Free NBA Picks: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
It's a little too late to make use of this for the 2017-18 season, but I'll almost always recommend betting against a team that is playing the second of a back-to-back in Denver. Obviously, you have the thin air that takes its toll on visiting players. I didn't even consider the weather factor and the fact that the Denver airport is quite a hike from downtown. Here's how Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked about playing the second of a B2B in a recent ESPN story: "I always have a trigger on Denver games. At some point [during the games, I'm thinking], 'F--- it -- pull them.' Whenever you go there, you start the game out and by the third quarter, you make a determination -- 'You know what? Pull them, if you're not winning.' And you would never do that in any other game.'" Shaquille O'Neal mentioned during a February TNT telecast that he'd "foul shave" during games in Denver. That means he'd purposefully get some early fouls so he could go catch his breath on the bench. So, keep that in mind for next season. Entering this season, the Nuggets were 102-36 at home against teams in the second of a B2B since 2007-08. If Denver makes the playoffs, it's not as relevant with no back-to-backs.
Hornets at Pacers (TBA)
It's the finale for disappointing Charlotte - maybe the finale for Kemba Walker with that franchise -- and the second game in a row between these two. The Hornets closed out their home slate with a 123-117 loss to Indiana on Sunday. Domantas Sabonis had a career-high 30 points and Victor Oladipo 27 on 12-for-15 shooting for the Pacers. Indiana still has an outside shot at winning the Central as of Monday. Rookie Malik Monk led the Hornets with 22 points. Indiana has won three straight and 14 of the last 16 regular season home games over Charlotte dating to the 2008-09 season.
Key trends: The home team is 7-1 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of the Pacers' past nine at home.
Early lean: TBA likely because Pacers could have nothing to play for if Cleveland wins in New York on Monday.
76ers at Hawks (+8.5, 217.5)
It's the season finale for the Hawks, who won a second straight game in upset fashion Sunday, rallying from 13 down in the fourth in Boston to prevail 112-106. Taurean Prince was 7-for-8 from deep for 33 points. It's not the finale for Philly as it hosts Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Sixers are on a 14-game winning streak following a 109-97 victory over Dallas on Sunday. That streak ties a team record. The Sixers have clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and have their first 50-win season since Allen Iverson's 2000-01 team lost in the NBA Finals to the Lakers. Philadelphia is 2-0 vs. Atlanta this season, winning each by 10 points.
Key trends: The Sixers are 2-7 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 5-1 in the Hawks' past six.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Celtics at Wizards (TBA)
First of a TNT doubleheader and a potential first-round playoff preview. Boston is locked into the No. 2 seed, and it's more likely that Washington finishes eighth but not impossible it moves up to seventh. Give marks to Boston's Marcus Morris for his honesty. He flat out said he doesn't want to have to face the Wizards and twin brother Markieff in the postseason. "Man, every day we talk about it. Honestly, I don't want to play them first. Can't lie," Marcus Morris said recently. "I don't want to play them first because it's my brother and we're going to war. When I go out there -- I've been telling [my teammates] this is war time. It's like fighting for your life out here, and I'd hate to see my brother in the first round, to have to be that bully to my brother when I know it's gonna be like." The Celtics have nothing to play for here, so I expect Brad Stevens to rest a few guys, if not totally giving them the game off then perhaps the fourth quarter. He did just that Sunday and the Celtics blew a 13-point lead and lost at home to Atlanta. The Wizards have been off since losing to those same Hawks on Friday, Washington's fourth straight loss. It is 2-1 vs. Boston this season, with two going to overtime.
Key trends: The home team is 11-3 ATS in the past 14 meetings. The under is 4-1 in Washington's past five at home.
Early lean: Not really sure why TBA other than Boston especially could rest a bunch of guys.
Suns at Mavericks (TBA)
It's the finale for Dallas, which has lost both meetings to Phoenix this season and the past three at home in the series. The Mavs lost their third in a row Sunday, 109-97 in Philly. Harrison Barnes had 21 points and Dennis Smith Jr. 20. The Mavericks ensured they will stay below Orlando and keep the fourth-worst record in the NBA. It's also the finale for Phoenix, which will have the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. The Suns dropped their second straight Sunday, 117-100 at home to the Warriors. It would literally be easier to tell you which guys weren't injured and played for Phoenix that to list those who didn't. Phoenix has won twice since Jan. 31 and is guaranteed to finish no better than 21-61, the second-worst record in the franchise's 50-year history.
Key trends: The Suns are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait to see which Suns play - likely none of them who matter.
Warriors at Jazz (-4.5, 213.5)
Golden State is locked into the No. 2 seed, while Utah still needs to care as it tries to lock up home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Dubs ended a two-game skid with a 17-point win in Phoenix on Sunday, Golden State's 15th straight win in the series. Klay Thompson had 34 points and Kevin Durant 17 points and nine assists. The Jazz, who do play again Wednesday in a huge one at Portland, won their fifth straight Sunday, 112-97 at the Lakers to clinch a playoff spot. Donovan Mitchell had 28 points. Utah is 2-1 vs. Golden State this season.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over has hit in four straight.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
Rockets at Lakers (TBA)
Second TNT game. Nothing for either team to play for here. The Rockets are off a 108-102 home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday, snapping Houston's 20-game home winning streak. James Harden had 26 points for Houston, and Chris Paul added 17. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon both sat for a second straight game due to injury and it's doubtful they play here. No point. The Lakers, who close "at" the Clippers on Wednesday, lost their second in a row Sunday, 112-97 to Utah. The Rockets are 2-1 vs. the Lakers this season and have taken seven of the past eight in L.A. Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball both were out.
Key trends: The Rockets are 7-1 ATS in the past eight in L.A. The over is 7-1 in the Rockets' past eight vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Coach Mike D'Antoni doesn't like resting guys so wait on Kuzma and Gordon.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . Also, for a limited time only get three top NBA handicappers for the price of one! Click Here . Get free NBA picks today at Doc's Sports basketball predictions page.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- 2021 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions