|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|05-23-19||Raptors v. Bucks -6.5||Top||105-99||Loss||-107||21 h 31 m||Show|
Look, you either believe in the Bucks, or you don't. I do - especially when they are home like here. Milwaukee had the best regular season mark both SU (straight-up) and ATS (against the spread). It has been the same in the playoffs where the Bucks have won and covered 10 of 13 times. The Bucks didn't play up to their capability in Game 3 yet it took two overtimes for the Raptors to put them away at home. I thought the Bucks would play much better in Game 4. The Raptors, to their credit, stepped up and protected their home floor with an impressive 120-102 win. Nick Nurse made some key defensive adjustments and Toronto's role players came through. Now it's the Bucks' turn. Perhaps it's just being glib to say that, but these are the facts: The Bucks are 21-5 ATS following a loss. They have covered 18 of the last 24 times after not covering in their previous game. They also haven't lost three games in a row all season! The Bucks are the No. 1 scoring team in the NBA. They also ranked first in offensive rebounding. They are deeper than Toronto, better on the boards and stronger defensively finishing No. 1 in defensive field goal percentage. In my view, there are only three players who can trump the greatness of Kawhi Leonard. That being LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has the advantage of being at home and healthier than Leonard, who has been hindered by a left leg injury. This is a big spread. I understand that. I hate having to lay more than six, which is a key number in the NBA. But so far the spread has not factored in any of the Bucks' 13 playoff games. The winner of the game covered the spread every time. There's the possibility, too, of the Raptors waving the white flag if they were to fall too far behind by resting Leonard knowing how important he'll be for Games 6 and 7.
|05-21-19||Bucks -135 v. Raptors||Top||102-120||Loss||-135||33 h 43 m||Show|
The Bucks didn't play well in Game 3. The result was a 118-112 double overtime road loss to the Raptors. Expect the Bucks to play much in this Game 4. The oddsmaker expects that. The difference is reflected in Milwaukee opening as a road favorite instead of an underdog as they did in Game 3. The oddsmaker has it right. The Bucks are the side I want going for me. Milwaukee has by far the better depth. This is huge because the Raptors are gassed especially Kawhi Leonard, who is playing hurt. The Raptors have no shot if Leonard doesn't produce a monster game. The Bucks have won and covered 10 of their 12 playoff games. It's not a big surprise considering they had the best SU and ATS mark during the regular season, too. Milwaukee also has been great in revenge spots - 12-1 SU, 10-2-1 ATS off a loss.
|05-19-19||Bucks +2.5 v. Raptors||Top||112-118||Loss||-109||17 h 52 m||Show|
We saw it in Game 3 with the Warriors beating the Trail Blazers by 11 points on Saturday. We're likely to see it here, too, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The superior team is an underdog on the road yet easily wins straight-up.Maybe the Raptors can break that mold. I doubt it, though. Milwaukee was the best point spread team during the regular season. Milwaukee is the best ATS team in the postseason, too, going 9-1 SU and ATS. The Bucks have outscored the Raptors by 35 points during the last five quarters. What's become clear is the Raptors aren't good enough, nor deep enough, to beat the Bucks. Toronto hasn't solved Milwaukee's offense, nor its defense, averaging 101.5 points in the series, which is 13 points below its season average. The Bucks have too many weapons to go with with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Raptors to keep up. Kawhi Leonard doesn't have the bench help, nor the veteran step-up that the Bucks have been providing for Antetokounmpo.
|05-18-19||Warriors v. Blazers -127||Top||110-99||Loss||-127||20 h 47 m||Show|
Normally I would have a hard time laying points with the inferior team. But this is the Trail Blazers' game to win - and I see them getting the job down here at home in this Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals being down 2-0. Portland showed it can outplay the Warriors. The Trail Blazers should have won Game 2 at Golden State, but blew a 17-point second half lead in losing, 114-111. The Trail Blazers have proven resilient all season especially in the postseason. They took out the Thunder in the first round after being swept by Oklahoma City during the regular season. Then they came back from a 3-2 series deficit to eliminate the Nuggets winning Game 7 in Denver. Portland's Terry Stotts is a very underrated coach. I like the adjustments he made from Game 1 to Game 2 in this series, including tighting up the Trail Blazers' pick-and-roll defense, putting Moe Harkless on Stephen Curry and freeing up CJ McCollum for better looks on his jumpers. If McCollum and Damian Lillard had even their normal shooting games the Trail Blazers likely win Game 2. The All-Star backcourt tandem, though, shot a combined 15-of-39 (38.4 percent) from the field. The pair missed 10 of their 12 fourth-quarter field goals. Those two are due to shoot much better. Portland shouldn't fold up either with the switch in venues to their home-court. Certainly the Trail Blazers won't lack intensity down 2-0 while the Warriors have to be feeling fat and happy. Not having Kevin Durant is going to catch up to the Warriors.
|05-17-19||Raptors v. Bucks -6.5||Top||103-125||Win||100||19 h 13 m||Show|
The Bucks not only finished with the best record in the NBA during the regular season, but also the best point spread mark covering 60 percent of their games. Milwaukee has been even better in the playoffs winning and covering nine of 10 games.The Bucks even covered a 6.5-point spread in Game 1 against Toronto despite not playing well until the very end. The Bucks were a bit rusty and Giannis Antetokounmpo is capable of much better. Look for the Bucks and superstar Antetokounmpo to step up their game here. If that's the case, Milwaukee should win by double-digits for the eighth time in 11 postseason games. Milwaukee is a dominant home team, is much deeper than Toronto and Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton are strong enough defenders to bother Kawhi Leonard. The Bucks aren't totally dependent on Antetokounmpo like the Raptors are on their superstar, Leonard. The Raptors had to go the full seven game limit with the 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That took a toll on Leonard, who was babied during the regular season often sitting out games for rest purposes. Now Leonard is dealing with tough defenders and a fatigue factor. Kyle Lowery played extremely well in Game 1 of this series. But Lowery hasn't looked very good up until this point. I doubt he keeps that up. The Raptors have grown too accustomed to watching and waiting on Leonard to close out games. He's not going to be able to do that against this caliber of elite opponent. Leonard needs help and so far key Raptors aren't providing that. Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Danny Green aren't hitting clutch shots. The Bucks have covered five of the last six matchups against the Raptors. They are the superior team with upside considering their Game 1 performance. Toronto had their chance in Game 1 and blew it. Look for the Bucks to win this game much more handily.
|05-16-19||Blazers v. Warriors OVER 217.5||Top||111-114||Win||100||17 h 54 m||Show|
The Warriors don't need Kevin Durant to produce a lot of points. They are averaging 117 points in their last two games minus Durant. Stephen Curry is stepping up and Golden State's reserves are scoring much better. It helps that the Trail Blazers lack rim protection with Jusuf Nurkic out. Portland is giving up an average of 113.2 points during its last five games discounting its 100-96 victory against the Nuggets. A key to making this Over work is Portland getting its points. I expect the Trail Blazers to be less tight and shoot much better than the 36.1 percent they shot in Game 1 while committing a ghastly 21 turnovers. I like the open looks both teams were getting in Game 1. Damian Lillard was just 4-for-12 from the floor in the first game. Look for Lillard to play more aggressive and have a much more productive scoring game.
|05-15-19||Raptors v. Bucks -6||Top||100-108||Win||100||20 h 56 m||Show|
I want the Bucks going for me here in this Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. While Toronto has been up and down and fortunate to survive a Game 7 against the 76ers, Milwaukee has been dominant in the postseason just like in the regular season. The Bucks have won and covered eight of nine playoff games with seven of the eight victories occurring by double-digits. Milwaukee's average winning margin is 15.3 points. The Bucks don't want a repeat of their last series when they were ambushed at home by the Celtics in Game 1. Milwaukee hasn't lost since with Antetokounmpo averaging 30 points during the last four games. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard are a trade-off. Both rank among the top five players in the NBA. Milwaukee, though, is getting better backcourt play and is the deeper team. The Bucks have had the proper response for everything the Pistons and Celtics threw at them. It's a huge added bonus for the Bucks that underrated guard Malcolm Brogdon has returned after being out seven weeks with a foot injury. He may be the Bucks' best defender. The Bucks defeated the Raptors in three of four regular season meetings and have covered four of the past five in the series.
|05-14-19||Blazers v. Warriors -7.5||94-116||Win||100||19 h 48 m||Show|
Much is being made of Kevin Durant being out with a strained calf. But the Trail Blazers have their own injuries to deal with as Enes Kanter has a separated shoulder and Rodney Hood a hyperextended knee. Both are likely to play, but at less than 100 percent. Keep in mind, too, the Trail Blazers remain without their best big man, Jusuf Nurkic. Golden State has proven it can step up without Durant. Just ask the Rockets, who happen to be at least a tier higher than the Trail Blazers. Not only do the Warriors have home-court here, but also a favorable spot. Golden State hasn't played since Friday when it upset the Rockets on the road to end that series. Steve Kerr and his brain trust have had ample time to study the Trail Blazers and how best to utilize their players knowing Durant won't be on the court. The Trail Blazers are off a brutal seven-game series against the Nuggets that didn't conclude until this past Sunday with Portland scoring an upset road victory. The Trail Blazers are 1-5 ATS the past six times following a victory. They can't be blamed for coming up flat here with such little time to savor their huge series win against Denver.
|05-12-19||76ers +6.5 v. Raptors||90-92||Win||100||8 h 22 m||Show|
Toronto doesn't deserve to be trusted in clutch playoff games given its track record. The Raptors also have been terrible in this role going 9-18 ATS the past 27 times when favored by six points or fewer. Kawhi Leonard is the best player on the court. But Joel Embiid is close behind. Embiid had a huge Game 6 posting a plus-minus ratio of plus 40. Embiid has helped the 76ers outrebound the Raptors by 47 rebounds during the series, an average of 7.8 per game. Health is the key for Embiid. He was healthy in Game 6, which was played on Thursday. So he's had a full two days to rest. I prefer Ben Simmons over Kyle Lowery at point guard and Jimmy Butler is there to lend his considerable skill and veteran leadership to the 76ers.
|05-09-19||Nuggets v. Blazers UNDER 215.5||Top||108-119||Loss||-105||21 h 59 m||Show|
If the Trail Blazers are going to force a Game 7 with a home victory here in Game 6 they likely are going to have to do it with defense. Portland is averaging 102.2 points during regulation in its last four games. Portland heavily relies on the scoring of guard Damian Lillard, who is shooting just 39.2 percent from the floor during the past four games. The Trail Blazers aren't getting much frontcourt scoring production with Jusuf Nurkic out and Enes Kanter dealing with a separated shoulder and honoring Ramadan by not eating from sunrise to sunset. Kanter has managed only 14 points in the last two games making just 4-of-14 shots from the field. These teams do not play at a fast pace. I envision a slow-moving, ultra intense defensive battle.
