NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, January 24 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 1/23/2015
Terrible news for the Portland Trail Blazers in that All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge will miss 6-8 weeks with a ligament tear in his left thumb. I suppose on the bright side it means he should be back for the final month of the regular season, but in the incredibly deep West you want home-court advantage in the playoffs as long as possible. The Blazers are currently tied for second in the West, but I think this injury will send them outside the Top 4 by the time all is said and done. Portland is +1000 to win the West at Sportsbook.ag. The Blazers have lost two straight since Aldridge went down and have a tough one Saturday night. Here's a look at every game on the schedule.
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Knicks at Hornets (-8.5, 187)
Second of a back-to-back for New York as it hosted Orlando on Friday looking for its first three-game win streak of the season. The Hornets were in Cleveland on Friday having won three straight and eight of nine. Charlotte had held 10 straight foes under 100 points entering that one and is up to sixth in scoring defense. Be aware guys like Carmelo Anthony and especially Amare Stoudemire are on sit-down alert here. The Knicks won the first meeting on Nov. 2, 93-93, to improve to 2-1. That's the last time the team sniffed being above .500. Charlotte has won the last two meetings. The teams most recently played Jan. 10 at the Garden and the Hornets rolled 110-82, but Anthony, Stoudemire, Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson all were out.
Key trends: The "over/under" has hit in nine of the past 11 meetings. New York is 3-7 ATS in the past 10 in the series.
Early lean: Hornets and big on under.
Pistons at Bucks (+1, 193)
This game is nationally televised on NBA TV. Detroit scored a season-high (by far) 128 points in Wednesday's 10-point home win over Orlando. Brandon Jennings had 24 points and career-high 21 assists. It was the first such 20-20 game in the NBA since the Suns' Steve Nash on Nov. 9, 2009. The Pistons scored 100 points seven times in their first 28 games but 10 in their past 15 since dumping Josh Smith. Milwaukee lost its second straight Thursday, 101-99 at home to Utah as the Bucks missed their final five shots in the closing minute. They have been held under 100 points in 10 straight games and have lost six of seven at home. The Bucks lead the season series 2-1 but all those came with Smith still in Detroit.
Key trends: The Pistons are 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-2 in the past seven.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
76ers at Grizzlies (-16, 194.5)
Philadelphia hosted Toronto on Friday. Memphis won for the fifth time in six games Wednesday, 92-86 over visiting Toronto. The Grizz pulled away with a 13-3 run midway through the fourth. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 45 points and 20 rebounds. Jeff Green made his first start for Memphis since being traded from Boston. He had six points in 26 minutes. The Grizzlies nearly got caught in a major trap game Dec. 13 in Philly in the second of a back-to-back. Coming off a draining home OT win over Charlotte the night before, the Grizzlies needed OT to beat the Sixers 120-115. Mike Conley hit the tying 3-pointer late in regulation, as Memphis rallied from a 17-point hole midway through the fourth, and finished with a career-high 36 points. Michael Carter-Williams had a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Key trends: The Sixers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The over is 4-1 in Memphis' past five vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Under for sure. I lean taking all those points as the Grizz could rest a guy or two.
Nets at Jazz (TBA)
Brooklyn closes a quick three-game West Coast trip with this one. The Nets are 1-1 on the trip after getting trashed 123-84 at the Clippers on Thursday. It was 70-37 at halftime. The Nets played without Kevin Garnett, not that he would have changed things, simply for a rest day so he should be back here. Reserve forward Mirza Teletovic will miss the rest of the season after he was taken to the hospital at halftime Thursday due to shortness of breath. He has blood clots in his lungs. Utah ended a two-game slide with a 101-99 win in Milwaukee on Thursday. Rookie first-round pick Dante Exum made his second career start and had a career-high 15 points. Forward Derrick Favors, averaging 15.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, was not with the team due to personal reasons. It's not clear if he will play here (thus the TBA). Of course, this is the one game a year where Nets guard Deron Williams returns to his original playing city and where he used to be good. Williams again will miss this game. The Nets won both meetings last year, holding the Jazz under 100 points in each.
Key trends: Brooklyn is 1-4 ATS in its past five following a loss of more than 10 points. Utah is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home. The under is 7-1 in Utah's past eight after an ATS win.
Early lean: Jazz should win if Favors plays.
Wizards at Blazers (pick'em, 195)
This one also is on NBA TV and clearly the game of the night. It should be quite fun watching speedster point guards John Wall and Damian Lillard duel. Washington has been off since Wednesday and probably needed a few days to get over that 105-103 home overtime loss to Oklahoma City. The Wizards essentially forgot to guard Russell Westbrook late in the OT on an in-bounds pass, and he won it on a layup with 0.8 seconds left. Bradley Beal took the blame for losing track of Westbrook. Washington lost for the first time when leading after three quarters. The team has been 16-0 when leading going into the fourth. Portland was surprised at home by Boston (I recommended taking the points there because of Aldridge) 90-89 at home on Thursday. Evan Turner hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. To make injury matters worse for the Blazers, starting forward Nicolas Batum left the game with a wrist injury. Last season the teams split, each winning at home. Lillard has scored at least 20 points in three of four career games vs. the Wiz.
Key trends: Washington is 5-0-1 ATS in its past six after an ATS loss. The Blazers are 0-5 ATS in their past five after a loss. The under is 8-2 in Washington's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
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