|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|06-05-19||Raptors v. Warriors UNDER 213.5||Top||123-109||Loss||-108||31 h 55 m||Show|
10* Under Raptors/Warriors (9:05 ET): Game 1 saw me cash my *10* Game of the Year (on Toronto), now here's my top total. Given how I played Game 2 (won w/ the Under), it should come as little shock how I'm playing this one. With an injury-riddled Golden State team facing a Toronto side that has played outstanding defense all throughout the playoffs, we should be in for a low-scoring game here in Oakland on Wednesday night. Raptors' games have been far lower-scoring in the playoffs than in the regular season, averaging just about 206 PPG. Take the Under here.
The big story heading into Game 3 is on the injury front for Golden State. It's still not known when Kevin Durant is going to return. The Warriors have done pretty well w/o their leading scorer, going 6-1 SU dating back to the close out game of the Houston series. But now they've lost Kevon Looney for the rest of the series and a hamstring is threatening to keep Klay Thompson out for Wednesday. If it doesn't keep Thompson out, it will at least limit him. It'll likely be Quinn Cook absorbing more minutes now and while he made 3 of 5 three-point attempts in Game 2, I don't see a repeat of that in Game 3.
Toronto held its previous three opponents (Orlando, Philadelphia & Milwaukee) to 99.6 PPG on 41.7% shooting. The Bucks were the only team to score more than Golden State in the regular season and they were held to 102 pts or less in regulation the last four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Warriors have been held to "just" 109 pts each of the first two games. Look for Toronto to go more "box-and-one" on defense for Game 3, a zone approach that worked well near the end of Game 2. The Warriors missed their first eight shot attempts once the Raptors switched. The Under is 13-6 in Golden State's last 19 home games and 6-2 when Toronto is off an ATS loss. 10* Under Raptors/Warriors
|06-02-19||Warriors v. Raptors UNDER 215||Top||109-104||Win||100||28 h 16 m||Show|
10* Under Warriors/Raptors (8:05 ET): I said it before Game 1 and I'll double down on it here. Toronto has played outstanding defense in the playoffs. They held the previous three opponents (Orlando, Philadelphia & Milwaukee) to 99.6 PPG on 41.7% shooting. At home is where the numbers get real impressive, especially if you take away the fact that Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a double overtime game (where Toronto barely trailed). Do that and the Raptors are giving up just under 96 PPG in regulation here at the Air Canada Centre.
The Bucks were the only team to outscore the Warriors in the regular season. The Raptors held them to 102 points or less in regulation each of the last four games in that series. Then Golden State was obviously held under its season average in Game 1. The Warriors clearly miss Kevin Durant, although before Thursday they hadn't lost since he went down to injury. In the last eight games, the Dubs surpassed their season average (in PPG) only twice and it was barely. They shot just 43.6 % from the field in Game 1. The Under is 7-3 the L10 times GSW has played on exactly two days rest.
Toronto shot 50% in Game 1. I think it's going to be tough for them to match that percentage again. Pascal Siakam scored a career-high 32 points on 14/17 shooting. That's DEFINITELY not happening again. The Under is a perfect 6-0 the L6 times the Raptors have played on exactly two days rest. Game 1 was just the third time in the playoffs that the Raptors shot better than 50% from the floor. I think you can tell which way I'm going here. Look for Game 2 to be lower-scoring than Game 1. Take the Under. 10* Under Warriors/Raptors
|05-25-19||Bucks v. Raptors OVER 212||Top||94-100||Loss||-100||10 h 18 m||Show|
8* Over Bucks/Raptors (8:35 ET): Though the Over cashed in Games 2-4, the Under was most certainly the correct call for Game 3 and would have cashed if not for TWO overtime periods. I was on the Under for Game 5 and that cashed easily w/ the Raptors pulling off a surprising 105-99 upset as 7-point road underdogs. One could make the case that - with the exception of Game 2 - Toronto has outplayed Milwaukee in this series as they led most of the way in Game 1 before relinquishing the lead (and cover) late. As they look to close the Bucks out tonight, I'm taking the Over.
There's a big difference in tonight's O/U line when you compare it to the closing number for Game 3, which is when it was at its series high point of 222. Yes, it took double overtime to send that one Over (game was tied at 96 at the end of regulation). But to me, tonight's O/U line looks like an over-adjustment by the linesmakers. It's at a series low point, basically a double digit difference from Game 3. That screams value to me. Toronto shot only 36.9% from the floor in the Game 5 upset and figures to be a lot sharper offensively tonight at home.
The Raptors' reserves were huge in Game 4, scoring 48 points in a 120-102 victory. I predicted that number would go down for Game 5 in Milwaukee and it did (down to 35 from the same three players). Bench play almost always improves for the home team and I expect that to be the case again here for Toronto. Meanwhile, we cannot discount a Bucks team that led the league in scoring during the regular season. The Over is 8-1 in their last nine road games and 6-2 their last eight visits to Toronto (2-0 in this series). 8* Over Bucks/Raptors
|05-23-19||Raptors v. Bucks UNDER 216.5||Top||105-99||Win||100||13 h 26 m||Show|
10* Under Raptors/Bucks (8:35 ET): Toronto has evened this series up as they won 120-102 Tuesday night, thereby reducing the Eastern Conference Finals to a best of three affair. Unfortunately for them, only one of the games (Game 6) will take place "North of the Border" and tonight's return to Milwaukee figures to be more of a "reality check," at least offensively. With Kawhi Leonard hurting, the Raptors' bench turned in a tremendous performance in Game 4, one that won't likely be repeated anytime soon. As you likely now, bench points tend not to "travel well." Take the Under here.
While Game 4 did just end up sneaking Over (by 6 pts), it was Game 3 that was the bigger "heartbreak" for Under bettors. That's because that game, tied 96-96 at the end of regulation, went to DOUBLE overtime. The game was still Under even after the 1st OT. It's been three straight Overs in the series going back to Game 2, but I don't see the same kind of shooting we saw from Milwaukee in Game 2 - or Toronto in Game 4 for that matter - taking place here. These are two very good defensive teams and with the stakes now raised, look for the pressure to be turned up at that end of the floor.