|05-08-19||Rockets +6.5 v. Warriors||Top||99-104||Win||100||19 h 40 m||Show|
Some believed the Rockets were better than the Warriors last season when the teams met in the Western Conference Finals. But then Chris Paul got hurt and had to miss Games 6 and 7. The Warriors took advantage to win those games and the series. Paul is healthy this time around. The Rockets are improved and the Warriors have gotten worse. If there is any separation between the two teams now it is minimal at best, which is proven by no team winning by more than six points during the first four games of the series. These games have all been close down to the wire affairs. Yes, the Warriors are home now. But Houston has momentum and confidence having won two in a row. The Warriors are showing more fatigue. Their bench is struggling with just a combined 18 points during the past two games. Stephen Curry isn't 100 percent. Golden State also doesn't have a good point spread track record at Oracle Arena just 11-23-1 ATS (32 percent) the past 35 times there.
|05-05-19||Nuggets v. Blazers UNDER 210.5||116-112||Loss||-110||16 h 57 m||Show|
Lost in the glare of the Trail Blazers' amazing 140-137 four-overtime victory against the Nuggets on Friday was that regulation ended, 102-102. That's a combined 204 points. Now, less than 48 hours later, the teams go at it again both facing a heavy fatigue factor. Many of the top players are coming off the heavest one-game work loads of their career. Some played an obsence amount of minutes: Nikola Jokic (64:58), CJ McCollum (60:01), Damian Lillard (57:59), Enes Kanter (56:58 on a separated shoulder) and Jamal Murray (55:03). This is unchartered territory for these players to come back strong after such a game. This is playoff basketball and the defensive intensity is sure to be up while the legs can't be there for jump shots. So I'm projecting a low-scoring, intense battle.
|05-03-19||Bucks v. Celtics -127||123-116||Loss||-127||18 h 59 m||Show|
Boston got its split in Milwaukee. I don't see the Bucks getting the better of the Celtics in this Game 3, which will be their toughest road playoff game yet. I like Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. He deserves to be Coach of the Year. Still, he's trumped by Brad Stevens, who I regard as the best coach in the Eastern Conference. I trust Stevens to make the necessary adjustments with the teams having last played on Tuesday when the Bucks blew out the Celtics. Boston has covered six of the last seven times it has hosted Milwaukee. The Bucks are still likely to be without guard Malcolm Brogdon, who has missed the last 1 1/2 months with plantar fasciitis. Brogdon is the Bucks' best defensive player and the most underrated player on the team. This could be the Bucks' toughest game of the season - and the line is fair enough to back Boston.
|04-30-19||Rockets +5.5 v. Warriors||Top||109-115||Loss||-106||27 h 45 m||Show|
The Warriors escaped the Rockets last season in the Western Conference finals winning in seven games. Chris Paul didn't play in Games 6 and 7 last season because of injury. The Rockets lost both of those games.
Paul is healthy now, the Rockets are better than they were at this time a year ago and the Warroirs are worse. The Rockets nearly beat Golden State in Game 1, but lost 104-100 because of official's calls that didn't go their way, making less than 30 percent of their 3-point shots and James Harden having a terrible shooting game going just 9-for-28 from the floor. I expect Harden to shoot much better. I also expect more calls to go in Houston's favor after the NBA has come under scrutiny for the unfair officiating against the Rockets when Houston faced the Warriors last year and in Game 1. P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela combined to score only four points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor in Sunday's game. They should do much better especially Capela. The Rockets could be the most underrated defensive team in the NBA. They finished No. 2 in defensive efficiency during the final 15 games of the regular season. They held the Warriors 13 points below their season average while forcing 20 turnovers and coming up with 14 steals. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both are less than 100 percent because of ankle injuries. DeMarcus Cousins is out. The Warriors are one of the worst point spread home teams going 10-23-1 (30.3 percent) in their last 34 games at Oracle Arena, including failing to cover 12 of the last 18 times. Houston has covered four of the past five times on the road against Golden State.
|04-29-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 216.5||Top||113-121||Loss||-110||13 h 40 m||Show|
Portland should have plenty of energy having been idle for six days. I see that energy being exerted defensively as their jump-shooting could suffer after such a long layoff. The Trail Blazers are 7-3-1 to the Under in their last 11 road games. The Nuggets aren't going to look to push pace after concluding a grueling seven-game series with the Spurs on Saturday winning, 90-86, at home. Denver gave up the sixth-fewest points per game in the NBA this season. More important, the Nuggets ranked No. 1 in 3-point defense. That's bad news for Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Trail Blazers heavily rely on the outside scoring of those two. The Under has cashed in 13 of the Nuggets' last 16 home games.
|04-27-19||76ers +6.5 v. Raptors||Top||95-108||Loss||-104||21 h 44 m||Show|
I'll go with the 76ers' superior starting lineup against the Raptors' deeper bench. Toronto's depth may factor later on in this series, but for now both teams are fresh and should have their full energy. Philly has too many weapons for the Raptors. It's going to take Toronto coach Nick Nurse a lot longer to figure out the 76ers than it did the Magic, the weakest of any of the playoff teams. The Raptors don't have enough weapons to contain Joe Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, JJ Redick and Ben Simmons, who I'll take over Kyle Lowery in the pivotal point guard matchup. The Raptors have yet to prove they have exorcized their playoff demons. They lost at home in Game 1 to the Magic and are 0-8 ATS the past eight times when playing after three or more days rest. The 76ers are ready to take that next playoff step. They are confident coming off four straight wins and covers against the Nets, who are a better team than the Magic.
|04-26-19||Warriors v. Clippers UNDER 233||Top||129-110||Loss||-110||23 h 58 m||Show|
Look for the Warriors to play intense defense after being upset, 129-121, at home by the Clippers in Game 5 on Wednesday. Golden State held the Clippers to 105 points after LA pulled a 135-131 win in Game 2. I expect a similar effort from the Warriors, who finished No. 3 in defensive field goal percentage during the regular season, in this Game 6. Yes, there were 250 combined points in Game 5. But the pace was slow. The Clippers made an unbelievable 54.1 percent from the floor. They shot 47 percent from the field during the regular season. They made 42.5 percent of their field goals in Game 4 and hit only 37.2 percent in Game 3. So the Clippers' shooting percentage in Game 5 clearly was an outlier. Note, too, the two teams combined to make 44 of 48 free throws in Game 5 for 92 percent. That's certainly unlikely to be repeated, too, in this next game. Golden State actually has been a sneaky Under team. The Under has won in 18 of the Warriors' past 26 games.
|04-25-19||Nuggets v. Spurs -2.5||103-120||Win||100||18 h 39 m||Show|
Denver has made key necessary defensive adjustments to win the last two games and take a 3-2 series lead. Now it's up to Gregg Popovich and the Spurs to counter. I see the Spurs doing that especially playing at home. Popovich has long been the best coach in the NBA. The Nuggets have a terrible track record when playing at San Antonio having lost 14 of the past 15 times there, are 3-7 ATS following a pointspread cover and 4-10 ATS when playing on one day's rest. Denver hasn't won a playoff series since 2009. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are due to step for the Spurs.
|04-24-19||Jazz v. Rockets UNDER 213||93-100||Win||100||6 h 44 m||Show|
Utah has made the necessary defensive adjustments after getting blown out in the first two games of this series. Since then, the Jazz have held the Rockets to an average of 97.5 points in the last two games and under 40 percent shooting from the floor. This isn't a fluke. The Jazz always have been an elite defensive club. Rudy Gobert may be the best rim protector in basketball. The Rockets have been playing excellent defense for the past six weeks. This is going to be physical, intense matchup where defense should dominate. The Under has cashed six of the last eight times the teams have met.
|04-23-19||Nets +8.5 v. 76ers||100-122||Loss||-100||9 h 23 m||Show|
The Nets have proven spunky all season, almost always coming through with a hard effort. I don't see them going quietly through the night on the brink of playoff elimination here. This has been a bitter series. The Nets are down 3-1, but the series very well could be tied at 2-2. Brooklyn blew a 101-94 lead with 5:20 left in Game 4 before losing 104-101 on Saturday. Brooklyn has covered in seven of its past nine road games. The 76ers have a vast array of talent. But they have some immaturity and don't know how to win yet, which makes them vulnerable to overconfidence in this matchup. The Nets have excellent backcourt scoring depth and I like that their coach, Kenny Gattison, has shortened the rotation.
|04-22-19||Rockets -2.5 v. Jazz||91-107||Loss||-108||20 h 0 m||Show|
It was a given the Jazz were going to produce their best effort in Game 3 at home after losing the first two games to the Rockets on the road by an average of 26 points. Utah did just that. The Jazz held the great James Harden to 3-of-20 shooting from the floor and the Rockets to 38.4 percent from the field. Yet the Rockets still won and covered beating the favored Jazz by three points. The oddsmaker is done making the Jazz a favorite again. The demoralized Jazz aren't going to be the first team in NBA playoff history to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a series. Harden isn't going to have a shooting game like that again. The Rockets want to end this series fast to keep pace with the Warriors. The Jazz lack the confidence and morale to come back here to win a game. Utah needs Donovan Mitchell to shoot well to hang with Houston and that hasn't been happening. Mitchell has made just 32.8 percent of his shots from the floor.
|04-21-19||Raptors v. Magic +5.5||107-85||Loss||-105||15 h 20 m||Show|
I like the Magic in an underdog role especially going against foes with a winning record. Orlando is 16-5-1 ATS the past 22 times when taking on an above .500 opponent. I see the Magic giving it their best shot not wanting to go into Toronto down 3-1. The Magic lost 98-93 to the Raptors this past Friday. That was their first home playoff game in seven years. The Magic should be less tight now. Orlando needs Nikola Vucevic to step up. He got going in Game 3 after being kept in check the first two games of the series. Toronto is 2-6-1 ATS the past nine times against Orlando.
|04-21-19||Raptors v. Magic UNDER 207||107-85||Win||100||15 h 19 m||Show|
The evidence is crystal clear. These teams have played three games so far in their first-round playoff series and the Under has won each time. The combined average score in these three games is 196.3 points. The Raptors have forced 44 Orlando turnovers and held the Magic to 37.8 percent shooting from the floor. Orlando is going to be at its most intense for this matchup. The Magic ranked fifth defensively during the regular season. So a strong defensive battle should ensue helped by both teams favoring a slow tempo. The Under has cashed the past seven times the Raptors have played in Orlando.
|04-20-19||Bucks v. Pistons OVER 216||119-103||Win||100||5 h 44 m||Show|
The Pistons haven't been able to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 25 points during the first two games of this series. Milwaukee has scored 121 and 120 points, respectively, in the series. The Bucks are the No. 1 scoring team in the NBA. Detroit doesn't have the defense to stop them. The Over has cashed in eight of the Bucks' last 11 road contests. So the Pistons need to ratch up their offense, which they can do at home. Detroit is due to shoot much better than the 37.7 percent it is averaging from the field. It's a plus for the Pistons and the Over if Blake Griffin is able to play. He's questionable.
|04-20-19||Nuggets v. Spurs -3.5||Top||117-103||Loss||-109||17 h 3 m||Show|
The Nuggets haven't won in San Antonio in more than seven years, losing 14 straight times to the Spurs on the road. I don't see that changing here in Game 4 of their playoff series. The Spurs should be up 3-0 instead of 2-1, but blew a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter in Game 2. They are the clear better team and they have a strong home-court history. Second-year guard Derrick White has stepped up big-time for San Antonio giving the Spurs three major weapons along with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs have those players going for them along with a huge gap in playoff experience. While the Nuggets are involved in their first postseason experience since 2013, the Spurs are in the playoffs for the 22nd straight season.
|04-19-19||Celtics v. Pacers -3||104-96||Loss||-105||18 h 47 m||Show|
The good news for Indiana is its No. 1 ranked defense has held Boston to an average of 91.5 points during the first two games of this series. The bad news is the Pacers are down 0-2 in the series because their shooting has been way off. The Pacers, though, are far from outclassed. They led the Celtics by seven points at halftime in Game 1. They were leading Boston with less than a minute left in Game 2 before somehow failing to cover a 7 1/2-point underdog spread in a 99-91 loss. Sure Indiana misses its top scorer, Victor Oladipo. But the Pacers are due to shoot much better than 38.8 pecent from the floor. Boston ranks eighth defensively. However, the Pacers have failed to connect on shots in which they had a good look at the basket. Myles Turner, Darren Collison and Thaddeus Young should step up. The Pacers have a strong history of dramatically playing much better at home. The Celtics won just one of their eight road playoff games last season.
|04-19-19||Raptors -4.5 v. Magic||Top||98-93||Win||100||16 h 19 m||Show|
Nice job by the Magic in reaching the playoffs this season and upsetting the Raptors in Game 1. The clock struck midnight, though, for the Magic in Game 2 when they were buried, 111-82, by Toronto this past Tuesday. The Raptors are vastly superior. They could be among the four best teams in the NBA. The Magic can't hang against this type of focused opponent especially when their best player, Nikola Vucevic, can't produce. Vucevic has been held to an average of 8.5 points a game making just six-of-21 shots from the field.
|04-18-19||Warriors v. Clippers UNDER 237||Top||132-105||Push||0||19 h 3 m||Show|
Golden State has great scorers. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson helped the Warriors finish as the No. 2 scoring team in the NBA this season. But the Warriors also are good defensively. They ranked No. 3 in defensive field goal percentage. The Under has cashed in 19 of Golden State's last 26 games. Look for the Warriors to play concentrated, intense defense for 48 minutes after they squandered a 31-point third quarter lead in Game 2 in losing 135-131 at home to the Clippers. The Under has cashed a staggering 75 percent the past 33 times the Warriors have played after a loss. Making things even worse for the Warriors was losing center DeMarcus Cousins with a serious quad injury. His replacement, Andrew Bogut, played a season-high 17 minutes. The addition of Bogut at the expense of Cousins is huge for the Under. The Clippers aren't as good of a defensive club as the Warriors. But with the series now tied 1-1 and the scene shifting to LA, the Warriors know they are in for a battle. So expect both defenses to be at their peak.
|04-18-19||Nuggets v. Spurs -3.5||108-118||Win||100||18 h 31 m||Show|
I don't see the Nuggets ending a 13-game losing streak at San Antonio and upsetting the Spurs. The Spurs have far more playoff experience. They have dominated the Nuggets for 6 1/2 of the eight quarters during the first two playoff games of this series, both of which were in Denver. The prideful Spurs should have gone 2-0 against the Nuggets, but blew Game 2 in the series after leading by 19 points nearly midway through the third quarter. Denver is 4-9 ATS the past 13 times following a victory.
|04-18-19||76ers v. Nets UNDER 227.5||131-115||Loss||-101||17 h 32 m||Show|
It's easy to envision a high scoring game here after the 76ers buried the Nets, 145-123, on Monday in Game 2. But there is one key factor to consider: Jared Dudley is expected to play for the Nets. He missed Monday's game because of a sore calf. Dudley played in Game 1 and the Nets upset the 76ers, 111-102, with that total going Under by 13 1/2 points. Dudley's defense on Ben Simmons was huge in that Game 1 win for the Nets as Simmons could manage just nine points. Simmons posted a triple/double in Game 2 without Dudley to hound and frustrate him. Prior to Monday's loss to Philadelphia, Brooklyn had given up an average of 97.3 points in its last three games. The Nets have gone Under in six of their last seven home games. The Nets are sure to have their defensive intensity going as this is their first home playoff game since 2015. It would be a huge added bonus for the Under if Joel Embiid can't go for the 76ers. Embiid is dealing with a sore knee.
|04-16-19||Thunder v. Blazers OVER 221||Top||94-114||Loss||-110||20 h 36 m||Show|
Portland couldn't stop Russell Westbrook or Paul George during the regular season. They couldn't stop them in Game 1 of this playoff series. Only George and Westbrook can stop themselves by having bad shooting games. That's what happened in Game 1 as Westbrook, George and star reserve guard Dennis Schroder combined to make just four of 26 shots from 3-point range. George made only 8-of-24 shots from the field in Oklahoma City's 104-99 loss on Sunday. Now we have a slightly lower total and a strong belief the Thunder will shoot much better than 39.8 percent from the field and do far better than make just 5-of-33 shots from beyond the arc. Oklahoma City averaged a seventh-best 114.5 points per game during the regular season. The Trail Blazers' defense took a hit after losing center Jusuf Nurkic for the season with a broken leg. George says he's 100 percent now after being bothered by a sore right shoulder that kept him from playing in the Thunder's final regular season game. Portland didn't shoot well either in Game 1 making only 41.9 percent of its field goals. The Trail Blazers are the sixth-highest scoring team in the league averaging 114.7 points a game. They ranked ninth in 3-point percentage yet missed 11 of 15 3-point shots during the final three quarters. CJ McCollum is getting less rusty after missing 10 games down the stretch with a knee injury. Enes Kanter has stepped up well for Nurkic. Kanter is a better offensive player than defensive player. Both teams are strong when it comes to offensive rebounding. The Over has cashed in 75 percent of Portland's last 21 home contests going 15-5-1.
|04-15-19||Clippers v. Warriors OVER 230.5||135-131||Win||100||13 h 32 m||Show|
After all eight first-round playoff games went Under the total, I'm expected scoring to spike up in some of the Game 2's, including this one. The Warriors are the No. 2 scoring team in the NBA. No team shoots better from the floor than the Warriors. The Clippers ranked No. 5 in scoring. The tempo was there for an Over in Game 1. But the rust factor kicked in. The Clippers shot just 40.4 percent from the field. Their playoff inexperience from some of their youngsters showed. Expect a more efficient performance from LA. Golden State produced 121 points in Game 1. A big takeaway was the return to health of Stephen Curry, who was sizzling and scored 38 points. The Clippers are well below average defensively ranking 25th. The Warriors are fully healthy and capable of putting up a huge number versus this defense. The Over has cashed in nine of the last 12 games between the two teams.
|04-14-19||Thunder +3.5 v. Blazers||Top||99-104||Loss||-109||5 h 2 m||Show|
If you can't stop Russell Westbrook and Paul George you can't beat the Thunder. Portland couldn't stop either one. Westbrook averaged 29.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.8 assists against the Trail Blazers this season while George averaged 38 points and 10.5 rebounds. The result was Oklahoma City going 4-0 versus Portland with an average victory margin of seven points. Now the Trail Blazers are without their best big man, injured Jusuf Nurkic, and their second-leading scorer, CJ McCollum, hasn't looked good since coming back late in the season after missing 10 games with a knee injury.
|04-13-19||Clippers v. Warriors UNDER 232||Top||104-121||Win||100||23 h 59 m||Show|
Despite a lot of scorers, these two teams have been sneaky Under teams in spots like this. The Under has cashed in 16 of the Clippers' last 23 road games. The Under also has cashed in 16 of the Warriors' past 21 games, including nine of their last 11 home contests. Defense should be at a premium, too, now that the playoffs have begun. Each team wants to make a physical statement in this Game 1. The Clippers have a lot of inexperience in their starting lineup with two rookies and third-year center Ivica Zubac, who had played very little until this season. Stephen Curry should play, but he is dealing with a sore ankle. So the Warriors could be limiting his minutues.
|04-13-19||Nets v. 76ers UNDER 232||111-102||Win||100||21 h 27 m||Show|
This total may be priced right based on numbers and statistics. However, there are key elements that point to an Under. The Nets are in the playoffs for the first time in four years. The 76ers are in a series where they are expected to win, so the pressure is on them. This should ensure a highly concentrated effort from both teams. Defensive intensity is ramped up during the playoffs. Also note this is a very early starting time being a day game. The 76ers have hadn't their starting lineup intact since Tuesday when they managed just 99 points against the Heat. All five of the 76ers' starters sat out the team's final regular season game against the Bulls this past Wednesday. So there could be a rust factor. It would hurt the 76ers more on offense if Joel Embiid can't play. He's questionable with a sore knee. The Nets could show tightness offensively lacking playoff experience. However, they have been playing outstanding defense holding the Heat to 94 points and Pacers to 96 points during their last two games.
|04-10-19||Kings +4.5 v. Blazers||131-136||Loss||-110||7 h 10 m||Show|
The Kings aren't making the playoffs. But a victory here gives them 40 wins. That's a big deal for Sacramento. Word is the Kings are going to play their regular rotation and go hard here. Portland, on the other hand, will be sitting out its two best players as All-Star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are not expected to play. The Trail Blazers have the playoffs on their mind not this game.
|04-09-19||Raptors v. Wolves +7||Top||120-100||Loss||-105||18 h 17 m||Show|
This is the Timberwolves' final home game of the season. So a strong effort should be forthcoming from them. Minnesota has been good at home going 25-15 SU, 22-18 ATS at Target Center.Toronto has a losing road point spread mark. This game also means nothing to the Raptors since they are locked into the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. It's the Raptors' final regular season game so obviously they would like to avoid any injury, which could mean sitting out a star such as Kyle Lowery and Kawhi Leonard. The Timberwolves are down to third-string point guard Tyus Jones. He's coming off a career-high in assists, though, and is bolstered by talented scorers, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric Minnesota has covered the past four times against Toronto, too.
|04-07-19||Nuggets v. Blazers -3||Top||108-115||Win||100||18 h 23 m||Show|
Portland has short revenge for a 119-110 road loss to the Nuggets on Friday. That victory just about locked up the No. 2 seed in the West for the Nuggets. It gives the Nuggets enough cushion that they feel comfortable sitting out their three best players against the Trail Blazers. Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap are all going to miss this game putting the Nuggets at a huge disadvantage. Those three led the Nuggets to their victory against the Trail Blazers two days earlier scoring a combined 70 points. The Nuggets are 3-8 ATS the past 11 times following a victory. Denver has been a mediocre road team all season with just a 20-19 away record. Portland is 30-9 at home and 12-3-1 ATS following a point spread loss. The Trail Blazers not only have short revenge motivation, but are going for playoff seeding still holding a chance at gaining the No. 3 seed. The Trail Blazers hold the No. 4 seed, one game ahead of the Jazz with Utah holding the tiebreaker. CJ McCollum is probable for the Trail Blazers. McCollum, the Trail Blazers' second-leading scorer, has missed the past 10 games with a knee injury. His presence should serve as added inspiration.
|04-07-19||Nuggets v. Blazers UNDER 218||108-115||Loss||-105||18 h 20 m||Show|
These teams have been playing good defense while playing at a slow pace. The Nuggets are the sixth-best defensive team in the NBA, while the Trail Blazers rank 13th. Portland has held four of its last six opponents to fewer than 100 points. Denver has gone Under the total in 21 of its last 28 games. Yet there were 229 points scored when the teams met this past Friday in Denver with the Nuggets winning, 119-110. Portland shot 48.8 percent from the floor and were 16-20 for 80 percent from the foul line. The Trail Blazers shoot 46.7 percent from the field on the season. The Nuggets hit 51.2 percent of their field goals and were 26 of 29 from the free throw line for 89.7 percent. Denver shoots 46.6 percent from the foul line on the season and 76 percent from the charity stripe. I don't expect the teams to match those shooting performances especially the Nuggets as they are going to be sitting out their three top scorers, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap. The three combined to go 25-for-42 from the floor for 60 percent in Friday's game.
|04-05-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 216||Top||110-119||Loss||-109||20 h 28 m||Show|
Unlike other NBA games at this time, this one holds playoffs ramifications. The Nuggets hold the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. They are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Rockets and two games ahead of the Trail Blazers. The teams meet again in Portland on Sunday. So if the Trail Blazers manage a sweep they could be tied for the No. 2 playoff spot. So there should be a lot of intensity and defense in this game. Portland remains without two of its three best scorers with CJ McCollum (knee) and Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) out. The Trail Blazers are playing more half-court because of these injuries, slowing the tempo while looking to feed big men Enes Kanter and Zach Collins. Only five teams have played at a slower tempo than Portland during the past 10 games. The Trail Blazers have stepped up their defense holding four of their last five opponents to fewer than 100 points. The Nuggets have become a huge Under team because of their slow tempo ranking 29th in pace during the past 10 games. If you discount a 116-point game to Golden State, the Nuggets are giving up 97.8 points per game during their last five matchups. The Under has cashed 78 percent of the time during the Nuggets' last 27 games going 21-6.
|04-05-19||Knicks +17.5 v. Rockets||96-120||Loss||-109||9 h 11 m||Show|
The Rockets just got through with road games against the Kings on Tuesday and Clippers on Wednesday. Houston won those games by 25 and 32 points, respectively. The Rockets have another easy home opponent on Sunday taking on the Suns.So this is a major flat spot for the Rockets. It would not shock in the least if they sat out starters, or greately reduced their minutes for this matchup.
|04-04-19||Warriors v. Lakers +13.5||108-90||Loss||-110||21 h 27 m||Show|
The Lakers have been playing better lately with no pressure and with LeBron James sitting out. LA is 4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS in its last five games. But I'm not kidding myself. If the Warriors want to bury the Lakers they can. I just don't see Golden State being motivated to do that. The Warriors pretty much locked up top seed in the West with their 116-102 home win against the Nuggets on Tuesday. Golden State is 4-11 ATS the past 15 times following a victory and has an easy finish to the regular season concluding against four of five lottery-bound teams. The Warriors host the Cavaliers on Friday so they likely aren't going to tax any of their stars. Steve Kerr also doesn't want to pile on, or embarrass, Lakers coach Luke Walton. Walton is a former assistant coach for the Warriors and Kerr. His job with the Lakers is in jeopardy. The Lakers have covered 10 of their past 14 home games when meeting a foe with a winning percentage greater than .600.
|04-03-19||Celtics -115 v. Heat||112-102||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
The teams just met two days ago at Boston and the Celtics won, 110-105. Boston, though, had built up a 23-point lead in the second half before letting things slip. The Celtics are the superior team and they should be more careful in this quick rematch. The Heat had trouble matching up against Al Horford, who had a triple-double. Horford is playing his finest ball of the season averaging 19.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists during his last five games. Gordon Hayward also is playing his best ball coming off the bench. Miami has been better on the road than at home. The Heat are 18-21 at American Airlines Arena, 16-22 ATS there. The Celtics have covered in eight of their last 11 visits to Miami.
|04-02-19||Nuggets v. Warriors -8||Top||102-116||Win||100||22 h 31 m||Show|
I give the Nuggets tremendous credit for their outstanding season. But they are not in Golden State's class. When the Warriors are motivated they can bury any team, including the Nuggets. The Warriors have proven that in the last two meetings defeating the Nuggets by an average of 24 points the past two times. Denver is not a good road team as evidenced by covering only 42 percent of its road games this season. The Warriors will be focused. They are hitting their stride after destroying the Hornets, 137-90, this past Sunday at home. Denver enters the matchup trying to fix its offense. The Nuggets are averaging fewer than 95 points a game during their past five games. Golden State ranks No. 2 in scoring at 117.7 points a game. The Warriors rank No. 1 in field goal percentage. The Nuggets aren't as good as the Warriors and the timing for this showdown matchup isn't good either for Denver.
|04-01-19||Pistons v. Pacers -5.5||102-111||Win||100||8 h 2 m||Show|
Situation, key injury and past history all point to the Pacers being the right side here. The Pacers are in stop-the-pain mode as they battle for playoff seeding having dropped seven of their last eight games. They suffered a tough two-point road loss to the Celtics on Friday, but then laid an egg at home against the Magic, losing 121-116 on Saturday. The Pacers surrendered 65 second-half points to the Magic. Indiana is the No. 1 ranked defense in the NBA. I see the Pacers playing with a great deal of intensity and tightening up their prideful defense. They draw the Pistons minus their most dangerous scorer, Blake Griffin, and coming off a highly-satisfying home comeback victory against the Trail Blazers on Saturday. Until that win against Portland, Detroit was 0-3 when they were minus Griffin. The Pistons are much worse on the road with a 14-24 record. The Pacers are much stronger at home with a 28-10 mark, 22-16 ATS. The Pacers have covered eight of the past 11 times at home when meeting an opponent with a sub .500 record on the road. The Pacers have dominated the Pistons, too, at home covering seven of the past eight times.
|03-30-19||Cavs +10 v. Clippers||108-132||Loss||-109||12 h 44 m||Show|
The Clippers have to be feeling good about making the playoffs in the tough Western Conference. The Clippers still have incentive in a battle for playoff seeding. But this is a vulnerable spot for them.LA just returned home on Friday after a four-game, seven-day road swing that concluded on Thursday night against the Bucks. This is nearly a back-to-back situation for the Clippers due to this being an afternoon game. It's easy to forsee the Clippers being sluggish, not fully focused having been gone for a week and taking on a terrible opponent they just defeated eight days ago. The Clippers are likely to save some of their energy, too, since they host the Grizzlies on Sunday. The Cavaliers have taken advantage of often overinflated lines to go 8-4-1 ATS during their past 13 games. They have covered six of the last eight times against opponents with a winning record. Cleveland is sailing below-the-radar screen right now. Cleveland played the Clippers tough in their first matchup, losing 110-108. Kevin Love gives the Cavaliers a modicum of respectability and Collin Sexton could be the most underrated rookie in the league. Sexton has scored at least 20 points in 10 of his last 11 games.
|03-29-19||Hornets v. Lakers +2.5||115-129||Win||100||13 h 54 m||Show|
LeBron James. That's all you need to know as to why Lakers here. Even though the Lakers are out of the playoffs and enduring a highly disappointing season, James makes the Lakers dangerous at home against mediocre opponents. He didn't play in the Lakers' last game, a 115-100 road loss to the Jazz this past Wednesday. But James was in full force leading the Lakers to home victories against the Wizards and Kings in LA's two previous games. James should be fresh for this matchup since he was rested against the Jazz. That's extremely bad news for the Hornets. James has destroyed this team through the years. His lifetime record against the Hornets is 47-6. This includes a 128-100 Lakers victory over Charlotte on Dec. 15 when James had a triple-double. The Hornets certainly can not be trusted on the road where they have played much worse going 11-24.
|03-27-19||Pacers v. Thunder UNDER 215||99-107||Win||100||10 h 25 m||Show|
These teams met fewer than two weeks ago at Indiana and the Pacers nipped the Thunder, 108-106, coming from 19 points down. So the Thunder have short revenge. But the Pacers have been idle since Sunday so they should bring a lot of energy - defensive energy that is. Indiana ranks No. 1 in the NBA in defense surrendering 103.9 points a game. The Under has cashed in six of Indiana's last seven road games. Oklahoma City has been playing strong defense, too, ranking in the top six in defensive efficiency during the past eight games. The Under has cashed in five of the Thunder's past seven home contests. This has become an Under series, too, with below the total cashing the past four times.
|03-26-19||Rockets +4 v. Bucks||Top||94-108||Loss||-100||20 h 44 m||Show|
You would have to go back to Feb. 21 to find the last time the Rockets lost by more than four points. That's a span of 17 games. Houston is 14-2 in its last 16 games. The Rockets' only two losses during this 16-game span occurred to the Warriors by two points and on the road to the Grizzlies by one point in overtime.The Bucks are shorthanded in the backcourt and close to cruise control leading the Raptors by four games for best record in the Eastern Conference. The Rockets have revenge for a 116-109 home loss to the Bucks from Jan. 9 and are playing for playoff seeding in the Western Conference. So this game is more important to them. In a matchup of superstars, primarily James Harden vers. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are missing a key underrated cog with Malcolm Brogdon out with a foot injury. He would have been the best defender against Harden. The Bucks also lost guard Tony Snell to an ankle injury in their win against the Cavaliers this past Sunday.
|03-25-19||Suns +14.5 v. Jazz||92-125||Loss||-103||13 h 1 m||Show|
This isn't a kill spot for the Jazz. It's actually a flat spot for Utah. The Jazz haven't played at home in nine days. They've been on the road during their past four games and are coming off a 31-point road win against the Bulls from Saturday night. It's going to be easy for the Jazz to overlook the Suns, who have multiple injuries and haven't been competitive versus Utah this season. The Jazz just rolled past the Suns, 114-97, at Phoenix on March 13. The Jazz, however, are 2-4 ATS in their last six home games. The Suns have covered their past six road games and are 9-4 ATS during their last 13 overall games.
|03-24-19||Spurs v. Celtics UNDER 220||115-96||Win||100||17 h 27 m||Show|
San Antonio has been one of the top defensive teams since the All-Star break. The Spurs have held nine of their past 12 opponents to 105 or fewer points. The Under is 10-2 in San Antonio's last 12 games.
