning 93-92 at home in the most recent on Jan. 10. Carter-Williams hit a running layup with 9.9 seconds left.
Key trends: Indiana is 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 10-2 in the Sixers' past 12 at home.
Early lean: I like Pacers now that Philly doesn't have MCW.
Raptors at Hawks (-4.5, 203.5)
No reported moves for these clubs. These are your top two seeds in the East right now, although I don't know many people who don't think Chicago and/or Cleveland will pass No. 2 Toronto. The Raptors entered the break on a three-game winning streak while Atlanta finally looked mortal and is 3-3 in its past six. Toronto has won two of three meetings, but those were before the Hawks took off. Atlanta won the most recent game in mid-January 110-89 in Toronto.
Key trends: Atlanta is 6-0 ATS in its past six after a loss. The home team is 5-2 against the spread in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Bulls at Pistons (+4.5, 197)
Chicago didn't have All-Star Jimmy Butler in its final game before the break, but he'll play here. The Bulls impressively beat Cleveland to close the first half on a four-game winning streak. The Pistons made a big move, getting Reggie Jackson from Oklahoma City in a three-team deal. They also made a small one, bringing back Tayshaun Prince. That was the opening line you see but it's now off the board following the Jackson deal. The Bulls beat the visiting Pistons 102-92 in the only meeting back on Nov. 10.
Key trends: Chicago is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. Detroit is 7-1 ATS in its past eight after a loss. The under is 4-0 in the Bulls' past four on the road.
Early lean: Bulls and under.
Heat at Knicks (TBA)
New York officially shut down Carmelo Anthony for knee surgery on Wednesday, so I 100 percent expect this team to finish with the most losses in the Eastern Conference. Maybe the NBA. That's just what Phil Jackson wants. The Heat were big winners on Thursday in getting Dragic from the Suns and not having to give up a regular to do so. They also dumped Cole on the Pelicans. Miami's Dwyane Wade missed the final seven games before the break with a hamstring injury, as well as the All-Star Game, but he's expected to play. Chris Bosh missed practice on Wednesday with an illness, so he's questionable. Miami is 2-0 against New York this season, and the Knicks haven't topped 95 points in either. They may not again this season.
Key trends: The Heat have covered the past five meetings. The under is 7-2 in the Knicks' past nine overall.
Early lean: Heat will win this game. Go under on the Knicks almost every game the rest of the way.
Suns at Timberwolves (TBA)
Phoenix was the center of the trade universe Thursday, trading Dragic to Miami and Isaiah Thomas to Boston. The Suns' main return was point guard Brandon Knight from Milwaukee while also landing Danny Granger from Miami and Marcus Thornton from Boston. Phoenix center Alex Len is likely to return after missing the final three games before the break. The Wolves, meanwhile, are going to have a tough time holding off the Lakers for the worst record in the West and the Knicks for the worst overall. Minnesota dealt Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn for Kevin Garnett in a salary dump and in a largely ceremonial move. The Suns are 2-0 vs. Minnesota, averaging 111.5 points.
Key trends: Phoenix hasn't covered its past six on the road. The under is 6-0 in Minnesota's past six vs. the West.
Early lean: I like Wolves now that Suns are down Dragic and Thomas.
Cavaliers at Wizards (+3, 197.5)
No deals for these clubs. If the playoffs started today, this would be your first-round series between the No. 4 Wizards and No. 5 Cavs. The Hawks and Bulls would love to see those two battle each other and get rid of one early. Doubt it happens. Cleveland and Washington have split two meetings, each winning by double-digits at home in late-November. They also close the regular season against one another. Wizards guard Bradley Beal isn't expected to play Friday with a stress reaction in his leg.
Key trends: Cleveland is 1-5 ATS in its past six road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Washington is 3-9 ATS in its past 12. The over is 4-0 in the Cavs' last four games.
Early lean: Cavaliers and over.
