NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, March 17 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/16/2015
Interesting schedule on Tuesday night in the NBA as there are only five games and all are matchups between Eastern and Western Conference clubs. None of the games may involve two playoff teams, although it's possible that Charlotte at the L.A. Clippers will. I guess to get my basketball fix that I'll be watching the NCAA Tournament's First Four. But here's a look at each NBA game on the schedule. Bucks-Pelicans is the only nationally televised matchup (NBA TV).
Grizzlies at Pistons (TBA)
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It's the second of a back-to-back for Memphis as it hosted Denver on Monday. Thus it wouldn't surprise me if a starter or two gets the night off in Detroit. Mike Conley, for example, is dealing with a sprained ankle. Detroit has flat-out quit, having lost 88-85 in Utah for its 10th straight defeat. The Pistons' best player, center Andre Drummond, was diagnosed with a concussion and didn't play after halftime of that one, so he's obviously questionable here. I doubt he plays. Detroit lost in Memphis 95-88 on Nov. 15. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 22 rebounds in perhaps his best game of the year.
Key trends: Memphis is 0-8 against the spread in its past eight against teams with a losing record. Detroit is 4-13 ATS in its past 17 at home against teams with a winning road record. The "over/under" is has gone under in 10 of Detroit's past 12 on Tuesday. Memphis has covered six straight in Motown.
Early lean: Wait and see who plays.
Spurs at Knicks (+13, 195.5)
San Antonio bounced back from that crazy overtime home loss to Cleveland on Thursday with a 123-97 victory over visiting Minnesota on Sunday. The Spurs did lose Manu Ginobili to a sprained right ankle in that game, and he's not going to play here. It wouldn't surprise me if Gregg Popovich rests a guy or two as the Spurs play again on Wednesday. New York closed a five-game Western Conference road trip at 1-4 with a 102-89 loss in Phoenix on Sunday. Tim Hardaway sprained his right wrist late in the first quarter and did not return, while rookie Cleanthony Early left later with a sprained left ankle. The Knicks lost 109-95 in San Antonio on Dec. 10 when the Spurs sat Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Kawhi Leonard.
Key trends: The Spurs are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 on the road. New York is 1-7 ATS in its past eight on Tuesday. The over is 5-0 in San Antonio's past five games. The over is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Knicks and over.
Magic at Rockets (-12, 202)
Orlando lost a fourth straight Sunday, 123-108 at home to Cleveland. Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 25 points. Tobias Harris scored 24, and Nik Vucevic finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Magic guard Evan Fournier sat out again with a hip injury. The Magic have given up an average of 108 points per game during their losing streak. I could see Houston being flat here after a big 100-98 win at the Clippers on Sunday to close a four-game road trip. James Harden had 34 points to lead the way. The Rockets are 30-3 when allowing fewer than 100 points. Houston lost 120-113 in Orlando on Jan. 14.
Key trends: Orlando is 5-1 ATS in its past six vs. the West. Houston is 6-1 ATS in its past seven vs. the East. Orlando is 9-1 ATS in the past 10 vs. Houston.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Bucks at Pelicans (TBA)
Milwaukee lost a second straight Saturday, 96-83 in Memphis, the Bucks' eighth straight road defeat. They did force 15 Grizzlies turnovers and are the only team in the NBA to force at least 10 in every game this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo tweaked his ankle late in the game, so I'm presuming that's why the TBA here. New Orleans saw a three-game winning streak end with Sunday's 118-111 OT loss in Denver. Anthony Davis almost had the equivalent to a perfect game in MLB: a quadruple-double. Davis finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks and seven assists. No one in the NBA has had a game with totals that high in all four of those categories in at least 30 seasons. New Orleans won in Milwaukee on March 9, 114-103 behind 43 points from Davis.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-9 ATS in their past 10 vs. the West. New Orleans is 1-7 ATS in its past eight at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Pelicans roll here.
Hornets at Clippers (TBA)
Charlotte started a five-game road trip at surging Utah on Monday, and it wasn't clear if Al Jefferson would play in that one (thus the TBA here). The Clippers welcomed back Blake Griffin from his elbow surgery on Sunday but lost 100-98 at home to Houston. Griffin, who missed 15 games, had 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 40 minutes. Chris Paul missed a close jumper as time expired. The Clippers won in Charlotte 113-92 earlier this season. Griffin had 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Paul had 22 points and 15 assists. The Clippers outscored the Hornets by 39 points from beyond the 3-point arc.
Key trends: Charlotte is 0-4 ATS in its past four vs. the West. The Clips are 2-7 ATS in their past nine vs. the East. The Hornets have failed to cover their past four at the Clippers.
Early lean: Wait on Jefferson.
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