The Spurs, though, are in stop-the-pain mode having dropped two in a row. Boston is in worse shape. The Celtics have dropped three in a row with the third one coming in unbelievable fashion on Saturday night. The Celtics blew an 18-point fourth quarter lead in a 124-117 road loss to Charlotte. The Celtics scored five points during the final 8:21. Brad Stevens called out his team's lack of toughness following that Boston loss. The Celtics return home now for this matchup. You have to believe the Celtics are going to play intense defense. Boston could get back injured center Aron Baynes. That would be a plus for the Under as Baynes offers toughness underneath but little offense. There's a possibility, too, Boston could be minus Jayson Tatum, its second-leading scorer. Tatum suffered a bruised lower back against the Hornets.
|03-23-19||Suns v. Kings UNDER 231.5||Top||103-112||Win||100||12 h 35 m||Show|
We know neither the Suns nor the Kings are strong defensively. Of course the oddsmaker is well aware of that, too, hence the hight total here. But lately both of these teams have been going Under the total a lot. The Under has cashed in five of Phoenix's past six games. The Kings have gone Under in 12 of their last 17 home games. There are reasons for this. The Suns have scored 102 or fewer points in four of their last five games. This can be accounted for their many injuries. The Suns are minus T.J. Warren, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tyler Johnson. Josh Jackson isn't likely to play either after suffering an ankle injury in the Suns' last game. Without those players, the Suns lose their No. 2., No. 3, No. 5 and No. 6 scorers. The situation is so dire for the Suns they signed Jimmer Fredette. I'd love to have Fredette on my rec league team. But as for the NBA, well no. Fredette is not NBA quality. Sacramento has played two lottery teams during its last three games - the Mavericks and Bulls. They held Dallas to 100 points and Chicago to 102 points.
|03-22-19||Clippers -6.5 v. Cavs||110-108||Loss||-108||8 h 24 m||Show|
Break up the Cavaliers? I don't think so. Cleveland has won two in row beating the Bucks and Pistons. Milwaukee was minus Giannis Antetokounmpo and Detroit didn't have Blake Griffin when Cleveland posted those victories.The Clippers are at full strength and going for playoff seeding. LA should be fully focused having been idle the past two days and realizing the Cavaliers have won two straight. Collin Sexton is having a strong rookie season, but Cleveland doesn't offer much else. Kevin Love, the Cavaliers' best frontcourt player, may not play due to a concussion. The Clippers average 10 points more per game than the Cavaliers. Cleveland has had problems matching up when taking on opponents from the superior Western Conference going 0-8 SU, 1-7 ATS the past eight times.
|03-20-19||Wizards -2 v. Bulls||Top||120-126||Loss||-113||18 h 9 m||Show|
The youthful Bulls may not be fully focused for this home matchup as they just concluded three games on the West Coast with a 116-101 win against the Suns on Monday. Motivation shouldn't be a problem for the Wizards. They are in must-win mode trailing the Heat by 4 1/2 games for the final playoff spot in the East. The Wizards are a respectable 8-10 since trading Otto Porter to the Bulls for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. Porter has done well with the Bulls, but sat out Chicago's victory against Phoenix with a sore shoulder. Zach LaVine, the Bulls' best player, has been gutting things out with a thigh and knee injury. There are no guarantees Porter and LaVine play against the Wizards. Washington handled the Bulls, 134-125, at Chicago last month. The Wizards have covered seven of the past eight times when meeting a sub .500 opponent.
|03-20-19||Rockets v. Grizzlies +4||125-126||Win||100||18 h 7 m||Show|
Great spot for the Grizzlies here. Memphis is playing well at home covering nine of its last 11 at FedEx Forum and draw the Rockets carrying a heavy rating and in a look-ahead spot. This marks the Rockets' fourth game in six days and second in two days. Houston took care of Atlanta, 121-105, as 7 1/2-point road favorites on Tuesday. Following this game, the Rockets host the Spurs on Friday. Houston leads San Antonio by three games in the Southwest Division. A loss to the Spurs in that matchup obviously would tighten up the division. Houston already is holding out Eric Gordon against the Grizzlies for rest purposes. Perhaps the Rockets might even sit James Harden and Chris Paul, too. Unlike the Rockets, the Grizzlies are fully rested. They have been idle the past three days. Memphis hasn't lost by more than six points at home during the past 11 times.
|03-19-19||76ers v. Hornets +1||118-114||Loss||-105||15 h 21 m||Show|
This may be Charlotte's game of the year. The Hornets are two games out of the final playoff spot in the East and have triple revenge against the 76ers, losing three times to them this season by an average of only two points per game. The Hornets play much better at home with a 21-14 mark compared to 10-24 on the road. The 76ers have covered just 42 percent of their road games this season going 14-19. Philly is in a sandwich spot, too. The 76ers just upset the Bucks on the road in a nationally televised game this past Sunday and host the Celtics on Wednesday. So it's easy for the youthful 76ers to look past the Hornets. The 76ers already have said they will sit out Joel Embiid in order to rest him for the Celtics. Philly has failed to cover five of the past six times when meeting a below .500 opponent.
|03-18-19||Pistons v. Cavs +7||119-126||Win||100||7 h 15 m||Show|
Great win by the Pistons on Sunday against the Raptors. However, Detroit doesn't have much time to savor its victory. The Pistons begin a five-game road trip here. So not only is a letdown possible, but Detroit's concentration and focus may off, too. The Cavaliers should not lack for motivation as this is a triple-revenge spot for them. Just 16 days ago, the Pistons easily handled the Cavaliers, 129-93. That victory was achieved on the Cavaliers' home floor. Cleveland didn't have Kevin Love in that embarrassing loss. The key question is are the Cavaliers good enough to cover this mid-size spread? Detroit is clearly a tier higher than Cleveland. But the Pistons are far from elite. They have stumbled, too, when playing in Clevland covering just once in their last six trips. The Cavaliers are 7-4-1 ATS in their last 12 games. They are 2-0 during their last two home games beating the Magic by 14 points and Raptors by 25 points.
|03-17-19||Nets +6.5 v. Clippers||116-119||Win||100||9 h 13 m||Show|
The Nets are in stop-the-pain mode being 0-2 on their seven-game road trip with losses to the Thunder and Jazz. That used to not mean anything. It does now because the Nets aren't a bottom feeder anymore. They are a legitimate playoff team entering today just one-half game behind the Pistons for the sixth seed in the East.The Clippers are a level below the Thunder and Jazz. They don't have the stars Oklahoma City and Utah has. Brooklyn is not outclassed here. I would give the Nets an advantage in the backcourt with their trio of D'Angelo Rusell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. The Nets should have beaten the Clippers in the first meeting this season. They blew a 15-point lead in a 127-119 home loss. I'm not fond of the Nets as chalk, but I lke them as 'dogs because they are well-coached and can usually be counted on to play hard. They have covered six of their last eight road contests versus opponents with a winning home record.
|03-16-19||Suns v. Pelicans -2.5||138-136||Loss||-107||6 h 29 m||Show|
It's smaller, but there is still a gap between these two teams. New Orleans is better and at home. So this spread is short. Anthony Davis is expected to play He's backed by Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, a pair of underrated players who are playing at high levels. On the flip side, Suns star rookie center Deandre Ayton could be hitting the wall. He scored a career-low two points on 1-for-9 shooting against the Jazz two games ago. The Suns are playing without rest having lost to the Rockets, 108-102, on the road. New Orleans is 2-0 versus Phoenix this season winning 119-99 at home on Nov. 10 and 130-116 on the road March 1. The Suns have failed to cover in their last six games against the Pelicans.
|03-15-19||Knicks +13.5 v. Spurs||83-109||Loss||-109||12 h 34 m||Show|
Believe it or not, the Knicks buried the Spurs, 130-118, when the teams met at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 24. So the Knicks are capable. I fully realize, though, the Spurs are playing much better now and the Knicks rank at the lowest level. But I'm going to take advantage of what I perceived as an inflated line. New York has lost by more than 11 points once in its last 11 games and only once in their last 24 games have the Spurs won by more than 12 points and that was by 14 points. The Spurs are too savvy to go all out here knowing they host the Trail Blazers on Saturday and Warriors on Monday. That's two big look-ahead challenges. It wouldn't be shocking if Gregg Popovich rested a key starter here, or reduced the minutes of his starters.
|03-15-19||Lakers +11.5 v. Pistons||97-111||Loss||-110||8 h 38 m||Show|
The Pistons can't be laying double-digits. Not after back-to-back scoring games of 74 and 75 points. Reggie Jackson is questionable, too, with an ankle injury. The Lakers are going to show some pride with LeBron James playing. The Lakers also have several former Pistons and players from the Detroit area, who will be motivated for this game. LA handled the Pistons when the teams met earlier, 113-100, on Jan. 9. Kyle Kuzma scored 41 points in that game and did a good job defensively on Blake Griffin.
|03-14-19||Thunder v. Pacers UNDER 222||Top||106-108||Win||100||17 h 7 m||Show|
Indiana is the No. 1 ranked defensive team in the NBA permitting just 103.9 points a game. The Pacers have held six of their past 10 home foes to fewer than 99 points. One of those 10 opponents was the Bucks, who rank No. 2 in the league in scoring. The Pacers held Milwaukee to 106 points, 11 points under its average. Oklahoma City has held its last two opponents, the Nets and Jazz, to a combined average of 93 points. The Thunder has gone Under in seven of its last nine games. Don't expect Russell Westbrook and the Thunder to play at breakneck speed either as this is Oklahoma City's third game in four days and second in two nights. There is more intensity than normal for a nonconference matchup because of Paul George, who starred for the Pacers for seven seasons before getting traded to the Thunder in 2017. George was jeered loudly when he played at Indiana against the Pacers last season. Indiana won that matchup, 100-95. George hasn't been shooting well either since returning from a right shoulder injury. George has made just 34.4 percent of his field goal attempts in his last five games.