Milwaukee led the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season. Prior to Game 4, they had allowed a FG% above 43.2 only once in the playoffs (Game 1 vs. Boston), which is very impressive. For the entire playoffs, opponents are just barely shooting above 40% from the field against the Bucks. Their points allowed predictably drops here at home. Toronto is allowing just under 100 PPG (99.9) for the playoffs, on 41.2% shooting. The Under is 7-2-1 their L10 road games. I love the Under here. 10* Under Raptors/Bucks
|05-21-19||Bucks v. Raptors UNDER 216.5||Top||102-120||Loss||-110||12 h 14 m||Show|
10* Under Bucks/Raptors (8:35 ET): My condolences to anyone who may have had the Under in Game 3, which was an all-time bad beat as it took not one, but TWO overtimes to send the game Over the total. Toronto was definitely happy w/ the result, however, as the 118-112 win enabled them to "get back" in the series. Considering the game was 96-96 at the end of regulation (both teams shot below 40% from the field), coming back here w/ the Under seems pretty logical, especially given the kind of defense we've seen from both teams throughout the playoffs.
Had it not been for OT, Game 3 would have marked the seventh straight home game that Toronto held its opponent below 100 pts. That's a pretty remarkable accomplishment in the modern NBA. For the entire playoffs, they are holding teams to 99.8 points per game on 41.2% shooting. At home, the PPG allowed average drops to 95.3. The most pts they've allowed in regulation for any home playoff game is 104. Coming into this series, they'd allowed 100+ pts in just 3 of 12 playoff games and two of those were on the road. The Under is 5-2 the L7 times the Raptors have been off a game where they allowed 100+ pts.
Milwaukee led the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season and has been just as excellent as Toronto has on that end of the floor in the playoffs. Only one time (Game 1 vs. Boston) have the Bucks allowed a FG% above 43.2. That's pretty incredible. For the entire playoffs, opponents are shooting below 40% from the field! Toronto's last five games have seen them shoot below 40% overall and at the same time Milwaukee has finished below 40% in two of the three games in this series. The Under is 13-5 the L18 times the Bucks have been off a SU loss. 10* Under Bucks/Raptors
|05-20-19||Warriors v. Blazers OVER 219.5||Top||119-117||Win||100||14 h 42 m||Show|
8* Over Warriors/Blazers (9:05 ET): It's all come down to this for the Blazers, who must win tonight or their season is over. Obviously, their chances of coming back to take this series currently rank somewhere between slim and none. But considering they've led each of the last two games by double digits at halftime, I don't see them simply "rolling over" here. They average 118 PPG at home for the year and scored 66 in the first half here in Game 3. A second consecutive 2nd half meltdown cost them the cash (and an Over), but I definitely see them scoring more points tonight.
The problem for Portland is that Golden State can score too. Despite not having Kevin Durant, the Warriors have scored at least 110 pts in the last four games, averaging 114.5 PPG overall. They average 117.6 PPG for the season. As you might expect, Steph Curry has picked up the slack in Durant's absence, scoring at least 33 points in all four games. That's the luxury Golden State has with five All Stars and two former MVP's on its roster. The Over is 11-3 in their L14 trips to Portland and 20-9 their L29 overall meetings w/ the Blazers.
Remember what I wrote in my Game 2 analysis about the total and the O/U line relative to the regular season. None of the four regular season matchups between the Warriors & Blazers saw fewer than 219 total pts scored. For the final regular season meeting, the O/U line was set at 235.5 points and the game still went Over! Portland should shoot better than 40% from the field tonight (that was their FG% in Gm 3) and three-point shooting in particular should improve. The Over is also 4-0 the L4 times the Blazers have been off an ATS loss. 8* Over Warriors/Blazers
|05-16-19||Blazers v. Warriors OVER 217.5||Top||111-114||Win||100||13 h 7 m||Show|
10* Over Blazers/Warriors (9:05 ET): I don't think there's any denying that Portland played a poor Game 1, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Perhaps it had something to do w/ the fact they were basically 48 hours removed from winning a Game 7 on the road. They came back from 17 points down to win in Denver on Sunday, a 100-96 upset as 5.5-point dogs. I had the Under in that one, which was a winner, but the Over was NOT a winner here for me in Game 1 of the WCF. Golden State certainly did its part though, scoring 116 pts (even w/o Kevin Durant) and I think the Blazers should have a bounce back game offensively tonight. Thus, I'm on the Over yet again!
As Portland's C.J. McCollum was leading the way w/ 37 points in that Game 7 victory in Denver, LeBron James wasn't afraid to voice his approval (via Twitter) for McCollum's preference for "mid-range jumpers." Perhaps it was another case of "too much bubbly" for the King though in his mini anti-analytics rant. Yes, McCollum was quite successful in that game, but the bottom line is Portland has been in a shooting slump as a team of late. The last two games have seen them go a disastrous 11 of 54 from three-point range. Unlike James, I would advise the Blazers to keep shooting though. They are above 35% for the year from behind the arc and the three-point shot is their best weapon in trying to keep pace w/ the Warriors. Look for them to shoot their way out of the slump starting tonight.
Golden State is NOT in any kind of slump as they've scored 118 and 116 points in the two games w/o Durant. They shot 50% in Game 1 and as expected Steph Curry picked up the slack in Durant's absence. Curry went 9 of 15 from three-point range and scored 36 points. I expect him to continue to have a big series. As I said in the Game 1 analysis, oddsmakers have set a low O/U line here. None of the four regular season matchups between the Warriors & Blazers saw fewer than 219 total pts scored. For the final regular season meeting, the O/U line was set at 235.5 points and the game still went Over! 10* Over Blazers/Warriors
|05-14-19||Blazers v. Warriors OVER 219||Top||94-116||Loss||-108||28 h 2 m||Show|
10* Over Blazers/Warriors (9:05 ET): Congrats go out to Portland, who on Sunday became the rare road team to win a Game 7. They did so against a Denver team I've long thought was suspect due to what was a very fortunate record in close games. But all that's earned the Blazers is a date w/ Golden State, who is making its fifth consecutive appearance in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors will play Game 1 w/o Kevin Durant (injured), but as we saw in the close out game vs. Houston, they still have more than enough "horses" to get the job done. Take the Over here in Game 1.
