|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|02-08-23||Pistons +13.5 v. Cavs||Top||85-113||Loss||-110||10 h 33 m||Show|
Cleveland has been very good at home so far, going 22-6 straight up and 19-9 against the spread. But you’d have to go back to the LeBron days to find the last time they were favored by this many points.
It’s a good time to go against the Cavs, in my opinion. They’ve covered three in a row and are 2-0 vs. the Pistons this season. That all has conspired to inflate this number.
Over the 82-game grind that is the NBA regular season, you’re going to have some “off nights.” Cleveland has been pretty dialed in each of its last two games, but I don’t see that same kind of effort forthcoming here in what will be the team’s third game in four days.
Detroit, who is expected to be a seller at the trade deadline, could use a good effort. They’ve dropped four of five and 8 of their last 10. I think they come out strong here against a division rival.
Note that Cleveland is just 3-8 ATS following a double digit win. Grab the points. 10*
|02-07-23||Knicks -1.5 v. Magic||Top||102-98||Win||100||11 h 20 m||Show|
Orlando returns home, looking to make it three straight wins as a short dog. They’ve recently beaten Minnesota 127-120 (were +4) and Charlotte 119-113 (were +2), both on the road.
But I’m looking to fade the Magic here as the oddsmakers have started to give them too much respect. They are still just 12-19 SU vs. teams that are .500 or better.
The Knicks are 29-26 SU following a thrilling comeback win over the Sixers on Sunday. I had NY plus the points in that one. Now they go from home dogs to road favorites. This season, NY is 6-2 ATS laying points away from home.
Earlier in the season, the Knicks beat the Magic 115-102 as a 7.5-point home favorite. Yes, the Magic are better now. But minus Mo Bamba (suspended), I don’t see them winning here. Lay it. 10*
|02-06-23||Cavs v. Wizards +3.5||Top||114-91||Loss||-110||11 h 29 m||Show|
After winning (and covering) six in a row, the Wizards have lost two straight. In both losses, they blew leads of 20+ points. So there’s an argument to be made that this team should be on an eight-game SU win streak entering Monday.
Against Portland on Friday, the Wizards saw their big lead quickly go away in the third quarter. Then on Saturday in Brooklyn, who didn’t have Durant, Irving, or Simmons, it was more of the same.
Here they are catching a small number at home and facing a Cleveland team that just played Sunday. The Cavs were successful yesterday, downing Indiana 122-103. But even with that result, they are just 11-16 SU on the road this season.
There is always a chance that Donovan Mitchell could sit tonight.
Washington is poor as a home favorite (3-9 ATS) but 22-17-1 ATS otherwise. I like them as a dog tonight. 8*
|02-05-23||76ers v. Knicks +5.5||Top||97-108||Win||100||11 h 42 m||Show|
Philadelphia has won 9 of 10 and just beat San Antonio 137-125 as a 10-point favorite on Friday. New York has won just 3 of 10 after losing in overtime last night, 134-128 to the Clippers, as a 2.5-point home underdog.
Despite those recent streaks, and this being the second night of a back to back, I’m siding with the Knicks on Sunday.
I believe NY can exploit a Philly defense that has actually gotten worse while the team has been winning.
In five of the last six games, the Sixers have allowed 119 or more points. The one exception was Wednesday’s home win over Orlando, who missed 32 of their 38 attempts from three.
The Knicks’ 12-13 SU home record seems a bit misleading as they’ve scored more points than they’ve allowed. I know they were down 17 in the 4Q last night, before making a furious rally to force OT. But we’re also getting points here, which I like, as NY is 6-1 ATS its last seven games vs. teams with a win percentage of .600 or greater. 10*
|02-04-23||Blazers v. Bulls -4||Top||121-129||Win||100||9 h 26 m||Show|
Portland has won three straight and covered six of seven, but they had to come back from 20 down last night in Washington, so they are probably ripe to be blown out tonight in Chicago.
The Bulls won by 16 against Charlotte on Thursday and didn’t even get good games from either DeRozan or LaVine. Those two combined for just 25 points.
But the Bulls have won five of eight overall. In one of the three losses, they blew a big lead.
I just think all signs point to a comfortable win for the home team.
|02-03-23||Kings -2.5 v. Pacers||Top||104-107||Loss||-110||11 h 38 m||Show|
I cashed with the Pacers last night, but want NO part of them here in the second night of a back to back against Sacramento.
Indiana led most of the way Thursday against the Lakers, but succumbed to a 28-15 fourth quarter rally by LeBron and company and thus ended up losing by a final score of 112-111. At least they covered the spread (+2.5).
That was the Pacers fourth straight loss and 11th loss in the last 12 games. In the only win during that 12-game stretch (1/24 vs. Chicago), they trailed by 21 in the first half.
Sacramento is keen on ending what is the longest playoff drought for any team in the four “major” North American sports. The Kings are well on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They are currently third in the Western Conference with a 29-21 overall record and have won 9 of their last 12 games.
Earlier this season, when the Pacers were playing better, they lost by 23 points to the Kings. These are now two teams trending in opposite directions. 10*
|02-02-23||Lakers v. Pacers +2.5||Top||112-111||Win||100||10 h 52 m||Show|
Indiana had been a real pleasant surprise this NBA season, but has now dropped 10 of its last 11 games. Just to illustrate how low expectations were here, the team has already exceeded its preseason win projection.
Expectations are always high for the Lakers, but they always seem to fall short. Right now, LeBron and company find themselves third from the bottom in the Western Conference standings.
LA did just go on the road and beat NY in what was the second night of a back to back for them. But now we’re talking about a fourth road game in six days. I just don’t have faith in this Lakers team.
They give up 121 points/game on the road and even with James & Davis on the floor, the net efficiency rating isn’t as high as you’d think.
The Pacers are 16-9-1 ATS at home this year. I like them getting points. If Tyrese Haliburton could return (questionable), that would be an added bonus. 10*
|02-01-23||Kings v. Spurs +7.5||Top||119-109||Loss||-107||11 h 50 m||Show|
Here’s another NBA play where we will have to hold our noses. San Antonio has lost six in a row and 11 of their last 12 games. They’ve failed to cover each of the last five times out.
But, despite all that, I’m not sure Sacramento (who is playing its third consecutive road game) should be laying this many points.
The Kings still carry a bottom 10 defensive rating and have given up more points than they’ve scored on the road this season.
They needed overtime to get the “W” on Monday in Minnesota. I think there’s a good chance the Kings “overlook” the Spurs tonight.
Despite all their woes, San Antonio is 8-3 ATS their last 11 games against teams that have winning records. Take the points. 8*
|01-31-23||Lakers v. Knicks -2||Top||129-123||Loss||-110||11 h 52 m||Show|
Both the Lakers and Knicks are looking to bounce back from losses to Brooklyn in their most recent games. I think the home team is well-positioned to be the one that gets the job done.
This is the second night of a back to back for the Lakers, who lost 121-104 in Brooklyn last night. Neither LeBron James or Anthony Davis suited up Monday. That was their second loss in a row, coming on the heels of the “controversial” overtime loss to Boston Saturday night.
The Knicks lost in Brooklyn Saturday night, 122-115 as a 1-point favorite. Defensively, they had few answers, especially for Kyrie Irvin. Prior to that though, NY had won two straight.
Curiously, the Knicks are just 12-13 SU at home this season. I expect that record to improve moving forward. The Lakers, just 10-16 on the road, are getting too much respect from the oddsmakers here.
Look for the Knicks to punish a Lakers team that is allowing 120.9 points/game on the road. James and Davis both remain on the injury report and if one (or both) were not to play tonight, the current number is a steal. (Note: this play stands whether or not James and/or Davis plays or not). 8*
|01-30-23||Raptors +2 v. Suns||Top||106-114||Loss||-110||13 h 42 m||Show|
The Raptors have started to play a bit better. They’re still five games below .500 and 12th in the East, mind you. But they’ve also won three of four, most recently defeating the Kings in Sacramento by a score of 123-105 (as a 4.5 point dog). Now they head to Phoenix, looking to improve to 3-1 on this current trip out West.
The Suns had a miserable post-Christmas stretch where they lost 9 of 10. Injuries were the main culprit. Devin Booker remains out but the team has now won five of six. The only loss in that stretch came here at home vs. Dallas Thursday night. I faded the Suns in that spot and will do the same again tonight.
Saturday’s 128-118 win in San Antonio was a little misleading as the Suns needed overtime. It also bears mentioning that the Spurs are one of the two worst teams in the league.
Toronto has scored more points than its allowed this season, so they should have a better record. They beat the Suns 113-104, albeit at home, back on December 30th.
Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne also remain out for Phoenix. DeAndre Ayton was battling a non-COVID illness last week while Chris Paul is just a week removed from his own seven-game absence. Take the points while you can get them. 10*
|01-28-23||Raptors v. Blazers -4.5||Top||123-105||Loss||-112||13 h 45 m||Show|
Portland has strung together consecutive home victories (beating San Antonio and Utah) and will now look to make it three in a row as they host Toronto (who is in the second game of a back to back).
The Blazers beat the Spurs 147-127 in a game where I laid the -9. Then they beat the Jazz 134-124 as 3.5-point favorites on Wednesday.
It’s a massive edge in rest for the home team tonight as, like I said earlier, Toronto was in action last night. Unfortunately, that result didn’t work out too well for me as I had the Under in their 129-117 loss to the Warriors.
Typically, spots like this have been good to back the Blazers. They are 6-1 ATS this season when coming off three or more consecutive home games.
This will be the fourth time Toronto finds itself playing in the second of back to back road games with no rest in between. They’ve lost each of the last three times by an average of 8.3 points. 10*
|01-27-23||Bucks v. Pacers +9||Top||141-131||Loss||-110||10 h 23 m||Show|
The Pacers snapped a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday as they rallied back from a 20+ point deficit to defeat the Bulls 116-110 here at home. But then they immediately reverted back to their losing ways, falling the next night in Orlando by a score of 126-120.
While struggling recently, Indiana has already exceeded its projected win total (23.5) from the preseason. So, in that regard, the season is already a success! But this is a team that can make the playoffs in the depth-shy Eastern Conference (at least the play-in round) so I don’t see them “phoning it in” even after going Over their win total.
Milwaukee is near the top of the East, which is what you’d expect, but they had problems beating a severely undermanned Denver team two nights ago. The Nuggets were without four key players, Nikola Jokic being one of them, and yet still ended up making a game of it. The final score of 107-99.
That was the Bucks’ first game without the injured Bobby Portis. They’ve struggled on the road this year, going just 12-12 with a -3.8 point/game differential. I want no part of laying this many points on the road with the Bucks, even if they’ve beaten the Pacers nine straight times.
Indiana plays hard almost every night, even without leading scorer Haliburton. They are 16-9 SU and 16-8-1 ATS at home. Had it not been for a terrible 1st quarter against Orlando, they likely could have come back and won that game. I’ll take the points here. 10*
|01-26-23||Mavs +1.5 v. Suns||Top||99-95||Win||100||13 h 19 m||Show|
Dallas really needs to get going as they’ve dropped five of six, including a 127-126 loss at home Tuesday to a Washington team that was playing short handed. That was despite 41 points from Luka Doncic. That particular game was decided on a made free throw in the final 4.1 seconds.
The Mavs are still top six in the Western Conference, but this losing streak has created a sense of urgency. Seven teams are within two games of them, which means missing the playoffs (while unlikely) is not out of the question.
One of those seven teams on the Mavs’ heels is Phoenix. Actually these teams are tied with matching 25-24 SU records. But the Suns have won four in a row after being dreadful for most of January. They’ve covered the spread all in all four games, all of which were here at home.
Last time these teams met, Dallas won by 19 at home. I still think they are the better team and Phoenix is just 6-12 ATS in revenge spots this season.
Three of those last four Suns’ victories were by five points or less and the other one was against Charlotte where they shot a blistering 55 percent from three. While healthier than they were a couple weeks ago, the Suns are still without Devin Booker. Look for Doncic to lead Dallas to a victory here. 10*
|01-24-23||Clippers -4.5 v. Lakers||Top||133-115||Win||100||13 h 26 m||Show|
The Clippers finally seem like they’re putting it together, albeit it’s only been two straight wins and one of them was against San Antonio. But they also won 112-98 in Dallas on Sunday thanks to a dominant second half performance. I like them here to cover against the Lakers.
The Lakers have also won two straight, but both were miracle comebacks as they trailed Memphis by seven with three minutes to go (won 122-121) and then Portland by 25 at halftime (won 121-112). I don’t see this as a sustainable blueprint for success.
The Clippers are 2-0 vs. the Lakers so far this season, winning by six as the “road team” and 13 as the “home team.” (Both teams play here at the Crypto.com Arena, obviously). The Clippers have won and covered four straight when listed as “the road team” in this rivalry.
The Lakers are just 1-8 ATS vs. the rest of the division in 2022-23. Over the last three seasons, they are 14-30 ATS in division games.
When the Clippers are at full strength, as they are now, they are simply better than the Lakers. LeBron has little help. Kawhi Leonard scored 30 and Paul George had 21 against Dallas. Either is capable of leading the Clippers to victory on any given night. Lay it. 10*
|01-23-23||Spurs v. Blazers -7.5||Top||127-147||Win||100||13 h 40 m||Show|
I feel that Portland let a golden opportunity slip through their grasp last night, hosting the Lakers. The Blazers had a one day rest advantage over LA and were six-point favorites at home. Up 25 at halftime, it certainly appeared that the home team was headed for victory. But it ended up being a 121-112 loss instead.
