|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-20-19||Suns v. Wolves -10||114-116||Loss||-113||18 h 34 m||Show|
Minnesota had been playing well. That was before the Timberwolves' last two games - a road loss to the 76ers and home loss to the Spurs this past Friday. But now the Timberwolves drop way down in class hosting the Suns, who are 4-19 SU, 10-13 ATS on the road. This is the Suns' finale of a four-game road trip. It marks their fourth game in six days and second in two days. The Suns don't have much quality depth and they may have lost two players during their 135-115 road loss to Charlotte on Saturday night. Star rookie center Dandre Ayton suffered an ankle injury and reserve forward Richard Holmes hurt his foot. Minnesota is averaging 112.8 points in its last five games. Phoenix is allowing 125.6 points in its last three games. Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 24.8 points this month. He could be in line for a monster performance if Ayton can't play. The Timberwolves should not lack motivation. They have a revenge factor having lost 107-99 to the Suns in Phoenix on Dec. 15. The teams also meet again on Tuesday in Phoenix. So the Timberwolves understand the urgency of holding court at home.
|01-19-19||Heat -2.5 v. Bulls||Top||117-103||Win||100||17 h 58 m||Show|
Miami is 0-2 on its current four-game road trip. The Heat meet the Bulls here before concluding their road swing against the revenge-minded Celtics on Monday. This is the spot for the Heat to make sure they don't go 0-4 on this trip. Chicago is 0-9 in its last nine games. The Bulls just completed an embarrassing 0-5 road trip with a 30-point loss to the Nuggets this past Thursday. The Bulls come back home for the first time in nearly two weeks at low ebb and suffering a key below-the-radar injury. Chicago rookie forward Wendell Carter Jr. suffered a thumb injury this week that is going to sideline him two-to-three months. The 6-foot-10 Carter was coming on averaging 10.3 rebounds and 7 rebounds per game. More important, he gave the Bulls their only physical presence in the paint. His toughness is going to be missed especially against a rugged, defensive-minded team such as Miami. The Heat surrender the fourth-fewest points in the league. The Bulls are last in scoring. Miami lost 98-93 to the Pistons Friday night. The Heat made 5-of-19 free throws (26.3 percent) in that game setting a franchise-record for worst free throw shooting in a game with a minimum of 15 attempts. Miami isn't a good free throw shooting team mainly because of Hassan Whiteside, the worst free throw shooter in the league. But missing 19 of 24 free throws is absurd. The Heat also didn't have Josh Richardson, their leading scorer, in their loss to the Pistons. Richardson missed the game due to illness. It's obviously a plus if he plays. But even if he doesn't I like the Heat. Their Friday starting group of Whiteside, James Johnson Rodney McGruder, Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson had only played two minutes together all season. Now they would get to start a second straight game within 24 hours. The Bulls lost to the Heat as four-point home underdogs, 103-96, when the teams met on Nov. 23. The Heat didn't have starting point guard Goran Dragic for that game either. Chicago has lost its last four games at United Center. Three of those losses were by 17 points to the Nets, 28 to the Magic and 25 to the Timberwolves.
|01-18-19||Pelicans v. Blazers -2.5||Top||112-128||Win||100||22 h 39 m||Show|
Both matchup-wise and situationally the Trail Blazers hold key edges. Portland plays better defense than the Pelicans, who rank 27th in scoring defense, and also is the stronger rebounding team ranking No. 3 in the category. The Trail Blazers are playing well, too, winning seven of their last 10. Anthony Davis is an absolute monster up front, but Portland big man Josuf Nurkic is playing the best ball of his career coming off a triple/double and the Trail Blazers hold a backcourt edge with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. As for the spot, Portland has a strong home-court. The Trail Blazers have won 19 of their 26 home games this season covering 62 percent. New Orleans is a bad road club losing 18 of its 24 away matchups while going 9-14 (39%) ATS in those games. This also is the Pelicans' fourth road game in seven days. Being bad on the road and weak defensively is a tough combination for the Pelicans to overcome. The Trail Blazers have defeated the Pelicans in 13 of the last 15 regular-season games, including 132-119 at home on Nov. 1 in the lone meeting between the teams this season. Davis, though, did not play in that game. Don't look for the Trail Blazers to take the Pelicans lightly, however. Portland still has bitter memories of the Pelicans sweeping the Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs last season.
|01-17-19||Kings v. Hornets -3||95-114||Win||100||14 h 3 m||Show|
Charlotte is one of those decent home, bad road teams. The Hornets are 14-8 at home, 6-15 on the road. One of those away defeats came just five days ago at Sacramento. The Kings won, 104-97. So the Hornets have short revenge motivation. Charlotte lost by seven points at the Kings. The Hornets were 13-for-22 (59.1 percent) at the free throw line in that game. They rank ninth on the season in free throw percentage at 78.9 percent. The Kings are 9-11 SU on the road, 10-10 ATS. Sacramento has been far worse than average, though, recently on the road losing and failing to cover during their past four away matchups. The Kings haven't been on the road for nine days. They lost their last road contest, 115-111, to the Suns, who by far have the worst record in the Western Conference. Sacramento is fat and happy with three straight victories - all coming at home. Now the Kings go on the road where they have not looked good.
|01-16-19||Spurs +1 v. Mavs||Top||105-101||Win||100||19 h 44 m||Show|
Gregg Popovich. That's the short answer as to why I like the Spurs here. San Antonio is in circle-the-wagons mentality having lost three of their last four games, including an embarrassing 108-93 loss to the Hornets at home on Monday. I trust Popovich to have his team fired-up. Dallas is tough at home. But the Mavericks are not as good as San Antonio and they have lost 14 of their last 19 games. The Spurs have been excellent in this situation covering 11 of the last 15 times when playing on one day's rest. There is a good chance the Spurs get back Rudy Gay. He has missed the last five games with a sprained wrist. It's an added bonus, too, if the Spurs get back key reserve Marco Belinelli, who suffered a knee injury this past Saturday and is day-to-day.
|01-16-19||Magic +3.5 v. Pistons||115-120||Loss||-108||17 h 17 m||Show|
Orlando is playing its best ball coming off consecutive home victories against the Celtics and Rockets this past weekend. The Magic are rested having been idle the past two days. They catch the Pistons returning home following a four-game West Coast trip that concluded Monday night in Utah. Detroit is 2-8 in its last 10 games and has a losing ATS mark when favored. The Magic have covered seven of the past eight times versus the Pistons, including defeating them, 109-107, as 1.5-point home favorites on Dec. 30. One of the major keys in beating Detroit is slowing down Blake Griffin. The Pistons beat the Clippers for their lone victory during their recently concluded four-game trip because Griffin lit up his former teammates for 44 points. Orlando has the defensive stopper to bother Griffin with Aaron Gordon. He helped hold Griffin to just four field goals and 15 points during the previous meeting.
|01-15-19||Warriors -110 v. Nuggets||Top||142-111||Win||100||20 h 21 m||Show|
Kudos to the Nuggets for owning the best record in the Western Conference at the halfway point of the season. I do believe the Nuggets are legitimate. They've always had a strong offense and now their defense is improved. However ... the Nuggets are not in the class of the two-time defending world champion Warriors especially now that Golden State has Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all back in the lineup. A motivated Warriors squad can beat any team any where. The Warriors certainly aren't going to lack incentive here trailing Denver by one-half game for best record in the West. Golden State also has revenge for a 100-98 road loss to the Nuggets from Oct. 21. Golden State has won six of its last seven games, including four in a row. The Warriors are averaging 130 points during their las six games. I want them going for me in this pick'em type range.
|01-14-19||Blazers +2.5 v. Kings||107-115||Loss||-103||12 h 20 m||Show|
Yes, the Trail Blazers had to play last night falling, 116-113, at Denver when their huge comeback came up just short against the Western Conference-leading Nuggets. Portland had won four in a row entering that matchup. The Kings are not the Nuggets. They are a 22-21 team that has failed to cover six of the last seven times when going against an above .500 opponent. Sacramento has a much improved backcourt with De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic. But it's trumped by Portland's star guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Trail Blazers also have the best big man on the floor, Jusuf Nurkic. Portland should dominate the boards ranking third in the NBA in rebounding while the Kings are a bottom-10 rebounding team. The Trail Blazers also have defeated the Kings during the past four meetings going 3-0-1 ATS.
|01-14-19||Grizzlies v. Rockets -6||Top||94-112||Win||100||19 h 57 m||Show|
The Rockets average 10 more points per game than the struggling Grizzlies and are in a kill spot returning home after blowing a 12-point lead against the Magic while suffering a 116-109 road upset loss to the Magic Sunday. Houston is 11-1 SU, 10-1-1 ATS in its last 12 home games, including defeating the Grizzlies, 113-101, on Dec. 31. The Rockets got too lax against the Magic and it cost them. Expect a much stronger effort and focus from the Rockets. Motivation, not talent, is the key for the Rockets against this opponent. And, now, Houston should have that. Based on talent, the Rockets should bury Memphis, which is 7-18 in its last 25 games and 1-7 in its last eight. The Grizzlies have lost by seven points or more in six of their past seven defeats. The Grizzlies are playing short-handed, too, down three of their rotation players with Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks and Chandler Parsons all injured. The Rockets are playing without rest, but the Grizzlies are 2-8 ATS when playing on one day rest.
|01-13-19||Cavs v. Lakers OVER 217.5||Top||101-95||Loss||-110||21 h 46 m||Show|
Maybe the oddsmaker doesn't realize how bad Cleveland's defense really is because its season stats show the Cavaliers ranking 23rd in scoring defense. But no team has played worst defense than the Cavaliers during the past two weeks. Cleveland has yielded 117 or more points in seven of its last eight games. During their past four games, the Cavaliers are surrendering a whopping 128.5 points a game. Not helping matters for the Cavaliers is their top shot blocker, Larry Nance, is out. The Lakers are averaging 111.5 points in their past four home games. LeBron James isn't back, but talented scorers Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are. The Lakers want to light up the scoreboard to prove they aren't just about James especially going against his former team.
|01-13-19||Blazers v. Nuggets -4||113-116||Loss||-109||19 h 16 m||Show|
Denver got caught peeking ahead to this home matchup. The Nuggets were upset, 102-93, on the road by the lowly Suns Saturday night. Even with that defeat, though, the Nuggets still are 7-2 in their last nine games. They own the best record in the Western Conference. The Nuggets are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 games at Pepsi Center. Portland is 4-11 ATS the past 15 times it has played on the road versus an opponent with a winning home mark. The Trail Blazers also enter this matchup fat and happy. They are on a four-game win streak - all home wins. Their last three victories have been against bad teams - Knicks, Bulls and Hornets. This is Portland's first road contest in 12 days. The Trail Blazers are 0-3-1 ATS the last four times playing the Nuggets.
