NBA Odds and Predictions: Friday, March 27 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/26/2015
The great thing about there being just the one NBA game on Thursday night is that you don't have to worry about any back-to-backs on Friday and thus possibly some guys sitting out for rest (although then some teams play again Saturday). The clear game of the night is Golden State at Memphis, although in reality it means nothing for the Warriors because they are going to clinch the top seed in the West probably by the end of the weekend. The Grizzlies perhaps need to make a statement in this one after getting routed by Cleveland on Wednesday. Here's a look at every game -- lot of home dogs.
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Pistons at Magic (TBA)
Detroit won its third straight Tuesday, 108-104 over Toronto. The starting backcourt of Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 54 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. Power forward Greg Monroe sat out for the fifth straight game and remains iffy to return (thus TBA). Orlando dropped a second straight at home Wednesday, 95-83 to Atlanta. Magic forwards Tobias Harris (sprained left ankle) and Channing Frye (illness) returned to action, but guard Evan Fournier (sore right hip) both remained out. Orlando won the first meeting but Detroit the next two, each by double digits.
Key trends: Orlando is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven following a double-digit loss at home. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Detroit's past 10 on the road. The home team has covered nine of the past 13 meetings.
Early lean: Pistons whether Monroe plays or not.
Clippers at 76ers (+12, 201.5)
Los Angeles won its fifth straight, and scored at least 107 points for the fourth in a row, with a 111-80 destruction of the Knicks at the Garden on Wednesday. DeAndre Jordan was 7-for-7 from the field for 14 points but grabbed only 10 rebounds to end his streak of at least 14 boards at 19 games. No Clippers starter had huge numbers because they all were pulled early. The 76ers ended a two-game losing streak with Wednesday's 99-85 win at Denver. Rookie Nerlens Noel had 14 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Forward Luc Mbah a Moute was sidelined with a sore shoulder. L.A. slaughtered visiting Philly 127-91 on Jan. 3.
Key trends: Philly is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a win. The over is 5-1 in the Clippers' past six after a win. L.A. has covered six straight meetings.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Hornets at Wizards (TBA)
Charlotte lost a potentially crucial home game against Brooklyn on Wednesday, 91-88. The Hornets had possession to potentially tie it with 3.2 seconds left but never even got off a shot. Al Jefferson led Charlotte with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but he's clearly not 100 percent healthy right now. Washington lost a fourth straight Wednesday, 103-101 to slumping Indiana. The Wizards blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. To make matters worse, Washington lost starting guard Bradley Beal to a sprained right ankle late in the first quarter, so he's very questionable Friday (why TBA). Charlotte won the first two meetings, but Washington the most recent one by 26 in early March.
Key trends: The Hornets are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 7-0 in the past seven.
Early lean: Wait on Beal.
Heat at Hawks (TBA)
Atlanta ended a season-high three-game losing streak with a 95-83 win in Orlando on Wednesday. The Hawks didn't play well until the fourth quarter, when they outscored the Magic 27-12. The team got swingman Thabo Sefolosha back after missing 23 games with a right calf strain. On the negative side, point guard Jeff Teague sprained his ankle in the first quarter. He did play through it, but those things can swell up after, so monitor his status. Miami won 93-86 in Boston on Wednesday without Dwayne Wade, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen, so you can see why the TBA here. Atlanta goes for the four-game sweep in this series.
Key trends: Miami is 2-5 ATS in its past seven on the road. The under is 8-0 in Atlanta's past eight vs. the East. The Heat have failed to cover the past six meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Wade and Whiteside.
Cavaliers at Nets (+8, 205.5)
I thought Cleveland would lose Wednesday in Memphis, but the Cavs were very impressive in a 111-89 victory, the team's fourth straight win. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love scored 20 points each for the eighth time this season. The Cavaliers are now 7-1 this season when all three score 20 points. Brooklyn won 91-88 at Charlotte on Wednesday. Brook Lopez dominated with 34 points and 10 rebounds. Deron Williams had 10 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds for the Nets, who have won five of their last seven. However, forward Thaddeus Young left in the third quarter with a knee injury, so he's looking doubtful for this one. The Cavs lead the season series 3-0, two of the wins blowouts.
Key trends: Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its past six on the road. The over is 6-1 in Brooklyn's past seven after a win. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Could Cavs be a tad flat after that big win? I say yes. Give me the points.
Celtics at Knicks (+8, 193.5)
Boston lost 93-86 at home to Miami on Wednesday, its fourth defeat in the past five. That's not a game the C's should have lost because the Heat were without Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside. Guard Isaiah Thomas returned after missing eight games with a bruised lower back. He finished with four points in 20 minutes. New York lost a fifth straight on Wednesday, and it was ugly: 111-80 at home to the Clippers. One more loss ties the season franchise record. I think that's safely going to be shattered. The Knicks learned that guard Alexey Shved, who actually had been pretty decent, could miss the rest of the season. New York won the first meeting, but Boston easily took the next two.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Celtics and under.