That was the Lakers’ first road game since January 9th. Tonight, Portland hosts an even worse team that hasn’t played a road game since January 11th. That would be San Antonio, who has the worst defensive rating in the league as well as the worst point differential.
I realize that it may seem a bit “scary” to lay this many points with a team that is just 2-8 SU and ATS over its last 10 games. But, if the Blazers can’t cover here, it might be time to “fold up the tent.”
San Antonio is truly horrific. They just allowed the Clippers to shoot 63% from the field on Saturday and score 33 or more points in three different quarters.
The Spurs are 2-9 SU their last 11 games overall and are being outscored by an average of almost 12 points/game on the road this season. Lay it. 10*
|01-22-23||Pelicans +7.5 v. Heat||Top||96-100||Win||100||8 h 47 m||Show|
New Orleans has been trending in the wrong direction for awhile now, losing 8 of its last 11 games including each of the last three. They are now 7 games adrift of the top spot in the Western Conference and 5.5 games behind second place Memphis.
So a win here today in Miami is much needed. The Pelicans will be looking to avenge an ugly 124-98 loss they took at the hands of the Heat back on Wednesday.
Obviously, this Pelicans’ losing streak coincides with Zion Williamson being out of the lineup. Brandon Ingram is also out. But CJ McCollum averages 21.3 and a team-high 5.8 assists. I expect better results for this team moving forward.
This is too many points to pass up in my opinion. Miami is only 7-14-2 ATS at home including 5-13-2 when going off as the favorite. They were just blown out (by 25) in Dallas Friday night, a game the Heat actually went off as two-point favorites.
|01-21-23||Rockets v. Wolves -8||Top||104-113||Win||100||12 h 52 m||Show|
Minnesota is coming off a 128-126 win over Toronto where they were five-point underdogs here at home. They go from that, to being a significant favorite here tonight against sorry Houston.
The T’wolves have already beaten the Rockets twice this season, by 12 and by 8. The larger margin of victory was here at home.
Houston has not won a game since the day after Christmas! The losing streak hit 12 with their 122-117 home loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. They’d previously dropped four in a row on the road, three of those by 20 or more, while giving up an average of 133.8 points per game.
It gets even worse. The Rockets haven’t covered a spread since January 2nd. It’s eight straight ATS losses.
On the road this season, the Rockets are 4-20 and being outscored by over 10 points/game. Play against them at all costs right now. 10*
|01-20-23||Warriors v. Cavs -6.5||Top||120-114||Loss||-115||12 h 52 m||Show|
Golden State goes from one NBA Finals rematch to another. Last night, they lost 121-118 in Boston, a rematch of last year’s Finals. Now they face a team that played in four consecutive Finals (2014-17), that being Cleveland. LeBron might now be long gone, but this current Cavaliers team is most certainly for real.
The Warriors found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-0 OT run last night in Boston. They are now just 5-18 on the road. Having to play again on the road, in the second night of a back to back, after blowing a double digit second half lead, is a tough spot.
Given the way this line is moving, I suspect the Warriors may be giving someone the night off. In the second game of six previous road back to backs, we’ve seen them elect to rest one or multiple starters. They did beat Washington 127-118 in an identical situation Monday. But the five previous times saw them lose by an average of more than 20 points/game.
Furthermore, this will be Golden State’s fifth straight game on the road.
Cleveland is 19-4 SU/16-7 ATS at home this season. They are #2 in the league in defensive efficiency. Even if Donovan Mitchell (questionable) can’t play here, I believe the Cavs take care of business and snap a 14-game losing streak to the Warriors. Lay it! 10*
|01-19-23||Nets -1 v. Suns||Top||112-117||Loss||-110||13 h 20 m||Show|
You can watch this one on TNT. After essentially “punting” on the game in San Antonio Tuesday, the Nets should bounce back here against a Phoenix team that’s even more short-handed.
Already without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving did not play against the Spurs. The result was an embarrassing 106-98 loss to what I consider to be the worst team in the league.
Since Durant went down, the Nets’ offensive numbers have gone in the toilet. They’re averaging fewer than 100 points over the last three contests. But Irving is probable to go here.
We don’t know exactly who WON’T be going for Phoenix. Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, Josk Okogie and Landry Shamet are all on the injured list. But of the seven, only Paul and Johnson have a chance of playing here.
The Suns have won just once in their last 10 games and this is the first game back home after a four-game trip, a spot we typically see teams struggle in. 10*
|01-18-23||Hawks v. Mavs -3.5||Top||130-122||Loss||-110||13 h 30 m||Show|
Remember when Atlanta drafted Luka Doncic, then immediately traded him to Dallas in exchange for Trae Young? OOPS! The Hawks probably regret that move, this season more than ever, as Doncic is putting in a MVP-caliber season while Young has seemingly lost the ability to shoot from three.
There are 35 NBA players that have attempted at least 250 three-pointers this season. Young is 33rd in 3PT% (at 32.5).
Now the Hawks do come into Dallas on a three-game win streak. They beat Indiana, Toronto and Miami over a four-day stretch, the first two coming on the road. But the only other time this season that the Hawks found themselves on a three-game win streak, they went out and lost the next game, by six at Utah.
Dallas should be glad to be back home after a five-game road trip where they went 1-4. They are 16-6 SU at home and while only 8-11-3 ATS, this is a short number that I’m not really worried about.
The Mavs have won & covered each of the last three times they’ve been off back to back losses. Only once all season have they lost more than two in a row. 10*
|01-17-23||Nets -6 v. Spurs||Top||98-106||Loss||-110||21 h 59 m||Show|
Yes, Brooklyn is without Kevin Durant. But if there’s a worse team in the NBA than San Antonio, I’m not aware of them. The Spurs have been outscored by 9.1 points/game (worst in the league), 8.7 points per 100 possession (29th out of 30), own the worst defensive rating and are 28th on offense.
Overall, the Spurs have dropped five straight and eight of nine coming into Tuesday.
The Nets have lost two in a row without Durant, but held the lead going into the 4Q Sunday vs. OKC. They were ultimately doomed by shooting 29% from three.
But this has “get right game” written all over it for Brooklyn, who beat the Spurs by 36 earlier this month. Durant did have 25 points in that win, but also played just 29 minutes.
The Nets still have Kyrie Irving and also got 23 points from Seth Curry off the bench on Sunday. Two other starters finished in double figures. There’s enough firepower on hand to beat the lowly Spurs. 10*
|01-16-23||Suns v. Grizzlies -10.5||Top||106-136||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
Two teams headed in very different directions here. Phoenix is just 2-11 over its last 13 games and has covered the spread only two times in the last nine games. Memphis is on a nine-game win streak, during which they are 6-3 ATS.
But, surprisingly, this is a revenge spot for the Grizzlies.
They lost to the Suns, here at home, 125-108 right after Christmas (12/27). That was after blowing the Suns out (in Phoenix) just four days earlier.
The Grizzlies are a devastating home team. Not only are they 18-3 at the FedExForum, but they are winning by an average of 10.8 points/game.
This is a depleted Suns roster with little chance of doing anything today. No Booker, Paul, Payne or Johnson. That wasn’t the case when they beat the Grizzlies last month. Memphis has scored 121 or more points in six straight games. Phoenix has failed to score 100 five of its last seven and has given up 123.5 PPG over its last two. Lay it. 10*
|01-15-23||Magic v. Nuggets -10||Top||116-119||Loss||-110||13 h 53 m||Show|
Denver sat Nikola Jokic on Friday and still beat the Clippers 115-103 on the road. So you have to like their chances here, at home against the lowly Magic, even with a large spread in play.
The Nuggets are tied (with Memphis) for the best record in the Western Conference right now at 29-13. They’ve won five in a row overall and covered the spread in four of the wins (with one push). Since 12/18, the team is 12-2 SU and 9-4-1 ATS.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have Orlando, who is a bottom five team in the NBA, although definitely better than the bottom four. The Magic are at the end of a five-game road trip and while things have gone surprisingly well so far (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS), I think they’re ripe to get blown out tonight.
Jokic will play for the Nuggets and that’s obviously bad news for an Orlando team that carries a bottom 10 ranking both offensively and defensively.
The Nuggets aren’t just winning games, they are crushing teams, outscoring the last five opponents by an average of 19.6 points/game. I have no problem laying this number Sunday night. 10*
|01-14-23||Celtics v. Hornets +8||Top||122-106||Loss||-110||11 h 11 m||Show|
On paper, this looks like a big mismatch with the best team in the East (and probably the entire NBA) taking on the team with the worst record in the Conference.
Boston has been very impressive in rolling to a league-best 32-11 record. They come into the weekend riding a five-game win streak after defeating Brooklyn 109-98 Thursday.
But the Celtics haven’t been that great as road favorites so far, at least at the betting window as they are 7-10-1 ATS in that role. With another game here in Charlotte Monday afternoon, I can see this not exactly being a peak performance (Jaylen Brown is questionable to play).
Meanwhile, it should be “all hands on deck” for the Hornets, who are back home after playing the last four games on the road. They’ve lost six of seven overall, but did upset Milwaukee on the road, 138-109 as a 10-point underdog.
With Boston only outscoring its opponents by 2.5 points/game on the road, I just think this is too many points. 10*
|01-13-23||Magic v. Jazz -5.5||Top||108-112||Loss||-110||22 h 15 m||Show|
Utah has been sliding in recent weeks (2-8 SU L10 games), but did just defeat their old teammate (Deron Williams) and Cleveland earlier this week. I like their chances of not only making it two straight, but also covering the spread on Friday.
The Jazz get Orlando off a win, and a rather shocking one at that as the Magic beat the Blazers on the road, 109-106 as an eight-point underdog.
But this will be the Magic’s fourth straight road game, all out West. The Portland win came on the second night of a back to back, making that result all the more shocking. But even with the two days off here, I think fatigue could be setting in.
At home, the Jazz are averaging 120.9 points/game. That’s far too much for an Orlando team that only averages 106.6 on the road. The Magic were at 51.3% from the field in their last game. Rarely, do they shoot better than 50% in two straight games. 10*
|01-12-23||Cavs v. Blazers +3.5||Top||119-113||Loss||-110||14 h 25 m||Show|
Portland will host Cleveland Thursday night, looking for a reversal of fortunes as the Blazers have dropped four straight while the Cavs have won four of six.
They say “there’s no place like home,” but for Portland that was untrue two nights ago when they went out and lost to Orlando, 109-106, here at home. That was their first game back home following an 0-3 road trip and they shot just 6 of 35 from three. I expect much better shooting in this game, even though Cleveland has a reputation of being very good defensively.
While the Cavs have won four of six, they are just 1-2 on the current road trip and this is going to be their fourth road game in seven days (third in five). Donvan Mitchell’s 46 was not enough against his former team (Utah) on Wednesday as the Cavs lost to the Jazz 116-114.
It’s been a good first half of the season in Cleveland, but we’ve seen the team start to “give a little back” at the betting window where they are 2-6-1 ATS their last nine games. The market seems to have caught up to this team. Furthermore, the Cavs are just 6-12-2 ATS on the road this year.
|01-11-23||Pacers v. Knicks -4||Top||113-119||Win||100||12 h 13 m||Show|
Needless to say, Indiana has outperformed their low expectations coming into the season. One more win and the Pacers go Over their season win total!
Unfortunately, Pacers’ fans, you’re going to have to wait another day. I like the Knicks here, at home, coming off a loss.
The Knicks were a trendy pick Monday night vs. Milwaukee and looked to be well on their way to victory. But they blew a 17-point lead here at home and ended up losing by four. This should have them coming out angry for tonight.
Last month, the Knicks beat the Pacers, 109-106 in Indiana, and went off as a 1-point favorite. I think the number should be higher here.
Indiana has a negative efficiency rating (-1.9), so I think their 23-18 record is a bit fraudulent. I see them as being due for a downturn. Fade. 10*
|01-08-23||Hawks v. Clippers -3.5||Top||112-108||Loss||-110||14 h 40 m||Show|
The Clippers badly need to get back on track. They’ve lost five in a row and failed to cover the spread in the last four games.
The Hawks aren’t in any better shape as they’ve dropped six of eight amidst chemistry issues. As a three-point favorite, they were beaten by the Lakers on Friday and gave up 130 points.
There’s seemingly always a question about Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s statuses when you play the Clippers, but I like them regardless tonight. This will be just the second time in the last nine games that they get to play at home.
Atlanta was down 70-49 at the half to the Lakers and is 7-13 on the road.
Look for this to be a “get right” spot for LA. 10*
|01-07-23||Pelicans v. Mavs -7||Top||117-127||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
Bad spot here for New Orleans, who is in the second game of a back to back without Zion Willamson and Brandon Ingram. The Pelicans fought valiantly last night at home, but ultimately lost to the Nets 108-102 and didn’t cover the 4-point spread.
Dallas had Friday off and should come out angry here after having their seven-game win streak snapped in embarrassing fashion Thursday when they were blown out here at home by the Celtics, 124-95.