|01-12-19||Hornets +5.5 v. Kings||97-104||Loss||-105||19 h 2 m||Show|
If there was anything positive for the Hornets in their embarrassing 127-96 road loss to the Trail Blazers Friday night it was none of their players had to log big minutes. That should help Charlotte in this matchup. The Hornets have been blown out now in two straight games, having lost 128-109 to the Clippers in LA on Tuesday. However, only once all season have the Hornets dropped three games in a row and that was more than a month ago. The Trail Blazers and Clippers are superior to the Hornets especially when playing them at home. The Kings aren't. Sacramento has lost one fewer game than Charlotte. The Hornets are dropping down in class after facing the Trail Blazers and Clippers. The Kings aren't playing well either losing five of their last seven games. Just two games ago on this past Tuesday, the Suns defeated the Kings, 115-111. The Hornets met the Suns in Phoenix three games ago this past Sunday and beat the Suns, 119-113. Charlotte has the best player in Kemba Walker. The Hornets also have covered in four of their last five visits to Sacramento.
|01-12-19||Spurs v. Thunder UNDER 227.5||112-122||Loss||-110||9 h 31 m||Show|
This total is inflated based on the matchup these two teams had two days ago. The Spurs beat the Thunder in double overtime, 154-147. That was a wild game. This one shouldn't be. Both teams are above average defensive clubs. The Thunder are in stop-the-pain mode having lost three in a row. Oklahoma City ranks eighth in scoring defense and is in the top five in shooting percentage defense. San Antonio gives up the 11th fewest points per game in the league. Until that wild Thursday game, the Spurs had not allowed more than 111 points in 16 straight games. Even with that crazy double overtime game, the Under sitll has cashed six of the past eight times in this series. The Under also has won the last four times these teams have played in Oklahoma City.
|01-11-19||Cavs v. Rockets OVER 216.5||113-141||Win||100||4 h 41 m||Show|
Cleveland ranks last in defensive field goal percentage. The Cavaliers are surrendering 122.7 points in their last seven games and just lost their best shot-blocker, Larry Nance. The Cavaliers, though, just put up 124 points against the Pelicans. The Pelicans are a bad defensive team. But Indiana isn't. The Pacers rank No. 2 defensively in the NBA. The Cavaliers scored 115 against them in the game before New Orleans. The Rockets have permitted at least 101 points during their last 11 games. They are giving up an average of 114.4 points in their last four games.
|01-11-19||Bucks v. Wizards +7||Top||106-113||Win||100||17 h 55 m||Show|
Sometimes facts lead to misperceptions. There are two examples of this in the Bucks-Wizards Friday matchup. The Bucks have the best record in the NBA. John Wall is a great player being a five-time All-Star. Both sentences are facts. However ... there is more than meets the eye in both statements. Knowing them should help lead to a profitable investment by backing the Wizards. The Bucks deserve huge kudos for compiling the top winning percentage in the league through 40 games. But the Bucks have put together their outstanding record mainly at home. They are 10-7 on the road, 8-8 ATS. So spread-wise, Milwaukee is merely an average away club. The Bucks also are in a flat spot after a huge nationally televised road win against the Rockets and James Harden on Wednesday. Proving themselves on national TV is a big deal to the small market Bucks. This game is far from the madding crowd. It's a low-key affair against a 17-25 Washington team that is minus its best player, Wall. Guess what, though? You can make a strong case Washington is better team-wise without Wall. Remember when Wall was injured last season? The Wizards proceeded to play their best ball winning 11 of 14 games. That streak pushed them into the playoffs. It could happen again this season. The Wizards are 4-3 and 5-2 ATS since Wall was lost for the season. There is more to the Wizards than Wall. Otto Porter Jr. has gotten the rust off since returning from a quad injury. Bradley Beal is a top-scoring backcourt threat. Trevor Ariza is an underrated two-way pro. Wall's injury has also brought more prominence to unsung guard Tomas Satoransky and center Thomas Bryant. Washington has won and covered each of its last three home games. The Wizards are below-the-radar and should be highly motivated to prove themselves in this spot. Please note that since I released this game late Thursday night, the line has dropped quite a bit as word is out that Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful and Eric Bledsoe is questionable. I would not make this a max unit wager at the current number. However, the handicap still holds. The Wizards are very live here to beat the Bucks straight-up if Milwaukee doesn't have Antetokounmpo.
|01-10-19||Clippers v. Nuggets -6||100-121||Win||100||11 h 3 m||Show|
The Clippers are fat and happy after consecutive home wins against Orlando and Charlotte. Now, though, they have to step up on the road against the Nuggets, who are in revenge mode and have been playing well all season. I don't see it happening for the Clippers. The Nuggets are 6-1 in their last seven games and have covered eight of their last 10 home games. They have the far superior defense and an edge up front with Nikola Jokic.
|01-09-19||Pistons v. Lakers -117||100-113||Win||100||22 h 49 m||Show|
No, LeBron James isn't back. But Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are. Given those two along with Lonzo Ball and playing at home following a confidence-building road victory against the Mavericks this past Monday gives a buy sign to the Lakers. The Lakers' 107-97 road win against the Mavericks is impressive. Dallas was 15-3 at home entering that game. The Pistons are back in lottery territory following a strong start to the season. They are 4-14 in their last 18 games. Detroit has lost and failed to cover in four of its past five road matchups. The Pistons' lone away victory during this span came against the struggling Grizzlies, who are 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six games. The Lakers have covered seven of the last eight times they have hosted the Pistons.
|01-08-19||Wolves v. Thunder -8||119-117||Loss||-108||18 h 52 m||Show|
Sometimes a team gets a psychological lift in their first game following a coaching change. I don't see that happening, though, with the Timberwolves in this matchup after they fired Tom Thibodeau on Sunday. Oklahoma City is in revenge mode from a home loss to Minnesota just two weeks ago. That was a rare road victory for the Timberwolves, who have played far worse away from Target Center going 5-15 SU, 8-12 in their away games. The Thunder are one of the top-seven teams in the NBA. The Timberwolves are a below .500 club. Motivation is key for Oklahoma City, which has a winning spread mark at home and is 5-2 ATS the past seven times laying 7 or more points. The Thunder lost at home to the Wizards in embarrassing fashion, 116-98, this past Sunday getting dominated on the boards and defense. Those are two of the Thunder's strong areas. The Thunder went into that matchup against the Wizards fat and happy returning home after going 2-0 on a West Coast trip beating the Lakers and Trail Blazers. The Thunder are too professional and have too much superstar talent with Russell Westbrook and Paul George to suffer a second straight home loss to an inferior opponent especially with revenge motivation. The Timberwolves may not have their full focus as the firing of Thibodeau was a surprise coming after the team had blown out the Lakers at home for their second win in a row. Thibodeau not only was the head coach, but also president of basketball operations. It's a distracting and unexpected move. Now the Timberwolves have to play a far superior opponent on the road just two days later. Untested 32-year-old Ryan Saunders is the Timberwolves' interim coach. I don't see him enjoying success in this spot.
|01-07-19||Nuggets v. Rockets -117||113-125||Win||100||19 h 60 m||Show|
Kudos to the Nuggets. It's nearly halfway through the NBA regular season and Denver has the best record in the Western Conference. The Rockets, though, should be ready for the Nuggets at home. Houston has picked up its pace since a slow beginning and is playing extremely well despite being without Chris Paul. The Rockets are 11-2 SU, 10-1-1 ATS in their last 13 games. They just lost, though, on the road to the Trail Blazers this past Saturday, Among the Rockets' wins during this current 13-game span have been against the Celtics, Thunder, Spurs, Jazz, Lakers when they had LeBron James and Trail Blazers. Houston is 8-0-1 ATS in its past nine home games. Denver has won five in a row. But its last four victories have all come against below .500 teams - Suns, Knicks, Kings and Hornets. Those teams are a combined 44 games under .500. The Nuggets have failed to cover five of their last six road games. They have a losing road spread mark on the season.
|01-04-19||Wizards v. Heat -6.5||Top||109-115||Loss||-109||19 h 18 m||Show|
Quietly Miami has been on a monster point spread run covering 13 of its last 16 games. Look for the Heat to cover another game as this matchup against the Wizards sets up well for them. Washington has been terrible on the road lately losing and failing to cover its past seven away matchups. The Wizards have lost by at least seven points in each of their past seven road defeats. This includes lopsided losses to teams much worse than the Heat, including falling to the Pistons by 16 points and 15 points to the Cavaliers. The Heat should dominate the paint against the Wizards, who are a weak rebounding team and rank second-to-last in scoring defense. The Wizards are minus John Wall and thin up front with Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris out. This has drained Washington's bench. The Heat, though, just got Dion Waiters back from injury boosting their rotation. The Wizards are heavily reliant on Bradley Beal with Wall out. Miami ranks third in defensive field goal percentage and give up the fifth-fewest points per game in the league.
|01-03-19||Raptors v. Spurs -120||Top||107-125||Win||100||18 h 41 m||Show|
The Spurs have covered 75 percent of their last 32 home games. They have defeated the Raptors nine consecutive times at AT&T Center going 6-2-1 ATS. San Antonio is playing well going 10-3 in its last 13 games, while the Raptors are 1-4 SU, 0-5 ATS during their past five road games. So it's not too much to ask the Spurs to win this matchup especially considering how bad the Raptors have looked recently on the road. Toronto's last four road defeats have been by 29 points to the Magic, 25 to the 76ers, nine to the Nuggets and six to the Trail Blazers. The Spurs are going to be super motivated, too, for this matchup since it marks the return of Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio. There is bad blood between the Spurs and Leonard following last season when Leonard played in only nine games for San Antonio. The Raptors face San Antonio short-handed without point guard Kyle Lowery, their second-best player, and center Jonas Valanciunas. Lowery has a back injury that has kept him out of eight of the past nine games while Valanciunas isn't expected back for another four weeks due to a thumb injury.
|01-02-19||Heat -6 v. Cavs||Top||117-92||Win||100||20 h 54 m||Show|
Just two games ago, Miami hosted Cleveland. Final score: Heat 118, Cavaliers 94. While I don't expect the Heat to bury the Cavaliers on the road by that much in this short turnaround, I do expect them to cover this spread. The Cavaliers have lost eight of their last nine games, including the past six. They have failed to reach 100 points in five of their last seven games. The Heat rank third in defensvie field goal percentage and seventh in fewest points allowed. Miami is on a nice point spread run covering 12 of its last 15 games. The Heat are 8-1 ATS during their past nine road matchups. The Heat, though, shouldn't lack motivation or being overconfident having lost their last game. That was at home to Minnesota, 113-104, this past Sunday. It was the most points Miami had allowed in its last 15 games. Cleveland is the third-lowest scoring team in the NBA. The Cavaliers are playing at home for the first time in more than a week having concluded a three-game road trip this past Saturday. They could be rusty and unfocused after had a long holiday break following their last game. The Cavaliers are 3-7 ATS on three or more days rest. The Cavaliers have permitted 110 or more points in five of their last six games.