Portland did win twice in Denver in the last series and both times it was a result of holding the Nuggets under 100 points. Good luck to doing that against Golden State, however, even w/ no Durant. The Warriors scored 118 w/o Durant against Houston on Friday, shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor. I had the Over in that game, which cashed pretty easily as the oddsmakers clearly overreacted to the Durant injury (set low O/U line). Sure enough, the total here looks low as well. None of the four regular season matchups between the Warriors & Blazers saw fewer than 219 total pts scored. The last time they met, the O/U line was set at 235.5 points and the game still went Over!
There's shockingly little difference in either points scored or allowed for Golden State when it comes to home vs. road games. But home games are a little higher scoring w/ an average of 229.6 total PPG scored. Portland averages fewer PPG on the road than at home, but still scores 110.3 PPG. They give up around the same number. In the playoffs, the Blazers' total PPG average has stayed relatively consistent to what we saw in the regular season. Golden State games have averaged a slightly higher number of PPG. 10* Over Blazers/Warriors
|05-12-19||76ers v. Raptors OVER 209||Top||90-92||Loss||-105||32 h 56 m||Show|
8* Over 76ers/Raptors (7:05 ET): This would be a new series low in terms of the O/U line, which means value from where I sit. Consider that the O/U line for Game 1 closed at 223 points, a double digit difference from where we are now for Game 7. It's pretty rare to see something like that take place. Now the first four games of the series did all stay Under, hence the drop from the oddsmakers. But the last two games did (just barely) squeak Over and those were several points higher than this one. Philadelphia may be a better offensive team at home, but this number is too low. Take the Over.
You have to figure we'll see better shooting from Toronto here than what we saw in Game 6 in Philly. As has been the case in every Raptors loss in the series, Kawhi Leonard got little help from his teammates Thursday night. Only Pascal Siakam had more than 13 points (with the exception of Leonard). The team shot 43.2% overall and just 25% from three-point range. At home, they are averaging 114.3 PPG on the year w/ much better shooting numbers. The last time here in Toronto, the Raptors dropped 125 points, a series high. Philadelphia allows 114.2 PPG for the season on the road.
I think a big key to this Game 7 will be the fact that Sixers' big man Joel Embiid appears to be healthy again. He had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the team's Game 6 victory. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler led the way w/ 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Sixers didn't shoot all that well in the 112-101 victory. But we know they'll be a lot better here than they were in Game 5. This is poised to be the lowest total for any 76ers game all season. Their games average more than 226 PPG overall while Toronto's aren't too far behind at 220.3. 8* Over 76ers/Raptors
|05-12-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 212.5||Top||100-96||Win||100||28 h 27 m||Show|
10* Under Blazers/Nuggets (3:30 ET): It's all come down to this for Portland and Denver, a Game 7. For the Nuggets this is their second Game 7 of the playoffs. They won in the 1st round, also here at home, beating San Antonio by a score of 90-86. While I was quite content to cash my Under bet in that game, the final score was very misleading as the Nuggets were up big most of the way (led by as many as 17) and never trailed. Things figure to be a bit more challenging here, even though the core of this Portland team has never been in a Game 7 before. Once again though, I'll be on the Under as the Nuggets host a Game 7.
Now, I do realize that I'm bucking a pretty substantial season-long trend here. Unlike w/ the Spurs, the Over has hit almost every time Denver has played Portland this season. In 10 meetings, the Over has gone 9-1. That includes 5-1 in this series, the lone exception being Game 2 here in Denver, which went way Under as the Blazers pulled a 97-90 upset as four-point underdogs. I believe we'll see a game like that on Sunday, given the stakes. It is a little surprising to see the oddsmaker stay so consistent w/ what appears to be low O/U lines in this series. But the Nuggets are 27th in pace of play.
We also know that the Nuggets play much better defense here at home than on the road. In four of the last five home games, they've held the opponent - either San Antonio or Portland - under 100 points. That includes a 124-98 victory in Game 5. Only one time in the playoffs, Game 1 of this series, have they allowed more than 105 pts at home. For the season, they allow only 102.9 PPG at home, a far cry from the 111.0 PPG they allow on the road. As for Portland, they allow only 1 more PPG on the road compared to at home while their own scoring average drops 7.6 PPG. 10* Under Blazers/Nuggets
|05-10-19||Warriors v. Rockets OVER 213||Top||118-113||Win||100||13 h 1 m||Show|
10* Over Warriors/Rockets (9:05 ET): In the wake of the Kevin Durant injury, oddsmakers set a very low total for Game 6 and I think it's pretty obvious that the number was set too low. Compared to previous O/U lines, we're looking at anywhere from a five to double digit point drop. That's a bigger adjustment than what we've seen w/ the game line as Houston is now prohibitively favored to make this a seven game series. Let's not forget about all the other options Golden State has offensively as well as how much Houston is capable of scoring. I see a ton of value in the Over tonight.
Durant was leading the league in points per game (34.2) in the playoffs, so he'll definitely be missed. (If the Warriors do end up advancing, the team sounds fairly confident about an eventual Durant return). But with him out for at least the next two games, I expect everyone else on the roster to step up. Remember this is a team that won 72 regular season games and a NBA title (not the same seasons) w/o Durant. Steph Curry is a former league MVP and despite a low field goal percentage, still scored 25 points in the last game. Klay Thompson had 27. As per usual, the Dubs were #1 in the league in offensive efficiency in the regular season. They average 117.7 PPG for the year. They'll find ways to score here.
Houston has seen its games be lower scoring than usual in the playoffs, but remember they played Utah in the first round. This series has seen an average of 219.6 total points per game scored. The Rockets were held under 100 (99) in Game 5, but average 116.7 PPG for the year at home. They shot only 41.8% on Wednesday and we should see dramatic improvement in that department tonight. In the two previous home games in the series, they scored 126 and 112 points. Remember that the Warriors really fell off defensively this season, ranking only 10th in efficiency. The Rockets were right behind them in offensive efficiency in the regular season, finishing 2nd. 10* Over Warriors/Rockets
|05-09-19||Raptors v. 76ers OVER 212.5||Top||101-112||Win||100||13 h 51 m||Show|
10* Over Raptors/76ers (8:05 ET): These teams finally went Over in Game 5, the first Over of the series. Game 5 was also a complete and utter beatdown by the Raptors, who won by 36 points to put the Sixers on the brink of elimination. While Toronto has defended exceptionally well in the postseason (only 95 PPG allowed), stopping Philadelphia in this game will likely prove a little more difficult given it's in the City of Brotherly Love where the Sixers average a healthy 118.0 PPG. Back in Game 3, they scored 116 pts and shot 51.2% from the field, which is the only time in the playoffs a Toronto opponent shot better than 42.0 percent. Take the Over here.