It has to be very frustrating for the Pelicans to look at that final score from last night as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving miss a combined 32 shots for Brooklyn. NO had its own shooting woes in the second half, however, making just 2 of 12 threes. They finished the game at 39.8% overall.
While the Pelicans have been an excellent home team so far, they are below .500 on the road (7-10 SU) and this is not the situation to get back on track.
The Mavericks were 29-9 ATS the previous two seasons when off a game like Thursday where they were held under 100 points. They haven’t been as profitable in that situation this season, but it’s still a good spot to jump on as Luka should have another big game. 10*
|01-06-23||Heat v. Suns +1.5||Top||104-96||Loss||-110||14 h 2 m||Show|
The Suns are a bit of a mess right now due to Devin Booker being injured. The team has lost four straight. In the last two games, they’ve finished with only 83 and 88 points.
But all four of those losses came on the road. I know that when a team is playing its first home game following a long road trip, it’s usually not the best time to jump on board. However, the Suns should be very happy to be back at home where they are 14-5 this season.
Miami is at the end of a five-game road trip here. They’ve won two and lost two thus far. The last game saw the Heat lose to a Lakers team that did not have LeBron James or Anthony Davis. They let Dennis Schroder go for a season-high 32 points.
Mostly because of injuries, the Heat have underperformed this season. They are just a game above .500 and sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. But due to Phoenix’s recent woes and the short number, my guess is that most bettors will be on the road favorite here. I think that’s a mistake.
The Suns almost won at Cleveland on Wednesday and that is not an easy place to play. (Cavs are 18-4 at home). They lost on a last second jumper by Evan Mobley. I think this is a good buy low spot on Phoenix, who isn’t a home dog very often. Miami is 7-18 ATS as a favorite this season. 8*
|01-05-23||Celtics -2 v. Mavs||Top||124-95||Win||100||12 h 8 m||Show|
On Tuesday, the Celtics were blown out in the most shocking way imaginable, 150-117 by Oklahoma City. It was the most points allowed in a game by the franchise since 1979!
It was also the Celtics’ second loss in a row. I played against them on New Year’s Day when they started this four-game road trip with a 123-111 loss at Denver. Despite basically being fully healthy, the Celtics have dropped five of nine overall.
But they are still the best team in basketball in my view and their reputation still carries a lot of weight in the marketplace as they are favored here, on the road, over a Dallas team that’s on a seven-game win streak.
These teams met back in November, in Boston, and the Celtics won 125-112 as 5.5-point favorites.
You know we’re going to get an inspired showing from the Celtics after they got humiliated by one of the worst teams in the league. Lay the points. 10*
|01-04-23||Spurs v. Knicks -9.5||Top||114-117||Loss||-105||13 h 37 m||Show|
After winning and covering eight straight, the Knicks promptly dropped five in a row. But now they’re pointed back in the right direction after back to back blowout wins. They should make it three in a row tonight when they host the Spurs.
They may not have the worst record in the league, but no team has been outscored by more than the Spurs have been. In their last game, they went down by 36 at the hands of Brooklyn. The Spurs never led at any points in the game.
The Knicks outscored Houston 81-53 over the final three quarters on Saturday, then led by as many as 32 against Phoenix on Monday.
I don’t expect their to be any kind of letdown tonight, considering NY will be playing with revenge for a 122-115 loss that occurred in San Antonio last week. In that game, Julius Randle scored 41 but the Spurs shot 51.1% as a team.
Since then, the Knicks have gotten back to playing outstanding defense, giving up just 88 and 83 points the L2 games. The Spurs have the worst defensive rating in the league and are 28th on offense. Lay it. 10*
|01-03-23||Wizards v. Bucks -7.5||Top||113-123||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
The Wizards upset the Bucks as 2.5-point underdogs on New Year’s Day, winning 118-95. But that upset comes with a giant asterisk. The Bucks were short handed for that game as Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out due to knee soreness. Jrue Holiday also missed the game with an illness and Khris Middleton didn’t play either.
Both Giannis and Holiday are expected to play in the rematch tonight. I’m expecting a big Bucks’ win at home.
The Bucks have dropped five of six, so they could use an impressive performance. The Wizards are 5-0 SU/ATS in their L5 games, but remember that it wasn’t that long ago they were on a 10-game losing streak.
With Giannis and Holiday on the floor, the Bucks have a +8.9 net rating and are a much better team defensively. I’m aware Washington may get Bradley Beal back, but when these teams are close to full strength, it’s a clear mismatch for Milwaukee.
When coming off an upset loss as a favorite, the Bucks are a perfect 6-0 against the spread this season. The Wizards’ have allowed an average of only 103.8 points during the five-game win streak, but that’s well below their season average of 112.4 and I’d expect them to regress at the defensive end sooner rather than later. Lay the points here. 10*
|01-02-23||Nuggets v. Wolves +2.5||Top||111-124||Win||100||11 h 30 m||Show|
In a tough Western Conference, the T’wolves really need to get going. Right now, they are on the WRONG side of the cut line when it comes to the play-in tournament. Not even being among the West’s Top 10 is certainly a bit of a shock, considering where this team was projected to be coming into the season.
Tonight, Minnesota hosts Denver, who is coming off a big win over Boston last night. I played the Nuggets Sunday as they easily covered as 1.5-point underdogs, winning 123-111. Nikola Jokic had yet another triple double (30-12-12) in a game that featured a 30+ minute delay due to a defective rim.
Denver is in 1st place in the West with a 24-12 record. But coming off last night’s win, this sets up as a letdown spot for them. It will be only their fourth time playing in a back to back this year. The Nuggets are also 0-2 ATS this season coming off a SU win where they were listed as the underdog.
Things may not be looking good in Minnesota as the team is 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS over its last six games. They lost here at home to the Pistons on Saturday, 116-104. But, because of that, there is no doubt as to which side should come out more motivated Monday night.
The T’wolves went 3-1 against the Nuggets last year and have lost back to back home games only one time so far this season. Give me the points. 10*
|01-01-23||Celtics v. Nuggets +1.5||Top||111-123||Win||100||12 h 41 m||Show|
Boston ended a seven-game homestand on a four-game win streak. They beat Minnesota, Milwaukee, Houston and the Clippers. They’ve had two days off to prepare for this New Year’s trip to Denver.
As good as the Celtics are, the Nuggets are worthy adversaries. They’ve won 9 of 11 and one of those losses was by a single point.
At home, Denver is 13-3 and outscoring visitors by nine points per game.
When these teams played in Boston on November 11th, the Celtics made 16 three-pointers and shot 55% overall. That will not be repeated.
Jokic continues to be ridiculous for the Nuggets, making 50% of shots in 26 straight games. 10*
|12-31-22||Knicks -4.5 v. Rockets||Top||108-88||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
The Knicks are having all sorts of problems at the moment as they’ve dropped five in a row and are 0-4-1 ATS that same stretch. But they get a “new year’s present” tonight in the form of a matchup with the sorry Rockets.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Knicks were on an eight-game win streak. It’s not like they’re being blown out during this losing streak. All five losses have been by seven points or fewer. One was a buzzer beater while another was an overtime loss to Dallas that required a Herculean effort from Luka Doncic.
Houston is unlikely to provide much resistance for a Knicks team that is desperate to get back on track. The Rockets have dropped seven of eight, the last two by a combined 39 points.
The Knicks are 22-7 ATS their last 29 road games. Look for them to tighten up at the defensive end and cover this small number. Julius Randle had 41 points and 11 rebounds in the last game and is capable of carrying the offensive load. 10*
|12-29-22||Rockets v. Mavs -10.5||Top||114-129||Win||100||13 h 55 m||Show|
Dallas should be in line for a big win tonight when they host Houston, who is one of the worst teams in the league and just 1-6 SU in its L7 games.
After being such a disappointment at the betting window for the first month of the season, we’ve seen better results from the Mavs recently. They have won four in a row including a 126-121 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday. In that game, Luka Doncic turned in the first 60-20-10 game (points-rebounds-assists) in league history.
Three of those four recent wins for the Mavs have been by six points or less. One of them was in Houston 112-106 as seven-point favorites. Doncic had 50-8-10 in that game.
Doncic may not repeat those individual numbers tonight, but the Rockets are playing their third road game in four nights and are just 4-14 on the road this year. I am expecting a blowout.
The Rockets just lost by 24 in Boston two nights ago. This is a team with a bottom three offensive and defensive rating. Lay it! 10*
|12-28-22||Nets -5 v. Hawks||Top||108-107||Loss||-110||11 h 57 m||Show|
Atlanta seemed to be in prime position for a win heading into Indiana last night. But they lost 129-114. If the Hawks can’t beat the Pacers, then I don’t see how they stand much of a chance vs. a Nets team that’s won nine straight while covering the spread in six of its last seven games.
While one could make the argument that there’s not a ton of value in laying this number with Brooklyn, on the road, Atlanta has been a terrible team to bet on of late. The Hawks are 6-14 ATS the last 20 games and have failed to cover by an average of 4.7 points/game, the worst mark in the league during that time.
Another potential problem for Atlanta is that Trae Young left last night’s game with an ankle injury. The Hawks were already missing two other starters - Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter. This is not a team you want to back right now.
As for the Nets, five of their last nine wins have come on the road, including 125-117 at Cleveland Monday night. The Cavs are not an easy team to beat, especially at home. But the Nets hung 125 points on what had been the league’s most efficient defense this year. Atlanta is far worse at defending than Cleveland.
Brooklyn is leading the league in FG% and 3-point FG%. Kevin Durant has scored at least 25 points each of the last 13 times he’s faced Atlanta while Kyrie Irving is averaging 28-5-5 over his L10 games. Lay the number here. 10*
|12-27-22||Clippers v. Raptors -5||Top||124-113||Loss||-110||10 h 18 m||Show|
The Clippers had absolutely zero business winning last night’s game in Detroit, let alone covering the spread. Down 14 with 3:34 left, LA appeared left for dead, but instead somehow rallied to force overtime where they’d go on to win 142-131. They were 5.5 point favorites.
I will look to fade LA again here, even if Kawhi Leonard ends up playing. A second night of a back to back after an OT game where they rallied just seems like a bad situation all around. The Clippers remain just 9-8 on the road and don’t play particularly good defense.
Toronto hasn’t played since before Christmas when they upset the Cavaliers in Cleveland (not easy to do), 118-107 as a 5-point dog. It was a perfect 3-0 ATS road trip for the Raptors, which included another outright win where they snapped the Knicks’ eight-game win streak. The only SU loss on the trip was by three, in overtime, at Philadelphia (who has been the hottest team in the league).
Back to the Clippers, they have lost five of the seven times they’ve played in the second night of a back to back this year. 10*
|12-26-22||Clippers v. Pistons +5.5||Top||142-131||Loss||-105||9 h 5 m||Show|
If you’re thinking that this line looks a little “short” or even “scary,” the first thing you need to be aware of is that Kawhi Leonard is not taking the court tonight for the Clippers (due to injury management).
The Clippers are only 8-8 on the road this season and coming off a deflating loss where they blew a 20-point lead at Philadelphia.
Now it’s true the Pistons have the worst record in the NBA and are on a five-game losing streak. But this team generally plays hard. They are 9-3 ATS so far this season when they are on a losing streak of three or more games.
Playing on exactly two days rest, the Clippers are 0-3 ATS. They are 6-23 ATS in that situation the last three seasons.
If you can believe it, the Pistons have a superior offensive rating compared to the Clippers. Without Leonard, expect the road team to struggle. 8*
|12-25-22||Grizzlies -4.5 v. Warriors||Top||109-123||Loss||-109||33 h 29 m||Show|
I’ll start by pointing out that this is a revenge game for the Grizzlies, who were eliminated by the Warriors (in six games) in last season’s Western Conference semifinal.
Golden State would go on to win its fourth NBA title in eight years last June. But things have not gone well so far this season. They are just 15-18 on the season and sit in 11th place in the Western Conference.
The biggest news for this game is the continued absence of Steph Curry. Andrew Wiggins (groin) is another player dealing with an injury and his status is questionable. Though they’ve had three days off, this is not a great spot for the Warriors, who are playing at home for the first time since a 1-5 SU/ATS swing out East. Generally, it’s a good idea to fade teams in their first game back from a long trip.
It doesn’t help that the Warriors’ defense has fallen off a cliff this year. They are 21st in defensive efficiency, which is not at all encouraging when facing a Memphis team that now has Desmond Bane back in the lineup and just hung 125 in a blowout win at Phoenix on Friday.
Remembering last season’s playoff exit, the Grizzlies will be looking to make a “statement” here. They are back at full strength while the Warriors aren’t even close to that. Currently tied for the best record in the West, the Grizz are top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Lay the points with the much better team on X-mas. 10*
|12-23-22||Blazers +5 v. Nuggets||Top||107-120||Loss||-107||20 h 30 m||Show|
Northwest Division rivals renew acquaintances right before Christmas with Denver hosting Portland. Speaking of Christmas, Denver plays on the holiday while Portland doesn’t. While not the full extend of my handicap here, I think there could be a bit of a lookahead for the Nuggets (host the Suns on X-Mas).
For Portland, this is the end of a six-game road trip. They’ve lost the last two games, both to lowly OKC, so they are desperate for a win here so they can return to their families with their collective heads hung high. I expect the Blazers to be fully motivated tonight.
These teams have already split a pair of games in Portland this year. The Blazers won the first one by 25, but lost the second by 1.
