NBA Odds and Predictions: Wednesday, February 11 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 2/10/2015
Don't be surprised if you see some unusual results in NBA action on Wednesday. Most teams that are dealing with injured guys likely will rest them to get some extra time off ahead of the All-Star Break, which begins after the one game on the schedule Thursday night. Remember, the break is longer this season as the schedule doesn't pick back up until Feb. 19. The players wanted a few more days off, and Commissioner Adam Silver obliged, although it has meant a few more back-to-backs overall. Here's a look at Wednesday's busy slate.
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Knicks at Magic (TBA)
New York enters on a four-game losing streak, three by double digits. The Knicks haven't scored more than 97 points in that stretch. Carmelo Anthony left Monday's loss in Miami in the fourth quarter with a recurrence of knee soreness. I'd be somewhat surprised if Melo plays here, but I know he wants to play in the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Then he will be shut down for the season soon after, mark my words. We might have seen his final regular-season game already. Orlando dropped its second straight Monday, 96-80 in Washington. The Magic are now 1-2 under interim coach James Borrego. Starting forward Tobias Harris sat out with a bruised right knee suffered on Sunday. The Knicks and Magic have split two meetings, both in New York.
Key trends: The Knicks are 5-1 ATS in their past six after a loss. The "over/under" has gone over in 10 of Orlando's past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. New York is 5-1 ATS in its past six in Orlando.
Early lean: Have to wait on Melo, but I expect a Magic win regardless.
Hawks at Celtics (+7, 203.5)
Atlanta finishes up the greatest first half in team history and has won 36 of its past 40 games. The Hawks bounced back from a loss in Memphis on Sunday with a 117-105 victory in Minnesota on Monday. All-Star point guard Jeff Teague was questionable for that but did play. Al Horford, another All-Star, led the way with 28 points. Boston's three-game winning streak ended Saturday in Milwaukee, 96-93. Celtics forward Tayshaun Prince played after missing the previous four games with an injury. Atlanta is 2-0 vs. Boston this year.
Key trends: The Hawks are 7-1 ATS in their past eight Wednesday games. The under is 5-1 in Boston's past six after a loss.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Spurs at Pistons (TBA)
Detroit was in Charlotte on Tuesday. I could see the Spurs a bit flat here as they won 95-93 in Indiana on Monday to give Coach Gregg Popovich his 1,000th career victory. San Antonio rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and got the winning 18-foot baseline jumper from Marco Belinelli with 2.1 seconds left. Manu Ginobili sat the game out. Only two coaches, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, reached 1,000 wins faster than Popovich. He is 1,000-462 in 19 NBA seasons, all with San Antonio. The Spurs lost 105-104 at home to Detroit on Jan. 6 on a last-second score by Brandon Jennings.
Key trends: The Spurs have covered one of their past nine games. The over is 9-1 in Detroit's past 10 vs. teams with a winning record. The Spurs are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: I think Pistons win this outright.
Wizards at Raptors (TBA)
Washington has won two straight since a five-game skid. The Wiz handled visiting Orlando by 16 on Monday. John Wall fell one point shy of a triple-double. Guard Bradley Beal sat out a second consecutive game with a sore right big toe so he might sit again. Forward Kris Humphries took a hard fall in the first quarter and didn't return. I wouldn't expect to see him. The Raptors beat visiting San Antonio 87-82 on Sunday for their second straight win. Toronto is 2-0 vs. Washington this season and this is the final scheduled meeting.
Key trends: Washington has failed to cover six straight on the road. It is 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings in Toronto.
Early lean: Raptors win comfortably.
Kings at Bucks (TBA)
Second of a back-to-back for Sacramento as it was in Chicago on Tuesday. The Kings were without starting point guard Darren Collison for that game, and small forward Rudy Gay was questionable. I expect this game to be the last for interim coach Tyrone Corbin as George Karl is expected to take over as head coach during the break. The Bucks have won two straight. They rallied from a 17-point hole Monday against Brooklyn to win a fifth in a row at home. A win here and the Bucks would double their 2013-14 output. Milwaukee won 108-107 in Sacramento on Dec. 18.
Key trends: The Bucks are 7-3 ATS in their past 10. The over is 4-0 in the past four in this series. The Kings have covered five of their past six in Milwaukee.
Early lean: Bucks will roll.
