NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, January 10 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 1/9/2015
I learned something today. While the NBA games on TNT Thursday night aren't able to be moved, ESPN is able to flex in and out of some its scheduled games. And it already has dumped the awful Knicks twice this season and will three more times. That's awesome. New York is four games from setting a potential NBA record for futility. The Knicks have lost 11 straight games at home without scoring 100 points. The record for most consecutive home losses without hitting triple digits in the shot-clock era is 14, set by the 2011-12 Hornets and 2009-10 Nets. Here's a look at New York's matchup Saturday and every other game.
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Hornets at Knicks (+4.5, 189)
Saturday's schedule gets an early tip with a 1 p.m. ET start from Madison Square Garden for this one. No doubt plenty of seats available to watch the sad Knicks. Charlotte has won four straight, and the most impressive of those by far was Thursday's 103-95 victory in Toronto. Red-hot Kemba Walker hit a 3-pointer with 19.6 seconds left to turn a three-point lead into six and finished with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He has been amazing in this winning streak. Walker fell a point shy of joining Glen Rice as only players in Charlotte's NBA history with four straight 30-point games. New York's tank job continued with its franchise-record 14th straight loss Thursday, 120-96 against Houston. How bad is it for the Knicks? Their leading scorers were named Travis Wear, Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early. Who? The Knicks got 20 percent of their season wins on Nov. 2 against Charlotte, 96-93. Carmelo Anthony had 28 points, but he'll miss this game.
Key trends: Charlotte has covered five of the past six in New York. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the Knicks' past seven at home.
Early lean: I don't really think Charlotte should be -4.5 on the road anywhere, but how can I possibly take the points with that Knicks lineup? Go under!
Mavericks at Clippers (-3.5, 212)
Another matinee here with a 3:30 p.m. ET start. Dallas had a six-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday's 108-95 home loss to Detroit. The Mavericks had won the previous 11 games against Eastern Conference opponents. The Clippers have won four of five and beat the Lakers 114-89 on Wednesday. Blake Griffin had 27 points and fell a rebound and two assists shy of a triple-double. The Clippers scored a season high in points in leading 70-48 at halftime. First meeting of the season between these teams. The Clippers won three of four last year. The last six meetings between the two teams have been decided by seven points or fewer (L.A. is 4-2 in those).
Key trends: The road team has covered four straight in this series. The over is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Pacers at 76ers (TBA)
Second of a back-to-back for both as Indiana hosted Boston on Friday and Philly was in Brooklyn. The Pacers had Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi, C.J. Watson and Rodney Stuckey all questionable on Friday, and starting point guard George Hill was out again. Indiana and Philly opened the season against one another, with the Pacers winning 103-91 at home. Indiana has won five straight in this series and three of its past four in the City of Brotherly Love.
Key trends: Indiana is 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 9-1 in Philly's past 10 playing the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Wait on all the Pacers.
Celtics at Raptors (-10.5, 208)
Boston was in Indianapolis on Friday. Toronto is clearly starting to miss DeMar DeRozan as the Raptors have lost a season-high four games in a row. Thursday's 103-95 defeat at home to Charlotte was the only defeat to a team with a losing record. DeRozan sat out for the 19th straight game because of a groin tear, but he's apparently getting close. There's an outside chance he can play in this one as he has been practicing. Toronto won the only meeting thus far with the Celtics, 110-107 in Boston on Nov. 7. Kyle Lowry had 35 points, while the Raptors played without starting big men Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas.
Key trends: The road team has covered four of the past five meetings. The over is 6-1 in Boston's past seven in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Wish this was a couple points lower, but Raptors will play angry to end that skid so give the points.
Nets at Pistons (-7, 197.5)
Brooklyn hosted the 76ers on Friday and Detroit had a big one at home against red-hot Atlanta. The Nets announced on Thursday that guard Deron Williams had a rib injury (cartilage fracture) and would be out indefinitely. Thus, Williams obviously won't be traded any time soon. This is the final meeting of the season between the teams. The Nets won in Detroit 102-90 and at home 110-105. Joe Johnson has averaged 25.0 points in the two games.
Key trends: The Nets have covered four of the past five meetings. The under is 11-3 in Brooklyn's past 14 on the road.
Early lean: I love Brooklyn here. Pistons likely to be a bit flat after playing the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks.
Bucks at Bulls (-9, 199)
Milwaukee was home to Minnesota on Friday and Chicago in Washington. Advantage Bucks. You always have to be careful in the second of a back-to-back with the Bulls when it comes to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The Bucks remain without big man Larry Sanders as he sorts out his personal life and Ersan Ilysaova due to a concussion. The team just signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract. The Bulls won the only meeting thus far, 95-86 in Milwaukee on Nov. 5. The Bucks had only 33 points in the final two quarters. Noah didn't play in that game.
Key trends: The road team is 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their past six at home. The under is 6-0 in Milwaukee's past six on the road.
Early lean: Seems like a letdown game for Chicago so take the points. Go under for sure.
Jazz at Rockets (-11, 196.5)
Utah played in Oklahoma City on Friday. Houston has won two straight by double digits. The Rockets predictably crushed New York 120-96 on Thursday. James Harden had 25 points and nine assists and got the fourth quarter off. Oddly, the Rockets head back to New York after this game to face Brooklyn. Houston won in Utah 104-93 on Oct. 29 behind 22 points and 10 rebounds from Dwight Howard.
Key trends: Houston is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 7-0 in the Rockets' past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: Houston and under.
Spurs at Timberwolves (TBA)
San Antonio hosted Phoenix on Friday, so you are on sit-down alert here with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and/or Manu Ginobili -- especially as this is a road game against a terrible team. I'll be amazed if at least one of those guys doesn't take a seat. Minnesota was in Milwaukee on Friday. The Spurs have blown out Minnesota twice this season, leading by as many as 34 in the one trip to Minneapolis.
Key trends: The Wolves have covered just six of their past 26 in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 4-1 in San Antonio's past five on the road. The under has hit in four of the past five meetings in Minnesota.
Early lean: Have to wait on Gregg Popovich.
Magic at Trail Blazers (-12.5, 197.5)
Orlando was at the L.A. Lakers on Friday. Portland brings a two-game winning streak, both at home, into this one. The Blazers routed the Heat 99-83 on Thursday behind 24 points and 12 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers trailed 48-43 at the half but outscored Miami 33-16 in the third. Portland had a season-low seven turnovers overall. The Blazers have held eight of their past 11 opponents to fewer than 100 points. Portland is 21-2 when opponents fail to score 100 this season. Portland has won four of its past five home games against Orlando. Aldridge is averaging 27.0 points in his past four against the Magic.
Key trends: The Blazers are 5-1 ATS in their past six against teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in Orlando's past five in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Portland and over.
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