|01-01-19||Jazz v. Raptors UNDER 212.5||116-122||Loss||-114||16 h 11 m||Show|
Down point guard Kyle Lowry and center Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors have hit a scoring drought. They scored only 87 points against the Magic and 95 points versus the Bulls in their last two games.Now Toronto faces Utah, which has a far better defense than the Magic and Bulls. The Jazz give up the fifth-fewest points in the league. Utah has held five of its past nine opponents to 97 points or fewer. The Under has cashed in eight of Utah's last nine games and five of the Jazz's past six road games. The Jazz rank 24th in scoring. Toronto ranks eighth in defense. The Jazz are reliant on second-year man Donovan Mitchell, who is having a down year so far shooting .41.1 percent from the floor after connecting on 43.7 of his shots last season. Playing on New Year's Day is a plus for the Under, too, following New Year's Eve.
|12-31-18||Hawks v. Pacers -11.5||108-116||Loss||-118||11 h 60 m||Show|
Indiana has the No. 1 defense in the NBA. Atlanta has the worst defense in the league. The difference is the Pacers surrendering an average of 17 fewer points per game than the Hawks. Throw in a strong situational spot favoring Indiana and the possibility the Hawks could be without maybe their third best player, Kent Bazemore, and this spread doesn't seem so high. The Pacers are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference at 24-12. They are 11-2 in their last 13 games and have won four in a row. The Pacers last played on Friday. They are 7-1 ATS the past eight times when playing on two days rest. Indiana doesn't play again until Friday so a full effort should be forthcoming. The Hawks are in action for the fourth time in six days and third in four days. This is an early start time, too, which does the Hawks no favors almost making this a back-to-back game. Atlanta enters the matchup fat and happy with consecutive victories, including upsetting the Timerwolves in overtime as a 9 1/2-point road 'dog. Atlanta may be without Bazemore. The shooting guard is questionable with an ankle injury.
|12-30-18||Kings v. Lakers +1.5||Top||114-121||Win||100||22 h 51 m||Show|
LeBron James isn't likely to play because of a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day. But the Lakers are going to go all out here after losing their first two games without James. The first game the Lakers played without James was this past Thursday against the Kings on the road. The Lakers built a 15-point lead with 6:44 left in the game. The Kings came all the way back to win, 117-116, with Bogdan Bogdanovic sinking a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Sacramento the victory. Stunned by that loss, the Lakers were buried the next day by the Clippers. Now the Lakers have had a full day to regroup. LA doesn't lack talent without James. They have Brandom Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kevin Kuzma. The Kings are an improved team, but their young core isn't as talented as the Lakers. The Lakers are home, highly motivated and getting points against a team they are least the equal of without James.
|12-29-18||Rockets -125 v. Pelicans||108-104||Win||100||15 h 20 m||Show|
The Rockets are back playing like the Rockets again. Houston is playing better than anyone winning eight of its last nine. The Rockets have knocked off tough opponents, too, during this span beating the Celtics, Thunder, Spurs, Jazz, Grizzlies, Lakers and Trail Blazers. Houston's lone defeat in this time frame came on the road to the Heat when the Rockets were playing without rest. Now the Rockets draw the Pelicans without rest. New Orleans was super extended in getting past the pesky Mavericks, 114-112, on Friday in a revenge spot. Dallas had defeated New Orleans on Wednesday. Anthony Davis had a huge game on Friday with 48 points and 17 rebounds. He also played nearly 43 minutes. This marks the Pelicans' third game in four days. The Pelicans are one of the weakest defensive teams in the league ranking 26th. James Harden is on fire averaging 40.5 points during the last eight games. Houston is averaging 120 points in its last two games. The Rockets aren't going to lack motivation either. The Pelicans embarrassed them early in the season with a 131-112 home win on Houston's opening night.
|12-28-18||Nets v. Hornets -4.5||87-100||Win||100||19 h 22 m||Show|
The Hornets just have to wait two days to get redemption. That's how long their last game was, which happened to be a 134-132 overtime road loss to the Nets on Wednesday. The Hornets blew an eight-point lead during the final three-plus minutes of regulation. The Nets are improved and playing well. But Charlotte is the better team and has the best player, Kemba Walker. The Nets slowed down Walker in the fourth quarter using a form of box-and-one that might have caught the Hornets off guard. Charlotte will be better prepared this time around. This back-and-back series has a playoff and zig-and-zag feel to it. So I want the Hornets going for me here.
|12-26-18||Nuggets v. Spurs -3||103-111||Win||100||22 h 56 m||Show|
The Nuggets have been a major surprise opening the season with 21 wins in their first 31 games. A regression is coming, though, for Denver. That was evident in its last game, a 132-111 blowout loss to the Clippers on the road this past Saturday. That was Denver's worst loss of the season. Denver is down three starters with Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Will Barton all out. Big man Millsap is an underrated loss. The Clippers dominated the paint against the Nuggets scoring 80 points down low while shooting a blistering 57.6 percent from the field. The Clippers also outrebounded the Nuggets by 21 boards. The Spurs are coming on after a slow start. They are 7-2 in their last nine games with five of those victories coming by 25 or more points. LaMarcus Aldridge can have a big game with Millsap out. San Antonio has covered 73 percent of its past 30 home games.
|12-25-18||76ers v. Celtics -4||Top||114-121||Win||100||18 h 50 m||Show|
Strong at home, bad on the road particularly in Boston. That's the 76ers, who are 16-3 at home, but 6-9 on the road. Philadelphia has failed to cover during its last four visits to Boston, including getting buried, 105-87, by the Celtics in the season opener at TD Garden. That was Boston's 10th straight home win against Philadelphia. The Celtics have the deeper bench and are inside the mentally fragile 76ers' heads having defeated them in 13 of the last 15 regular season meetings. It's not just the Celtics. The 76ers have been blown out on the road by other quality teams losing by 27 to the Spurs, by 11 and 17 to the Raptors and by 15 to the Bucks. They even were destroyed by the Nets, losing by 25. Boston is coming off an impressive 119-103 home win against Charlotte on Sunday, a much-needed win that snapped a three-game losing streak. The Celtics got two of their key injured big men back for that game, Al Horford and Marcus Morris. Look for the Celtics to build on that victory. Boston has a much tougher defense than the 76ers ranking fourth compared to Philadelphia's 23rd rating and far more depth.
|12-23-18||Hornets v. Celtics -7||103-119||Win||100||15 h 53 m||Show|
This is a circle-the-wagons home game for Boston following three losses in a row. The Celtics held a long meeting following their Friday night home loss to the Bucks. I see the Celtics rebounding in a big way against the Hornets, who are not a good road team. The Celtics have covered 74 percent of their last 31 home games. Charlotte is 4-8 on the road. The Hornets have suffered road losses to the Hawks and Cavaliers. This marks their first away game since Dec. 9. The Celtics swept the Hornets at home during each of the last two seasons going 3-0-1 ATS in those games.
|12-22-18||Nuggets v. Clippers -110||111-132||Win||100||14 h 55 m||Show|
The Clippers are back to winning with the return of key sixth man Lou Williams. Williams helped the Clippers beat the Mavericks, 125-121, at home on Thursday to halt a four-game losing streak. Williams had missed the previous four games - all of which were losses - because of a hamstring injury. The buy sign is on for me here against the Nuggets. Denver is crippled and rusty. The Nuggets have lost their last two road games, falling to the Hawks and Hornets. Denver had to go into overtime to beat the Magic in the road game before those two. All three of those teams are worse than the Clippers. Denver last was in action on Tuesday. This is too long of a layoff between games. The Nuggets are without three opening-night starters, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Will Barton.
Saturday Free Play Heat plus 3 hosting Bucks Bad matchup, bad timing. Look for those factors to do in the Bucks. Milwaukee is coming off a huge road victory against the Celtics Friday night. The Bucks hardly had time to celebrate before flying into South Florida to take on the Heat. Not only is Milwaukee playing without rest, but it's the Bucks' third game in four nights and fourth game in six days all at different venues. Miami is a tough opponent for the Bucks. Not only are the Heat playing their best ball with three straight victories - holding the Grizzlies, Pelicans and Rockets all below 100 points in those wins - but they have the defense, offensive rebounding and slowdown style to frustrate the high-scoring Bucks. Miami is 7-3 in its last 10 games, its best stretch. So it's not a fluke the Heat have defeated Milwaukee five times in a row. The Heat held the Bucks to just 88.3 points in sweeping the three-game series last season. The Bucks are flash and offense with today's new kind of superstar in multi-talented Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Heat are old-school slowing tempo with a powerful commitment to defense. This clash in styles has worked in Miami's favor. The oddsmaker has no choice but to open the Bucks a road favorite. Milwauklee is 2-5-1 ATS in that role the past eight times.
|12-21-18||Wolves v. Spurs -4||98-124||Win||100||12 h 37 m||Show|
The Spurs are playing better going 6-1 SU and ATS in their past seven games. The Spurs are a strong home team - 21-8 ATS in their past 29 home contests. Minnesota is 2-12 SU, 5-9 ATS on the road. Minnesota is 1-5 in its last six games. The Timberwolves are below average defensively and rank 25th in defensive field goal percentage. The Spurs are No. 1 in 3-point shooting percentage and in free throw percentage. The Spurs won't lack motivation as this is a revenge spot for them having suffered one of their worst defeats in the Gregg Popovich era, losing 128-89 in Minnesota on Nov. 28.
|12-19-18||Warriors -2.5 v. Jazz||103-108||Loss||-109||11 h 44 m||Show|
I understand that Utah has been dealt a bad early season hand by the NBA schedulemakers. The Jazz have endured a brutal, road-heavy schedule. But they are 1-4 in their last five games, lack consistency, rank 26th in 3-point shooting and are not a top-three defense anymore. So I can't see them defeating a healthy Warriors team that is coming on since Stephen Curry returned to the lineup. Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all are playing well. Golden State is 6-2 in its last eight games. When focused, the Warriors can destroy any opponent. Golden State doesn't play again until Saturday. So that focus, concentration and effort should all be there.
|12-18-18||Lakers -129 v. Nets||Top||110-115||Loss||-129||19 h 59 m||Show|
The Nets are playing their best ball winning their last five games. But I see that streak ending here. There is zero chance now of the Lakers taking Brooklyn lightly especially after losing in embarrassing fashion to the Wizards, 128-110, this past Sunday. LeBron James was held to a season-low 13 points in that defeat. Look for the Lakers to be much more focused. They are 7-2 ATS following a non-cover. The prideful James should rebound with a strong game. The Nets are a bottom-10 defensive team. LA has by far the better talent and is 12-3-3 ATS during its past 18 visits to Brooklyn.
|12-16-18||Kings v. Mavs -5||120-113||Loss||-103||17 h 38 m||Show|
Quitely, below the radar, Dallas has rattled off 11 straight home victories, going 10-1 ATS in these games. The Mavericks have beaten teams much better than the Kings during this home win streak such as the Warriors, Celtics, Thunder, Rockets and Clippers. It should be an emotional game, too, for the Mavericks as Dirk Nowitzki is set to make his season debut. The Kings are one of the more improved teams in the NBA. However, Sacramento is off a hard-played 130-125 home loss to the Warriors from Friday night. The Kings nearly upset the Warriors in their first meeting against them this season losing, 117-116, on the road. The Kings were blown out by the Jazz, 133-112, in their next game following that loss to the Warriors. Dallas lost in its last game this past Thursday, falling to lowly Phoenix on the road, 99-89, as six-point favorites. The Mavericks should come back strong after that humiliation. They are 6-0 ATS when having two or more days rest between games.