Warriors at Timberwolves (+10, 216.5)
This is one of those games where it wouldn't surprise me if something wacky happened, even a Wolves win. Golden State is dragging; even Coach Steve Kerr has admitted that the team really needs the break. You could see that on Monday as the Warriors struggled to an 89-84 win over the 76ers. Draymond Green left that with an ankle injury and is questionable here. Minnesota's season-high three-game winning streak ended Monday against Atlanta. Shabazz Muhammad did return for the first time since Jan. 9 and had 18 points and eight boards. Golden State is 2-0 vs. Minnesota this season, winning both by double digits.
Key trends: The Warriors are 5-1 ATS in the past six in Minnesota. The under is 5-1 in those six.
Early lean: I like the points here and for sure over.
Pacers at Pelicans (TBA)
New Orleans has dropped two straight, both at home. Anthony Davis left Saturday's defeat to Chicago with a shoulder injury after a scary fall and he didn't play in Monday's 100-96 loss to Utah. Ryan Anderson also missed the Jazz game with a sore right elbow. Davis and Anderson average 39.4 points combined per game, and they are day-to-day. Indiana's three-game winning streak ended in a 95-93 loss at home to San Antonio. George Hill's 3-pointer for the win bounced off the rim at the buzzer. The Pacers beat the visiting Pelicans 96-84 on Dec. 23.
Key trends: Indiana is 4-0 ATS in its past four after a loss. The over is 5-1 in the Pelicans' past six. Indiana has covered six straight meetings.
Early lean: Have to wait on Davis.
Grizzlies at Thunder (-4, 199.5)
Memphis hosted Brooklyn on Tuesday. Oklahoma City has won two straight high-scoring games. The Thunder beat the Nuggets 124-114 in Denver on Monday. Kevin Durant had 20 points and Russell Westbrook 26. However, Thunder center Steven Adams will be lost for at least three weeks after undergoing surgery Monday to repair a broken bone in his right hand. He was hurt in Sunday's blowout of the Clippers. Memphis has won two low-scoring games against the Thunder this season.
Key trends: The home team has covered eight of the past 12 meetings. The over is 4-0 in OKC's past four overall.
Early lean: Love OKC here.
Heat at Cavaliers (-11.5, 192.5)
Of course, the game everyone was looking forward to on Christmas was LeBron James going back to Miami for the first time, and James welcomes his former club to Cleveland for the first time on Wednesday. Could the Cavs be caught looking ahead to Thursday's big game in Chicago to close the first half? Miami has played six straight games without Dwayne Wade due to a hamstring injury, and he's not likely here or in the All-Star Game. Wade had 31 in the Heat's 101-91 win over the Cavs on Dec. 25.
Key trends: Cleveland has covered eight of its past nine at home. The under is 12-2 in the Heat's last 14 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Early lean: Cavaliers and over. If it was any team but the Heat, maybe it would be a look-ahead game for LeBron and Co., but he wants to beat Miami I'm sure.
Jazz at Mavericks (TBA)
Dallas comes off a 115-98 loss to the Clippers on Monday. The Mavs lost two of their best players, Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis, to injuries early in the game. They are both doubtful here, with Ellis undergoing an MRI on his hip. Chandler's injury isn't thought to be serious. And of course Dallas remains without Rajon Rondo. Utah won in New Orleans on Monday for its second straight win. Gordon Heyward filled the stat sheet with 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. The Jazz are 0-2 vs. the Mavericks, losing each by at least 18 points.
Key trends: Utah is 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 7-2 in the past nine in Dallas.
Early lean: It Ellis and Chandler sit, Jazz pull the upset.
Lakers at Trail Blazers (-12.5, 199)
Los Angeles hosted Denver on Tuesday. Portland has been off since a 109-98 win in Houston on Sunday. LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and Damian Lillard 23. The Blazers are 2-0 vs. the Lakers this season. Thus with a win here, the Trail Blazers will have won three regular season games against the Lakers for the first time since 1996-97 (3-1). Lillard is averaging 35.6 points in his past three games vs. L.A.
Key trends: The road team has covered seven straight meetings. The over is 4-1 in Portland's past five vs. the West.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
Rockets at Clippers (-2.5, 213)
Houston was at the Suns on Tuesday. The Clippers ended a four-game losing streak with Monday's 115-98 win in Dallas. DeAndre Jordan had another monster game with 22 points and a career-high 27 rebounds. He's going to have to continue to put up big numbers while Blake Griffin is out a minimum of three weeks. Jordan is the first Clippers player with at least 20 points and 25 rebounds in a single game since the team moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1984-85 season. J.J. Redick was a surprise return Monday after missing three games with back spasms and had 15 points. The Clippers won the only meeting with Houston thus far 102-85 on Nov. 28. The Rockets were very short-handed then, including without Dwight Howard.
Key trends: The Clippers are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-2 in the past seven.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
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