Fortunately, to make up for Philadelphia's likely large increase in offense from the last game, Toronto can score too. Especially when the ball is in Kawhi Leonard's hands. In this series, Leonard is averaging 34.6 points to go along w/ 9.8 rebounds per game. He's shooting at an incredible 58.3% clip. Keep in mind that Game 5 was the first time in the series Leonard did NOT score at least 33 points. He didn't have to though as his teammates shot 50% from the field. Remember that the Raptors are a top six team in offensive efficiency and average 113.4 PPG.
Philadelphia was right behind Toronto in offensive efficiency in the regular season, ranking 7th overall. The large jump we see from them in terms of scoring at home is the key here. While they have been held below their season average in four of the five games overall in the series, they scored only 95, 94 and 89 in Toronto. For the year, they average just 111.3 PPG on the road. As stated above, that number jumps all the way to 118.0 at home. There's no way we won't see drastic offensive improvement from the last game where the starting five combined for only 60 points. The Over is 6-2 in the 76ers' last eight games following a SU loss and 9-3 the last 12 times they have been off an ATS loss. 10* Over Raptors/76ers
|05-08-19||Celtics v. Bucks UNDER 218||Top||91-116||Win||104||12 h 42 m||Show|
10* Under Celtics/Bucks (8:05 ET): I had the Under in Game 1 and that was an easy winner (by 20 points). The next two games both went Over, but then it was back to the Under for Game 4 as the Bucks won 113-101. That result has the Celtics on the verge of elimination as Kyrie Irving and company continue to struggle to shoot the ball. Irving, in particular, has been pretty brutal the L3 games. It's been the worst three-game stretch for him in his playoff career as he's shot just 19 of 62 from the field. As a team, Boston has shot 37.8%, 43.2% and 39.5% the L3 games.
Milwaukee led the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season, which is something I don't think a) they get enough credit for and b) most are even aware. So perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that Boston has struggled offensively. But the bigger surprise has been Boston's defensive struggles. I know the Bucks led the league in scoring during the regular season, but the Celtics were also a top 10 team in defensive efficiency. The Bucks have averaged almost 120 PPG in taking the L3 games after being held to only 90 in the Game 1 loss.
Expect Milwaukee's scoring to go down here in Game 5. If Boston has any hope of staying alive, the defense must improve. The first five playoff games saw them allow fewer than 100 pts four times. Granted, Indiana is not Milwaukee, but the Bucks have managed to shoot better than 44% in only one game in the series. I do expect Boston's shooting to improve some here, but Game 1 was their best shooting effort and that game stayed well Under the total. 10* Under Celtics/Bucks
|05-07-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 213.5||Top||98-124||Loss||-109||14 h 15 m||Show|
8* Under Blazers/Nuggets (10:35 ET): These second round series have been far more competitive than what we saw in the first round w/ three of the four tied at 2-2. Count Portland-Denver among the three as the Nuggets turned in a "gutsy" Game 4 performance in Portland to even the series up. They made some key shots down the stretch for the 116-112 upset as three-point underdogs. Now we return to Denver and if history is any indication, the game is going to be close yet again. These teams have played eight times this season and none of the games have been decided by double digits. Half (four) of them have been decided by four points or less.
Another trend is that the Over is 7-1. But that one Under occurred in the last game here in Denver, which Portland won 97-90 as four-point underdogs. I had the Under. The Blazers held the Nuggets to a 34.7 FG% in that game. Usually though, it's Denver that you can count on to play excellent defense at home. Their PPG allowed drops to 103.0 here at the Pepsi Center, which is well below what they are giving up on the road (110.8 PPG). What's interesting about Portland is their defensive numbers are basically identical on the road compared to at home. But they do score significantly less, averaging only 110.8 PPG on the road, compared to 118.1 PPG at home.
Both teams shot really well in Game 1, but that hasn't been the case ever since, save for the closing minutes of Game 4. Denver has allowed fewer than 100 points in three of its last four home games. The defensive improvement we see w/ them at home can't be discounted here nor can the offensive decline on the road we see w/ Portland. Normally, that might lead one to play the Nuggets in this spot, but I'm leery of them, not just because of some mediocre regular season numbers, but also due to the fact they've shot poorly in two of the last three games and lack a true "go to" scorer. 8* Under Blazers/Nuggets
|05-05-19||Nuggets v. Blazers UNDER 210.5||Top||116-112||Loss||-100||10 h 13 m||Show|
10* Under Nuggets/Blazers (7:05 ET): Though I like both totals quite a bit on Sunday, this is my "preferred" one, hence the 10* rating. Game 3 saw Denver get a taste of its own medicine, that being dealt a close loss. I've previously written at great length about the Nuggets extremely good fortune in close games this year. The regular season saw them go a perfect 7-0 SU in games decided by three points or less, which played a major role in them finishing 2nd in the Western Conference despite three teams below them having better YTD point differentials and four having better net efficiency ratings. Count Portland as one of the teams in that group.
It was a wild Game 3 that went 4 OT's. Because of that, the Over was forgone conclusion. But neither team shot the ball very well in the 140-137 final. In fact, it was the second straight game the Blazers shot below 43% from the field. They made just 12 of 42 three-pointers in the contest. Denver, who shot horribly in Game 2 (34.7 FG%) wasn't a whole lot better. The game was tied 102-102 at the end of regulation, so that was a bad break for Under bettors. Remember I had the Under in Game 2 and that was a 30+ pt winner as Portland won 97-90.
Could the Blazers shoot significantly better tonight? It's certainly a possibility. But Damian Lillard has been pretty bad the last two games, making only three of 16 attempts from three-point range. That 4 OT game took out a lot of both teams, including Denver's best player (Nikola Jokic), who played 65 minutes. (Portland's leading scorer C.J. McCollum played 60). This game might not end up as low-scoring as Game 2, but the Blazers are 7-2-1 the L10 games after giving up 125+ pts the previous game. Denver is 4-0 Under the L4 times it has been coming off a 125+ pt game. 10* Under Nuggets/Blazers
|05-05-19||Raptors v. 76ers OVER 214.5||Top||101-96||Loss||-104||7 h 45 m||Show|
8* Over Raptors/Sixers (3:35 ET): Toronto has now seen 7 of its 8 playoff games go Under the total, including all three in this series. But Game 3 certainly seemed to be on an "Over trajectory" most of the way. But it wound up falling just a few points short due to a woeful 4th quarter effort from the Raptors where they scored just 14 points. Because of that, they ended up losing by 21 points and are now down 2-1 in the best of seven series. To get the home court advantage back, they'll need to win Game 4, which I like them to do. But I also like the game to go Over as well.