Something to consider is that while the Nuggets have the best record in the West through 30 games (19-11), three teams below them have better point differentials. Portland isn’t one of the three, but does sport an identical net efficiency rating for the season.
The Blazers are a very respectable 11-6 ATS as underdogs while the Nuggets are 2-6 ATS overall in December. Take the points in this one. 10*
|12-22-22||Wizards +6.5 v. Jazz||Top||112-120||Loss||-110||13 h 11 m||Show|
I think this is a good spot to grab the points and fade Utah. The Jazz were 126-111 winners on Tuesday, which was actually good for me as I had the Over in that game with the Pistons (my 10* NBA Total of the Month!) But here, they’re probably less motivated, which could be a problem facing a Wizards team that’s desperate for a win.
This is Washington’s fifth straight road game, all out West. They lost the first three games, but then upset Phoenix Tuesday, winning 113-110 as seven-point underdogs. The trip ends tomorrow in Sacramento. But I think the Wiz are likely to play better tonight. For what it’s worth, the Wiz are 7-5 ATS vs. the Western Conference this year with an almost even scoring differential.
Yes, the Wizards had lost 10 straight before beating Phoenix. But with the proverbial “monkey off their back” now, I expect them to play better. Bradley Beal is back and averaging 28 points/game on 46% shooting since his return.
I am anticipating that Utah will crater and not be a team that finishes in the Top 10 out West. They are 25th in defensive rating.
Washington beat this Jazz team 121-112, as a four-point home dog, back in November. Utah is only 5-5 in December and I don’t think they should be laying this many points. Back the dog. 10*
|12-21-22||Lakers v. Kings -6||Top||120-134||Win||100||14 h 7 m||Show|
It’s been a much better season than usual in Sacramento where the fans haven’t seen the playoffs since 2005-06. That’s the longest postseason drought of any team in the four “major” North American sports. So far this season, the Kings are 16-13 and sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference.
But they’re coming off a loss, and a bad one at that, as they fell here at home to the lowly Hornets on Monday. Despite a monster game from Domantas Sabonis (28-23-7), the Kings fell 125-119 as 10-point favorites.
Perhaps you can blame the spot as the Kings were home for the first time following a six-game swing out East. Regardless, I expect them to bounce back here against a wounded Lakers squad that is now without Anthony Davis.
LA didn’t have LeBron either Monday at Phoenix and as a result got trounced 130-104 by Phoenix. They are now 2-5-1 ATS since December 6th. Even worse is the Lakers’ ATS record vs. division foes, which is 0-6. They have also lost all six games straight up.
It’s a decent sized number to lay here, however, the Kings are putting up 122.9 points/game at home. The Lakers, even with LeBron presumably back in the lineup, cannot keep up with that. The Kings are not only 6-1 ATS vs. division opponents, but 10-3 ATS against teams that have losing records (Lakers are 13-17 SU).
|12-19-22||Magic v. Hawks -7||Top||125-126||Loss||-115||12 h 44 m||Show|
All of a sudden, Orlando has won six in a row and covered seven straight. They just swept a pair of games in Boston, but with the second being played yesterday, the Magic find themselves at a rest disadvantage here. Atlanta last played on Friday, when they blew out Charlotte 125-106 on the road.
That result was much needed for the Hawks as they’d previously dropped 8 of 11 amidst infighting. One of the losses came to the Magic as the Hawks apparently thought defense was optional. They gave up 50 points in the first quarter and ended up losing 135-124.
But that was in Orlando. At home, I like the Hawks to exact some revenge here.
The Magic have yet to win in the second night of a back to back this season (0-4), losing by an average of almost seven points/game.
Considering the Hawks were three-point favorites on the road in Orlando last week, it sure looks like we’re getting a discount on them for this rematch. Atlanta won the season’s first two meetings, by 10 and 17 points respectively. They are 8-2 SU/ATS vs. the Magic the last three seasons. Lay it. 10*
|12-17-22||Pelicans +3.5 v. Suns||Top||114-118||Loss||-110||13 h 47 m||Show|
There is no doubt the Suns will be looking to avenge a pair of losses in New Orleans last week. But equally perturbed will be the Pelicans, who just dropped two in a row at Utah. I’ve got the Pelicans rated as the better team here and thus will be taking the points.
NO had won seven straight before those two losses in Salt Lake City. Their last two wins were both against the Suns as they won 128-117 and 129-124 at home. That second win required overtime. The pattern was then repeated in Utah with the second of the two games going to OT, only this time the Pelicans lost both times.
The Suns were on an 0-5 SU/ATS tailspin before catching a break and facing the Clippers, who sat four starters including Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, on Thursday. So there’s really no debate as to which of the teams involved tonight has been playing better.
New Orleans is a top five team both on offense and defense. They are the only team in the league that can say that. They have the best point differential this year among Western Conference teams. Their record would be a lot better if not for four overtime losses.
The Suns are missing both Cameron Payne and DeAndre Ayton. Neither played Thursday and both are listed as being OUT for tonight. Give me the the Pelicans, off back to back losses and at full strength, catching the points. 10*
|12-16-22||Pacers +8 v. Cavs||Top||112-118||Win||100||12 h 24 m||Show|
Cleveland has been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, if not the entire NBA, all year long. But this is too many points to lay in a division matchup. Only one time since 11/25 have the Cavs won back to back games. They are coming off a 105-90 win at Dallas Wednesday night.
The Cavs’ defensive numbers have been outstanding. But Indiana comes in having scored 121 or more in three of its last four games and just beat the Warriors 48 hours ago.
Revenge is a factor here as the Pacers were swept in the season series last year. Three of those games were decided by seven points or less.
Indiana also has been good when facing conference foes this season. They are 10-6 straight up and against the number vs. the rest of the East.
I know Cleveland’s defensive numbers and home record makes for a scary fade here. But they are just 2-8 ATS when off a non-conference game and 1-5 ATS off their previous six SU wins. Take the points. 10*
|12-15-22||Pelicans -1.5 v. Jazz||Top||129-132||Loss||-115||13 h 15 m||Show|
The Pelicans are looking to avenge a 21-point loss they suffered right here in Salt Lake City two nights ago. I think they do it. Yes, I did have the Pellies on Tuesday. But I don’t see them shooting just 39.8% overall again nor do I see them missing 23 of 27 three-point attempts as they did last time.
The Pelicans had won seven in a row before losing to the Jazz. They still have the best record, point differential and net efficiency among Western Conference teams, so there’s no reason to panic after one bad loss. I believe this team is simply better than Utah.
The Jazz were supposed to be bottom-feeders this season, but have surprised with a winning record (16-14 overall). I’m still not convinced they can remain “above water” though. They are a bottom 10 team defensively, which is another reason I don’t see New Orleans’ poor shooting from Tuesday repeating itself here.
Another thing to note from Tuesday. Zion Williamson played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble. He still scored 26 points.
New Orleans ranks third on the defensive end, so that’s a big edge. When off a SU loss as a favorite this year, they are a perfect 4-0 SU. Lay the small number. 10*
|12-14-22||Wolves v. Clippers -6.5||Top||88-99||Win||100||12 h 27 m||Show|
Now seems like a good time to buy the Clippers. They are healthy with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both playing and just dismantled the Celtics on Monday (much to my dismay) 113-93 here at home. With Leonard and George on the floor together, this team is +18.3 per 100 possessions with a 99.3 defensive rating. Those are the kinds of numbers that were expected from a team many predicted could win the NBA Finals this season.
On the other hand, the Timberwolves haven’t seemed right all season. They are without Karl-Anthony Towns and just got beat twice in Portland. This is now their fourth road game in the last six days.
The most encouraging sign for the Clippers is that Leonard just scored 25 points on 10 of 12 shooting against Boston, his best game in some time.
I already mentioned the Clippers’ defensive rating when both Leonard and George are out there. I think that they are likely to hold the T’wolves in check tonight. Minny has shot 51.4% over its last five games. That’s simply not likely to continue, which means trouble considering they’ve lost three of those last five games anyway. The Clippers were the first team all year to hold Boston under 100 points.
The Timberwolves simply have not been a good team to bet on this season as they are only 10-17 ATS overall including 3-6 as a dog. 8*
|12-13-22||Pelicans -1.5 v. Jazz||Top||100-121||Loss||-110||11 h 29 m||Show|
Here’s a spread that I don’t get. New Orleans, who now owns the best point differential in the entire NBA, is only laying a bucket to Utah? I realize that the Jazz have exceeded expectations to start the 2022-23 campaign, but they’ve recently dropped two straight and 8 out of their last 11. The Pelicans have won their last seven games.
When these teams played back in October, the Pelicans went off as eight-point home favorites. The Jazz ended up winning 122-121 in overtime. However, that was a fluky game where both Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson got hurt.
Ingram remains out for New Orleans, but it hasn’t mattered as the Pelicans just beat the Suns twice. This team ranks 4th in the league in offensive efficiency and is going against a Jazz team that is bottom five in defensive efficiency.
Utah gets a lot of its points via second chance opportunities, but New Orleans is clearly the better rebounding team here and will limit the number of offensive rebounds for the Jazz.
Utah has been missing a number of key players recently, but that alone does not excuse the recent skid. I simply think the oddsmakers set a bad number for this matchup. The Jazz are likely to continue regressing while the Pelicans are a top five team in the league. Lay it! 10*
|12-12-22||Celtics -3.5 v. Clippers||Top||93-113||Loss||-110||14 h 10 m||Show|
Boston is looking to bounce back from what was just their third loss since November 4th. The Celtics took it on the chin Saturday, losing by 16 at Golden State. The trends support a play on them here as this season has seen the team go 4-1 SU off a loss and they are outscoring their opponents by 7.4 points/game in this spot.
This is a double revenge spot for the Celtics, who lost both meetings to the Clippers last year. Road favorites playing with double revenge have hit 61% since 2018-19 and road favorites off a loss vs. an opponent off a win are hitting 60% over the last decade.
The Clippers are healthy now, but even so, Boston is the better team here. No team can match the Celtics’ scoring differential or net efficiency this season. They also have a historically great offense while the Clippers are 27th in offensive efficiency.
The Clips have been shooting better from three recently, but Boston has been elite at defending the three-point line. The Golden State result was the exception to that rule.
No Al Horford tonight for Boston, but they are 6-1 with him out of the lineup. Also, while the Celtics are playing a fifth consecutive road game, the Clippers have been busy as well. Tonight marks their fourth game in six days and fifth in the last eight days. Kawhi Leonard, set to play for just the ninth time tonight, is on a minutes restriction and posting career-worst numbers. The Celtics are 5-0 SU this season on the front end of a back to back. 10*
|12-10-22||Mavs v. Bulls -1.5||Top||115-144||Win||100||8 h 26 m||Show|
The Bulls have a key advantage coming into this Saturday night tilt and that’s they’re rested while Dallas just lost a heartbreaker last night at home to Milwaukee.
Now the Bulls have been woefully inconsistent all year with their longest win streak at just two games. They did win last time out, which was Wednesday, beating Washington 110-107. But the Bulls did not cover, dropping them to 0-4 ATS L4 games.
But they did lead most of the way against Washington, only briefly trailing a couple of times after the first quarter. That was a home game for the Bulls, as is this. I’ll point out that the Bulls have played a pretty tough schedule to this point.
Going from home to the road, in the second night of a back to back, off two straight one-point games is just a terrible situation for these Mavericks. Especially after they were outscored 33-21 in the fourth quarter last night. This team has also been inconsistent and them going 10 of 24 from the free throw line last night should give you pause.
On the road, the Mavs are only 4-8 SU and 3-7 against the spread. Last night was also a late game, which doesn’t help. 10*
|12-09-22||Kings v. Cavs -5.5||Top||106-95||Loss||-110||12 h 37 m||Show|
Cleveland is having itself an awesome start to the season with a top five record in the league, not to mention a top three point difference and net efficiency rating. I expect the Cavaliers’ early season success to continue on Friday when they host the Sacramento Kings.
Now the Kings are also somewhat of an early season success story as they are in the top six out West, not a place anyone is accustomed to seeing them. But defensively, they have issues. They’re a bottom 10 team defensively and still give up 116 points/game.
When they went to Milwaukee on Wednesday, the Kings allowed 126 points and lost by double digits. That’s not the way they wanted to start this six-game road trip.
The Cavs, on the other hand, are the league’s best defensive team. They are also 13-4 ATS as a favorite this season and 10-1 ATS at home.
None of Cleveland’s last six points have been able to score more than 102 points. Jarrett Allen being back really helps on the defensive end of the floor. We’ll have to monitor two questionable players - De’Aaron Fox for Sacramento and Donovan Mitchell for Cleveland - but at the end of the day, the Cavs’ edge defensively will be too much for the Kings to overcome. Lay the points. 10*
|12-05-22||Celtics v. Raptors +1.5||Top||116-110||Loss||-110||10 h 9 m||Show|
The Celtics are an amazing 15-2 straight up over their last 17 games, but I think we’re catching them in a good spot (to fade) here in Toronto Monday night. This is the second night of a back to back for the reigning Eastern Conference Champs, who defeated Brooklyn last night by a score of 103-92.
Teams off a win the previous day, playing in Toronto, are just 14-24 ATS (36.8%).
