Al McMordie’s NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 7, 2017
By Al McMordie
We’re about a quarter of the way through the NBA season, which is an important barometer for predicting Playoff teams. Last year, for example, 14 of the 16 teams that eventually made the Playoffs in April were in the Top eight of their respective conferences at the quarter pole. So, that bodes well for teams playing unexpectedly well like the Pacers and Pelicans. But not so much for clubs like the Thunder and Bucks, who have been playing below expectations. Let’s take a look around the NBA.
The first casualty of the coaching fraternity occurred Monday when the Memphis Grizzlies axed David Fizdale. It didn’t help that his team was playing without its best player, point guard Mike Conley. But Fizdale exacerbated his problems when he benched his second-best player, center Marc Gasol, in a loss to Brooklyn. So, with the team mired in an 8-game SU/ATS losing streak, management decided to make a change.
Former Houston head coach JB Bickerstaff will now be at the helm. It’s true that teams often respond to coaching changes. But without Conley on the floor, it’s difficult to see that happening on Beale Street.
This week, Memphis will play back-to-back games vs. the San Antonio Spurs (who just welcomed back their floor leader, Tony Parker) on Wednesday and Friday, before traveling to play the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers, on Saturday.
The Spurs have owned Memphis since the 2011-12 season, as they’ve gone 30-8 straight-up and 24-14 ATS vs. the Grizz. Even worse: if the Spurs were favored by 4+ points, then they’ve gone 23-1 SU and 16-8 ATS vs. Memphis.
Look for San Antonio to blow out Memphis in the Alamo City, on Wednesday.
This season, there’s an unfamilar face among the defensive leaders: the Portland Trail Blazers. Terry Stotts’ men currently rank #2 in defensive efficiency, and #4 in opponents’ points per game. The previous season, Portland ranked 24th in defensive efficiency, and 25th in points allowed. So, the Trail Blazers have made a monstrous leap keyed, in large part, by the stalwart play of Jusuf Nurkic and Al-Farouq Aminu.
Not surprisingly, the Blazers have been a huge ‘under’ team for bettors this season. Portland’s played 10 of its last 12 ‘under,’ and is 15-6 ‘under’ for the season (compared to 47-37-2 ‘over’ the total last year).
This week, the Trail Blazers will host Milwaukee and New Orleans. I especially like the game vs. New Orleans to go ‘under’ the total, as Portland’s played six straight ‘under’ at home, while the Pelicans are currently riding a 3-0 ‘under’ streak. Moreover, these two teams went ‘under’ the total by 21 points in their first meeting this season, and have gone 8-3-2 ‘under’ in the last 13 meetings.
It was exactly a month ago when the Clippers were the last undefeated team in the NBA, at 4-0. But everything has gone largely south since then.
Los Angeles proceeded to 11 of its next 12 games before emerging out of that slump with a 3-game win streak. Unfortunately, in their win on Monday over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers lost their best player, Blake Griffin, to injury, as he sprained his MCL. Griffin has been oft-injured in his career, and missed 15, 47 and 21 games in the previous three seasons, respectively.
Last season, the Clippers had more talent, so they were able to weather the storm when he was on the shelf. But that won’t be the case this year.
This week, the Clippers will host Utah on Thursday, before a two-game road trip takes them to Dallas and Minnesota. Saturday’s game vs. Dallas looks to be a great spot to fade the Clippers, as the Mavericks will play that game with two days’ of rest. And Dallas currently riding a 3-0 ATS run, and is also 4-0 SU/ATS its last four when it was favored, and had the previous two days off.
Last week, here on these pages, I highlighted a great angle to use for betting the NBA around the Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, folks took advantage, and played that system, as all six games I mentioned cashed. And, actually, the system went 7-0 this year, as another play (Sacramento over the Lakers) was triggered after I published the article.
This week, let’s take a look at a situation which will give us a nice play this week. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently on an 8-game win streak. But look carefully, and you’ll notice that the Cavs haven’t played any of those eight games without rest. And that’s long been an issue for LeBron James’ Cavs, as they’re a poor 8-18 SU/ATS when playing without rest, including 0-3 SU/ATS this season, and 0-6 SU/ATS when priced from +2 to -6 points.
That, of course, is the situation on Tuesday when the Cavs will host a rested Miami team on a 3-game win streak. I look for Miami to upset Cleveland.
Good luck, as always…Al McMordie.
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