|12-15-18||Lakers -127 v. Hornets||128-100||Win||100||9 h 22 m||Show|
The Lakers are off a bad loss to the Rockets. That was on Thursday. The Hornets suffered a 126-124 home loss to the lowly Knicks Friday night. Charlotte's five starters are logged more than 36 minutes. The Hornets have failed to cover in four of their last five home games and are 5-12 ATS in their past 17 games versus Western Conference foes. The Hornets live-and-die with Kemba Walker and he logged more than 40 minutes last night. LeBron James gets up for this opponent, too. So expect an easy Lakers victory. The Lakers have been playing well until that Rockets loss winning six of their past seven leading into that game.
|12-14-18||Hawks +13 v. Celtics||Top||108-129||Loss||-105||21 h 31 m||Show|
The Celtics have won seven in a row, including getting past the Wizards on the road Wednesday despite missing Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Jaylon Brown. Now the Celtics draw the lowly Hawks at home with a road game looming against the Pistons on Saturday. Not only is the backdoor open for the Hawks, but so is the possibility they can hang in and make this a game. Horford remains out. Hayward and Brown are questionable. Both are ill. The Celtics have no need to rush either back given their depth and not taking the Hawks as a serious threat. Atlanta has covered its last two games. The Hawks upset the Nuggets at home and lost by seven points as 9 1/2-point road 'dogs to the Mavericks. The Hawks are averaging 112.7 points in their last seven games if you toss out a 94-point performance they had against the Hornets. The 112.7-point average would rank 10th best if computed during the entire season. The Celtics have not been good in this type of role failing to cover 12 of the past 15 times when laying more than eight points.
|12-13-18||Clippers v. Spurs -3||87-125||Win||100||10 h 6 m||Show|
I'm going to poke my toe in the water and test out if the buy sign is on for the Spurs. Indications are it is, at least for this matchup. San Antonio has won and covered its past three games, all at home. The Spurs draw the Clippers playing for the third time in four days and fourth time in six days. The Clippers have cooled off losing four of their last six games. They just got waxed, 123-99, at home by the Raptors on Tuesday. Toronto didn't have Kawhi Leonard in that game either. The Clippers didn't have their star sixth man, Lou Williams, in that game due to a hamstring injury. It's an added plus if Williams can't play tonight.
|12-12-18||Wolves -125 v. Kings||Top||130-141||Loss||-125||22 h 27 m||Show|
The Timberwolves are playing better defense and have improved team chemistry. The result has been a 7-2 ATS mark in their last nine games. Minnesota, though, has dropped the first two games of its current four-game road swing. Those losses occurred to the Warriors and Trail Blazers. Now the Timberwolves step down in class visting the Kings. Sacramento is much improved from last season. But the Timberwolves have more experience and better talent, especially with Karl-Anthony Towns shaking off his early season poor performances. The spot is bad for the Kings. It is their first game back from a four-game road swing that concluded Monday night in Chicago. Sacramento buried the Bulls in that game, while winning three of the four away games during the trip. The Kings are fat and happy. Their focus could be off, too, since they last played at home 11 days ago. Sacramento is 1-6 ATS the past seven times following a road trip of seven or more days. Minnesota also has revenge for a 121-110 road loss to the Kings on Nov. 9 when it still had Jimmy Butler. Since that defeat, the Timberwolves have gone 2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS on the road.
|12-12-18||Knicks -125 v. Cavs||106-113||Loss||-125||19 h 24 m||Show|
The Knicks are in stop-the-pain mode having lost four in a row. That wouldn't mean anything if the Knicks weren't superior to the Cavaliers, but they are especially with the Cavaliers down their best big man, Tristan Thompson. He was having his best season averaging 12 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, but suffered a foot injury in Cleveland's last game and will be sidelined two-to-four weeks. Prior to their last losing streak, the Knicks had defeated the Celtics, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Bucks in a span of 11 days starting from Nov. 21. The Cavaliers can't beat all of those teams. The Knicks should be well rested and prepared. They haven't played since Sunday. The Cavaliers, though, are playing for the fourth time in six days. The Knicks also have played the Cavaliers tough in Cleveland even when the Cavs had LeBron James covering six of the past eight times there.
|12-10-18||Heat v. Lakers -6.5||Top||105-108||Loss||-109||13 h 14 m||Show|
The Heat have opened their current six-game road trip with victories against the Suns and Clippers. I don't expect them to make it three wins in a row. The Lakers have been playing better going 5-1 in their last six games with all of their victories coming by eight or more points. The Lakers rolled past the Heat, 113-97, at Miami on Nov. 18. They hold a huge talent edge. Miami could be without two of its key players. Josh Richardson is dealing with a shoulder injury and Hassan Whitesite has been out for personal reasons.
|12-10-18||Pelicans v. Celtics -6.5||100-113||Win||100||11 h 22 m||Show|
After a 10-10 start, the Celtics have begun to get it going winning five in a row. The Celtics draw the Pelicans at home. New Orleans is coming off a rare road victory beating the Pistons, 116-108, on Sunday. New Orleans is 4-10 away from home, 6-8 ATS. The Pelicans are playing without rest and there is the possibility they may be without Anthony Davis. He's dealing with a hip injury. The Pelicans rank 27th defensively. The Celtics surrender nearly 13 fewer points per game than the Pelicans. The Celtics rolled past the Pelicans in New Orleans on Nov. 26. The Pelicans had Anthony Davis in that game. They also made 27 of 29 free throws yet still lost by 17 points.
|12-09-18||Bucks v. Raptors -5.5||104-99||Loss||-103||8 h 46 m||Show|
The Bucks have cooled off going 9-8 in their last 17 games, including 4-5 on the road, after a 12-1 start. They are off a deflating 105-95 home loss to the Warriors on Friday. That was a season-low in points for Milwaukee and showed the Bucks are not the elite team they were early in the season. The Raptors got caught looking ahead to this matchup gettting upset by the Nets on the road Friday. The Nets nailed the Raptors in a sandwich spot. Toronto had just defeated the 76ers at home and was eagerly awaiting this game. The Raptors have revenge for a 124-109 road loss to the Bucks from Oct. 29 when Kawhi Leonard didn't play. They have the defenders to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo in check.
|12-08-18||Nets v. Knicks -3||Top||112-104||Loss||-108||18 h 47 m||Show|
The timing of this matchup should work in the Knicks' favor. New York was buried by Boston, 128-100, on the road Thursday. Knicks coach David Fizdale ripped his team following that embarrassment. New York has been playing better lately, though, going 4-4 while covering six of its last nine games. This is a rivalry matchup, but the Nets are in letdown mode after stunning the Raptors, 106-105, in overtime at home Friday night. That win halted an eight-game Brooklyn losing streak. The Nets have really missed Caris LeVert, who was their leading scorer. Until upsetting Toronto, the Nets were 0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS in their past eight games.
|12-07-18||Kings -135 v. Cavs||Top||129-110||Win||100||11 h 32 m||Show|
The Kings are one of the more improved teams in the NBA at 12-11. They have young talent and a much improved bench. Sacramento has proven it can take care of business versus lottery teams and play well on the road. ` The Kings are 4-1 ATS in their last five games versus sub .500 opponents. In their last three road games, the Kings upset the Jazz, lost to the Warriors by one point and buried the Suns by 17 points. The Cavaliers' confidence is way down again after getting smacked, 129-105, by the Warriors at home this past Wednesday. Cleveland is in full rebuild mode now with no more talk of trying to make the playoffs. The Kings have been idle for two days. This is the first of three straight road games for them. They should be ready.
|12-05-18||Clippers v. Grizzlies -110||Top||86-96||Win||100||20 h 40 m||Show|
The Clippers have not been a team to fade. They own the second-best ATS mark in the NBA covering 15 of their 23 games. But I'm going to do it here because this spot sets up very well for Memphis. The teams just met on Nov. 23. The Clippers halted the Grizzlies' five-game win streak with a 112-107 overtime win in LA. The Grizzlies blew an 8-point lead with two minutes left. The Grizzlies were hurt by Mike Conley fouling out with 2:51 left in regulation. Now Memphis is home - where it is 10-3 ATS the past 13 times - and has short revenge. The Grizzlies also draw the Clippers in action for the fourth time on the road in six days. Memphis, on the other hand, last played on Sunday. The Grizzlies are 6-0 ATS the past six times when playing on two days rest.
|12-03-18||Wizards -115 v. Knicks||Top||110-107||Win||100||10 h 5 m||Show|
After a 1-7 start, Washington is slowly starting to get back on track going 7-5 in its last 12 games. The Wizards are coming off their best defensive game of the season, beating the Nets, 102-88, on Saturday. That game was at home. The Wizards are 2-9 on the road. Perhaps it's a leap of faith to support the Wizards away from home, but they are better than the Knicks, are in a good spot and have a strong history against New York. The Knicks are in letdown mode after one of their most impressive performances of the season, a 136-134 home overtime win against the Bucks on Saturday. The Wizards have covered eight of the past 10 versus the Knicks. They are 7-1 ATS the past eight times playing at Madison Square Garden. John Wall and Bradley Beal are the two best players on the court. Washington believes it is a playoff team, which it has been the past two seasons. The Knicks are a lottery team. The price is short enough to back the Wizards on the money line. Asking them to flat out just win this game shouldn't be too much.
|11-30-18||Bulls +9.5 v. Pistons||88-107||Loss||-105||18 h 32 m||Show|
The Pistons must be licking their chops as they host Golden State on Saturday. It's the defending world champions lone visit to Detroit. The Warriors are 3-5 in their last eight games. But first up for the Pistons is hosting the lowly Bulls tonight. It's going to be easy for Detroit to overlook Chicago, which has lost eight of its last nine games, including the last four. The Bulls, though, actually have been playing well and should be up for this division matchup and in revenge mode. The Bulls have been sharp in seven of their last eight quarters losing to the Bucks by three points and to the Spurs by one. The Pistons just nipped the Bulls, 118-116, in the first meeting. Detroit has a losing spread record this season when favored.
|11-29-18||Clippers v. Kings +3||Top||133-121||Loss||-110||21 h 47 m||Show|
The Clippers are out of the gates fast going 13-6. Sacramento has been a surprise, too, going 10-10 while covering 60 percent of their games. LA is just a .500 team on the road. The two teams are similar in that neither has a superstar, but each has scoring depth. The Kings have six players averaging 11 or more points a game. Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox have become of the better backcourt tandems in the league. The Kings entered the middle part of this week ranked seventh in scoring and first in 3-point shooting percentage. There are unique circumstances in this matchup. The spot is ripe for the home underdog Kings. The Clippers played Wednesday night beating the Suns, 115-99, at home. The Kings have been idle since Sunday. This is Sacramento's lone scheduled national TV matchup with the game on TNT. The Kings are not slated to play on ESPN nor ABC this season. So a strong effort should be forthcoming from the Kings with a rare chance to be on the national stage and show off their vast improvement.
