NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, February 7 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 2/6/2015
The Orlando Magic fired coach Jacque Vaughn on Thursday, making Vaughn the second NBA coach canned this season after Sacramento's Mike Malone (the Kings made a huge mistake). Will there be a third to go during the season? Some of the coaches on the worst teams -- the Knicks' Derek Fisher, 76ers' Brett Brown, Lakers' Byron Scott and Timberwolves' Flip Saunders -- seem safe for various reasons. Thus, my money would be on Denver's Brian Shaw. Just my two cents if some sportsbook releases that next coach to be fired prop. Here's a look at every game on Saturday's schedule.
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Bulls at Pelicans (+1, 195)
New Orleans played Friday night at Oklahoma City. Chicago is in another funk as it lost 101-90 in Houston for its third straight defeat. It's shocking how porous that defense is compared to last season. About the only bright spot on Wednesday was that Derrick Rose had 23 points and played in his 12th straight game for the first time in four seasons. Pau Gasol had a double-double in his 10th consecutive game, but he's a part of the defensive problem. The Bulls beat the Pelicans 107-100 on Dec. 27 in Anthony Davis' first-ever game in his hometown of Chicago; he was out injured the previous two years. He had 29 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks in a losing effort. Jimmy Butler had 33 for the Bulls, who were playing their best basketball of the season then but clearly aren't now.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-7 ATS in their past eight Saturday games. New Orleans is 14-2 ATS in its past 16 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in four of the Pelicans' past five in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: I wouldn't understand this line the way the Bulls are playing, but since the Pelicans are playing Friday I guess I get it and I'll give the point.
Nets at Wizards (TBA)
Brooklyn hosted the Knicks on Friday. Washington is playing its worst basketball of the season, dropping its fifth straight game Thursday, 94-87 in Charlotte. The Wizards scored only 33 points in the second half. Bradley Beal left in the first half after re-aggravating his right big toe and did not return; thus the TBA here. He had one point in 11 minutes and watched the game from the locker room in the second half. Beal thinks he can play here, however. Brooklyn and Washington played a home-and-home in mid-January. The Nets won 102-80 in Washington on the front end, but then the Wizards won 99-90 the next night. It's just hard to sweep a home-and-home but rare you see the teams win on each other's court.
Key trends: The Nets are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in Washington.
Early lean: I think the Wizards snap out of their losing skid in a big way, Beal or not.
Warriors at Knicks (TBA)
Golden State had a monster game in Atlanta on Friday while New York was "in" Brooklyn. This is the first meeting of the season and a rare reason for Knicks fans to actually attend a game in person. Of course, the story line here is that Knicks boss Phil Jackson thought he had his former player Steve Kerr signed, sealed and delivered to coach New York. However, the Warriors swooped in with an offer and Kerr is a West Coast guy. He told Jackson he really preferred that job and Jackson gave his blessing. Talk about the right decision. Kerr is an NBA Coach of the Year favorite and Derek Fisher, another former Jackson player and rookie coach, is in a total mess.
Key trends: The Warriors have covered four straight in the second of a back-to-back. The Knicks are 1-4 ATS in the same situation. The over is 7-1 in Golden State's past eight vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: I like the Knicks here if they get at least 8.
Hornets at 76ers (TBA)
Philly played in Boston on Friday, and Michael Carter-Williams was questionable. Charlotte won its third straight -- who needs Kemba Walker? -- with a 94-87 win over Washington on Thursday, the team's second win over the Wizards this week. The Hornets have had the best scoring defense in the NBA in the New Year, and that was on display again. The Wizards scored fewer points in every quarter, ending at 13 in the fourth. Charlotte routed the visiting 76ers 109-91 on Dec. 19. That's back when the Hornets had Walker healthy and he had 30 points. Lance Stephenson was out injured. Carter-Williams had 14 points and 10 assists, but Philly had 24 turnovers in falling to 0-14 at home at the time.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 8-2 in Philly's past 10 at home.
Early lean: Hornets win, but I don't think by a lot.
Trail Blazers at Mavericks (-3, 206.5)
Portland won its second straight on Thursday, 108-87 against Phoenix on Thursday. The news there was LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 13 rebounds to set a franchise record with his 220th double-double. Aldridge surpassed Sidney Wicks, who had 219 double-doubles for Portland. Dallas won 101-78 in Sacramento on Thursday despite not just missing Rajon Rondo, who won't play again here, but also Dirk Nowitzki. The German wasn't hurt, it was just the second of a back-to-back so Rick Carlisle chose to rest him. He'll play here. These teams haven't played since early in the season, a 108-87 Blazers home win. Portland pulled away by outscoring Dallas 35-18 in the third quarter. Portland had lost seven of the last 10 to Dallas going into the game.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 5-1 in the past six in Dallas.
Early lean: Mavericks and for sure over.
Celtics at Bucks (-6, 196.5)
Both in the second of a back-to-back as Boston hosted Philadelphia and Milwaukee was in Houston. First meeting of the season between the teams. They split four last year, each winning once on the road. Brandon Knight led the Bucks in scoring against Boston at 19.0 points in three games. O.J. Mayo also played three and averaged 16.3. Former Celtic Jeff Green led Boston at 19.5 points per game. The current Boston guy with the best numbers was Jared Sullinger at 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in the four games.
Key trends: The underdog has covered four of the past five. The under is 6-0 in the past six meetings in Milwaukee.
Early lean: Milwaukee and under.
Kings at Jazz (TBA)
Utah was in Phoenix on Friday. Sacramento looks like it has quit already as it was beaten by 23 at home by Dallas on Thursday even though the Mavs were playing the second of a back-to-back and without two of its best players. The Kings were 3-for-21 from long range and shot 36.7 percent overall. They have dropped 10 of 11. The Kings won the only meeting, 101-92 at home on Dec. 8 and they did that with DeMarcus Cousins out. Rudy Gay led Sacramento with 29 points. Gordon Heyward had 19 for Utah, which lost its ninth in a row at the time. Of course the Kings are now led by interim coach Tyrone Corbin, the former Jazz coach.
Key trends: The Kings have covered two of their past 12 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 7-1 in Utah's past eight vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: TBA for Kings guard Darren Collison, who is questionable. I think the Kings win big here whether he plays or not. Jazz will have heavy legs.
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