This comes straight from the writeup on the side - "The Raptors have scored only 89 and 95 pts the last two games, shooting 39% from the field. Kyle Lowry's already checkered postseason past is again coming into question as he was held to only 7 points (on 2 of 10 shooting) in Game 3. But as we've seen time after time, Lowry typically follows a poor playoff performance w/ a decent to good one. He was held to nine points in Game 1 (ironically, a Toronto win) and then scored 20 in Game 2 (ironically, a loss). So I expect Lowry to "help out" Kawhi Leonard a little more Sunday afternoon. Leonard has had a great series (37.6 PPG). So has Pascal Siakam (23.3 PPG). It's on Lowry to pull his weight too."
So I fully anticipate Toronto scoring more today. In fact, I'll project a series high in points scored here. Philadelphia still gives up 111.9 PPG for the year and was only 14th in efficiency during the regular season. At the same time, the Sixers were not only the first team to shoot above 50% against Toronto in these playoffs, they were the first team to shoot above 42% against them. They do average an impressive 118.5 PPG at home this season, so it's going to take a lot of points from the Raptors to beat them. Both teams are top 7 in offensive efficiency. The Over is still 7-3 the last 10 meetings here in the City of Brotherly Love. 8* Over Raptors/Sixers
|05-04-19||Warriors v. Rockets UNDER 222.5||Top||121-126||Loss||-110||24 h 33 m||Show|
10* Under Warriors/Rockets (8:35 ET): It's been two close games in this Western Conference Semifinal (both decided by 6 pts), but the bottom line is that Houston is still looking for its first win of the series. In addition they must deal w/ the fallout of James Harden's vision issues. Five minutes into Game 2, Harden was "inadvertantly" hit in the face by Draymond Green. It caused contusions in both eyes and a laceration on the inside of the left eyelid. Though he said he could "barely see" during Game 2, Harden still scored 29 pts on his best shooting night of the playoffs (9 of 19). He has said he's good to go for Game 3.
The Rockets were held to an average of 104.5 points in the two games in Oakland. Quite frankly, something has been "up" w/ their offense going back to the Utah series. The last five games have seen them average just 100.8 PPG on 41.3% shooting. That hardly sounds like "Rockets basketball." But on the bright side, their defense has also improved. They are allowing just 101.1 PPG in the playoffs and have held the Warriors under their season average in both games. Not only is the Under 19-7-1 in Houston's last 27 games overall, it is a perfect 7-0 when they are off an ATS loss. For the record, they failed to cover Game 2 (were 5.5-point underdogs).
Golden State has allowed more than 110 pts just twice in these playoffs. With the series moving to Houston, it is absolutely worth mentioning that Warriors' road games - on average - are lower scoring than their home games. Both their own scoring average and opponents' scoring average drops about a point. It's pretty rare to see a team give up fewer points on the road than at home. The Under is 10-3 in their last 13 games following an ATS win. The Under is also 9-2 the L11 meetings between these teams, surprising for sure, but it makes sense as most of those have been playoff games where the stakes are higher. 10* Under Warriors/Rockets
|05-02-19||Raptors v. 76ers OVER 216.5||Top||95-116||Loss||-109||20 h 1 m||Show|
8* Over Raptors/Sixers: Toronto has now allowed 96 pts or fewer in six straight games and is giving up just 92.7 PPG (on 39.0 FG%) for the entire playoffs. But despite another sub-100 pt effort on the defensive end, there was a big difference between the last game and the previous five. The Raptors lost. They went down 94-89 as a 7.5-point home favorite and thus lost their home court edge in the series. Obviously, with all the outstanding efforts at the defensive end, it shouldn't be a surprise that the Under is now 6-1 in all of their playoff games. But whether or not they can continue to defend well, I see Game 3 going Over the total.
Philadelphia has scored just 95 and 94 points in the first two games of this series. This after averaging 127.5 PPG in their four wins over Brooklyn. Obviously, Toronto is alot better than the Nets, but that still shouldn't account for such a precipitous drop in scoring. Whatever the reason, the Sixers should be more difficult to defend tonight. They average 118.6 PPG at home, which is well up from their scoring average on the road. I know Toronto is allowing a field goal percentage of only 39.0 in the playoffs, but I have to believe Philly will shoot better than that tonight.
The Raptors were also pretty dreadful at the offensive end in Game 2. They shot 36.3% from the field. They had only 38 pts at halftime. Both of these are top seven teams in offensive efficiency. The Over is 6-2 in the Sixers' last eight home games and 7-2 the L9 meetings w/ Toronto here in Philly. Obviously, Game 2 went way Under, but that was w/ both teams shooting below 40%. Again, can't imagine that'll be the case here. Expect a dramatic increase in scoring for Game 3. In particular, I expect to see an increase in Toronto's three-point shooting percentage after they were just 10 of 37 on Monday. 8* Over Raptors/Sixers
|05-01-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 220||Top||97-90||Win||100||12 h 42 m||Show|
8* Under Blazers/Nuggets (9:05 ET): It was a misfire w/ the Under in Game 1, but I'll come back w/ it here for Game 2. Because Game 1 did go Over, we're getting a few extra points here Wednesday night, some nice added value. As I pointed out in my Game 1 analysis, all four regular season meetings between these teams did go Over. But now it's time for an Under as I don't see either team matching its field goal percentage from Game 1. The Under is also still 13-4 in Denver's last 17 home games.
The Trail Blazers actually had a better overall FG% in Game 1 (51.9 to 50.6) and Damian Lillard led all players in scoring w/ 39 pts. But points off turnovers played a key role in the Nuggets prevailing 121-113 as four-point chalk. They scored 23 points off 18 Portland TO's while the Blazers were only able to manage six points off 12 Denver TO's. While Portland should have done better in that department, a combined 24 pts off turnovers is still a lot and I don't expect this game to be nearly as sloppy. For Portland, it may have been a case of "rust" as they had a five-day break in between series while Denver was just 48 hrs removed from a Game 7 victory over San Antonio.