|11-28-18||Suns v. Clippers OVER 227.5||Top||99-115||Loss||-110||21 h 28 m||Show|
It may surprise you to know that the Clippers are the fourth-highest scoring team in the NBA. LA doesn't have a superstar. What the Clippers do have are a number of underrated offensive players. This lists includes Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, who is showing signs of having a breakout season averaging 20.9 points in his past seven games. The Clippers are a below average defensive team. Good offense plus bad defense often spells Over. That's what the Clippers are doing going above the total in eight of their past nine games. The Clippers should have another major scoring game on Wednesday facing the Suns, who entered this week ranked 29th in giving up points per 100 possessions and also were second-to-last in defensive field goal percentage. Phoenix permitted the Bulls, who were without Larui Markkanen and Kris Dunn, to shoot nearly 60 percent from the floor while scoring 124 points one week ago. But here's the kicker: The Suns commit the most fouls per game in the league. The Clippers are fourth in free throw percentage and were leading the league in free-throw makes.
|11-26-18||Magic v. Warriors -8||Top||110-116||Loss||-102||21 h 43 m||Show|
It's an added bonus if the Warriors get back Draymond Green back for this game. But if not, the Warriors have the firepower with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, along with a good situational spot, to roll past Orlando. The Magic are coming off a highly satisfying and intense upset of the Lakers beating them 108-104 on Sunday. In their previous road game, the Magic lost to Denver by 25 points. The Warriors should be focused. Not only did they see what happened to the Lakers, but they go on a five-game road trip starting Thursday following this game. The Magic are playing for third time in four days and second in two days. Golden State has dominated the series winning the past 10 meetings against the Magic with eight of the victories occurring by eight or more points.
|11-25-18||Jazz -135 v. Kings||133-112||Win||100||8 h 33 m||Show|
I'm taking the Jazz here knowing full well that their leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, won't play because of a bruised rib. The Jazz have been one of the more disappointing teams this season. I realize that, too. But this is short revenge and the Kings are off a hard-played 117-116 road loss to Golden State last night. Utah has won during its past seven visits to Sacramento. The Jazz actually have been settled down in Sacramento before the Kings since they were idle on Saturday. The Kings shot way above their heads making 52.8 percent of their field goals in beating the Jazz, 119-110, this past Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The Kings have made 47.6 percent of their shots from the floor on the season. That is above average. However, they rank last in free throw percentage and are 27th defensively. The Jazz ranked eighth defensively. There is no chance of them taking the Kings lightly.
|11-24-18||Rockets -10 v. Cavs||108-117||Loss||-107||10 h 44 m||Show|
No brilliant insight here. I just want the Rockets off a loss and the Cavaliers off a victory after both teams played last night. The Rockets lost 116-111 in overtime to the Pistons while the Cavaliers stunned the 76ers, 121-112, on the road. Aside from underrated center, Clint Capela, the Rockets didn't play well, while Cleveland played perhaps its finest game of the season. I'm projecting the Rockets to play much better and the Cavaliers to get back to playing at their level, which is being one of the worst teams in the NBA. After a slow start, the Rockets have gotten back on track. They are 8-3 in their last 11 games. They followed up their previous loss - a 96-89 defeat to the Spurs - by blowing out the Pacers 115-103 in the following game The Rockets have won by 10 or more points during three of their last four victories. Cleveland's previous victory came four games ago when it upset Charlotte, 113-89. The Cavaliers had to play the very next day and were blown out by the Wizards, 119-95. The Rockets have dominated this series even when the Cavaliers had Lebron James winning 10 of the last 12 meetings.
|11-23-18||Wolves -125 v. Nets||112-102||Win||100||12 h 1 m||Show|
If the Timberwolves are serious about making the playoffs again they can't lose to teams such as the Nets.Minnesota defeated Brooklyn, 120-113, at home 11 days ago. The Timberwolves should be able to beat the Nets again with newcomers Robert Covington and Dario Saric more settled. Minnesota's chemistry should be better, too, with the Jimmy Butler cloud disappeared following his trade to the 76ers. The Nets can't match the Timberwolves' talent level and haven't been a good home club failing to cover in 14 of their last 19 games at Barclays Centers.
|11-21-18||Suns v. Bulls -125||116-124||Win||100||21 h 40 m||Show|
Phoenix is 0-7 on the road this season. So it's not too much to ask of the Bulls to just win this game. Chicago should produce a strong effort having been idle the past three days. The Bulls have covered 10 of the last 14 times when playing on three or more days rest. The Suns have some young talent, but they don't produce victories. They are 3-13 on the season and have dropped six of their last seven games. Zach LaVine is Chicago's best player. He's expected to return to the lineup after missing the Bulls' last game due to illness. LaVine should be able to take advantage of a Phoenix defense that ranks 29th in field goal percentage.
|11-20-18||Nets v. Heat -3||Top||104-92||Loss||-109||19 h 45 m||Show|
I don't understand this line. Miami should have opened a much higher home favorite. True the Heat aren't playing well. They are a disappointing 6-10 and have lost five of their last six. But the Nets are 7-10 and have lost four of their last five. Brooklyn just recently lost its best player, Caris LeVert. The teams met just six days ago in Brooklyn. The Heat were a two-point road favorite. Now they open only a three-point home favorite. The Heat won that game,. 120-107. Miami is a frustrated team capable of much better. The Heat have the two best players on the court, Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside. The Nets aren't capable of better. They are not a playoff caliber team. They aren't playing defense either giving up 120 or more points in three of their last four games.
|11-19-18||Celtics -125 v. Hornets||Top||112-117||Loss||-125||19 h 31 m||Show|
When they set their mind to it, the Celtics can beat any team in the Eastern Conference. They proved that defeating the Raptors, 123-116, this past Friday. But the Celtics were caught flat on Saturday losing 98-86 to the Jazz at home. Brad Stevens wasn't happy with the effort questioning his team's grit. Now, having been idle on Sunday, I see the Celtics getting up to play the Hornets. The Hornets are just an average Eastern Conference team, one that has fallen short of making the playoffs. Boston has far more depth. The question is motivation. The Celtics should have it. They certainly own the talent edge. Boston has dominated the Hornets, too, beating them the past seven times while going 6-0-1 ATS. The Celtics swept three games from the Hornets last season holding them to an average of 94.7 points.
|11-18-18||Blazers -117 v. Wizards||119-109||Win||100||6 h 14 m||Show|
The Trail Blazers have revenge for 125-124 overtime home loss to the Wizards last month. Portland is the superior team and will be up for this matchup not just for the revenge angle but also having lost two in a row. Portland has reached triple digits in all but one of their first 15 games. The Trail Blazers have the backcourt scoring to take advantage of the Wizards' 29th-ranked defense. Damian Lillard trumps John Wall. Aside from their upset win of the Trail Blazers, the Wizards haven't defeated any foe of distinction. Their victories have been against the Knicks, Heat, Magic and Cavaliers.
|11-17-18||Jazz v. Celtics UNDER 208.5||98-86||Win||100||10 h 43 m||Show|
The Celtics got past Toronto, 123-116 in overtime, last night. The Celtics should not be in a letdown mode facing the Jazz, who beat them 123-115 eight days ago in Salt Lake City. Boston will look to clamp down defensively. The Jazz shot an unsustaniable 55.8 percent from the field in that victory. The Celtics did not defend well in that game. Boston also won't be looking to play up-tempo in the second of back-to-back games. The Jazz only scored 68 points in a road game two games ago against the Mavericks. Utah's offense needs Donovan Mitchell to have big performances. Mitchell, though, is in a slump shooting just 33.3 percent in his last four games while committing 12 turnovers.
The Celtics rank No. 1 in 3-point defense and third overall in points given up. Look for a complete reversal from the heavy scoring that was done in the first matchup as the Jazz have to rely on their top-10 defense to hang in.
|11-16-18||Bulls +14.5 v. Bucks||104-123||Loss||-102||10 h 8 m||Show|
You might be interested to know that the highest-scoring player on the court in this game belongs to the Bulls in Zach LaVine. But that's not why I like the Bulls to cover this game. This is a rare nationally televised appearance for the Bulls. They are coming off an embarrassing 111-82 road loss to the Celtics on Wednesday. Chicago gets up for this division rivalry moreso than the Bucks do. So I envision a focused and big effort coming from the Bulls. The Bulls have covered in four of their last five visits to Milwaukee, including the past three. Before the Boston massacre, the Bulls were playing solid defense holding four of their past five foes to 103 points or fewer.
|11-15-18||Spurs +5.5 v. Clippers||111-116||Win||100||22 h 2 m||Show|
Perhaps it's a leap of faith, but I see the Spurs showing up in a big way. San Antonio is in full circle the wagons mode having lost four of its last five games. The Spurs were just embarrassed on the road Wednesday getting blown out by the Suns, 116-96. Good teams beat the Suns by 20 points not the other way around. I don't see Gregg Popovich letting his team get humiliated a second straight night especially with this game being televised nationally on TNT. There is no valid excuse for any team losing by 20 points to the Suns - and that includes the Washington Generals. But the Spurs did rest Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol was out. It's a plus if Gasol is able to play. I will take LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Gay against the Clippers' top three players. The Clippers are fat and happy by contrast compared to the Spurs. LA is off overtime victories against the Bucks and Warriors. The Clippers have played their past four games without their two best defenders, Avery Bradley and Luc Mbah a Moute. During this span, the Clippers rank 22nd in points given up per 100 possessions. Before those two injuries, the Clippers were fifth in that important defensive category. There's a due factor waiting to kick in against the Clippers - and I say it comes here.
|11-14-18||Heat -124 v. Nets||Top||120-107||Win||100||17 h 60 m||Show|
It should not be too much to ask of Miami to beat Brooklyn especially with the Nets now without Caris LeVert, who is their scoring and steals leader. The Nets have to be in a shocked and down mood after LeVert suffered a gruesome foot injury in the Nets' last game two days ago. The Heat have the three best players on the court in Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson and Goran Dragic. Miami isn't going to lack motivation taking to the road after suffering their third consecutive loss - all at home. The Nets have failed to cover in 12 of their last 17 home games. They also are 4-10-1 ATS in their past 15 matchups against the Heat.
|11-13-18||Hornets v. Cavs +8.5||89-113||Win||100||7 h 19 m||Show|
It seems almost unfair given how bad they are without LeBron James. But the Cavaliers have been one of the hardest hit team by injuries so far this NBA season. Still, I expect the Cavaliers to give an all-out effort here and keep this game close. Cleveland was embarrassed by Charlotte, 126-94, just 10 days ago. That was at Charlotte. Now the Cavaliers get quick revenge. They have beaten the Hornets the past seven times at home although that was with James. Still, it could be a mental barrier against the Hornets. Charlotte is in action for the third time in five days. The Hornets lost in overtime to the 76ers and then beat the Pistons, 113-103, as 2 1/2-point road chalk. I see this as a flat spot for the Hornets, who while certainly a level higher than Cleveland, are not the type of dominant team that can cover huge spreads on the road. The Cavaliers have veterans. They are not happy with only one win this season. Cleveland has played better of late. Since getting blown out by Charlotte, Cleveland lost by two points on the road to Orlando and by one point on the road to the Bulls in their last game this past Saturday.