|03-13-19||Jazz -7.5 v. Suns||Top||114-97||Win||100||13 h 50 m||Show|
It happened on Sunday, but the Suns still could be celebrating their stunning 115-111 upset win of the Warriors. Phoenix was 17-point road 'dogs. It was the first time the Suns had defeated the Warriors in 19 games having lost 18 in a row to them. The Jazz have won the past four meetings against the Suns by an average of 24.4 points. They whipped Phoenix, 116-88, as 15-point home favories in the previous meeting on Feb. 6. But no way now do the Jazz take the Suns lightly. Utah is in stop-the-pain mode have losting three of four, including two in a row. Utah's defense has been there. But the Jazz's shooting has been off. They hit just 36.4 percent against the Thunder at home on Monday in losing, 98-89. That was the fewest points the Thunder had scored in 27 games. Unfortunately for the Jazz too many of their normally reliable scorers were cold in that game. Donovan Mitchell, who is approaching superstar status, Jae Crowder and Joe Ingles were a combined 15-for46 from the floor in that loss to Oklahoma City. Expect the Jazz to shoot much better against a Phoenix defense that ranks 28th. The Suns have yielded 116 or more points in 18 of its last 22 games. The Jazz are 15-5-1 ATS the past 21 times following a loss and have played better on the road lately covering four of their last five away matchups.
|03-13-19||Pistons v. Heat -120||74-108||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
Both teams are coming off bad losses. The Heat were routed at home, 125-104, by the Raptors this past Sunday. The Raptors, at least, are one of the elite teams in the East. The Pistons had their bubble burst losing, 103-75, on the road to the Nets Monday. The Pistons shot a season-worst 27.8 percent from the floor. I see the Heat bouncing back at home in this matchup. Not so for the Pistons. Detroit only has two reliable scorers, Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. The Pistons are facing the No. 3 ranked defense and carry a fatigue factor being in action for the third time in four days. The Heat can't afford home losses to mediocre Eastern Conference foes in their quest to make the postseason. Miami had won four in a row until falling to the Raptors. The Heat haven't played since that Sunday loss. I expect them to have a lot of energy and for Erik Spoelstra to have a solid defensive game plan.
|03-12-19||Blazers -2.5 v. Clippers||Top||125-104||Win||100||20 h 43 m||Show|
There are reasons why Portland opened a road favorite against the Clippers. The Trail Blazers are the superior team holding a huge starting backcourt edge with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and also have the best big man in Jusuf Nurkic. It's a strong spot, too, for Portland. The Trail Blazers last played on Saturday while the Clippers are in action for the third time in five days and are playing without rest. LA is in danger of letting down after consecutive impressive home victories versus the Thunder and Celtics. The Trail Blazers have been sharp on the road covering in six of their last seven away contests. Portland also is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings versus the Clippers, while covering in their last four visits against the Clippers.
|03-11-19||Thunder v. Jazz -3||98-89||Loss||-110||20 h 22 m||Show|
Want to know the coldest NBA team from a point spread perspective? Hint, it's not the Knicks. Congrats if you came up with Oklahoma City. The Thunder have covered just once in their last 10 games - and that one was in overtime. Now the Thunder enter their sixth straight different venue to take on the revenge-minded Jazz, who lost a wild 148-147 two-overtime game to Oklahoma City on Feb. 22 when Paul George hit a game-winner with less than a second left. The Jazz trail the Thunder by 2 1/2 games for the No. 4 playoff spot in the West. Utah has the superior defense and has the best inside player of the two teams with Rudy Gobert. Russell Westbrook and George are superstars, but Donovan Mitchell is rapidly reaching that elevated level. He is outscoring Westbrook on the season. The Jazz got caught peeking ahead to this matchup falling, 114-104, to Memphis as a 4 1/2-point road favorite on Friday. Look for Utah to be ready for this key home matchup. The Jazz have covered 76 percent of the past 22 times the following game after not covering in their previous game.
|03-10-19||Raptors -113 v. Heat||125-104||Win||100||4 h 57 m||Show|
Miami finally has gotten healthy, is home and riding a four-game win streak. So because of that we have around a pick'em game. That puts me into play backing the Raptors, a much superior team. Toronto hasn't been good as chalk, but it's certainly not too much to ask the Raptors just to win. Miami's four game win streak is against the the Nets, Hawks, Hornets and Cavaliers. Only the Nets have a winning record of those four teams at 35-33. The Raptors got their confidence back up by rolling past the Pelicans, 127-104, on Friday after a road overtime loss to the hot Pistons and a home loss to the elite Rockets. A significant development in that win against the Pelicans was newcomer Jeremy Lin producing 14 points for the Raptors. Toronto has fortified its rotation picking up Marc Gasol and Linn in recent moves. The Heat have played better on the road than at home where they are 15-18 SU, 14-19 ATS at American Airlines Arena. The Heat have failed to cover in seven of their last 10 home games.
|03-09-19||Suns v. Blazers -12.5||120-127||Loss||-102||20 h 43 m||Show|
Break up the Suns. Phoenix has won three in a row. That doesn't change the fact the Suns own the worst record in the Western Conference at 15-51 and would like to land the No. 1 overall draft pick for the second year in a row. Closer inspection shows the Suns' three-game win streak occurred at home with two of the victims being the free-falling Lakers and Knicks, owners of the worst record in the NBA at 13-52. The Suns did stun the Bucks, which has caught the Trail Blazers' attention and should prevent them from taking the Suns lightly. The Suns have lost 13 of their last 14 road games, going 5-9 ATS in these contests. Portland has defeated Phoenix seven times in a row with the last coming, 120-106, as 8 1/2-point road favorites on Jan. 24. So I consider this line fair and I love the spot for Portland. The Trail Blazers are off a 129-121 home overtime loss to the Thunder on Thursday. That was Portland's first home game since Feb. 13. The Trail Blazers had played seven consecutive road games. Now they are settled back at home where they have covered 69 percent of their past 55 games. The Trail Blazers don't play again until Tuesday when they begin a three-game road trip. So expect the Trail Blazers to be motivated for a kill spot win here with zero chance of overlooking the Suns based on the situation and Phoenix riding a three-game win streak.
|03-08-19||Thunder v. Clippers -120||Top||110-118||Win||100||20 h 53 m||Show|
This is the monster of all situational edges. The Clippers last played on Monday. They are going for a playoff spot and are rested and ready.
The Thunder are playing for the fifth time in seven days and just had to play a late night overtime road game against the Trail Blazers on Thursday in which they won. Until beating Portland, the Thunder had failed to cover in their last eight games.
|03-08-19||Nuggets v. Warriors -6||105-122||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
When the Warriors are at full strength and really want a game, no opponent can beat them. That's the way I see this matchup. Klay Thompson is back for Golden State after missing the past two games with a sore knee. Golden State is home, has been idle since Tuesday and its next game is against the Suns at home on Sunday, which should be an easy victory. So the Warriors should be fully focused. The Warriors lead the Nuggets by only one game for the No. 1 seed in the West. Golden State also has had two full days to stew about its last game, an embarrassing 33-point home loss to the Celtics. Denver is for real this season. However, the Nuggets do not play that well on the road. They are 16-15 SU, 13-18 ATS on the season in away games. They are 4-7 ATS during their last 11 away matchups with straight-up losses to the Suns and Nets during this span.
|03-07-19||Thunder v. Blazers UNDER 233||129-121||Loss||-106||13 h 21 m||Show|
Expect the Thunder to play better defense after they surrendered 131 points to the Timberwolves in their last game two days ago. Paul George is back for Oklahoma City. That is a double-edge sword for the total as George is strong on both ends of the court. He still could be rusty, though, after shooting just 8-of-25 versus Minnesota in his first game back from a three-game absence caused by a shoulder injury. The Thunder have gone Under the past five times when giving up triple digits in their past game. Portland is home for the first time since finishing a seven-game road trip with an embarrassing 120-111 loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday. The Trail Blazers' intensity should be up, too, especially with triple revenge motivation. The Under has cashed in four the past five meetings between the two teams.
|03-06-19||Jazz -4 v. Pelicans||114-104||Win||100||17 h 15 m||Show|
Short revenge situations don't happen too often in the NBA. They are even more rare when the better team gets upset at home by blowing a huge lead. But that's what occurred to the Jazz this past Monday. They blew a 17-point lead and fell, 115-112, to New Orleans. Now Utah gets a rematch with New Orleans just two days later. Expect a much different result. The Jazz are 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 games after losing their previous game. They are playing for playoff seeding. The Pelicans are playing for the future. They are returning home fat and happy after four consecutive road games, having won the last three. Donovan Mitchell is reaching superstar status. He had an off-game against the Pelicans missing 16 of 24 shots from the floor and committing six turnovers. He has scored 20 or more points in 23 of his last 25 games. Rudy Gobert is the dominant big man with Anthony Davis playing less than half the game these days. Gobert had 19 points and 19 rebounds in the loss to the Pelicans. Davis played just 22 minutes. The Jazz have dominated the Pelicans in New Orleans going 9-1-1 ATS the last 11 times, including winning the past five times.
|03-05-19||Thunder +2.5 v. Wolves||120-131||Loss||-110||8 h 8 m||Show|
It's a huge plus if Paul George can play for Oklahoma City. He has missed the past three games due to shouder soreness. But I like the Thunder as a 'dog even if George doesn't play. The Thunder still are the better team and have double revenge for a pair of close losses to the Timberwolves. Oklahoma City got out of its funk - a four-game losing streak - by coming from 13 points down to beat the Grizzlies, 99-95, at home. The Thunder have three tough road games following this game - Trail Blazers, Clippers and Jazz. So focus shouldn't be an issue. Minnesota has dropped three in a row. I'm far from sold on Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders.
|03-04-19||Hawks v. Heat -8||113-114||Loss||-110||9 h 8 m||Show|
The Hawks are headed to the lottery. So there aren't many letdown spots for them. This is one of those rare situations. The Hawks lost to the Bulls in a crazy four overtime game on Friday. Atlanta got its revenge on Sunday defeating the Bulls, 123-118, in Chicago. It was a chippy game with a lot of intensity. Atlanta achieved that victory without its leading scorer and rebounder, John Collins. He is ill and not expected to play today. The Hawks also are down two other big men with center Miles Plumlee out with a knee injury and power forward Omari Spellman sidelined with an ankle injury. The Hawks are 2-7 ATS following a victory. They also are 2-8 ATS when playing without rest. Both of those angles are at work here. The key, though, is trusting the Heat. Miami has been disappointing this season. Right now the Heat are outside of a playoff spot. The Heat have not played well at home. So can they be trusted? I believe they can for this matchup. The Heat are coming off a 117-88 home victory against the Nets from Saturday. That was Miami's most lopsided victory of the season and should provide some confidence. The Heat have added incentive, too, being in triple revenge mode against the Hawks. Yep, the Hawks are 3-0 versus the Heat this season. If Miami fails to make the postseason it could point to its multiple losses to the lowly Hawks, who have the fifth-worst record in the NBA at 22-42. I'm not expecting Goran Dragic to play. There is a possibility Hassan Whiteside returns to Miami's lineup. Both are game-time decisions. I'm fine laying points if neither plays. The Heat didn't need them when they destroyed the Nets by 29 points. Power forward Kelly Olynyk stepped up scoring 25 points versus the Nets and Bam Adebayo is an underrated backup center.