Something else I stated in the Game 1 analysis is how the Nuggets play a lot better defense at home. You'll recall I had the Under in home victories over the Spurs in both Games 5 and 7 of the last series. They allowed just 90 and 86 in those two games. Now they did allow 113 to Portland here in Game 1, which is well above their season average of 103.1 PPG allowed at the Pepsi Center. It was even above the 110.1 PPG average they allow on the road. So I do expect better defense from Denver tonight. I also expect MUCH better defense from Portland, who held Oklahoma City under 100 pts three different times in Round 1. 8* Under Blazers/Nuggets
|04-29-19||Blazers v. Nuggets UNDER 216.5||Top||113-121||Loss||-109||27 h 19 m||Show|
8* Under Blazers/Nuggets (10:35 ET): It may have taken the Nuggets the full seven games to eliminate the Spurs, but for me it was a perfect 5-0 series. Ironically enough, I never played Denver once! I had San Antonio in both Games 1 and 6 while also being on the right side of the total three times. Game 2 it was the Over, but Games 5 and 7 it was the Under. It's a pretty quick turnaround (basically 48 hrs) for the start of this second round matchup w/ Portland, who has been sitting idly by since impressively dispatching of the Thunder in just five games. The Over cashed in all four regular season matchups between these teams. That opens up some value to go the other way here. Take the Under.
There wasn't much that surprised me in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Utah flaming out so quickly against Houston was a moderate surprise. But the way Portland dominated Oklahoma City was definitely a "shock to the system." Despite being the lower seed, the Thunder were actually favored to win that series. Instead, they were done in just five games. Blazers' leading scorer Damian Lillard ended the series in the most dramatic way possible, nailing the winning three-pointer (from 37 feet!), which gave him 50 points for the game.
While all four regular season meetings went Over, none did so by a substantial margin. The teams did meet twice in April, in a home & home, and those games saw 229 and 223 total pts scored. Something I need to reiterate from my Game 7 analysis of Nuggets-Spurs is how Denver is a much better defensive team at home where they give up just 102.9 PPG (held the Spurs to 86 pts in Gm 7 after holding them to 90 in Gm 5). Portland's offensive numbers also predictably decline when they are the road team. The Under is 13-3 in Denver's L16 home games and 7-3-1 in Portland's L11 road games. 8* Under Blazers/Nuggets
|04-29-19||76ers v. Raptors OVER 220.5||Top||94-89||Loss||-105||25 h 11 m||Show|
10* Over Sixers/Raptors (8:05 ET): I had Toronto in Game 1 and that proved to be the correct call as they rolled to a 108-95 win and cover as 6-pt chalk. While my view that the Raptors are the superior team here has not changed, I also expect Philadelphia to come back stronger in Game 2. They only shot 39.3% from the field Saturday and what was most odd about that is how poorly they shot on their two-point attempts. Going 11 for 32 from three-point range is by no means great, but it's pretty close to average. Going 24 of 57 from two-point range (42%) is pretty low. It also didn't help that the Sixers missed one-third of their free throw attempts (14 of 21).
Toronto has been playing outstanding defense in the playoffs. They're allowing an average of just 92.5 PPG on 38.9% shooting. They've gone five straight games w/o giving up 100 pts. Those are really impressive numbers. They're also likely unsustainable. The Sixers are typically a pretty strong offensive team, averaging 115.4 PPG for the year. They scored 122 or more three times in the first round vs. Brooklyn. Granted, the Nets are pretty bad defensively. But Philly should definitely top its offensive outut from Game 1 here. The Over is 5-1 the L6 times they've been off a SU/ATS loss.
Predictably, the Game 2 total opened a little lower and that gives us some value right off the bat. I should probably spend some time talking about the Toronto offense. This is a team that has shot well in the playoffs (48.5%) and they average 114.6 PPG at home. Kawhi Leonard dropped 45 pts Saturday, but perhaps more impressive Pascal Siakam adding 29. While neither player may match their respective Game 1 totals, I expect the rest of the team to contribute more than a combined 34 points (possibly double that here?). Philly is not a great defensive team, by any means. 10* Over Sixers/Raptors
|04-28-19||Celtics v. Bucks UNDER 223.5||Top||112-90||Win||100||25 h 47 m||Show|
10* Under Celtics/Bucks (1:05 ET): Both teams swept their way right into Round 2. Milwaukee was less surprising as it was clear from the outset that their Rd 1 opponent (Detroit) was ill-prepared for playoff basketball. The Bucks won the four games by an average of 23.7 points per game and the closest the Pistons got in any game was 16 pts. Boston had an easier time than expected w/ Indiana as the Pacers clearly missed leading scorer Victor Oladipo. That series was very low scoring w/ neither team even averaging 100 PPG. I believe Game 1 of this series is set to be low-scoring as well (comparatively speaking, at least). Take the Under.
These teams met in the playoffs last year as well. The series, which took place in Round 1 and went the full seven games, saw the Celtics advance. So revenge will be a motivating factor here for the top-seeded Bucks, who have the home court advantage this time around. The O/U line here - while in line w/ the three regular season meetings - is MUCH higher than it was for any of the games in LY's 1st round series. Five of those seven games went Over, but what is interesting about that is only ONE of them would have gone Over this number. The last time the teams played was Feb 21st, right after the All-Star Break, and the Bucks won 98-97 at home.
We know Milwaukee is prolific at the offensive end as they led the league in scoring. But they also led the league in defensive efficiency. Detroit was held to 98.0 PPG on 38.8% shooting in that first round series. That could mean trouble for a Boston team that averaged only 99.2 PPG against an Indiana team that was #3 in the league in defensive efficiency. Of course, Boston is no slouch itself at the defensive end (#6 in efficiency) as they held the Pacers to 91.7 PPG on 40.1% shooting. The Under is 4-0 the L3 times the Bucks have played on 3+ days rest while the Celtics are 6-2 Under in that same scenario. 10* Under Celtics/Bucks
|04-27-19||Spurs v. Nuggets UNDER 209.5||Top||86-90||Win||100||14 h 8 m||Show|
8* Under Spurs/Nuggets (10:05 ET): Not to "toot my own horn," but "toot, toot!" I've gone a perfect 4-0 w/ plays in this series, starting w/ San Antonio's outright upset in Game 1. That game went Under the total, but we didn't see another Under until Game 5. That Game 5 Under was another winner for me. I also won with the Over in Game 2. Game 6 was another easy call on the Spurs as they rolled to a 120-103 win and cover as three-point favorites. Game 7 is in Denver, giving what appears to be a decided edge to the Nuggets, but my view coming into the series is that these teams were pretty even and tonight's spread looks too high.