|11-12-18||Warriors -130 v. Clippers||116-121||Loss||-130||12 h 52 m||Show|
No Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. So we have a very short line here. No worries. The Warriors still have a star-studded lineup with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson being the two best players on the court and a very strong bench. Quinn Cook has done a fine job filling-in for Curry. Sparked by Cook, the Warrors buried the Nets, 116-100, on Saturday. Golden State has defeated the Clippers 13 of the last 14 times. The Warriors are even more focused minus Curry and Green. I'll back them at this small number.
|11-12-18||Jazz -3 v. Grizzlies||Top||96-88||Win||100||10 h 6 m||Show|
The Jazz already have double revenge against the Grizzlies. They are 0-2 versus Memphis this season with both losses occurring in Salt Lake City. Utah was missing Donovan Mitchell in one those losses. Mitchell is healthy now and the Jazz are playing better. The Grizzlies are improved this season. But they are not in Utah's class. The Grizzlies have fed on a bunch of bad teams at home beating the Hawks, Suns and Wizards. Memphis is coming off a 112-106 home overtime victory against the 76ers. The Grizzlies caught the 76ers in the second of back-to-back games following Philadelphia's home overtime win against the Hornets. The 76ers ran out of gas in that game.
|11-11-18||Bucks v. Nuggets -3||121-114||Loss||-106||16 h 17 m||Show|
The Bucks and Nuggets have been two of the hottest teams in the NBA each opening 9-3. The timing and spot, though, favor the Nuggets here.
Denver catches Milwaukee at the conclusion of a four-game, six-day road swing. Making this fatigue rating higher for the Bucks is they lost 128-126 in overtime to the Clippers on Saturday falling on a Lou Williams basket with 0.3 seconds left. The Bucks exerted a lot of energy both physical and emotional into that game coming from 15 points down.
The Nuggets should be fired-up and ready after they were upset by the lowly Nets, 112-110, at home on Friday. Denver was 6-0 at Pepsi Center until that shocking loss.
Denver has defeated Milwaukee eight consecutive times at home. The Bucks are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 road games going back to last season.
|11-10-18||Nets v. Warriors -7||Top||100-116||Win||100||10 h 34 m||Show|
Even without injured Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, Golden State is strong enough to dispatch the Nets by double-digits at home especially given the circumstances. The Warriors are far the superior team and probably have the best bench in the league. The Warriors are in bounce back mode after their eight-game win streak was snapped by the Bucks on Thursday in an embarrassing 23-point home loss. The Nets are off a dramatic 112-110 road win against the Nuggets last night, winning when Caris LeVert hit a shot with 0.3 seconds left. The Nets can be a pesky 'dog on the road - but not when a vastly better foe takes them serious. That will be the case here.
|11-10-18||76ers v. Grizzlies -127||106-112||Win||100||9 h 6 m||Show|
The Grizzlies are much better this season with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley healthy plus having a stronger bench. The Grizzlies are 4-0 SU and ATS at home. They've been idle the past couple of days after knocking off the red-hot Nuggets at home. The spot sets up well for the Grizzlies as they catch the 76ers off a draining overtime home victory against the Hornets last night and playing for the third time in four days. JJ Redick logged more than 36 minutes while Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric all played more than 39 minutes. The 76ers have failed to cover in eight of their last nine road contests going back to last season while the Grizzlies are on a streak of seven straight home covers.
|11-09-18||Hornets v. 76ers -5.5||132-133||Loss||-115||8 h 31 m||Show|
The 76ers are 6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS at home. This is their lone home game during a six-game span. So Philadelphia should not lack motivation. They draw Charlotte in a fat and happy mood. The Hornets just posted home victories - against the lowly Cavaliers and Hawks. This is the Hornets' first road game since Oct. 27, when they lost 105-103 to the 76ers. Philadelphia nipped the Hornets. This return matchup should not be as close. The 76ers shot just 38.5 percent from the field in that victory. Dario Saric, a key and underrated player for the 76ers, has elevated his game since then after a slow start. The Hornets may be minus their best defensive player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He's questionable with a finger injury. The 76ers have played a tough early schedule. Their won/lost record is skewed by road losses to the three best teams in the Eastern Conference right now - Raptors, Bucks and Celtics. The 76ers are coming off a confidence-building 100-94 road win against the Pacers in which Saric had his best performance of the season. Philadelphia has defeated Charlotte seven times in a row, including the past four at home.
|11-07-18||Nuggets v. Grizzlies +4||Top||87-89||Win||100||9 h 41 m||Show|
The last time the Nuggets blasted out of the blocks this well was 1976. They are 9-1. But this is a spot to step in against them. Memphis is 3-0 SU and ATS at home. All of its home victories are by 12 or more points. The Grizzlies have covered in their last six home games going back to last season. FedEx Forum is a strong home-court for Memphis. The Grizzlies are in stop-the-pain mode after losing the final two games of their road trip with the last occurring to the Warriors two days ago. Memphis is much improved from last season with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley healthy and having a deeper bench. Denver is in a letdown spot after a huge home victory against the Celtics on Monday. The Nuggets are not that strong away from Pepsi Center going 1-2 ATS during their past three away matchups. Denver also has bad recent track record versus Southwest Division foes going 0-6 ATS against them.
|11-06-18||Nets v. Suns +1||Top||104-82||Loss||-106||21 h 53 m||Show|
Can the Suns win two in a row? Yes. Phoenix is a different team when Devin Booker is healthy like he is now. The Suns upset the Grizzlies at home this past Sunday. It was Booker's second game back after he missed three games with a hamstring injury. That win halted a seven-game Phoenix losing streak and has given the Suns confidence. Booker was the key. He is one of the best players in the league although he doesn't get a lot of publicity. Phoenix will have the two best players on the court in Booker and rookie Deandre Ayton when they host Brooklyn Tuesday. The Nets are 1-4 on the road. Their lone away win was against the Cavaliers, who have the worst record in the NBA at 1-9. The Nets last were on the road eight days ago when they were blasted by the Knicks, 115-96.
|11-04-18||Grizzlies v. Suns +4||100-102||Win||100||8 h 27 m||Show|
Phoenix has lost seven in a row since beating Dallas by 21 points in its opener. So I understand a reluctance to back the Suns. But Memphis is vulnerable here and the Suns are dangerous at home with Devin Booker back for his second game after being out three games with a hamstring injury. The Suns were competitive with Booker's return to the lineup in a 107-98 home loss to the Raptors Friday. The Raptors are far superior to the Grizzlies. Memphis is 0-2 on the road in games not against the Jazz. The Grizzlies lost by five points to the Kings in Sacramento and were buried by 28 points to the Pacers in Indiana. Memphis averages 94.2 points in four road matchups. The Grizzlies are coming off a highly-satisfying 110-100 away victory against the Jazz on Friday. Memphis has a road game against the Warriors on deck Monday. The Grizzlies are likely to look past the Suns, who they destroyed, 117-96, at home on Oct. 27. The Grizzlies shot 55.7 percent from the floor in that win. Booker did not play in that game. Memphis ranks 20th in field goal percentage at 44.5 percent. They are not likely to repeat that earlier shooting performance against the Suns. The Suns are a far better team with a healthy Booker. He is their key being their leading scorer at 25.8 points and ball distributor. Phoenix has a much improved roster. No. 1 overall draft choice Deandre Ayton is living up to expectations and Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson are reliable veterans who help balance the Suns' promising youth. This is early season revenge for the Suns and a stop-the-pain game for them. They will be the more motivated team and they are better than their record now that Booker is healthy.
|11-02-18||Knicks v. Mavs -6||118-106||Loss||-105||19 h 15 m||Show|
The record won't show it because of a five-game losing streak, but Dallas is a much improved team. The Mavericks added a premier defensive center, DeAndre Jordan, and a star rookie point guard, Luka Doncic, to a veteran lineup that also has reliable Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews to go along with promising second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks have played strong competition during their losing skid with four of the defeats coming to the Raptors, Jazz, Spurs and Lakers. Dallas lost to the Spurs in overtime and Lakers by one point during its last two games, both on the road. Now Dallas is home for only the fourth time this season. The Mavericks are not only home, but get to step way down in class, too, drawing the Knicks.
The Knicks are 1-6 in their last seven games. They are 0-3 on the road losing their past two away games by a combined 34 points to the Bucks and Heat.
|11-02-18||Rockets -3 v. Nets||119-111||Win||100||18 h 15 m||Show|
The 1-5 Rockets are on the road for the first time since Oct. 21. Good. They need to get away from Houston. The Rockets are the most disappointing team in the NBA during the first couple of weeks. This is the start of a season-high five-game road trip for the Rockets. I don't see them sinking any lower by losing to the bottom-feeding Nets especially since the Nets are off a satisfying 120-119 overtime victory against the Pistons this past Wednesday night. The Nets are a good effort team. I especially like them as a road 'dog. But they can't match the Rockets' talent even if James Harden remains out. Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Carmelo Anthony still are better than anybody on Brooklyn. The Rockets aren't nearly as good as their franchise-record 65-win team of a season ago. But they are far better than their 1-5 record shows. Houston ranks 29th in field goal percentage and 23rd in 3-point shooting. They are due to greatly improve in those key statistical areas. Keep in mind, too, the Rockets have faced nothing but Western Conference teams - all of whom are playoff contenders. This is their first game versus an Eastern Conference opponent and a lottery one at that.
|11-01-18||Bucks v. Celtics -3||113-117||Win||100||9 h 40 m||Show|
Milwaukee is the only remaining unbeaten team in the NBA. It's not a fluke. The Bucks have had below-the-radar talent the past couple of seasons and now they finally have the right coach in Mike Budenholzer to maximize that talent. But Boston trumps Milwaukee in terms of overall talent and bench strength. The Celtics also have the best coach in the league, Brad Stevens. The spot sets up well for Boston, too. The Bucks are coming off a huge home win against the Raptors. This marks their fourth game in six days. It is just Milwaukee's third road game of the season. The Celtics are the best team the Bucks have faced. The Celtics guard their home court well covering 17 of their last 22 home games. They have covered against the Bucks in eight of the last 10 meetings. It's an added bonus for the Celtics if superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has to miss a second consecutive game because of a concussion.
|10-31-18||Pacers -5.5 v. Knicks||Top||107-101||Win||100||9 h 43 m||Show|
I see the Pacers bouncing back from a disappointing home loss to the Trail Blazers this past Monday. The Trail Blazers are off to a fast start and they played well against Indiana. The Pacers are a much better team than the rebuilding Knicks, who are 2-5 with their victories coming against the lowly Hawks and Nets. The Pacers entered their matchup against the Trail Blazers having posted road victories against the Spurs and Cavaliers. Victor Oladipo, though, had an off-shooting night against the Trail Blazers after connecting on 17 of 27 shots from the floor against the Spurs and Cavaliers. Indiana has a strong record in bounce back situations like this going 16-5 ATS following a loss. New York is fat and happy after halting a five-game losing streak with a resounding revenge win against the Nets on Monday, 115-96.