Leading scorer Pascal Siakam is back for the Raptors, but he’s not the only one that turned in a big game Saturday against Orlando. O.G. Anunoby matched his season-high with 32 points in that game as the Raptors won convincingly, 121-108 and covered the spread as 11-point favorites.
Boston has yet to lose in the second night of a back to back this season, which won’t continue. They are without their two best defensive players right now, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams. Shockingly, they still held the Nets to just 92 points on Sunday, a season-low for a Celtics’ opponent.
But don’t expect a repeat of that here. Toronto shot 56% as a team against Orlando. The Raptors are rested and ready here and at home where they are 9-2 SU and +5.5 points/game. Take the points. 10*
|12-04-22||Lakers +2.5 v. Wizards||Top||130-119||Win||100||9 h 12 m||Show|
The Lakers seem to be back on track. They just beat the Bucks on Friday, which was their seventh win in the last nine games. What was most impressive about beating the Bucks was that LA scored 133 points against the top rated defense in the league. Anthony Davis had 44 points while LeBron went for 28.
Washington is trending in the opposite direction right now. They’ve lost two straight and five of their last six. In each of those last six games, the Wizards have allowed 110 or more points. They went off as four-point favorites in the 117-116 loss to Charlotte on Friday.
The Wiz have not been blown out during this recent downturn, but there is no denying the fact they are trending in the wrong direction. They were down double digits for most of the second half against Charlotte after surrendering 72 first half points.
The Lakers, a top 10 team defensively, have posted their two highest scoring games of the season in the last week.
Washington doesn’t do a good job at defending the three (37% allowed) and the Lakers should also own the paint in this matchup. I expect another big offensive night from LeBron and company against a team that is just 3-7 ATS when favored this season. 10*
|11-30-22||Grizzlies v. Wolves +2.5||Top||101-109||Win||100||9 h 5 m||Show|
Things are not looking good in Minnesota right now. Following three straight losses where the team posted a -11.9 net rating, the Timberwolves are a game below .500 and without Karl-Anthony Towns.
But should the T’wolves be a dog at home against Memphis, who is still without Desmond Bane? I don’t think so. Dillon Brooks is also questionable to play tonight for the Grizzlies.
When these teams met in Memphis 19 days ago, the Grizzlies had Bane in the lineup and closed as only four-point favorites at home. They won 114-103 but I don’t think they should be laying a similar number, on the road, in tonight’s rematch.
The experiment with KAT and Rudy Gobert had not been working for Minnesota. So perhaps, short-term, KAT’s absence might be a positive. With one fewer big on the floor, the offense might open up and the T’wolves do turn the ball over less when KAT is not out there.
This will be the third time this year that Minnesota enters a game off three straight losses. They are 2-0 ATS the previous two times. Take the points against a Memphis team that is just 2-7 ATS on the road. 10*
|11-30-22||76ers +4 v. Cavs||Top||85-113||Loss||-110||9 h 56 m||Show|
Philadelphia has not only covered three straight, but also eight of their last nine games. Joel Embiid is now back in the lineup and he just went off for 30-8-7 in the team’s 104-101 triumph over Atlanta on Monday.
After that one-game stop at home, the Sixers are back out on the road where they’ll face another top Eastern Conference team. Cleveland has been a pleasant surprise thus far, ranking second in the East in both point differential and net efficiency.
But the Sixers are right behind the Cavs in those regards and are also one of only three teams with a higher defensive efficiency rating than Cleveland.
After getting off to such a great start, the Cavs are only 5-5 SU in their L10 games. They’ve ruled out both Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love tonight, the former being a far more significant loss. Over the last two seasons, their record without Allen in the lineup is just 10-20. That includes 1-3 so far this season.
I recognize Philly is without James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. But they’ve got Embiid and he should be the difference maker tonight. Take the points with the 76ers. 10*
|11-29-22||Clippers v. Blazers -3.5||Top||118-112||Loss||-110||11 h 53 m||Show|
The Clippers beat Indiana on Sunday, but are still without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. So we’ll fade this short-handed team in Portland tonight as the Blazers are a lot better than the Pacers, despite losses in five of the last six games.
Portland is still in the top six of the West, right behind the Clippers, with one fewer win due to playing one fewer game.
Now Damian Lillard is out for the Blazers. So there will be a lot of star power missing in this one. But Jerami Grant is picking up the slack with 29 points in the last game, which followed a career-high 44 in a win over the Knicks Friday.
In addition to no George and no Leonard, the Clippers are also missing Luke Kennard and John Wall. They won’t be getting another game from Ivica Zubac like they did Sunday. Zubac is averaging a double double, but the 31 points and 29 rebounds vs. Indiana was a fairly ridiculous effort.
Portland is 3-0 ATS when coming off a double digit loss. 10*
|11-22-22||Nets -7.5 v. 76ers||Top||106-115||Loss||-115||9 h 19 m||Show|
This is all about which team is at full strength and which team isn’t. Brooklyn has Kyrie Irving back and looks ready to make a move in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia won’t have Joel Embiid, James Harden or Tyrese Maxey tonight. That’s their three best players!
As a result, I’m laying the points with the Nets tonight. In Irving’s return Sunday, they shot 60% from the field. Ben Simmons even had 22 points (a season-high).
Irving had 14. Durant had 26, so he’s scored at least 25 in all 17 games this season. There’s just too many options here for Philly to slow down.
The Sixers have played 97 possessions this season without Embiid, Harden and Maxey on the floor. They’ve been dominated during that time, getting outscored by almost 16 points. Both the offensive and defensive numbers take a major hit.
This game could get ugly in a hurry. It should be an easy double digit win for the visitors. 10*
|11-19-22||Wolves +1.5 v. 76ers||Top||112-109||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
We all understand that this is the end of a four-game road trip for Minnesota, who can now say they have won back to back games for the first time in November.
Normally, the end of a trip like this can be a bad spot. But that’s not really the case tonight for the Timberwolves, who have had the last two days off. They also had two days off prior to beating Orlando 126-108 Weds night.
The opposition played last night, and for Philadelphia it was a hard-fought win here at home vs. Milwaukee. But the Sixers didn’t come out unscathed. Already missing James Harden from the lineup, they saw Tyrese Maxey go down with a foot injury on Friday.
So even though this will be their fourth straight game at home and Minnesota’s fourth straight road game, the situation is MUCH worse here for Philly.
The T’wolves have posted a 127.5 offensive efficiency rating in the last two games, shooting 54% overall and 40% from three. They are in much better shape than the Sixers heading into Saturday. 10*
|11-16-22||Warriors +2 v. Suns||Top||119-130||Loss||-110||13 h 34 m||Show|
Golden State is just 6-8 to start the year, but they showed signs of life on Monday when they blew out San Antonio at home by a score of 132-95. I like them here on the road against a banged up Suns team.
Count on the Warriors taking this one seriously. It’s a chance to beat their main division rival and the team that has had the best record in the Western Conference over the last two years.
This is also a huge revenge spot as the Warriors were blown out by 29 points when they faced the Suns earlier this year.
Phoenix has dropped two in a row coming into tonight, first to Orlando (114-97) and then to Miami (113-112). Overall, they are 2-4 L6 games. Two starters have been out - Chris Paul and Cam Johnson. Only Paul (questionable) has a chance of seeing the floor tonight. The defense has really fallen off a cliff with those two out and while Paul’s replacement Cam Payne did look good in a couple of the games, he went 4 of 17 against the Heat.
Golden State’s starting five has looked excellent of late and Steph Curry should be ready to go after playing a season-low 27 minutes against the Spurs. All signs point to this being a “statement game” for the Warriors. 10*
|11-16-22||Bulls +3.5 v. Pelicans||Top||110-124||Loss||-110||11 h 33 m||Show|
This is a revenge game for Chicago. They lost 115-111 at home to New Orleans exactly one week ago. That result was followed by another loss for the Bulls as they went down 126-103 at the hands of Denver on Sunday. The team has now dropped four of its last five.
But this time the Bulls catch the Pelicans in the second game of a back to back. New Orleans was kind to me last night with a 113-102 win over Memphis. I laid the short price as the Grizzlies were without one of their two best players (Desmond Bane). That was obviously a wise decision.
The Pelicans didn’t even need Zion Williamson to win last night. He sat, but six teammates finished in double figures led by 30 points from CJ McCollum (who I predicted would have a big game). As a team, NO went 18 of 38 from three-point range.
I don’t see the Pelicans shooting as well tonight, even if Williamson returns, as they went just 3 of 19 on three-pointers the last game vs. Chicago.
That previous meeting was closely contested with 14 lead changes and nine ties. Now, Chicago is better rested (just two games in last seven days) while New Orleans played last night. A big problem for the Pelicans has been interior defense, so that’s an area the Bulls need to attack here. 10* Chicago
|11-15-22||Grizzlies v. Pelicans -3.5||Top||102-113||Win||100||6 h 54 m||Show|
Memphis is 9-5 with five wins in their last seven games. But they did lose on Sunday, 102-92 at Washington, without Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. That loss was also the Grizzlies’ lowest scoring game of this season. They are now 0-3 this year when either Morant or Bane does not suit up.
Morant is off the injured list and Jaren Jackson Jr seems set to make his season debut tonight. But Bane being out 2-3 weeks is a significant loss considering he’s the team’s top three-point shooter.
The Grizzlies have a pretty mediocre net efficiency rating. I think it’s fair to say that - so far - their schedule has not been all that daunting.
New Orleans is 7-6 and coming off a 119-106 win over Houston on Saturday. They’ll be home now through Thanksgiving, so they need to take advantage. So far the Pelicans are just 3-2 in home games.
I understand Memphis’ optimism with JJJ and Morant returning. But New Orleans has the better point differential and net efficiency rating this season. Even if Zion Williamson doesn’t play, the Pelicans have enough depth to pull this one out. In particular, look for CJ McCollum, long overdue to get hot, to have a big game. The Grizzlies let Washington hit 19 threes on Sunday. Lay the short number here. 10*
|11-07-22||Raptors v. Bulls -3.5||Top||97-111||Win||100||12 h 32 m||Show|
These teams just met Sunday and the Raptors came out on top 113-104. That was in Toronto though and Fred VanVleet was a monster, going for 30 points and 11 assists.
Zach LaVine sat out yesterday for Chicago as his usage is being managed due to offseason knee surgery. The expectation is that he’ll play tonight. Also, you’ve got to expect more from DeMar DeRozan than what he gave the Bulls Sunday. Yes, DeRozan shot 7 for 9, but that was a season-low in field goal attempts.
Tonight the Bulls get to play host and they’ve won three of four here in the Windy City. All three victories have been by a minimum of 15 points.
Toronto is without leading scorer Pascal Siakam and there’s no way VanVleet is going to be as productive as he was on Sunday.
Another key takeaway from last night’s game is that Chicago turned it over 17 times, leading to 23 Toronto points. No way they are that careless again. I expect a Bulls’ bounce back at home where they are 4-0 straight up and against the spread the last four times hosting the Raptors. 8*
|11-02-22||Grizzlies v. Blazers +4.5||Top||111-106||Loss||-110||11 h 16 m||Show|
Once again, let’s take advantage of injury news and grab some value with an NBA underdog. Last night, it was Chicago getting it done for us with an outright win in Brooklyn. Tonight, Portland is going to be without Damian Lillard, but they are at home and I like them getting points vs. Memphis.
The Blazers did not have Lillard in the lineup last Friday, but still defeated the Houston Rockets by a score of 125-111. They’re well rested coming into Wednesday (four days off!) and are 5-1 SU on the season.
Memphis is just 4-3 with the wins coming over New York, Houston, Brooklyn and Sacramento. The Grizzlies have been beaten twice by Utah and got blown out (by 41 points) in Dallas.
Ja Morant is having a strong start for the Grizz, but the problem for the team has been defense. Memphis has given up 120 or more points in five of the seven games so far, resulting in the worst defensive rating in the league. They miss Jaren Jackson Jr. Desmond Bane is listed as questionable for tonight, though I expect him to play.
Yes, Memphis will be motivated by the back to back losses to Utah. Bettors will be tempted to lay a small number with a favorite hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak. But Portland has the best record in the Western Conference and, when rested, can get the job done as a home dog. They beat the Grizzlies in three of the four regular season meetings last year. Take the points.
|11-01-22||Bulls +1.5 v. Nets||Top||108-99||Win||100||10 h 40 m||Show|
The Nets have been a disaster at the betting window thus far, failing to cover in five straight and coming into Tuesday with a 1-6 ATS record on the season. This will be the second night of a back to back for them. Last night saw them defeat the Pacers 116-109 but just miss out on covering as 7.5-point favorites.
Meanwhile, after dropping both games of a back to back, the Bulls have had two days to prepare for this game. They are potentially going to be short-handed though with LaVine, Dosunmu and White all listed as questionable. That’s in addition to both Drummond and Ball still being out.
But DeMar DeRozan will still be in the Bulls’ lineup and I think there’s still enough of a supporting cast around him (Vucevic, Caruso, Dragic) to get the job done. Certainly, Chicago should see improvement at the offensive end as the Nets can’t stop anybody right now. Brooklyn is third worst in the league in points allowed coming into Tuesday, giving up 120.3 per game.