Lakers at Raptors (TBA)
Los Angeles won 101-99 in overtime at Minnesota on Wednesday. Rookie Jordan Clarkson hit two free throws with 0.3 seconds left to win it. Lakers forward Ryan Kelly drew his second straight start as big men Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer were held out. Lakers coach Byron Scott missed his second straight game but is expected to be back here. Toronto lost 116-103 at home to Chicago on Wednesday again playing without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. You will not see him in this game. L.A. beat visiting Toronto 129-122 in overtime on Nov. 30 behind 31 points from Kobe Bryant.
Key trends: The Lakers are 6-1 ATS in their past seven on the road. Toronto is 1-7 ATS in its past eight vs. the West. The over is 6-0 in L.A.'s past six after a win.
Early lean: Raptors should cruise even without Lowry.
Timberwolves at Rockets (TBA)
Houston welcomed back Dwight Howard on Wednesday and beat the Pelicans 95-93 in New Orleans. Howard will be on a minutes restriction for a while after missing 26 games in a row and finished with four points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes as Houston rallied from a 17-point deficit. The news wasn't all good Wednesday as it was learned Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley could miss the rest of the season. He will at least miss 7-10 days before deciding on surgery. Minnesota lost 101-99 in OT to the Lakers on Wednesday. Kevin Garnett, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Gary Neal all sat out. Houston has won three high-scoring games against Minnesota this season.
Key trends: Houston is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: Go over regardless.
Warriors at Grizzlies (+3.5, 197.5)
Golden State won in Portland 122-108 on Tuesday for its seventh straight win to clinch its first division title since 1976. Steph Curry had 33 points and 10 assists as the Warriors shot a season-high 61.2 percent despite playing the second half of a back-to-back. Golden State limited guard Klay Thompson to 25 minutes because of a sore ankle. That vaunted Memphis defense was shredded in Wednesday's 111-89 home loss to Cleveland on Wednesday. The Grizzlies allowed 100 points in a home game for the first time since Jan. 19. The 13-game streak of holding opponents under 100 at home was the longest in the NBA this season. The Grizzlies also were killed on the boards. Memphis won the only meeting thus far with Golden State, 105-98 at home on Dec. 16 to end the Warriors' winning streak at 16 games (I remember calling that one!).
Key trends: The Warriors are 2-6 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 5-1 in Memphis' past six after a loss.
Early lean: Memphis burned me Wednesday, but I'm taking the Grizzlies again. This means much more to them and they won't want to be embarrassed again at home.
Kings at Pelicans (-7.5, 205.5)
Sacramento won a fourth straight Wednesday, 108-99 in Phoenix. Sacramento won three of four against the Suns this season, including both in Phoenix for the first time since 1998-99. The Kings entered the season with only three wins in Phoenix since the 2005-06 season. Each of the Kings' three wins over Phoenix this season came with a different head coach. New Orleans is pretty much ending its playoff hopes with a four-game losing streak. The Pelicans blew a 17-point lead Wednesday against Houston. The Kings and Pelicans have split two meetings, each winning on the road.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 10-2 in the past 12.
Early lean: Pelicans and over.
Mavericks at Spurs (-8, 205.5)
Dallas leads the season series 2-1, and the Mavericks' last game was a 101-94 home win over the Spurs on Tuesday behind 38 points from Monta Ellis on 16-for-27 shooting. Ellis is averaging 34 points in three games against the Spurs. Dallas improved to 33-0 when leading after three periods, the only NBA team undefeated in that category. The Spurs on Wednesday trashed Oklahoma City 130-91 in their highest-scoring game of the season. It snapped a six-game regular-season losing streak to OKC.
Key trends: Dallas is 5-1 ATS in the past six in San Antonio. The over is 6-1 in San Antonio's past seven at home.
Early lean: Spurs and over.
Jazz at Nuggets (TBA)
Utah lost a third straight Wednesday, 92-89 at home vs. Portland, with the Jazz blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead. They played without Gordon Hayward (shoulder) and rookie Rodney Hood (stomach bug). The Jazz started Trey Burke and Elijah Millsap with those two out. Denver lost 99-85 at home to Philly on Wednesday. The Nuggets were held to nine points in the fourth quarter, tying a franchise record for the fewest in any quarter. Forward Danilo Gallinari followed up career-high 40-point game Sunday with just eight against Philadelphia. The teams have split two meetings, each losing at home.
Key trends: Utah is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six.
Early lean: Wait on Hayward, but I lean Denver either way.
Trail Blazers at Suns (+2.5, 205)
Portland somewhat surprisingly welcomed back LaMarcus Aldridge on Wednesday from a one-game injury absence and won 92-89 in Utah to end a five-game losing streak. He had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Damian Lillard had 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in leading a comeback from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. Starting forward Nicolas Batum missed his second consecutive game with a lower back injury. Phoenix had a four-game winning streak snapped and lost a game it couldn't afford to in the playoff chase: 108-99 at home to the Kings on Wednesday. The Suns were again without starting guard Brandon Knight, who was a game-time scratch with a sprained left ankle. Season series is tied 1-1, each winning at home.
Key trends: The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five in Phoenix.
Early lean: Suns and over.
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