|10-30-18||Clippers v. Thunder -145||110-128||Win||100||17 h 41 m||Show|
The Thunder have had this game circled after losing to the Clippers, 108-92, at home 11 days ago. Oklahoma City was without Russell Westbrook in that game. Westbrook has played in three games now. The rust is off and the Thunder are ready to make a move. They looked good in dispatching the Suns, 117-110, at home this past Sunday. That was the Thunder's first win after opening the season with four consecutive losses. Oklahoma City beat the Clippers in both meetings last season, winning by an average of 8.5 points. Now that Westbrook is back and in sync with Paul George and newcomer Dennis Schroder, the Thunder should start playing better.
|10-30-18||Blazers v. Rockets -3||Top||104-85||Loss||-111||17 h 40 m||Show|
The Rockets are off to a horrendous 1-4 start after winning an NBA-best 65 games last season. I understand the Rockets have yet to resemble anything they looked like last season and will be without injured James Harden. Still, I believe the Rockets are primed for a monster effort. They have been idle since Friday. Portland, on the other hand, played on Monday night and upset the Pacers in Indiana. This marks Portland's third game in four days. The Trail Blazers do not have great depth and are 1-6 ATS the past seven times following a victory. Houston has owned Portland in the past winning seven of the last eight meetings, including all four last season.
|10-30-18||Kings v. Magic -4||107-99||Loss||-107||16 h 40 m||Show|
Yes, laying points with Orlando is a new experience, an experience I rarely want to go through. But it's justified here. The Kings appear improved this season, but they are in a real letdown spot after upsetting the Heat in Miami Monday night for their third straight victory. However, this marks the Kings' fifth game in eight days and second in two nights. Orlando is up and down. But the Magic have the better talent with Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier. The Magic are capable of good things having already defeated the Heat and Celtics while losing by only one point to the 76ers. Orlando is better coached than in previous seasons and is surrendering eight fewer points per game than the Kings, who rank 27th defensively.
|10-29-18||Blazers v. Pacers -3.5||Top||103-93||Loss||-110||12 h 51 m||Show|
Indiana is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games. The Pacers are playing well having won their last two games - both on the road - in blowout fashion beating the Spurs, 116-96, this past Wednesday and Cavaliers, 119-107, on Saturday.Now the Pacers are home where they are 2-0 this season having destroyed the Grizzlies by 28 points and Nets by 20. Portland is better than those two teams. However, the Trail Blazers are just a borderline playoff team and they carry a fatigue rating playing their third road game in five days. Portland has failed to cover in five of its last six away matchups. They Trail Blazers have a bigger game on deck when they play the Rockets in Houston. The time to play the Pacers is now as I anticipate the line will go up. There's also an outside chance Portland's star point guard Damian Lillard could be out as he's nursing a sore right elbow.
|10-28-18||Wizards v. Clippers UNDER 229.5||104-136||Loss||-116||18 h 0 m||Show|
The NBA is a very high scoring league so far this season. The Wizards have contributed to that with their last ranked defense. But there are circumstances here that set up an Under play with this very big opening total. Let's start with the Clippers. They rank No. 2 in defensive field goal percentage. That's not a surprise considering how many excellent perimeter defenders they have, including Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley. Luc Mbah a Moute is very good, too, but he may not play because of a sore knee. LA is giving up the 10th-fewest points in the league. That's impressive since the Clippers haven't met an Eastern Conference foe yet. The Wizards are their first one. The Clippers have gone against a number of strong Western Conference offenses. Their opponents have been the Nuggets, Thunder, Rockets twice and Pelicans. Western teams play up-tempo and fast. The Wizards are likely to play a a slower pace considering this is their fourth road game in six days. I also expect the Wizards to put a tremendous effort into their defense after John Wall and Bradley Beal spoke out about how selfish and bad the team is defensively. This happened after the Wizards lost 116-112 to the Kings Friday at Sacramento. That dropped Washington to 1-4. So look for the Wizards to use what effort they have left to clamp down on the defensive end.
|10-27-18||Lakers v. Spurs UNDER 230.5||106-110||Win||100||17 h 10 m||Show|
It takes a brave and foolish person to try to make an Under work this season in the NBA. But I'm going to make the attempt with the Under in this matchup. Yes, I understand these teams just met Monday and the final score was Spurs 143, Lakers 142 in overtime. But this second matchup in five days should result in better defense since the teams just saw each other. Proper defensive adjustments should be forthcoming. The Lakers carry a fatigue rating playing for the third time in four days. So they shouldn't be looking to play racehorse basketball. They actually could be playing more deliberate. Point guard Rajon Rondo returns, too, from suspension. He's still learning his new team and visa versa. The Spurs are coming off a very bad 116-96 home loss to the Pacers this past Wednesday. Gregg Popovich ripped his team for their lack of defense. So I'm expecting a much stronger defensive effort from the prideful Spurs.
|10-26-18||Bucks v. Wolves +1.5||125-95||Loss||-100||17 h 26 m||Show|
It's a mistake for the Bucks to be favored in this road spot. Yes Milwaukee is 4-0. The Bucks just beat the 76ers, 123-108, at home on Wednesday. Milwaukee is fat and happy. The Timberwolves are a bit more desperate at 2-3. Now look at the spot. The Bucks have been home for the past three games. After this matchup they go back to Milwaukee to host the Magic on Saturday and the Raptors on Monday. Minnesota is 2-0 at home. The Timberwolves' losses have all come on the road to the Spurs, improved Mavericks and Raptors. Jimmy Butler has rounded into shape. The Timberwolves don't play again until Monday. They'll be going all out in this one.
|10-26-18||Mavs +11.5 v. Raptors||107-116||Win||100||17 h 57 m||Show|
Toronto is riding high opening 5-0. The Raptors, though, have given up triple-digits in all of their games. The Mavericks are much improved from last season with the additions of rookie point guard Luka Doncic and center DeAndre Jordan. Yet Dallas is below-the-radar. The Mavericks are sitting at 2-2. They should be 3-1, though, coming off a disgusting 111-104 road loss to the Hawks in which they blew a 26-point lead. Dallas should come out hard after blowing that game to the Hawks. There's a good chance, too, the Mavericks get Harrison Barnes for the first time this season. He's been out with a hamstring injury. Barnes is an underrated veteran who has averaged close to 20 points each of the last two seasons.
|10-24-18||Lakers -140 v. Suns||Top||131-113||Win||100||21 h 42 m||Show|
The Lakers are 0-3 and will be without suspended point guard Rajon Rondo and small forward Brandon Ingram when they play the Suns on the road. I like the Lakers a lot here and because the spread is so short, I can back the Lakers on the money line. Phoenix is an improving team with some young, promising talent. But they are not nearly in the Lakers' class now that LA has LeBron James. The Lakers opened against the Trail Blazers on the road, the Rockets and Spurs, who they lost to in overtime on Monday. Now the Lakers finally get a lottery team opponent. Look for James and the Lakers to play with a great deal of urgency and desperation now, something they may not have done against the lowly Suns if not for their winless record. The Suns went up against the best team in basketball in their last game and were whipped 123-103 on the road by the Warriors Monday night. The Lakers aren't 20 points better than the Suns like the Warriors are, but they are still much superior to Phoenix even minus Rondo and Ingram. The Lakers are a deep team. James not only makes the Lakers a playoff team, but a team that could win several playoff series. James and Lonzo Ball can handle the point guard duties. Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are a pair of solid pros who can step up when called upon mitigating the loss of Ingram.
|10-23-18||Kings +11 v. Nuggets||112-126||Loss||-108||20 h 25 m||Show|
Denver is off to a great start going 3-0 for its best beginning in nine years. But don't overlook the Kings. They have covered two of their three games, beat the Thunder by 11 points on the road and are averaging 125.7 points a game. The Nuggets might be a little fat and happy. They also are in a sandwich spot having just upset the defending champion Warriors and have a marquee matchup coming on Thursday against LeBron James and the Lakers. Sacramento has been below the radar on the road since last season. The Kings are 13-6 (68 percent) in their last 19 away matchups. De'Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield all look like improved players. Rookie Marvin Bagley III has improved Sacramento's frontline. The Nuggets are going to be without Will Barton for around five weeks after he suffered a hip injury. Barton is arguably the Nuggets' fourth-best player.
|10-22-18||Magic +12 v. Celtics||Top||93-90||Win||100||19 h 8 m||Show|
The combination of Orlando being an improved up-and-coming team upgraded by a coaching change and the Celtics trying to figure out their right rotations puts me on the Magic. There's a buzz going on in New England right now. It's not about the Celtics at this early juncture of the season. It's about the Patriots and Red Sox being back in the World Series. It is just the fourth game of the season. Brad Stevens is a master coach. But he's trying to figure out all the pieces. Remember the Celtics didn't have Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward during the playoffs. The Celtics have not looked sharp in their previous two games losing on the road to the Raptors and nipping the Knicks, 103-101, as a 9 1/2-point road favorite this past Saturday. The Magic may have their best coach of the past six years with Steve Clifford. He inherits a roster with some young emerging talent with Aaron Gordon and reliable veterans Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier. The Magic were without these players for much of last season because they often were hurt. Orlando has more inside depth this season with rookie Mo Bamba. Vucevic is coming off a monster game against the 76ers where he had 27 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Orlando lost that game, 116-115, as a 12 1/2-point road 'dog. The Celtics' inside defense is likely to be missing big man Aaron Baynes, who has a hamstring injury. Orlando often is underrated on the road. The Magic are 13-6-1 ATS in their past 20 away matchups for 68 percent.
|10-21-18||Hawks v. Cavs -7||133-111||Loss||-102||17 h 2 m||Show|
Not much is expected of Cleveland without LeBron James. The Cavaliers have lived up to those low expectations in their first two games going 0-2. Their losses came to the Raptors and Timberwolves - both on the road. The Cavaliers do have some prideful veterans, though, who want to prove they still can be competitive without James. So expect a strong effort from Cleveland in its home opener. The Cavaliers draw the Hawks, who just may be the worst team in the NBA. Atlanta is 0-2 suffering blowout losses to the Knicks (126-107) and to the Grizzlies (131-117). Those two teams are worse than the Raptors and Timberwolves. The Hawks committed an average of 21 1/2 turnovers in those two games and are playing for the third time in five days. There aren't going to be many times I'll be willing to lay mid-size points with the Cavaliers. This is one of those times, though.