Oddsmakers have been pretty consistent w/ their O/U lines in this series as they've all ranged from 207 to 210.5. Something I do NOT expect to happen here is the Spurs' matching their overall shooting % from the last game. Game 6 saw them sink an incredible 57.1% of their shot attempts, including 10 of 24 from three-point range. That was easily their best FG% of any game in the series (only time over 50%). It's only predictable that they'll decline out on the road. In the three games so far at Denver, the Spurs have scored 101, 105 and 90 points, an average of just 98.7 per game.
For the year, all San Antonio's offensive numbers decline pretty substantially on the road, especially three-point shooting. While they are #1 overall in the league in 3-pt FG%, that's largely because they shoot a lights out 41.9% at home. On the road, that shooting clip dips to 36.5%. Denver defends a lot better at home too, giving up only 103.3 PPG (as opposed to 110.1 PPG on the road). What's notable about that is visitors are shooting just 32.2% from behind the arc here at the Pepsi Center. The Under is 14-4 the L18 times Denver has been off an ATS loss. The Under is also 9-3 in San Antonio's last 12 road games. 8* Under Spurs/Nuggets
|04-26-19||Warriors v. Clippers UNDER 233.5||Top||129-110||Loss||-110||15 h 34 m||Show|
10* Under Warriors/Clippers (10:05 ET): Only two 1st round series are still going and who would have thought the Warriors would be in one of them. The three-time NBA champs came into this series w/ the Clippers as overwhelming favorites. In fact, the Clips were the biggest 1st round underdogs (in terms of odds) that we'd ever tracked. But they've managed to win twice at Golden State, including a shockingly great performance in Game 5 where they won 129-121 as 14.5-pt underdogs. The Over is now 12-4 the L16 meetings, but not this one. Take the Under.
The Clippers shot 54.1% from the field in Game 5, just the second time they've been above 50% in the series. The other was Game 2, their other win (not coincidentally), and they followed up that performance by shooting a series worst 37.2% in Game 3. (Funny how that works). Actually, the Clippers have shot 42.5% or worse from the field in all three losses in the series. The Under is 11-4 the last 15 times Golden State has allowed 125+ pts in the last game and they are 24-9-1 off their previous 34 straight up losses (17-9 this season).
Even though they're now heading home, the Clippers figure to see an offensive decline in this game (compared to Game 5). Golden State, not surprisingly averages slightly fewer PPG on the road than at home. But what is surprising is that they also give up fewer PPG on the road. The first two games of the series here in LA saw them yield just 105 pts (both games). I expect a much better defensive performance in this game from the Warriors. Their three wins in the series have seen them allow 105, 105 and 104 points. While three of the five games have gone Over, this total is too high. 10* Under Warriors/Clippers
|04-24-19||Jazz v. Rockets UNDER 213||Top||93-100||Win||100||13 h 35 m||Show|
10* Under Jazz/Rockets (8:05 ET): Utah did its job defensively in Games 3 and 4. They held the Rockets to 61 of 165 shooting from the field, or just under 37% overall. James Harden had a terrible Game 3 (missed first 15 shots) and the entire Houston team couldn't make a three-pointer in Game 4 (missed final 13 attempts). Unfortunately for the Jazz though, they were able to win only one of the two games. Their own poor shooting has really hurt them in this series as they're making just over 40% of their total attempts. They failed to score 100 pts in either of the first two games in Houston.
With the Rockets back at home, the conventional wisdom is going to be that they will rediscover their lost shooting touch. I'm not so sure about that. While they did score 118 and 122 points in the first two games of the series, Utah has been an elite defensive team all season. They ranked second in the league in efficiency during the regular season and were 4th in points allowed. Both Games 1 and 2 fell right on the number, so depending on your closing O/U lines, there really hasn't been a "true" Over in the series. Houston is a surprising 11-4-3 Under its L18 games.
The Under is 5-1-2 in the eight meetings this season between these teams (that's counting Games 1 and 2 as 'pushes.') Even going back to the regular season, the oddsmakers have been pretty consistent w/ their OU lines. The one exception, ironically, was the lone Over where the total was higher than normal (222.0) and the Over cashed by a single point (125-98 Rockets' win). Meanwhile, four of the five Unders have cashed by double digits. The Under is also 6-0-1 in Houston's last seven games following a SU loss. 10* Under Jazz/Rockets
|04-23-19||Spurs v. Nuggets UNDER 212||Top||90-108||Win||100||13 h 54 m||Show|
8* Under Spurs/Nuggets (9:35 ET): Of the eight 1st round series in the NBA Playoffs, this seems to be the only one where the winner is in doubt. The Spurs and Nuggets have split the first four games, putting us right back to where we started, that being Denver possessing the home court advantage. Perhaps the Nuggets should feel a little fortunate to be tied at this juncture, considering they have been down by double digits in every game. It was an early 12-point deficit that they faced in Game 4, which was erased after halftime, and they went on to cruise to a 117-103 victory in San Antonio.
But the Spurs probably should have won each of the first three games. They blew a late lead in Game 2 (here in Denver) that ultimately may prove costly. Both of these teams were much better at home compared to the road in the regular season, so Denver has to be feeling pretty good about itself right now, all things considered. They are 35-8 SU at home this year (best home record in the league) while San Antonio is just 17-26 SU on the road (worst road record of any playoff teams besides the Pistons). The Spurs are 33-10 SU at home while Denver is 21-22 SU on the road.
