NBA Odds and Predictions: Saturday, March 14 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/13/2015
Knicks president Phil Jackson can only wonder what might have been on Saturday when his team visits Golden State. Jackson thought he had former player Steve Kerr signed, sealed and delivered to coach New York this offseason. However, the Warriors offered a better roster (obviously) and the chance for Kerr to stay near his West Coast home. It wasn't a no-brainer decision at the time -- it's the Knicks, after all -- but clearly Kerr made the right choice. Knicks-Warriors looks to be the mismatch of the night (season?) Saturday. Here's a look at every game.
Celtics at Pacers (-9, 193)
Boston hosted Orlando on Friday. If I asked you who has the longest current winning streak in the NBA right now, would you possibly know it's Indiana? The Pacers won their seventh straight Thursday 109-103 in OT against the Bucks to get within four games of .500. Rodney Stuckey finished with 25 points as the Pacers improved to 9-1 since the All-Star break and within 3.5 games of Milwaukee for the No. 6 seed in the East. Indiana's Roy Hibbert missed the game because of an infection in his left elbow, so he's questionable for this one. The Pacers and Celtics have split two close games, each winning at home.
Key trends: Boston has covered four of the past five at Indiana. The "over/under" has hit in five of the past six there.
Early lean: Pacers and under.
Kings at Wizards (-8.5, 206.5)
Sacramento was in Philadelphia on Friday. Washington followed a dominant performance in Charlotte to start this week with another one Thursday at home, 107-87 over Memphis. Perhaps that's a bit misleading because the Grizzlies sat four of their best players. Potentially bad news for the Wizards as well as Bradley Beal was limping after the game with pain in his lower leg, which has bothered him all year. He said it was nothing and wouldn't miss any time. I could see him getting this one off with the Kings on the second of a back-to-back. This is the first meeting of the season between these teams.
Key trends: Washington is 1-5 against the spread in its past six against teams with a losing record. The over is 4-1 in Washington's past five at home. The Kings are 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: End of long road trip for Kings so they will be on empty. Definitely Wizards and over.
Nets at 76ers (+5, 194)
Philly hosted the Kings on Friday. Brooklyn has been off since Wednesday's 104-98 defeat in Miami, the Nets' fifth straight loss. The Nets were within six midway through the third, but Miami ended the quarter on a 13-4 run to take an 82-67 lead. Nets reserve guard Alan Anderson missed the game with a bruised tailbone. Brooklyn won the first two meetings with Philly this season but lost the most recent, 90-88 at home on Jan. 9. Nerlens Noel had the tie-breaking dung with three seconds left.
Key trends: Brooklyn is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 5-0 in Brooklyn's past five on Saturday and 4-0 in Philly's past four on that day. The under is 4-0-1 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Nets and under.
Bucks at Grizzlies (TBA)
Memphis closed a four-game road trip at 1-3 with Thursday's 20-point loss in Washington in which Coach Dave Joerger sat starters Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley and key reserve Tony Allen. Only Conley, who twisted his right ankle in a loss at Boston on Wednesday night, sat because of an injury. But he could have played. It was the Grizzlies' 12th game in 19 nights, so probably not a huge surprise Joerger did that at the end of a trip. I expect them all back here. Milwaukee lost 109-103 in OT at Indiana on Thursday. Michael Carter-Williams had his best game as a Buck with 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals but Milwaukee has dropped seven straight on the road. The Bucks beat the visiting Grizzlies 93-92 on Nov. 8 as ex-Buck Brandon Knight converted a 3-point play with 1.1 seconds left.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-8 ATS in their past nine vs. the West. Memphis is 0-4 ATS in its past four at home. The under is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: I expect a Memphis rout if everyone is in there.
Pistons at Jazz (-7, 184.5)
Detroit was in Portland on Friday looking to end an eight-game losing streak (doubtful). Utah won a fourth straight Thursday, 109-91 against the visiting Rockets. Rudy Gobert continued his emergence with 19 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks. He had 18 first-half rebounds to tie the NBA season high for a half. Gordon Hayward returned from missing one game and had 29 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Utah won in Detroit 97-86 on Nov. 9. In the 10 years since Detroit's 2004 championship, the Jazz have gone 17-3 against the Pistons.
Key trends: Utah is 5-2 ATS in its past seven at home. The under is 4-1 in Detroit's past five in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 7-0 in Utah's past seven vs. the East.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
Knicks at Warriors (-19.5, 200.5)
Golden State was in Denver on Friday. This game begins a six-game homestand for the Warriors. If when the NBA schedule came out you had this matchup featuring the team with the NBA's worst record against the one with its best, well, you are smarter than I am. New York did end a five-game losing streak with a 101-94 victory at the Lakers on Thursday. It was the Knicks' first win there since 2007. New York's Quincy Acy missed the game for personal reasons.
Key trends: The Knicks have covered four straight on Saturday. The Warriors are 5-2-1 ATS in their past eight in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 12-5 in the Knicks' past 17 overall.
Early lean: I'm not giving 19.5 points to anyone, especially with the favorite on the second of a back-to-back (even if some Warriors rested on Friday).
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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