|10-20-18||Rockets -3 v. Lakers||124-115||Win||100||22 h 49 m||Show|
The Lakers aren't ready at this early juncture of the LeBron James LA era to beat the Rockets. This is just the Lakers' second game with James. They lost their opener, 128-119, to Portland. Houston is far better than the Trail Blazers. The Rockets had the best record in the NBA last season at 65-17 and return their key players, including James Harden and Chris Paul. The Rockets are in an angry mood, too, after being embarrassed in their opener. They lost 131-112 to Pelicans at home on Wednesday. The Rockets let the Pelicans shoot 53 percent from the floor and were lethargic. Expect a lot more energy from the Rockets in this nationally televised matchup. The Rockets have beaten the Lakers seven of the past nine times in LA.
|10-19-18||Warriors -128 v. Jazz||124-123||Win||100||22 h 39 m||Show|
Golden State can beat any team even if not highly motivated. A motivated Golden State team can bury any opponent. Maybe this is a trap. If it is than I am ensnared. Because I don't see the Warriors losing here. The Jazz destroyed the Warriors, 119-79, during the final game of the regular season last year. The Warriors were resting starters since playoff seending already had been locked up for them. But a 40-point loss still is a bad memory and it came at Salt Lake City. This time around the Jazz are going to see all of Golden State's stars. The Warriors weren't that sharp in dispatching Oklahoma City opening night. But Utah wasn't good either in its opener defeating Sacramento, 123-117, on the road. The Jazz allowed the Kings to shoot 51.6 percent. Sacramento could be the worst team in the Western Conference.
|10-19-18||Cavs +8.5 v. Wolves||123-131||Win||100||19 h 6 m||Show|
The Cavaliers are anxious to prove they aren't a hopeless team without LeBron James. They have a great chance of proving that against the chemistry-challenged Timberwolves. Minnesota looked terrible in preseason giving up more than 123 points per game. The team continues to be distracted by Jimmy Butler wanting out. Butler didn't play in preseason while awaiting a trade that so far hasn't happened. Butler played for the first time in the Timberwolves' opener, a loss to the Spurs, and was noticeably rusty shooting 9-of-23 from the floor. His stamina still isn't there yet. The Cavaliers opened with a 116-104 loss to the Raptors on the road this past Wednesday. Kevin Love is being counted on to be Cleveland's No. 1 scoring option now and he was pressing missing 13 of 18 shots from the floor. He should be more settled down in this game. A plus in that loss for the Cavaliers was the play of small forward Cedi Osman, who scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
|10-17-18||Nuggets v. Clippers +1.5||Top||107-98||Loss||-105||14 h 21 m||Show|
The Clippers are below the radar now that they have no stars left. But what the Clippers have going for them is a chip on their shoulder, strong perimeter defenders and more scoring in the middle. Denver has serious playoff aspirations. The Nuggets couldn't have come closer to making the playoffs last season. But the Nuggets have yet to prove they are improved defensively and can play better on the road. The Nuggets were 15-26 away from Pepsi Center and were last in defensive field goal percentage. The Clippers no longer have DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. What the Clippers do have are lockdown defenders Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley and Luc Mbah a Moute. They also have some underrated scorers in Lou Williams, Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari. LA also is going to get more scoring inside with Marcin Gortat replacing the departed Jordan, whose shooting range was about one foot.
|10-16-18||76ers v. Celtics -4.5||Top||87-105||Win||100||22 h 35 m||Show|
The Celtics have dominated the 76ers winning 14 of the last 16 regular-season games. Philadelphia has gotten a lot better, but so has Boston. The teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the Celtics won the series in five games. Boston won that series despite not having Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, both of whom are healthy now for the Celtics. Part of why the Celtics have had success against the 76ers is they have the depth and defenders to match up against Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons with Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris. The 76ers have an excellent starting lineup, but they lack Boston's bench strength and rely heavily on Embiid and Simmons. The Celtics have the deepest roster in the Eastern Conference and the best coach, Brad Stevens. Philadelphia played its last two preseason games in China on Oct. 5 and Oct. 8. So you wonder if the 76ers have recovered fully from that long journey. The Celtics enter this season having covered 73 percent of their last 19 home games.
|06-08-18||Warriors -4.5 v. Cavs||Top||108-85||Win||100||26 h 45 m||Show|
You can talk zig-zag and the Cavaliers going all out to salvage at least one game. But this series is a foregone conclusion - and the Cavaliers know it. None of the other 131 teams in NBA history who have fallen behind 3-0 in a playoff series have come back to win. Neither will Cleveland. LeBron James trying to battle four stars - two of whom are superstars - isn't a fair fight. Golden State's talent is so above Cleveland's that the Warriors don't even have to be fully motivated to cover this spread. Golden State proved that in a 110-102 road victory in Game 3 this past Wednesday. The Warriors won and covered despite Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combining to score only 21 points while missing a combined 20 of 27 shots from the floor. It didn't matter because of other reaons such as Kevin Durant being so good, Golden State's better bench and holding a coaching edge. The Cavaliers weren't able to beat the Warriors last year when they had Kyrie Irving and were much better. Durant is a major reason. Golden State is 7-1 against Cleveland in the playoffs since Durant became part of the Warriors. Cleveland lacks the defense, coaching and role players to hang close to Golden State. J.R. Smith has been so brutal that he could get MVP votes - for Golden State. Kyle Korver is just a rumor. No, the Cavaliers don't have it. James can't put forth anymore than what he's doing while the Warriors are capable of better. Even if they aren't, they still hold enough edges to cover.
|05-27-18||Cavs v. Celtics -125||Top||87-79||Loss||-125||20 h 48 m||Show|
As great as LeBron James is - and I believe he's the greatest basketball player of all-time - I can't see Cleveland winning this game. Boston is 10-0 SU and ATS at home in the playoffs. The Celtics have rolled past the Cavaliers in all three of their home playoff games by an average winning margin of 17 points. The Celtics are the stronger defensive team and much better coached. James is facing a fatigue factor and nursing a sore knee. He's not going to have Kevin Love to help him either Love is ruled out and I don't trust any of the Cavaliers besides James to step up. JR Smith is particularly bad. The Celtics have covered 19 of their last 26 home games.
|05-27-18||Cavs v. Celtics UNDER 200||87-79||Win||100||20 h 47 m||Show|
The two teams have gone Under the total in four of their last five games played in Boston. I see that trend continuing in this Game 7 where defensive intensity is sure to be at its highest. I don't see both teams shooting as well as they did in Game 6 particularly the Celtics, who made 51.4 percent of their field goals. The pace actually was slow that game. There is a fatigue factor here this being Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals following the long season. So neither team is going to be playing up-tempo. It's a huge plus for the Under that Kevin Love has been ruled out. He's a very good scorer, but a weak defender. Even with Love, the Cavaliers only are averaging 86.6 points during their three games at Boston in the series.
|05-26-18||Rockets v. Warriors OVER 212||Top||86-115||Loss||-106||20 h 41 m||Show|
I understand that these two powerhouse offenses have combined to score only 192 and 187 points, respectively, during the past two games. Hence now we have the lowest total of the series by far in this Game 6. This low total, though, isn't just dictated by how the previous two games have played out with a slow tempo, but by Chris Paul being out with a hamstring injury. This is the time to go Over and Paul's injury is a big reason why. It was to the Rockets' advantage to slow the pace relying on superstars Paul and James Harden. Paul would hold the ball for long stretches during most possessions either seeking Harden on a pick-and-roll, or taking it to the hoop himself when the 24-second clock was winding down. This type of isolation basketball is what Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni was seeking. It's not going to happen anymore with Paul out. The Rockets are going to have to beat the Warriors by firing up 3-pointers. They have the players to do that with Harden, Eric Gordon, who is playing extremely well, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. Their style is to fire at will, which they will do without Paul to orchestrate the offense. Harden is way overdue to have a strong shooting game having missed 20 of 23 3-point shots during the last two games. Golden State has dropped two in a row in part because it has been relying too much on Kevin Durant and getting away from its normal ball-sharing, excellent ball movement ways. Look for the Warriors to revert back to their style of game now that they are returning home. They are averaging 115 points during their past five games at Oracle Arena. The Rockets are forced to change their style and it leaves them vulnerable to the Warriors' dominant transition game. The pace should be much faster in this game and the shooting much better.
|05-25-18||Celtics +7 v. Cavs||99-109||Loss||-109||11 h 35 m||Show|
I understand the home team has won and covered each of the five games so far in this series. But I've believed the Celtics are the better team all along and I'm not going to turn away from them getting this many points. Boston snatched momemtum away from Cleveland winning, 96-83, at home two days ago. The Celtics have the fresher legs being the younger team and are far better coached. So the deeper this series goes the better for Boston. The Celtics beat the Cavaliers by 13 points in Game 5 despite shooting only 36 percent from the floor. Boston won because of outstanding adjustments made by Brad Stevens, one of which was going with a bigger lineup. This resulted in Boston outrebounding Cleveland, 45-39. I don't believe Tyrunn Lue is capable of countering Stevens. The Celtics were a good road team during the regular season. They've had two games now to figure out how to play in Cleveland. They don't have the best player on the court. That's LeBron James of course. But they play better team basketball and James is starting to display signs of fatigue. I'm taking the Celtics here anticipating James will play his normal "A" game. If he doesn't, though, it's an added bonus.
|05-24-18||Warriors v. Rockets UNDER 219.5||Top||94-98||Win||100||11 h 13 m||Show|
Slower pace, increased intensity, key adjustments by the Rockets and the oddsmaker not lowring the total enough all points to another Under in this Warriors-Rockets Game 5 matchup. The Rockets aren't letting the Warriors get off in transition, which was the case earlier in the series. They are an underrated defensive team - the Under has cashed in 15 of their last 22 home games - and have decreased tempo locking into the Warriors' shooters while milking time off the 24-second clock on offense by trying to isolate either James Harden or Chris Paul. There's a lot of grinding now as these Western Conference Finals now become a best of three with the series tied 2-2. The Warriors managed just 14 assists in Game 4. That was a series low. Golden State may not have Andre Iguodala again. He's still a very good defender, but his offense is missed because of his passing ability. Golden State's offensive flow suffers without him and his absence provides added minutes for defensive-minded players, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Shaun Livingston. The Rockets are at their best when playing with one day's rest, which is the case here. So I see them continuing to play tough defense. The Under has cashed 22 of the last 32 times the Rockets have played on one day's rest.
|05-23-18||Cavs v. Celtics +1||Top||83-96||Win||100||18 h 6 m||Show|
Wrong opening favorite. I don't care that the Cavaliers have won and covered the past two games in convincing fashion. Those games were in Cleveland. This one is in Boston where the Celtics are 13-1 SU and ATS in its last 14 games at TD Garden. The Celtics are a perfect 9-0 SU and ATS at home in the playoffs. Cleveland has a losing road mark in the postseason. This includes two losses at Boston earlier in the series by an average of 19 points. Boston has been tough at home all season on a 75 percent covering run during its last 24 home contests. The Celtics have a lot of youthful talent who play more relaxed and under control at TD Garden. The Celtics also figure to get a better break from the officials than they did these past two games in Cleveland. LeBron James has been great as usual in the series, but I don't trust Cleveland's role players especially on the road. Kevin Love is showing signs of fatigue. He may not be 100 percent and J.R. Smith is 8-for-33 shooting from the floor for 24.2 percent.