Last night’s win aside, the Nets just haven’t been very good so far this season. Them laying a short number at home in the second night of a back to back just feels like the oddsmakers are setting a trap. The Nets lack depth. This team is a horrible 13-37-1 ATS its last 51 home games. 8*
|10-30-22||Nuggets -3.5 v. Lakers||Top||110-121||Loss||-110||13 h 34 m||Show|
The Lakers stink. But because they are the Lakers and NBA’s lone remaining winless team, there are going to be bettors who want to keep playing them. I am here to tell you NOT to make that mistake!
Not only are the Lakers 0-5 straight up, but they are also 0-5 against the spread. They have been an underdog in four of those games and tonight will be their fifth time catching points. No team is worse when it comes to shooting from behind the three-point line. In fact, the Lakers’ current 28.3 3PT FG% would be sixth worst in league history over a single season.
Anthony Davis did not play on Friday when LA lost to Minnesota 111-102. He is hopeful to return this evening. Won’t matter though, Denver is simply the superior basketball team here.
The Nuggets have won four of five since a season-opening loss at Utah. The last time they lost, they led at half before falling apart down the stretch. By the way, Denver has already beaten the Lakers once this year, 110-99, and did so without the services of Michael Porter Jr (who is likely to play tonight).
The Lakers are the worst offensive team in the league and just don’t have the firepower to stick with a team like Denver, who has averaged over 117 points in its last five games. Lay the points. 10*
|10-28-22||Pelicans v. Suns -7||Top||111-124||Win||100||13 h 39 m||Show|
New Orleans was kind to me in their last game as they pulled off the upset, beating Dallas 113-111 as five-point home underdogs. They did so without three starters - Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones.
Ingram is already listed as being OUT for Friday while the other two (Williamson, Jones) are questionable to play. A fourth starter, CJ McCollum, is also listed as questionable.
Going on the road to face Phoenix, who had the league’s best record last season (including a league-high 32 wins at home), I don’t expect the banged up Pelicans to have the kind of success they had at home Tuesday night.
The Suns, like the Pelicans, are 3-1 with the one loss being a one-possession game. But they just throttled both the Clippers and Warriors, beating those two by a combined 46 points! The Suns are in peak form right now and healthy, so look for them to take care of the wounded Pelicans.
These teams met in the first round of the playoffs last season. Phoenix won the series in six games. With the starting five for New Orleans so banged up, this line definitely looks to be a little “short.” 10*
|10-27-22||Mavs -2.5 v. Nets||Top||129-125||Win||100||9 h 44 m||Show|
Brooklyn is now 1-3 straight up and against the spread after losing 110-99 last night in Milwaukee. That result worked for me as I had the Under (233), making it a 24-point winner on this end. The Nets were not so fortunate as their second-half defensive woes continued. This team was outscored 67-44 in the 2H by the Bucks, blowing a 12-point lead in the process.
That came on the heels of another terrible 2H performance in Memphis Monday night where the Nets gave up 70 points after the break and lost by 10. Notable is that the Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo both scored the majority of their points in the 2H. Of the 81 points those two players scored against the Nets, 66 came after the break. So don’t be surprised if the Mavs’ Luka Doncic is able to pour it on late tonight.
Not even 37 points from both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving was enough for the Nets last night. Durant struggled against double teams the last time he faced Dallas, getting held to 23 points on 8 of 20 shooting. Irving did not play in that game (due to the vaccine mandate at the time) but his presence here may not be enough to turn the tide, considering 74 points from the Nets’ top two players was not enough against Milwaukee.
Dallas is 1-2 on the year, but should probably be 3-0 as they blew fourth quarter leads in both losses. They had a 22-point lead against Phoenix in the opening game while the Pelicans (another winner for me) hot shooting (57.9%) was too much to overcome Tuesday.
Playing in the second night of a back to back, Brooklyn won’t shoot as well as New Orleans did against the Mavericks. This is the first back to back for the Nets this season. They are 11-17 ATS in this situation the previous two seasons and have already given up 130 or more points twice to start 2022-23. The Mavs are 5-2 SU the last 7 meetings with the Nets and are the better team right now. 10*
|10-25-22||Mavs v. Pelicans +4.5||Top||111-113||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
I’m going to go ahead and assume Zion Williamson (bruised him) plays tonight. Now the Pelicans are banged up beyond Williamson as Brandon Ingram is in concussion protocol while Herbert Jones hyperextended his knee. But CJ McCollum is more than ready to go and you can look for New Orleans to cover the spread at home tonight.
With McCollum leading the way, New Orleans erased all of a 17-point fourth quarter deficit against the Jazz Saturday night. Eventually, the Pelicans went down in overtime, their first loss of the season. I had them plus the points against Brooklyn in the season opener and then they also beat Charlotte 124-112 for a 2-0 start.
Dallas probably feels it should be 2-0 as they let a 22-point lead slip away in their season opener against Phoenix. The Mavericks then got off to another great start against Memphis on Saturday, but this time didn’t allow their opponents back in it. The Mavs won 137-96.
With or without Williamson, I look for the Pelicans to control the paint in this matchup. They did not trail at any point in the first two games of the season. 10*
|10-24-22||Nuggets -5 v. Blazers||Top||110-135||Loss||-110||12 h 26 m||Show|
Portland was pretty atrocious down the stretch last season, losing its last 11 games. But with a healthy Damian Lillard back in the lineup they have started the 2022-23 season with three consecutive wins and covers. I don’t like their chances tonight though, in the second night of a back to back, hosting Denver.
The Nuggets had a disappointing loss at Utah to open the season, but have since rallied to beat Golden State and Oklahoma City to make it a 2-1 SU start. Laying nine points, they failed to cover against the Thunder, winning just 122-117. That was the second night of a back to back though and the team still shot 52.6% from three-point range.
The final score against the Warriors was a bit misleading as well. Denver led that game virtually the whole way and was up 18 at halftime. They maintained a double digit lead through the third quarter before Golden State made a late run.
Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has turned in back to back triple doubles for the Nuggets, who are also now getting key contributions from Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, both of whom missed the entirety of last season due to injuries.
This is simply a great spot to fade Portland as they are off an emotional win over the Lakers last night where they trailed by seven with under two minutes left. Lay the points. 10*
|10-21-22||Celtics -2.5 v. Heat||Top||111-104||Win||100||11 h 15 m||Show|
The Celtics put all the distractions surrounding Ime Udoka behind them and won on Opening Night, defeating the 76ers 126-117 as a five-point favorite. They shot 56.1% from the field and got 35 point games from both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. It was a very nice start to the season for the reigning Eastern Conference Champs.
Can’t say the same for Miami, however, as the Heat were beaten 116-108 by a Chicago team that was a 7.5-point underdog. The thing is, Miami didn’t even play that poorly, aside from committing 19 turnovers. They just had no answer for DeMar DeRozan.
Now they are set to face a much tougher opponent. Even at home, this short number is not enough for me to be interested in the Heat. Will Boston shoot as well as it did in the opener? Maybe not, but I still expect them to win this game. So I’m laying the points.
These teams played a seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals back in May. The Celtics have covered the number in five of their last six visits to Miami.
Malcolm Brogdon showed he can be a nice third scoring option for Boston as he went for 16 in the opener. The Celtics also did a good job defensively in the second half, limiting the 76ers to only 54 points. Miami will only go as far as Jimmy Butler carries them. Kyle Lowry was a no-show in the first game, shooting 1 of 7 including 0 of 5 from three. 10*
|10-20-22||Bucks v. 76ers -4||Top||90-88||Loss||-110||10 h 10 m||Show|
The 76ers lost by nine up in Boston Tuesday, 126-117. They got solid contributions from James Harden and Joel Embiid, who combined for 61 points and 23 rebounds. Harden also had seven assists and went 12 for 12 from the FT line. But the rest of the team was “persona non grata” as the bench produced only 11 points.
At home, we should expect a far greater contribution from the Sixers’ supporting cast. Looking back, it was basically one bad quarter (the third) that did the team in against Boston. They outscored the Celtics (by one point) over the other three quarters.
This will be Milwaukee’s first game after going 0-5 in the preseason. Kris Middleton, their second best player, is out. That puts added pressure on Giannis Antetokounmpo. It wouldn’t be unlike the former MVP to step up, but he can’t do it all by himself and this is one of the top teams from the East that the Bucks are facing tonight.
Tuesday night saw Philadelphia get outscored on fastbreak points 24-2. That will not happen again. I also expect a better defensive effort after allowing the Celtics to shoot 56% from the floor. 10*
The Sixers have been very good at home the last two seasons, winning 61 of 90 games. Most of that is without Harden. Right now, they are a deeper (and better) team than the Bucks. Lay the points. 10*
|10-19-22||Pelicans +3.5 v. Nets||Top||130-108||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
New Orleans got off to a horrible start last year, but quickly turned things around and even earned the 8-seed by virtue of winning two games in the Play-In Tournament. They did so despite not getting a single game out of Zion Williamson, who is now back healthy and ready to start the 2022-23 campaign.
Brooklyn’s playoff stay was actually shorter than that of the Pelicans. The Nets were swept in the first round by Boston, ending a very disappointing run which saw Kyrie Irving miss a number of games. Kevin Durant wanted out in the offseason, but he and Irving are both set to return. So is Ben Simmons after an embarrassing end to the playoffs where he DNP in Game 4.
I think things are going to get worse before they get better for Brooklyn. Durant wanted the coach and GM fired, but neither were and now everyone has to co-exist. We also don’t know how well Durant and Irving will play together.
The Pelicans have a solid starting five with Williamson back as CJ McCollum was a huge acquisition for this team last year.
New Orleans can definitely score. They averaged 116.7 points over their final 26 regular season games, making them all the more enticing as an underdog in this spot. Grab the points. 8*
|10-18-22||Lakers +7 v. Warriors||Top||109-123||Loss||-110||12 h 8 m||Show|
The Lakers are obviously a much different team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup. Both will be ready to go Tuesday night in the series opener vs. Golden State. Thus I’m taking the points.
In the 108 regular season games that James and Davis have played together, the Lakers have gone 75-33 straight up, a win percentage of .690. Only the Suns had a win percentage higher than .690 last season.
While James and Davis should be happy to see one another tonight, I don’t know how the Warriors can possibly navigate the situation with Draymond Green and Jordan Poole. Additionally, coach Steve Kerr has openly questioned his own team’s conditioning. Yesterday he was quoted as saying the starters are not ready to play 30+ minutes. That’s troublesome.
We know that the Lakers won’t have Dennis Schroeder and Russell Westbrook may not play either. Still, plus the points, I believe they are the play. A motivated James and Davis should be enough to cover this spread.
The Lakers massively underachieved last season and will be ready to play. Golden State is likely to be more concerned with the pregame ring ceremony and thus expect a flat start from them. 10*
|06-16-22||Warriors v. Celtics -3.5||Top||103-90||Loss||-110||30 h 25 m||Show|
We’re rolling with Boston here to keep the season alive and force a deciding Game 7 in the NBA Finals. This will be the first time the Celtics are coming off back to back losses since the end of March, which was the regular season. They had been 7-0 SU and ATS in the playoffs off a loss, before losing Game 5 at Golden State, 104-94 as four-point underdogs.
Tonight, I think we’ll see the Celtics shoot a lot better than they did in Game 5. They were just 41.3% from the field on Monday, 34.4% from three. Being back at home obviously helps in that regard.
However, his game being in Boston may help the Celtics out more defensively. They allow only 103.1 points/game at home. Golden State’s scoring defense goes to 108.9 on the road, up from 103.0 at home.
Surprisingly, the Warriors are only 26-24 SU on the road. They will probably shoot better from three-point land tonight compared to Game 5 (when they were just 9 of 40 as a team and Steph Curry was 0 for 9). But that alone does not guarantee success.
The Celtics have not lost three straight games since late December. They are at home, with their season on the line, tonight. When off a double digit loss, they are 10-3 ATS this season. Also, they are a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS in the playoffs when trailing in the series. Lay the points in Game 6!
|06-13-22||Celtics v. Warriors -3.5||Top||94-104||Win||100||36 h 36 m||Show|
Neither of our two NBA Finalists have suffered consecutive defeats since the playoffs began. If that pattern holds, that means Boston will win this series in seven games. But that would also mean the Celtics win twice on the road. I don’t see that happening. Look for Golden State to take a 3-2 series lead Monday night as they are back home.
The Warriors have lost at home only 11 times all year. Game 1 of this series was one of those 11, but it was also the only home game they’ve lost during the playoffs. They are +10.5 points per game for the year at home and as I’ve mentioned before, defense improves for the Warriors here as they allow just 103.2 points per game compared to 108.9 on the road.
The Warriors have played 11 home games in the playoffs. Not only have they won 10 of them, but eight of those wins have come by double digits. They’ve covered five of the last six.
Steph Curry continues to be other-worldly. He’s averaging 34.3 points per game in the NBA Finals and has made 25 threes in four games. He’s shooting almost 50 percent from behind the arc. Curry’s supporting cast should help out more in Game 5 as role players typically shoot better at home.
This is a huge game where it’s very likely the winner goes on to take the series. I just see Curry and Golden State as being more likely to step up. Lay the points.
|06-08-22||Warriors v. Celtics -3.5||Top||100-116||Win||100||30 h 25 m||Show|
The best time to take the Celtics, at least in the playoffs, has been when they are coming off a loss. Since sweeping Brooklyn in the first round, they are a perfect 6-0 straight up and against the spread coming off a loss. Look for that trend to continue in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
After exploding in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Celtics fell apart in the third quarter of Game 2. They ended up losing 107-88, their largest margin of defeat in the entire playoffs (previous worst loss was 12).
