NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, January 20 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 1/19/2015
The NBA had a very busy schedule Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so it's thus an unusually light Tuesday slate with only two games. We will have hit the halfway point of the season this week as every team will have played at least half of its 82 regular-season games. And there has been a change atop the Sportsbook.ag Eastern Conference title futures odds. Atlanta is now your +220 betting favorite, with the Bulls and Cavaliers at +250. The Spurs, one of the teams in action Tuesday, are +320 second favorites to Golden State (+280) to win the West.
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Thunder at Heat (TBA)
The previous four seasons this game would have been must-see TV with Kevin Durant and LeBron James facing off. Now? About the only intrigue is that Oklahoma City (20-20) can get over .500 for the first time this season. The team might finally be finding its rhythm as the Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors, the club with the NBA's best record, by 12 on Friday. Then instead of a letdown game Sunday in Orlando to start a five-game road trip, the Thunder routed the Magic 127-99. Durant had 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as the Thunder led by as many as 38, shot 57 percent and ended a four-game road losing skid. OKC's field-goal percentage didn't fall below 70 percent until the third quarter. The 79 points the Thunder scored in the first half is the most scored in a half since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City. Durant, incidentally, has 52 points on 21 of 26 shooting in his past six quarters. Yeah, he's good.
Miami has been off since a 95-83 win in Sacramento on Friday to conclude a five-game West Coast trip at 3-2. Chris Bosh had 30 points and Luol Deng 25. The Heat played their second straight game without Dwyane Wade, who is dealing with a hamstring strain. Thus the TBA here. Miami is 5-5 this season when he doesn't play. The team's official site lists Wade as "questionable". Miami hasn't been very good at home against Western Conference teams this season, going 1-5. The Heat have won four of its past five in this series, although each won on the other's floor last season.
Key trends: The Thunder have covered five straight against the East. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five on the road. Miami has covered just one of its past 13 following a win. The "over/under" has gone under in seven straight Heat games.
Early lean: TBA on Wade, but Thunder should roll here as getting over .500 is a big deal to them.
Spurs at Nuggets (+6, 204)
It's the start of a mini two-game road trip for the Spurs, who enter on a three-game winning streak. They beat visiting Utah 89-69 on Sunday, the fewest points allowed by San Antonio this season (fewest since 2009). Kawhi Leonard had 12 points and nine rebounds in his second straight game back after missing 15 due to a hand injury. He took a hard fall against the Jazz and was down for nearly a minute but shook it off and continued playing. It was San Antonio's seventh win in nine games, with leads of 23 and 28 over the past two while holding the lead for almost 95 straight minutes. Denver played Monday at Golden State having followed a five-game winning streak with back-to-back losses. That was an afternoon game, so at least the travel will be a bit better.
The Spurs won the lone meeting of the season thus far, 99-91 at home on Dec. 14. Leonard had 18 points and a career-high six blocks. Arron Afflalo had 31 for Denver, which played without an injured Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari. The latter two remain out with injuries. In addition, starting point guard Ty Lawson left that first meeting for a while after a collision with Manu Ginobili opened a gash over Lawson's eye. Tony Parker missed the game for the Spurs. The Spurs have won four straight overall in the series and three in a row at home.
Key trends: The Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Denver has covered only two of its past eight at home. The under is 5-1 in San Antonio's past six on the road. The favorite has covered four of the past five in this series.
Early lean: Spurs and over.
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