|03-03-19||Magic -6.5 v. Cavs||93-107||Loss||-100||8 h 33 m||Show|
Often it's not who you play, but when you play them. That's the case in this matchup. Orlando upset Golden State on Thursday and then came back to knock off the Pacers on the road Saturday night. Those victories moved the Magic into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This is really heady stuff for Orlando. The Magic have another big game on Tuesday facing the 76ers on the road. But first comes this away matchup versus the lowly Cavaliers. I don't see this being an easy game for Orlando, which is in a major letdown spot. The Cavaliers has a winning record in its last seven games sparked by the return of Kevin Love. Cleveland rested Love on Saturday and were embarrassed at home, 129-93, by the Pistons. Love is slated to play here and the Cavaliers won't lack motivation after laying an egg at home last night. The Cavaliers are 5-1 ATS following a non-cover and have covered 10 of the past 15 times when playing without rest. The first meeting between the teams was very close with the Magic coming from five points down in the final 40 seconds to pull out a 102-100 home win back in November. Evan Fournier hit a jumper at the buzzer to win the game.
|03-02-19||Bucks v. Jazz -3.5||111-115||Win||100||10 h 16 m||Show|
Surprised by this line considering the Bucks have won seven in a row and 19 of their last 21? Don't be. This is the mother of bad spots for Milwaukee. The Bucks are coming off a Friday night victory against the Lakers in which they had to rally late to win in a game that was far closer than the 131-120 final indicates. This marks Milwaukee's fourth road game in six days and this one is in high altiutde. The Bucks have a horrible history, too, playing at Salt Lake City. They are 1-4 ATS the past five times they've visited and haven't won there since John Stockton and Karl Malone roamed the court. Utah is playing well, too. The Jazz are 17-6 in their last 23 games and have won three in a row, including defeating the Nuggets, 111-104, on the road Thursday.
|03-02-19||Warriors -5 v. 76ers||120-117||Loss||-103||7 h 45 m||Show|
Enough is enough. The Warriors aren't going to lose three in a row after getting upset by the Magic and Heat.The 76ers are not in the Warriors' class. They aren't close to their level without Joel Embiid, who remains out. The 76ers also will be without their other rim protector with center Boban Marjanovic out, too. Golden State is in stop-the-pain mode and also has revenge for a home loss suffered to the Warriors. The Warriors will be missing Klay Thompson, but get Andre Iguodala back in the lineup.
|03-01-19||Blazers v. Raptors -5||Top||117-119||Loss||-109||19 h 23 m||Show|
Kudos to Portland on a great road trip - so far. The Trail Blazers are 4-0 on their road swing following a 99-92 victory against the struggling Celtics on Wednesday.So you can't blame the Trail Blazers if they feel fat and happy right now. Now, though, Portland draws Toronto. The Raptors went 8-1 in February concluding the month with an impressive 118-95 home blowout victory against the Celtics on Tuesday. Toronto is 26-6 at home. The Raptors draw the Trail Blazers playing in their fifth road game in nine days. So the Trail Blazers have a fatigue factor working against them, which isn't helped by swingman Evan Turner and center Enes Kanter not available to play. Portland has lost in its last three visits to Toronto going 1-2 ATS with its losing margin being 11 points. The Raptors have added motivation for this nonconference matchup. They lost 128-122 to Portland on Dec. 14. Point guard Kyle Lowery missed that game.
|02-28-19||Jazz v. Nuggets -6||111-104||Loss||-109||21 h 34 m||Show|
Denver owns the best home record in the NBA at 27-4. The Nuggets have covered 71 percent of those games, too, going 22-9 ATS at Pepsi Center. Next up for Denver is Utah, a team it has dominated at home. The Nuggets are 5-0 SU and ATS the past five times hosting the Jazz, including whipping them, 103-88, at Pepsi Center this season. The Jazz are weak on the road at 14-16. The Nuggets have a strong frontcourt with Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. Their backcourt is solid with lots of depth due to the return of Gary Harris and Isaiah Thomas. The Nuggets have more scoring weapons and their defense has improved enough to be on par with Utah's. Each team gives up 106 points a game. The Jazz have to play a second straight night in high altitude while the Nuggets were idle Wednesday.
|02-27-19||Pacers -110 v. Mavs||101-110||Loss||-110||18 h 3 m||Show|
Indiana is 19 games above .500. Dallas is a bottom feeder now after trading away four of its five best players. The Mavericks are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games, losing all of those matchups by nine or more points. So I find this number very cheap. The Pacers don't have their leading scorer, Victor Oladipo. But they have proven they can win without him going 8-2 in their last 10 games. Myles Turner has returned from a hip injury. He should be less rusty since this will be his second game back. The Pacers also have had recently acquired Wesley Matthews for the past five games. Matthews is averaging 17.3 points in his last three games. Matthews was one of the Mavericks' five best players this season until getting dealt. He knows Dallas well having been with the Mavericks for the previous four seasons. The Pacers are coming off a frustrating four-point road loss against the Pistons. Indiana has covered 67 percent of the time following a loss during the past 52 instances. The Pacers also have defeated the Mavericks in six of the past nine meetings, including 111-95 as 7 1/2-point home favorites on Jan. 19.
|02-27-19||Bulls v. Grizzlies -3||109-107||Loss||-109||18 h 32 m||Show|
Even in a down season such as this one the Grizzlies have two things going for them: Strong defense and a noticeable home-court advantage. The Grizzlies give up the second-fewest points in the NBA. They also have covered in six of their last seven games at FedEx Forum. Memphis has plenty of motivation for this matchup. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies, 122-110, in Chicago two weeks ago in the final game before the All-Star break. Otto Porter was huge for Chicago in that win scoring a career-high 37 points. Porter is questionable for this game because of a leg injury. The Bulls also could be minus point guard Kris Dunn due to a migraine. Both players missed the Bulls' last game. Mike Conley didn't play well against the Bulls. He's having a strong season, though, and has been hot scoring 25 or more points in five of his last nine games. Conley gives the Grizzlies a key backcourt edge especially if Dunn is out. The Grizzlies have an underrated frontcourt with recently acquired Jonas Valanciunas and former Bull Joakim Noah, who has produced three consecutive double-doubles, averaging 17.3 points and 10 rebounds in those games. Noah should be psyched to meet his former team. The Grizzlies give up seven fewer points per game than the Bulls. They are home. Have a backcourt edge and short revenge motivation.
|02-26-19||Magic -6.5 v. Knicks||Top||103-108||Loss||-110||18 h 26 m||Show|
The Knicks pleased Spike Lee by upsetting the Spurs on Sunday halting an 18-game home losing streak. But they didn't necessarily please New York management, which is angling for their team to get the No. 1 overall draft pick. I question the Knicks' motivation especially after putting a stop to the worst home losing streak in franchise history. New York has failed to cover the past five times after covering a spread. The Knicks also are 1-8 ATS the last nine times when playing on one day's rest. Orlando usually is in tank mode, too, at this stage of the season. Not this year, though. They are just one-half game behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the East. The Magic have achieved this by winning their past five road matchups, including knocking off the Raptors, 113-98, this past Sunday. That pushed the Magic's record to 8-2 in their last 10 games. Unlike the Knicks, the Magic are 7-0 ATS when playing on one day's rest. They have covered five of the last six times against the Knicks, including burying them by 26 points during their last visit to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 11. It's an added plus for the Magic if Knicks center DeAndre Jordan has to miss another game with an ankle injury.
|02-25-19||Mavs v. Clippers -3.5||112-121||Win||100||6 h 58 m||Show|
I want the Clippers going for me here and the price is right to back them. LA is off a 123-96 road loss to the Nuggets on Sunday. Dallas has become a bottom feeder after dealing four of its five best players at the trade deadline. That signalled the Mavericks clear intent to play for next season. The Mavericks are 0-4 in their last four games with all the losses coming by double-digits. Luka Doncic is back in action for Dallas after missing the past two games with a sore ankle. Doncic could be rusty, though.
|02-25-19||76ers +1.5 v. Pelicans||Top||111-110||Win||100||22 h 17 m||Show|
No Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis probably plays. Know this going in. But don't be intimidated by it. The 76ers have had several games to adjust to Embiid's absence. They still have other stars - Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons - and won't lack for motivation coming off a 130-115 embarrassing home loss to Portland on Saturday. Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS the past five times coming off a defeat. The Pelicans are not going to make the playoffs. Davis wants out, the team ranks 27th defensively, morale is shot and they don't have much of a home-court advantage anymore. New Orleans is a little fat and happy, too, off a 128-115 home win against the Lakers on Saturday in which Davis didn't play. Even when Davis suits up he doesn't play many minutes anymore because of his trade request issued last month. The Pelicans know Davis won't be with them next season so they don't use him that much. The Pelicans are 3-12-1 ATS following a victory. They are just 3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS in their past eight home contests even with that victory against the Lakers. The 76ers have become more respectable on the road winning and covering four of their last six away matchups. This includes a nine-point victory against Golden State.
|02-25-19||Spurs +2 v. Nets||85-101||Loss||-113||9 h 20 m||Show|
I see the Spurs bouncing back on the final game of their hellish Rodeo road trip after am embarrassing 130-118 loss to the Knicks Sunday. Fatigue isn't a problem for the Spurs following the long All-Star break and they get Derrick White back for this game to help the point guard situation. The Nets are trying to work in Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell back together. They are not in sync yet. The Nets are trying to work in Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell back together. They are not in sync yet. The Nets are minus 11 in their first two games that Russell and LeVert have been on the court together since LeVert returned from injury.The Spurs have won the last seven meetings in the series and are 15-3 ATS in their last 18 visits to Brooklyn.
|02-25-19||Pacers +3 v. Pistons||109-113||Loss||-112||21 h 28 m||Show|
I am often attracted to the better team getting points. That's the case here. Indiana is 8-1 in its last nine games. The Pacers surrender nearly five fewer points per game than the Pistons. Indiana has covered in eight of its last 11 games versus Detroit, including smashing the Pistons, 125-88, in its first meeting this season on Dec. 28.Detroit is playing well, too. The Pistons are 6-1 in their last seven games. This spurt has elevated them into a playoff spot right now. So they actually could have a letdown after burying the Heat, 119-96, on the road Saturday. Among the Pistons' past six wins were two victories against the Knicks, one versus the Hawks and one against Miami. The Pistons don't step up well. They are 3-9-1 ATS the past 13 instances when facing above .500 opponents.
|02-24-19||Magic +9.5 v. Raptors||Top||113-98||Win||100||13 h 20 m||Show|
Unlike the past few years, the Magic come out of All-Star break very live to make the playoffs. Orlando is playing well going 7-2 SU and ATS in its last nine games. The Raptors do not have a good history in this type of spot and have failed to cover in two previous meetings versus the Magic, winning 93-91 as seven-point road favorites on Nov. 20 and losing 116-87 as five-point road favorites on Dec. 28. Nikola Vucevic had 30 points and 19 rebounds in that Orlando victory. Vucevic gives the Magic the best big man on the floor. Toronto may not have its full intensity coming off an emotional, 120-117, home win against Kawhi Leonard's former team the Spurs this past Friday. The Raptors have failed to cover 11 of the last 16 times when meeting a foe with a sub .500 record. Toronto also is 10-20 ATS the last 30 times when favored. Orlando has covered in six of its past seven road contests.
