NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, January 17 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 1/16/2015
With 26 of the NBA's 30 teams in action on Friday night, that means almost all of the 16 teams in action on Saturday night will be playing in the second of a back-to-back. There is always value to be found in those situations, usually involving the home team -- especially if both ends of that club's back-to-back are at home. Here's a look at every game on Saturday's schedule, with Warriors-Rockets available for live betting as it's nationally televised on NBA TV.
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Pacers at Hornets (-1.5, 188.5)
Indiana hosted Detroit on Friday while Charlotte has been off since a 98-93 home loss to San Antonio that ended a five-game winning streak. The Hornets welcomed back Lance Stephenson in that game, so of course they lost because they have been playing better without Stephenson, who had missed 14 straight with a pelvic strain. He had eight points in 19 minutes. There are reports that Stephenson could soon be traded to Brooklyn, his hometown, in a three-team deal with the Thunder. Charlotte lost its only meeting with the Pacers thus far, 88-86 in Indianapolis on Nov. 19. Pacers big man Solomon Hill tipped in a missed Rodney Stuckey shot with 0.7 seconds left. Indiana was without injured starters David West and George Hill in that one, and Hill is out again now. Al Jefferson had 28 points for the Hornets and he remains out injured. Also, Kemba Walker missed practice Friday and is questionable, so that would be a big boost to Indiana if he can't play.
Key trends: The Hornets are 1-4 ATS in their past five at home. The "over/under" has gone over in nine of Indiana's past 11 playing in the second of a back-to-back. Indiana is 5-2 ATS in the past seven in Charlotte.
Early lean: Take the points if Walker sits, give if he plays.
76ers at Pistons (-12.5, 197.5)
Philly hosted New Orleans on Friday while Detroit was in Indiana. Probably rock bottom for Detroit this season was a 108-101 home overtime loss to the 76ers on Dec. 6 that dropped the Pistons to 3-19. Michael Carter-Williams had 20 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds to lead Philly. Detroit led 100-97 late in the fourth quarter when Hollis Thompson sank a fadeaway 3-pointer from the right corner to tie it with 13.4 seconds remaining. The Pistons didn't have a field goal in overtime. That was Philly's second straight win over Detroit as the Sixers snapped their NBA record-tying 26-game losing streak last March against the Pistons.
Key trends: Philly is 1-4 ATS in its past five in Detroit. The over is 6-1 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Hawks at Bulls (-2, 198.5)
Atlanta had a tough one in Toronto on Friday while Chicago was in Boston. The Bulls lost their first meeting with the Hawks 93-86 in Atlanta on Dec. 15 back when Chicago was playing arguably its best basketball of the season. Al Horford had 21 points, including a key jumper with under a minute left to essentially clinch it. The Bulls had won six straight over the Hawks, including a sweep of all four games last season. Joakim Noah missed that most recent game with an ankle injury, and he's dealing with another one from Wednesday and probably sits out here. The Bulls are hoping forward Mike Dunleavy can play, though. He has missed several games but is targeting this one.
Key trends: The Hawks are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under us 7-0 in the past seven in Chicago.
Early lean: Bulls and over.
Warriors at Rockets (-2.5, 213.5)
Golden State looked to complete a season sweep in Oklahoma City on Friday, while Houston beat those Thunder 112-101 on Thursday. It was 40-18 after one quarter, and that was that. James Harden was a rebound shy of a triple-double. This will be Golden State's final visit to Houston barring a playoff matchup. The Warriors are 2-0 vs. the Rockets this season, winning each by double digits. The most recent was Dec. 10, a 105-93 home win for Golden State that was victory No. 14 of the team's franchise-record 16-game winning streak. The Warriors pulled away with an 11-0 run in the final minutes. Dwight Howard and Andrew Bogut both missed the game.
Key trends: Golden State is 3-9 ATS in the past 12 in Houston. The under is 6-1 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Rockets and under.
Trail Blazers at Grizzlies (TBA)
Portland was in San Antonio on Friday and Memphis in Orlando. The teams' lone meeting thus far was Nov. 28 in Portland, a 112-99 win by Memphis that ended the Blazers' nine-game winning streak. Marc Gasol had 26 points and nine assists, and Mike Conley was one assist shy of a triple-double. Portland shot just 40.2 percent overall and 28.6 percent from long range. Conley was questionable for Friday's game with sprained ankles, so obviously he might be here as well. That would be a significant issue.
Key trends: Portland is 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five in Memphis.
Early lean: Grizzlies win if Conley plays.
Wizards at Nets (+4.5, 191.5)
These two played one another in Washington on Friday, and I'd frankly bet against whichever club wins that one because it's never easy to sweep a home-and-home in 24 hours. Friday's game was the first matchup between Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett and Washington's Paul Pierce in more than seven years (March 4, 2007) when Pierce's Celtics beat Garnett's Timberwolves. KG often sits out the second of a back-to-back, so he may not play here. Washington visited Brooklyn once last season and won 113-107. Pierce actually led the Nets in scoring in that one with 27 points. I doubt it happens before this game, but the Nets could trade Brook Lopez to the Thunder.
Key trends: The Nets are 0-5 ATS in their past five at home. The under is 4-1 in the Nets' past five in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Wait on Friday.
Timberwolves at Nuggets (-11, 213)
Minnesota was likely to be run ragged in Phoenix on Friday while Denver probably was as well in Dallas. The Nuggets are 2-0 against Minnesota this season, winning 106-102 at home on Dec. 26 and 110-101 in Minnesota on Jan. 5. Arron Afflalo averages 23.5 points in the two games for Denver, while Kenneth Faried is at 20.5 points and 16.0 rebounds. Rookie Andrew Wiggins averages 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds against Denver and Gorgui Dieng 18.0 points and 12.5 rebounds.
Key trends: The Wolves are 3-8 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 7-0 in Denver's past seven on Saturday.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Clippers at Kings (TBA)
Los Angeles hosted Cleveland on Friday and Sacramento was home to Miami. So that would seem to be a nice edge for the Kings, although the Clippers obviously didn't have to travel very far to get to Sacramento. These division rivals have played only once thus far, and it was back on Nov. 2, a 98-92 Kings road win. DeMarcus Cousins had 34 points and 17 rebounds. The Kings rallied from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter and outscored the Clippers 28-18 in the fourth. L.A. was 0-for-12 from 3-point range in the fourth. The Clippers were 4-0 vs. Sacramento last year and have won three straight there. This TBA is for the Kings' Rudy Gay, who was doubtful on Friday and thus likely here too.
Key trends: The road team has covered four of the past five meetings. The over is 11-2 in the Clippers' past 13 Saturday games.
Early lean: I would lean Kings, but make sure Gay plays.
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