Rockets at Mavericks (-3.5, 211)
Second of a back-to-back for Dallas as it was in Oklahoma City on Thursday. Houston badly wanted Dragic but had to settle for K.J. McDaniels from the 76ers. Amare Stoudemire didn't debut with Dallas on Thursday, so he should here. The Mavs were hot after him because they lost out on Josh Smith to Houston. The Rockets have won two low-scoring home games with the Mavs this season.
Key trends: Dallas has covered five of the past six meetings at home. The over is 8-3 in Houston's past 11 road games vs. teams with a winning home record.
Early lean: Rockets and under.
Nuggets at Bucks (TBA)
Denver made just about everyone available in a trade other than rookie big man Jusuf Nurkic. The team did deal Arron Afflalo to Portland. It should be noted that Ty Lawson, Denver's best player, missed the team's first practice after the break on Wednesday, so it's possible he's benched here. He didn't call ahead or anything, just was a no-show. Denver is fed up with his antics and was hoping to trade him by the deadline but didn't. The Nuggets also traded underachieving center JaVale McGee to Philly. The Bucks lost Brandon Knight but gained Michael Carter-Williams. This is the first meeting of the season.
Key trends: Denver is 1-6 ATS in its past seven games. The over is 5-1 in Milwaukee's past six vs. the West.
Early lean: Expect the Nuggets to go into a major slide with this overhaul. Bucks will roll here, although MCW is not expected to play as he has a minor injury.
Trail Blazers at Jazz (TBA)
Portland was actively looking for help on the perimeter ahead of Thursday's trade deadline and landed it in Denver's Arron Afflalo. The Blazers gave up a first-round pick, second-round pick, Will Barton, Victor Claver and Thomas Robinson. Remains to be seen if Afflalo will debut here. The Blazers won the only meeting 103-102 at home on Feb. 3.
Key trends: The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 6-2 in the past eight.
Early lean: Blazers will be energized by deal, while Jazz are worse, and win comfortably.
Celtics at Kings (-1.5, 202.5)
George Karl will make his Kings coaching debut in this game, replacing interim coach Tyrone Corbin. Sacramento was 7-21 under Corbin after he replaced Mike Malone, under whom the team was a solid 11-13. Karl last coached in the 2012-13 season, when he won NBA Coach of the Year with the Nuggets. Sacramento could again be without injured point guard Darren Collison. The team made a minor trade in getting Andre Miller from Washington. Boston is just 1.5 games out of the East's final playoff spot, but missing the lottery is the worst thing that could happen to this team. The team did add Isaiah Thomas from the Suns, and he should start at point guard. Sacramento lost 106-84 in Boston on New Year's Eve as the C's never trailed.
Key trends: Boston is 7-1 ATS in its past eight road games. The Kings have failed to cover six straight Friday games. Boston is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings.
Early lean: Kings and over.
Spurs at Warriors (-6.5, 206)
Both teams quiet at the deadline. San Antonio was at the LA Clippers on Thursday. I'm presuming with a week-plus off that Coach Gregg Popovich won't rest any of his Big 3 of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili here. It would rather hilarious if he did. The Warriors entered the break on a three-game winning streak, but you can tell they were tired, barely beating Philadelphia and Minnesota. The Spurs and Warriors met on Nov. 11 in Oakland and San Antonio won 113-100. Golden State has just one other home loss.
Key trends: The Spurs are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings The under is 7-3 in the past 10 in this series.
Early lean: Warriors and over.
Nets at Lakers (TBA)
Both these clubs would have loved to trade some guys by Thursday's deadline. The Nets got rid of Kevin Garnett and got a useful player in Minnesota's Thaddeus Young. However, they couldn't dump Joe Johnson, Deron Williams or Brook Lopez. The Lakers would have given up anyone; it's just they don't really have anyone worth trading for. L.A. will get its best big man back in Jordan Hill. He missed the final five games before the break. This is the first meeting of the season between the Nets and Lakers.
Key trends: The Lakers are 0-5 ATS in their past five against teams with a losing record. The under is 5-1 in Brooklyn's past six.
Early lean: Wait on the line in this one.
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