|02-23-19||Kings +7 v. Thunder||119-116||Win||100||18 h 15 m||Show|
First off, Sacramento is one of the most improved teams in the league. The Kings have played 58 games - 70 percent of the season - and are above .500 just two games out of a playoff spot. The Kings have emerging young talent and they bolstered that at the trade deadline picking up solid pros Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks and Corey Brewer. So the Kings are capable of hanging in against Oklahoma City. But Sacramento also catches a break because the Thunder just nipped Utah, 148-147, in double overtime at home in a game that concluded late Friday night. The Thunder had four of their starters log more than 40 minutes with Paul George playing 50 minutes. The Thunder won in dramatic style on a basket by George with less than a second left. Sacramento has a strong recent history versus Oklahoma City covering in six of the last seven meetings. The Kings also are 6-1 ATS the past seven times playing in Oklahoma City.
|02-22-19||Nuggets -3.5 v. Mavs||114-104||Win||100||16 h 5 m||Show|
Denver is just about at full strength now with the return of underrated shooting guard Gary Harris. The Nuggets hold a solid frontline edge, too, on the Mavericks, who no longer have DeAndre Jordan to protect the rim against emerging superstar Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. The Mavericks got much worst at the trade deadline. In an effort to set themselves up for the future, the Mavericks dealt four of their five best players. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is left with star rookie point guard Luka Doncic and a motley collection of role players whose spots in the rotation haven't been fully determined. The Nuggets own the second-best record in the Western Conference. They are clearly the superior team and shouldn't lack for motivation coming off break and with three Western Conference playoff teams looming as their next three opponents. This is a game the Nuggets can't afford to get tripped up on.
|02-22-19||Clippers -116 v. Grizzlies||112-106||Win||100||16 h 50 m||Show|
The Clippers would be in the playoffs if the season ended now. They are better than the Grizzlies and can't afford to take a loss here. The Clippers have a strong track record in this instance going 15-5-1 ATS in their past 21 road games versus an opponent with a losing home mark and being 17-5-1 ATS the past 23 times when playing on three or more days rest. Memphis, by comparison, is 1-5 ATS the last six times when in action after three or more days rest and has failed to cover 17 of the last 25 times when taking on an opponent with a winning record. The Grizzlies are in clear rebuild mode after dealing team cornerstone Marc Gasol at the trade deadline.
|02-22-19||Pelicans v. Pacers UNDER 222.5||111-126||Loss||-110||3 h 53 m||Show|
The Pacers are the No. 1 defensive team in the NBA yielding just 102.9 points a game. The Pelicans are not good defensively, but both teams figure to be rusty coming off break. In Thursday's action, five of the six games went Under the total, all by quite a bit. The Pacers are averaging only 100.3 points in their last three games. The Pelicans have cut back the minutes of star big man Anthony Davis, which hurts their offense.
|02-21-19||Rockets -2.5 v. Lakers||Top||106-111||Loss||-109||20 h 11 m||Show|
James Harden, Chris Paul and returning Clint Capela trump LeBron James. That's the bottom line here. The Rockets are back to full health. Paul is in shape and playing well again. Capela is expected to play after missing the last 15 games with a thumb injury. Harden is the MVP of the league scoring 30 or more points in 31 consecutive games. Houston is 21-10 in those games. While the Rockets are among the five best teams in the NBA, the Lakers may not even make the playoffs. They are 3-8 in their last 11 games. James has been back for five games since missing 17 games due to a groin injury. But Lonzo Ball remains out with an ankle injury. The Lakers learned one thing during James' absence - Luke Walton can't coach. Houston is 3-0 versus the Lakers this season after going 4-0 against LA last season. The Rockets also have covered in eight of their past 10 road games versus the Lakers.
|02-21-19||Blazers -2.5 v. Nets||113-99||Win||100||3 h 20 m||Show|
Now that word has come out that Damian Lillard will play, I'm going to get behind the Trail Blazers. Portland is the better team, plays in the better conference and upgraded its frontcourt recently picking up Enes Kanter, who is quite eager to display his talents having endured a difficult time in New York with the Knicks. Portland is 9-1 ATS following a layoff of three or more days.
|02-17-19||Team LeBron v. Team Giannis UNDER 312||Top||178-164||Loss||-105||32 h 10 m||Show|
The NBA switched their All-Star Game format last season with two superstars picking the teams. Team LeBron James beat Team Stephen Curry, 148-145, last season. This new format has made for more of a competitive game where there is a sliver of defense, especially compared to previous games, as the players seem to care more. The combined total of last year's game was 293. So I see this year's contest also coming under the posted total. There's a chance LeBron's team could be without Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis. Those are two of the top offensive players in the league.
|02-14-19||Thunder -3.5 v. Pelicans||Top||122-131||Loss||-120||18 h 1 m||Show|
A disinterested superstar who scored three points in his last game. A likely soon-to-be-gone head coach. 27th-rated defense. Low morale. Add it all up and you have the New Orleans Pelicans, losers of 10 of their last 14 games. I don't see the Pelicans regrouping for this matchup, their final one before the week-long All-Star break. Anthony Davis, who scored all of three points in 24 minutes during the Pelicans' excruiating painful-to-watch, 118-88, home loss to the Magic on Tuesday, wants out of New Orleans. It's a given the Pelicans are going to deal him. So Davis isn't putting out and the Pelicans are reducing his minutes not wanting to risk him getting injured. Of course this takes a toll on the Pelicans' chemistry. Alvin Gentry isn't going to get through this as the Pelicans are close to falling apart. A 30-point home loss to the 26-32 Magic doesn't bode well for New Orleans. Neither does a 99-90 road loss to the Grizzlies in their previous game. Oklahoma City is an elite team that is a sizzling 11-1 SU, 10-2 ATS. Russell Westbrook is going for his 11th consecutive triple-double and Paul George has been on fire, too, averaging 38.8 points in his last eight games. New Orleans' bottom-four defense isn't going to be able to contain them. The Thunder shouldn't be letting up either since they won't be playing again for another eight days. New Orleans hasn't had much of a home-court edge either losing six of its last seven home games while the Thunder have covered five of their last six away contests.
|02-13-19||Grizzlies v. Bulls OVER 203||110-122||Win||100||18 h 59 m||Show|
Chicago had reached triple-digits in 18 straight games until putting up 99 points against the Bucks this past Monday in their last game. The Bulls have picked up their pace since acquiring Otto Porter at the trade deadline. Porter, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen are all good offensive players. Discount the 99-point performance against the Bucks and the Bulls are averaging 122 points in their last four games. Memphis is limited offensively, but should play loose with this being its final game before All-Star break. The Grizzlies are breaking in new players and scored 107 points on Tuesday versus the Spurs. They accomplished that without Mike Conley, their best player. Conley may play here after missing the Spurs game due to illness. The Bulls rank 18th in scoring defense and 21st in defensive field goal percentage. Chicago is giving up an average of 120.4 points in its last five games. So it's not like Memphis is going against some stellar defensive club.
|02-13-19||Bucks -3.5 v. Pacers||Top||106-97||Win||100||17 h 0 m||Show|
Indiana lost its first four games after its leading scorer and best player, Victor Oladipo, was lost for the season with a knee injury. Since then the Pacers have rebounded to win their next six games. The teams they beat are the Heat, Pelicans, Lakers, Clippers, Cavaliers and Hornets. Of that bunch only the Clippers are above .500. I don't see the Pacers stepping up in class now that they have to play the Bucks, who have the best record in the NBA and are 13-2 in their last 15 games. The Bucks are "A" level. The Pacers are "C" level. So this point spread is too short in my view. I don't see the Bucks going into All-Star break with a loss. They should have all hands on deck, including superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. He played on Monday when the Bucks whipped the Bulls, 112-99, in Chicago. There are a number of impressive trends pointing in the Bucks' direction such as being 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 road games, 16-5 ATS when playing on one day's rest and 18-6-2 ATS during their past 26 Eastern Conference games.
|02-13-19||Nets -6.5 v. Cavs||148-139||Win||100||17 h 59 m||Show|
In each team's final game before the week long All-Star break, I trust Kenny Atkinson and the Nets to put forth a strong effort. I do not hold such faith for the Cavaliers especially after the Cavaliers halted a four-game losing skid with a 107-104 home victory against the Knicks. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Suns as the three worst teams in the NBA. Brooklyn is in stop-the-pain mode losing five of its past six games. The Nets are much deeper than the Cavaliers with better young talent. They have the best player on the court in emerging star D'Angelo Russell. The Nets nearly upset the Raptors on the road in their last game, losing 127-125 on Monday. The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last six road contests, while the Cavaliers are 2-7 ATS after covering in their previous game. The Nets also have added incentive - revenge. They lost 99-97 at home to the Cavaliers in December.
|02-12-19||Spurs -3.5 v. Grizzlies||Top||108-107||Loss||-115||18 h 45 m||Show|
This is the Spurs' final game before All-Star break. They won't play again for 10 days. So you know Gregg Popovich will pull out all the stops to prevent San Antonio from losing a season-high fifth straight game. Lack of defense has really hurt the Spurs on their current road swing. But so has the quality of opposition. San Antonio has faced the Jazz, Trail Blazers and Warriors during its past three games, all on the road. Memphis is 5-18 in its last 23 games, 8-15 ATS. The Grizzlies also are the lowest-scoring team in the league. Despite their losing streak, the Spurs still have covered 69 percent of their last 14 games following a defeat. Memphis is 7-17 ATS the last 24 times it has faced an above .500 opponent. The Grizzlies have won three of their last four. Those wins, however, came against the Knicks, Timberwolves and Pelicans. Those are three bad teams with a combined record of 61-108. The Grizzlies are a worse team, too, after trading Marc Gasol.
|02-11-19||Clippers v. Wolves UNDER 230||120-130||Loss||-110||8 h 56 m||Show|
The Clippers are a top-eight scoring team. But they are an Under team on the road going below the total in 10 of their past 12 away matchups. LA is breaking in four new players into its rotation. Several are defensive players first. So there is an adjustment period. This also marks the Clippers' sixth straight road game and fourth game in six days. So there also is a fatigue factor working against the Clippers. That means they are likely to slow things down. The Timberwolves should play with a great deal of intensity having lost four in a row and trailing the Clippers by five games for the final playoff spot in the West. Minnesota is extremely banged-up at point guard with all four of its point guards not 100 percent. Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are likely to play, but they have a rust factor. Their ballhandling should be fine, but their shooting could be off.