The team shot 37.5% in Game 2. At home, they’ll easily improve that number. Three-point shooting has been good in both games. Interestingly, everyone except Jayson Tatum seemed to shoot well in the first game. In the second game, Tatum was the only one to really show up. I’m looking for a more balanced effort in Game 3.
Golden State is an average team on the road, 25-23 with 109.1 points per game scored and 109.0 allowed. They allow six more points per game on the road than they allow at home, which is a big difference.
Speaking of defense, look for Boston to do a better job on Steph Curry in this game. The Celtics are 9-2 SU and ATS off a double digit loss this year. I figured that the Warriors wouldn’t lose both games at home, which is why I was on them in Game 2. But they’ve lost three of four on the road and aren’t winning both games in Boston. Lay the points.
|06-05-22||Celtics v. Warriors -4||Top||88-107||Win||100||33 h 23 m||Show|
It’s difficult for me to believe that the Warriors will lose two straight home games. Before a Boston three-point barrage hit them in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Warriors held a double digit lead. They are 4-0 this postseason off a loss, three of the four wins coming by at least 10 points.
Since sweeping Brooklyn in the first round, the Celtics have not won three games in a row. They are 0-2 ATS off back to back wins in the previous two series, dropping those games by a combined 19 points.
Boston isn’t going to make more than half of its three point attempts again. Al Horford was 6 of 8 from distance while Derrick White went 5 of 8. Those specific contributions are highly unlikely to be repeated in Game 2.
Golden State is due for a strong effort at the defensive end. They’ve permitted an average of 113.7 points their last five games. For the year, they allow only 103.5 at home.
Steph Curry ran wild in the first quarter, but other than that, there were no standout performances from the Warriors at the offensive end. Lots of room for improvement in Game 2, whether you’re talking Draymond Green (2 for 12 in Game 1) or Jordan Poole (2 for 7). Lay the points.
|05-29-22||Celtics -2.5 v. Heat||Top||100-96||Win||100||29 h 50 m||Show|
I can’t say that I expected there would be a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but here we are. The Heat stayed alive with a 111-103 win on Friday night and get to host the deciding game. They are still underdogs, however. While that may sound tantalizing, look for Boston to advance to the NBA Finals.
Defensively, the Celtics had totally shut down the Heat for two games before Jimmy Butler exploded for 47 points in Game 6. Besides Butler, the rest of the Heat's starting five has scored just 89 points in the last three games combined. I do not think they can count on another game like that from Butler.
Boston is 15-4 straight up off a loss as a favorite this season and 14-5 against the spread. They are also 31-16 ATS on the road. Most important of all though is the fact the Celtics are a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS off a loss in this postseason.
All five wins have been by at least eight points and three of them have been by more than 20. They’ve already won a Game 7 in these playoffs, over Milwaukee, though that one was at home.
The last time the Celtics lost back to back games was late March. Before that, it was mid-January. Everyone was writing off the Heat going into Game 6, a mistake in retrospect, however now it is time to buy low on Boston
|05-26-22||Mavs +7 v. Warriors||Top||110-120||Loss||-110||30 h 59 m||Show|
Dallas kept its season alive with a 119-109 win in Game 4. Despite never trailing after the first quarter and enjoying a 29-point advantage entering the fourth, things did get a bit too close for comfort near the end of the game. Thankfully, here we need not worry about the Mavericks having to win by any kind of margin. I’m taking the points.
The “world” will likely be on Golden State to respond at home where they haven’t lost in this postseason. However, the Mavs did build a sizable halftime lead here in Game 2 (72-58) before imploding down the stretch.
After getting off to a horrible start in Game 1, the Mavs have played the Warriors tough in this series. Their season is still on the line and while no team has ever fought back from a 3-0 series deficit, we know that we’ll be getting Dallas’ best effort from here on out.
Golden State is surprisingly only 4-7 straight up following a double digit loss this year.
Dallas had its biggest edge from long range in Game 4. While I think it’s unlikely they can be +30 again, they have made more threes than the Warriors in all four games. The pointspread has yet to come into play in any Conference Finals game so far. It may very well here.
|05-25-22||Celtics -1 v. Heat||Top||93-80||Win||100||12 h 23 m||Show|
This Eastern Conference Finals between Boston and Miami has seen the two teams exchange blowout victories. The series is 2-2 heading back to Miami after the Celtics won easily in Game 4, 102-82 as seven-point favorites.
The Celtics have yet to lose back to back games in these playoffs. Going back to their second round series vs. Milwaukee, there’s also been just one instance of them winning back to back games. But if you think this is leading to an endorsement of the Heat for Game 5, guess again.
Boston was not favored in Games 1 and 2 here in Miami. They are slight favorites tonight. Game 1 they were missing Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Smart (questionable for tonight) was out again in Game 4, but that hardly mattered as Derrick White started in his place, scored the game’s first seven points and finished with 13-8-8.
Only Tyler Herro sat for the Heat in the last game. He and Kyle Lowry are listed as questionable tonight. After the Heat scored just 82 points in Game 4, which included just 18 from the starting five, I understand why many would feel there’s a Miami bounce back forthcoming. But I just happen to think Boston is better.
The Celtics’ two wins in the series have been by a combined 45 points. The Heat’s two wins have been by a combined 17 points. Boston has been up at the half in three of the games. Jimmy Butler is clearly not himself with just 14 points the last two games. Lay the points.
|05-22-22||Warriors v. Mavs -2.5||Top||109-100||Loss||-110||13 h 19 m||Show|
For the second series in a row, the Mavs return home for Game 3 down two games to none. We all recall what happened against Phoenix in the last round. Now I’m not saying the Mavs pull that off again, but I do like them here in Game 3.
Certainly, Dallas feels that this Western Conference Final should be all squared away at one game apiece. They led Game 2 for most of the first three quarters and were up 14 at half. Luka Doncic had 42 points. But it was not to be as Golden State raced past them in the fourth.
The Mavs have won five straight at home in these playoffs since losing Game 1 of the Utah series (without Doncic). Something I have mentioned before is that they are #1 in the league in fewest points allowed at home (101.0 per game). I can assure you that the Warriors will not be shooting 56% again as they did in each of the first two games.
Though Coach Jason Kidd quipped that his team “died by the three” in Game 2, I expect the Mavs will continue to fire from behind the arc in this game. They’ve attempted 93 threes in the series. They made 21 in Game 2. Golden State shot a higher percentage, but will not repeat going 50% from deep as they did in Game 2.
Golden State has failed to cover each of its last four road games. Dallas is 6-0 ATS after allowing 125 or more points in their last game. Lay the points
|05-20-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Warriors||Top||117-126||Loss||-110||13 h 11 m||Show|
I like Dallas to rebound here from its embarrassing Game 1 defeat. The Mavericks scored only 18 points in the first quarter and when you do that against a team like the Warriors, it’s pretty much “all over but the shouting.” The Mavs ended up shooting just 36% for the game, including 23% from three.
You’ve got to expect better shooting here tonight from the road underdog. Over the previous three seasons, Dallas is 29-9 ATS after a game in which it was held under 100 points. They are 19-4 ATS in that situation this season. Also, the team is 12-4 ATS in 2021-22 when coming off a double digit defeat.
I can’t fathom Golden State shooting 56.1 percent again like they did in Game 1. Dallas has been an excellent defensive team all season long and held Phoenix under 100 points three times in that series.
Dallas should shoot much better from long-range in Game 2 than they did in Game 1. Doncic, Brunson, Bertans and Bullock went a combined 6 of 29 from behind the arc.
Even with Games 3 and 4 taking place at home, the Mavericks obviously want to avoid falling into the dreaded 0-2 hole. They fought their way out of it against Phoenix, but it would be much tougher to do that against Golden State. Take the points in Game 2.
|05-18-22||Mavs +5 v. Warriors||Top||87-112||Loss||-110||14 h 50 m||Show|
I think most are underestimating the Mavericks coming into the Western Conference Finals. This is a team that has already eliminated Utah and Phoenix, two very good teams, and just delivered an emphatic 123-90 win on Sunday in Game 7 vs. Phoenix. So no one should be underestimating them.
Luka Doncic averaged 32.6 points per game against Phoenix. In four regular season matchups vs. the Warriors, he averaged 31.5. That was the fourth most points scored against Golden State in a single season since Steve Kerr became head coach.
Gary Payton II would have been the primary defender on Doncic, but he’s out with an injury. So I think Golden State is going to give up more points than what you might think for Game 1. Dallas did have the one bad offensive game vs. the Suns where they scored only 80 points. But since then, they scored 113 and 123.
The Mavericks are a perfect 9-0 straight up and 8-0-1 against the spread in the 2021-22 season following a game where they allowed 90 or fewer points. The Warriors are 0-5 ATS off their previous five SU wins and have only covered two of their last eight games overall.
In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m taking the points in Game 1. Doncic is playing at an elite level and the Mavericks have the higher net efficiency rating through two rounds of playoff action.
|05-13-22||Grizzlies +8.5 v. Warriors||Top||96-110||Loss||-110||15 h 33 m||Show|
Memphis sure fooled me in Game 5, beating Golden State by 39 points despite not having Ja Morant. The Grizzlies have won 21 of their 27 games without Morant in 2021-22 and have basically led throughout the last two games. So I’m pretty confident that the underdog keeps this one close.
Two of Golden State’s three victories in this series have been by a combined four points. As I just said, last time they were here at home, they were behind most of the way only to get bailed out by a Steph Curry fourth quarter surge. (The Warriors ended up winning by three).
Memphis has led for nearly 46 of the 48 minutes in the two games since Morant got hurt. All season long, the Grizzlies have demonstrated tremendous depth. Seven players were in double figures in the last three. Three scored exactly 21 points.
Steve Kerr is still not coaching for the Warriors because of COVID-19. It seems to have had an effect. Also, the Warriors have scored 101 points or less in three of the last four games.
The Grizzlies are 23-15 ATS as underdogs this season, winning 20 of those games outright. They are also 19-5 ATS vs. the Pacific Division, including 7-2 ATS vs. the Warriors. More importantly, they are 4-0 ATS this postseason when behind in the series. Memphis has covered four of the five games so far while Golden State is just 1-6 ATS its last seven overall.
|05-12-22||Heat v. 76ers -2||Top||99-90||Loss||-110||11 h 29 m||Show|
Philadelphia must win here to stay alive. The good thing is they are at home where they’ve already beaten the Heat twice, by 20 and 8 points. It’s difficult to imagine the 76ers’ shooting not improving from the last time out. Game 5 marked the fourth time in these playoffs that the 76ers were held below 100. They averaged 117 points the next time out, the previous three instances.
Similarly, look for Miami’s shooting to decline in Game 5. They were 7 of 30, then 7 of 35 from three-point land in the previous two games here in Philly.
No one on the Sixers scored more than 17 points in Game 5. Think that might change here? With Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris, I’m expecting at least two Sixers players to top 20 tonight.
Other than Jimmy Butler, only Bam Adebayo in Game 4 has turned in a 20+ point effort for the Heat over the last three games.
Philadelphia is 17-5 straight up, 14-8 against the spread this season following a sub-100 point game. The previous time they got held below 90 (Game 5 vs Toronto), they responded by scoring 132 in the next game. Lay the points here.
|05-11-22||Warriors -4 v. Grizzlies||Top||95-134||Loss||-110||14 h 17 m||Show|
I like the Warriors to close out the Grizzlies Wednesday night and also to cover the spread. Memphis won’t have Ja Morant, which is a big loss even if the team is 20-6 (straight up) this season without its star point guard and also turned in an admirable effort in Game 4 Monday night.
But you can’t expect Golden State to go 9 of 35 on three-point tries again like they did in the last game. The Warriors also had a bad night from three in Game 2 (7 of 38). The next game they bounced back to make 17 of 32 from beyond the arc and shot 63.1% overall.
Memphis shot a similar three-point percentage in Game 4 (25.7%). The difference is that without Morant, their chances of improving aren’t as great. Let us not forget that even when Morant was healthy, the Grizzlies needed three huge comebacks in the first round to eliminate Minnesota.
The expectation is that Steve Kerr will again not coach for the Warriors as he remains in health and safety protocol. But that doesn’t really concern me. Golden State is 12-0 SU all-time in the playoffs when associate Mike Brown fills in as the head coach.
Golden State should smell “blood in the water” here and be looking for the kill. It is in their best interest to end this series tonight with the chance Phoenix could move to the Western Conference Finals with a win tomorrow. The Warriors winning here and that Phoenix-Dallas series going seven games would be the dream scenario. Lay the points tonight.
|05-10-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Suns||Top||80-110||Loss||-110||14 h 10 m||Show|
When Dallas headed home to face Phoenix for Game 3, they had lost to the Suns 11 straight times and were facing an 0-2 series deficit. Now the series is all tied up after a couple of impressive wins at home. The Suns are the team that is reeling entering Game 5 tonight.
We’re back in Phoenix, but I see the Mavericks playing a lot better Tuesday night than they did in either Games 1 or 2. Though they did end up losing by 20, the Mavs were ahead at halftime in Game 2. And though they were down the whole way in Game 1, they only ended up losing by seven with a chance to “steal the cover” late (they did not).
