NBA Odds and Predictions: Tuesday, March 31 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 3/30/2015
There's a TNT doubleheader on Tuesday in addition to Thursday this week, and Tuesday's is highlighted by an NBA Finals rematch between San Antonio and Miami. OK, that's sort of tongue in cheek as obviously the Heat are a vastly different team now without LeBron James, but his last Miami home game was a Game 4 107-86 blowout loss to the Spurs on June 12, 2014, that all but ended the series as it gave San Antonio a 3-1 lead. That's not to say Tuesday's game isn't important as both the Spurs and Heat are jockeying for playoff position, with Miami no lock to even get in. Here's a look at the full schedule.
Pacers at Nets (-2, 199.5)
Huge game for the East's final playoff spot. As of Monday, Brooklyn (32-40) holds the No. 8 position, a half game ahead of Boston and Indiana (32-41) and a full game up on Charlotte (31-41). Miami (34-39) is 1.5 games ahead of the Nets for the No. 7 spot. The Nets have won three in a row, the most impressive easily being a 106-98 home victory over Cleveland on Friday (told you on that one!). You could have easily pictured the Nets then struggling in a letdown game on Sunday against the Lakers but they were able to win 107-99. Brook Lopez has really been good of late and he had 30 points and 11 rebounds vs. L.A. The Nets had lost seven in a row at home to the Lakers going back to their New Jersey days. The Pacers beat visiting Dallas 104-99 on Sunday behind 28 points from C.J. Miles. Maybe the Pacers should wear their 1980s throwback uniforms the rest of the season as they are 5-0 while wearing them. These teams have split two meetings, each winning by double digits on the road.
Key trends: The road team has covered seven of the past eight meetings. The "over/under" has gone over in the past four.
Early learn: Nets and under.
Hawks at Pistons (TBA)
Atlanta hosted Milwaukee on Monday, and with this game meaning nothing in the playoff race to either the Hawks or Pistons, expect Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer to rest a key player or two in the second of a back-to-back. Detroit had a four-game winning streak snapped Sunday with a 109-102 loss in Miami. Andre Drummond had 32 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons, while Reggie Jackson had 31 points and nine assists. Forward Greg Monroe missed his seventh straight game with a knee injury -- I don't think he even wants to return. Monroe will be an unrestricted free agent after the season so why risk further injury. Atlanta leads the season series 3-0, although all those came before the Pistons acquired Jackson.
Key trends: The Hawks are 6-2 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The under is 5-2 in the past seven.
Early lean: Wait on who starts for Atlanta.
Spurs at Heat (TBA)
San Antonio won a third straight by double digits Sunday, 103-89 over Memphis. Kawhi Leonard had 25 points -- including the team's first 15 of the fourth quarter -- and 10 rebounds. The Spurs are averaging 111.6 points per game in March while going 11-3. They got back reserve center Aron Baynes from a three-game injury absence the Grizzlies. Miami beat visiting Detroit 109-102 on Sunday behind 40 points from Dwyane Wade. Pretty impressive considering Wade had fluid drained from his knee on Saturday. Miami played without big men Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen and lost forwards Luol Deng and Michael Beasley to injuries in the first half. Miami has won eight of its last nine at home to get to .500 there. The Heat lost 98-85 in San Antonio on Feb. 6. Wade missed the game and the Heat still had Chris Bosh then.
Key trends: The Spurs are 6-2 ATS in their past eight vs. the East. Miami has covered five straight at home. The under is 10-1 in San Antonio's past 11 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Wait on all those injured Heat guys.
Warriors at Clippers (+2.5, 215)
I wonder if Golden State coach Steve Kerr might rest a key guy or two here as it's the end of a four-game road trip for the Warriors, who have won nine in a row. All three wins on this trip have been by double digits. The closest was Saturday's 108-95 victory in Milwaukee in which the Warriors clinched the top seed in the Western Conference and won a franchise-record 60th game. With his team playing the second of back-to-back road games, Kerr rested forwards Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors became the 13th NBA team with at least 60 wins in 73 games. Of the previous 12 teams, nine went to the NBA Finals and all nine won it. The Clippers have won seven straight, the last three on the road and each by at least 13 points. The Warriors lead the season series 2-1 but lost the one trip to the Clippers.
Key trends: The Warriors are 6-0 ATS in their past six following a win of more than 10 points. The home team is 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 8-2 in the past 10 in L.A.
Early lean: The home team has won 10 straight regular-season matchups. I think Kerr does rest someone. Take the Clippers.
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