Remember something I’ve previously written. The Suns posted the lowest net efficiency rating of any team that advanced out of the first round. That was against the 8th seeded Pelicans.
Dallas was +33 from behind the three-point line in Game 4. We probably shouldn’t count on that transpiring again. But they’ve made more threes than Phoenix in the series and in every game but one (both teams made 13 in Game 3).
I happen to think the teams are a lot closer than these odds would seem to suggest. Dallas is definitely the better defensive team in this Western Conference semifinal. Grab those points.
|05-08-22||Heat v. 76ers -1.5||Top||108-116||Win||100||11 h 25 m||Show|
This series feels a lot different now that Joel Embiid is back for Philadelphia. The 76ers rolled to a 99-79 win in Game 3 as the home team has yet to lose in this best of seven affair. While we can’t count on Miami shooting as poorly here as they did in Game 3, I still like the Sixers to win and cover Game 4.
Still at +285 to win the series, the Sixers seem a bit undervalued to me. Embiid had only 18 points in Game 3, well under his season average, and eight of those came from the FT line. It was a bit of a surprise return Friday night. I’m expecting more from Embiid tonight.
James Harden also has yet to “go off” in this series, even with Embiid not playing either of the first two games. Harden has scored only 53 points in the series, on 15 of 39 shooting. He’s 4 of 19 from behind the arc. If we get anything approaching “typical” performances from Harden and Embiid here, then we should be in VERY good shape.
Also, the Sixers’ other three starters (Harris, Maxey, Green) have all shown an ability to contribute in meaningful fashion.
For Miami, Jimmy Butler scored 33 points in Game 3, but only one other teammate (Tyler Herro) joined him in double figures and it took a rather inefficient effort. Kyle Lowry didn’t score (attempted only four shots) in his first game back from a hamstring injury and Bam Adebayo was a non-factor, going just 2 of 9 from the floor. I really like the Sixers here.
|05-07-22||Celtics +2 v. Bucks||Top||101-103||Push||0||8 h 54 m||Show|
After losing Game 1 on their home floor, 101-89, the Celtics bounced back to win Game 2 109-86 and are now back to being favored to win this best of seven series, which now moves to Milwaukee. Despite the change in home court advantage, I like Boston to still walk away with the ATS win in Game 3.
The Celtics are 10-1 ATS vs. the Bucks the last three seasons. With Khris Middleton still out for Milwaukee, it feels like laying points would be a bad idea here. Sure, the Bucks will shoot better than they did in the last game, but will improved shooting be enough?
Overall shooting was pretty even in Game 2, but it was from three where the Celtics had a huge edge. They were 20 of 43 while Milwaukee was 3 of 18. Boston was up 25 points at halftime.
Boston had the best regular season point differential in the Eastern Conference and is considered the favorite to make the NBA Finals. So it makes sense to bet them here. I’m just not sure Milwaukee can maintain its current defensive rating in the playoffs.
Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is expected back for Game 3. His Celtics are now 33-8 SU their last 41 games. They’ve covered five in a row as underdogs and are the better team.
|05-06-22||Suns v. Mavs||Top||94-103||Win||100||14 h 6 m||Show|
Both home teams on Friday are down 0-2 in their respective series. You would have to go all the way back to 2019 to find the last time the Mavericks beat the Suns head to head. The losing streak is now 11 games. I think tonight is the night they snap it.
This projection may seem a bit “brave,” but Dallas is 32-12 straight up at home this year. Looking at the home vs. road splits for both them and the Suns, one thing really stands out. The Mavs are only allowing 101.5 points per game at home, well down from the 108.0 points per game they give up on the road.
So you should expect Phoenix to score a lot fewer points here than they did in either Games 1 (121) and 2 (129). The Suns made 64.5% of their shots in Game 2 and were 13 of 25 from three. That’s just not sustainable, especially when now going out on the road and facing what has been one of the better defensive teams in the league.
Dallas is 5-0 ATS the previous five times they’ve been off a game where they allowed 125 or more points. So recent history points to them putting the clamps down and bouncing back here.
I think the other key is that Dallas needs someone to step up besides Luka Doncic. At home, that should happen. In each of the first two games, Doncic has scored more than the other four starters combined. Look for a more balanced effort from the Mavs tonight as they get back into the win column.
|05-06-22||Heat v. 76ers +3.5||Top||79-99||Win||100||12 h 31 m||Show|
Joel Embiid has been downgraded to OUT for Game 3 and that’s not the news Philadelphia wanted to hear as the Sixers are already down 2-0 in this series with Miami. But the Heat have a number of “banged up” players themselves and considering the sense of desperation for the Sixers (who are now back home), I like them to cover in this spot.
The market reacted swiftly to the Embiid news with Miami now favored by a few points on the road. But don’t forget, up two games to none in the first round, they lost Game 3 at Atlanta. Even without Embiid, the 76ers are a stronger team than the Hawks. They have James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris.
Maxey and Harris each turned in a breakout game in Miami. But Harden was disappointing in the two games, scoring only 36 points and shooting 11 of 28 from the field. I expect him to play a lot better tonight.
As a team, look for Philly to shoot much better from three-point land than they did in either of the first two games. They are 14 of 64 from behind the arc in the series. That’s well below their season average of 36.4% for the year.
This will be the 76ers first time playing at home in 12 days and only their second game here since April 18th. I expect the place will be “rocking.” Take the home underdog.
|05-04-22||Mavs +6.5 v. Suns||Top||109-129||Loss||-110||11 h 36 m||Show|
The Mavs have now lost nine straight times to the Suns following a rather dismal performance in Game 1 where they lost 121-114 as 5.5-point underdogs. While the ATS result came down the wire, that final score really isn’t indicative of how the game actually went. Dallas was down double digits most of the way.
Luka Doncic did his part for the Mavericks in Game 1, turning in a 45-12-8 game. But the rest of the starters combined for just 39 points. Both Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie finished well below their respective scoring averages in Game 1. I’m expecting both to play better tonight.
For Phoenix, Devin Booker still seems hobbled by a hamstring injury. He’s shot just 12 of 32 in the two games since returning.
Defensively, the Mavs have been one of the top teams in the NBA this year. They allow only 104.5 points per game and kept Utah, one of the league’s most efficient offenses, to only 99 points per game.
Doncic has only played two of the four games against Phoenix this year. I think the Mavs’ three-point shooting keeps them in this game and I would not rule out an upset here. Grab those points.
|05-03-22||Bucks v. Celtics -4.5||Top||86-109||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
Boston should bounce back in Game 2. They shot 10 of 34 (just 29.4 percent!) from inside the arc in Game 1. That was their lowest shooting percentage on two-point attempts all season. There have been only seven times all year that the Celtics shot below 45 percent from two-point range.
Following those poor shooting nights, the team has consistently been able to rediscover its shooting touch, making an average of 55 percent from inside the arc the next game.
I think it’s a given that Boston improves offensively for Game 2. Defensively, they were #1 in points allowed during the regular season. They held Milwaukee to 101 points on 41.1% shooting in Game 1 and I think they are capable of doing the same again tonight.
Just to reiterate what I’ve said so far, the Celtics are 10-5 against the spread this season after being held under 100 points. They are 11-5 ATS off a straight up loss as a favorite.
Remember that Milwaukee is missing its second leading scorer Khris Middleton. His production is more difficult to replace on the road. Not sure the Bucks can count on another 25-point performance from Jrue Holiday tonight. They are 1-4 ATS this season after allowing 90 points or less the previous game. Lay the points in Game 2.
|05-02-22||Mavs +6 v. Suns||Top||114-121||Loss||-110||37 h 9 m||Show|
Phoenix, who has the league’s best record, is a big favorite to win this series with Dallas. But it was by no means a dominant first round effort by the Suns. They needed six games to eliminate the 8-seed New Orleans and posted the lowest net efficiency rating of any team that advanced.
Some of the subpar performance could be pinned on leading scorer Devin Booker missing most of the series. Booker played in only three games and only once did he log more than 32 minutes. The Suns did win both games Booker finished.
But what about Dallas eliminating Utah, despite not having Luka Doncic the first three games? That was more impressive than the Suns without Booker. The Mavericks have covered five in a row and the only game they lost was decided by one point.
The Mavs last win over the Suns came in November of 2019. They’ve lost nine in a row to Phoenix since. But recall Milwaukee’s history vs. Boston was not good. Until yesterday when I backed the Bucks. Two of the three games Dallas lost to Phoenix this season, Doncic was out.
These teams are more even than you’re being led to believe. Not only does Dallas have Doncic, they have Jalen Brunson, who averaged 27.8 points per game in the first round. Defensively, the Mavs are one of the top teams. They held Utah to 99 points per game. For the year, they are holding opponents to 104.3 points per game.
|05-01-22||Warriors v. Grizzlies +2.5||Top||117-116||Win||100||17 h 51 m||Show|
Needing all those late game heroics to overcome Minnesota in the first round, Memphis almost seems like it’s being “written off” for Game 1 against Golden State. But the Grizzlies are at home Sunday where they are 8-2 straight up and against the spread as underdogs this season. I say grab the points in Game 1 as the Warriors look like a VERY “public” side.
Memphis won three of the four regular season games against Golden State and handed the Warriors their worst loss of the season. That comes with an asterisk though as the Warriors’ 28-point loss here in Memphis came without the services of Curry, Thompson and Green.
But that doesn’t mean the Grizzlies won’t win again here. Golden State is only 23-20 on the road where it gives up about six more points per game than they do at home. Also the Warriors might be rusty. They haven’t played since Wednesday.
Five Grizzlies averaged double figures in round one and it was not Ja Morant leading the way. It was Desmond Bane, who averaged 23.5 points and made 27 threes. Morant wasn’t far behind with a 21.5 PPG average vs. Minnesota.
Memphis is 32-12 at home, winning by almost nine points per game. They are a great value play in Game 1. Grab those points.
|05-01-22||Bucks +4.5 v. Celtics||Top||101-89||Win||100||14 h 23 m||Show|
The Celtics were the only team to pull off a sweep in the first round, making it look easy against the Nets. But the Bucks needed only five games to oust the Bulls. It’s not a surprise to see Boston as the favorite to win this series, they do have the home court advantage after all, but it would be a mistake to write off the NBA Champs.
The teams split four regular season matchups with the home team winning every time. Only one of the meetings has been since Christmas, so I’m not looking into them too much. The Bucks did win the last one though, earlier this month, 127-121.
Shockingly, the Bucks are 0-9 ATS the last nine games vs. the Celtics. But today’s game marks just the second time that the Celtics will have been favored to beat the Bucks.
Khris Middleton is a big loss for the Bucks (he’s their second leading scorer), but consider the way Milwaukee played defense in the first round. They posted the best defensive efficiency rating of any team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo can still carry this team to victory. For Boston, Jaylen Brown is dealing with an injured hamstring. This is a far more even matchup than what the series odds say. Grab the points in Game 1.
|04-28-22||Suns v. Pelicans +2.5||Top||115-109||Loss||-110||9 h 51 m||Show|
The Suns were expected to roll in this series, but now are hoping just to avoid a Game 7. Leading scorer Devin Booker hasn’t played since Game 2. Phoenix has won two of the three games without him and a Game 6 return by Booker is now considered a possibility. But I like the Pelicans at home in this one.
The old trusty zig-zag theory has played out according to script in this series. Neither team has been able to cover two in a row. If that pattern holds, then New Orleans will likely force a Game 7 (they are short underdogs).
The last game in New Orleans was won by the Pelicans 118-103. The Pels were then betrayed by three-point shooting in Game 5, making only 5 of 25 attempts. They’ll be far better than that in tonight’s game. CJ McCollum was 1 for 8 from distance in Game 5 and 3 for 17 the last two games. I expect him to start making shots at a higher percentage here.
The Suns have yet to score more than 114 points in any game during the series. New Orleans is averaging 111.5 at home for the season. If they hit their average, we’re in good shape tonight.
Don’t think Mikal Bridges will score 31 again like he did in Game 5. (That was a career playoff high). Booker or no Booker, I don’t like the Suns’ chances here. Take the points.
|04-26-22||Hawks v. Heat -7||Top||94-97||Loss||-115||11 h 13 m||Show|
After completely destroying the Hawks in Game 4, 110-86, the Heat have a chance to close out this series at home. All three of Miami’s wins in this series have been by double digits while Atlanta’s lone triumph was by a single point after a Trae Young game winner. The Heat probably should have swept this series. Look for them to close things out tonight.
Atlanta just isn’t any good defensively. They are allowing 112.5 points per game in the series, which I guess is not all that surprising as they allowed 112.4 in the regular season and came into the playoffs with the worst defensive efficiency rating of all remaining teams.
It hasn’t helped that Young has struggled mightily. He’s averaging just 16.5 points per game while shooting 32.1 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from three. He was held to just nine points on 3 of 11 shooting in Game 4 and he attempted just one free throw as 10 of his 11 shots were launched from behind the arc.
Young and the Hawks have now been held under 100 points in two of the four games. Miami clearly knows what it’s doing defensively and Atlanta has no game plan to solve it.
The Hawks are 0-42 ATS in their straight up losses this season, including 0-23 as underdogs! They are 6-20 ATS as road underdogs. Series over.