The last three games in the series have all gone Over the total (Game 1 stayed Under). The Game 2 Over was my top NBA O/U play for last week. In the analysis, I'd noted all four regular season matchups between these teams were Unders. The Nuggets do play significantly better defense at home, giving up just 103.6 PPG. In this series, the Spurs have topped 105 pts just one time. Neither team is known for playing at a fast pace, so the fact we've seen three straight Overs is a little bit surprising. Call it a bit of a "market correction" from the O/U results from the regular season. The bottom line is the Under is still 11-3 in Denver's last 14 home games. The Spurs are 5-1 Under their L6 times playing on exactly two days rest. 8* Under Spurs/Nuggets
|04-23-19||Magic v. Raptors OVER 205.5||Top||96-115||Win||100||10 h 30 m||Show|
10* Over Magic/Raptors (7:05 ET): This is the lone series w/o an Over so far, in fact, it's the only series where the O/U result has been the same for every game. I had the Under for both Games 1 and 3, but tried w/ the Over in Game 4 as the number was the lowest it had been for any game in the series. It looked like it would be close going into the 4th quarter, but the Magic completely fell apart down the stretch, scoring only 15 pts in the game's final 12 minutes. Toronto has held them to an average of just 91 PPG in the series, on < 40% shooting.
Predictably then, the O/U line for Game 5 (which looks like it will be Orlando's last game of the season) is the new low for the series. I saw value in the Game 4 number, so I definitely see value here. Believe it or not, but the Magic actually shot better overall in Game 4 than they had in any of the three previous games. This despite scoring their lowest point total of the series. The problem was they were just 7 of 33 from three-point range. I'm certainly a bit surprised that Orlando has been unable to hit its season scoring average of 106.5 PPG (pretty modest number) in any game yet. But perhaps that time might be Game 5 as they have to start shooting better from three-point range. They certainly can't get any worse.
Toronto is top tier offensive team. They average over 114 PPG. They also have not hit their YTD scoring average for any game in the series. This is a really low total for a Raptors' game. Unless it gets bet up several points, it stands to be the lowest O/U for ANY Raptors' game all season! That some serious value and while there's no denying it's been an ugly offensive series all around, these two teams are more than capable of each scoring 105 pts in the same game. The Over is 7-3 the L10 times Toronto has been off a double digit win. 10* Over Magic/Raptors
|04-22-19||Rockets v. Jazz OVER 213||Top||91-107||Loss||-110||15 h 15 m||Show|
10* Over Rockets/Jazz (10:35 ET): On a night that James Harden missed his first 15 field goal attempts, Houston still found a way to win Game 3 (104-101 as 2-pt underdogs) and put Utah on the brink of elimination. Harden scored 14 of his 22 points in a decisive fourth quarter Saturday and you have to figure he'll shoot better tonight. At the same time, Utah has only shot 40.1% as a team in the series. They're averaging just 96.3 points per game. I'm not convinced that the Jazz can stay alive, but this game will go Over the total.
Houston is off its lowest scoring game in the series, which is primarily tied to Harden's individual effort. The Rockets average 113.9 PPG for the year and are above that number in the playoffs. With Harden a virtual lock to score more in Game 4, you can look up for the Rockets' point total to go up as well. Harden dragged down the overall shooting percentage last time out (38.4%), which was the Rockets' worst shooting game in almost a month. The last time they shot below 40% in a game, they came back and scored 112 pts the next time out.
It would appear that I had a gross misread on this series. I came in thinking Utah could compete and possibly take the series. After all, the Jazz did have the league's 4th best net efficiency rating and point differential in the regular season. But that all appears for naught now. Still, I don't anticipate the Jazz simply "rolling over" in this one. Not on their home floor, where they average a solid 112.4 PPG. Each of the first two games fell very close to the closing number, but in what very well might be the final game of the series, I'm calling for the highest scoring game of the series as well. 10* Over Rockets/Jazz
|04-21-19||Raptors v. Magic OVER 207||Top||107-85||Loss||-105||20 h 40 m||Show|
8* Over Raptors/Magic (7:05 ET): This is the other series (besides Celtics-Pacers) where there has yet to be an Over. Toronto now leads 2-1 after taking Game 3, 98-93. Unfortunately for Raptors' backers, unless they bet early, it was an ATS loss as the line closed -5.5. But the team will take it. Since losing Game 1 at home, 104-101 as 9.5-pt chalk, Toronto has held Orlando to just 175 total pts in a pair of victories. The Magic have shot pretty horribly for the series (37.8 FG%) and really need a win here or the series is all but over. Speaking of Over, that's what I'll call for Game 4 to do!
Playing the Over is a departure for me in the series as I won w/ the Under in both Games 1 and 3. In my Game 1 analysis, I wrote "an outright upset is definitely in the realm of possibility here" (due to the Raptors' poor history in Game 1's.) That's exactly what happened. I also wrote that "the Magic posted the league's top defensive efficiency rating in the second half of the regular season." Thus I thought it was a bit odd to see them come into the playoffs on a 7-game Over streak. I thought there was definitely value w/ the Under early in the series and was right.
But now the oddsmakers have been forced to adjust and we have our lowest O/U line for any game in the series. You have to figure that Orlando will start to shoot the ball better. While not a great offensive team on the road, at home the Magic average 109.6 points per game. Toronto is obviously one of the league's better offensive teams, averaging 114.0 PPG. It should be noted that this is the lowest O/U line for any Raptors game in some time. Their last game w/ a sub-210 pt total was New Year's Day vs. Utah. The Under might be 7-0 the L7 meetings here in Orlando, but the Over is 7-0 the L7 times Orlando has played on exactly one days' rest. 8* Over Raptors/Magic
|04-21-19||Celtics v. Pacers OVER 203.5||Top||110-106||Win||100||14 h 40 m||Show|
10* Over Celtics/Pacers (1:05 ET): This is one of two series yet to see an Over (Raptors-Magic is the other). The first two games in Boston were obviously really low scoring w/ the Celtics winning 84-74 and 99-91. Each of those two games saw the Pacers experience a significant scoring drought. In Game 1, it was a dreadful eight-point third quarter that turned a halftime advantage into a large deficit. Game 2, the collapse happened later w/ a 12-point fourth quarter and no field goals over the final minute. Obviously, both Games 1 and 2 stayed well Under the total.
Game 3 looked to be a little different. At least for a half it did. Indiana went into the break w/ a two-point lead, but it was how many points that had been scored in the first half that made things quite different. It was a 61-59 game and we looked to be heading towards our first Over of the series. But things came to a grinding halt after the halftime w/ the Pacers again turning in a dreadful half offensively. They scored only 12 points in the third quarter, which was the 4th time in the series they scored 17 or less in a quarter. They wound up w/ only 35 pts in the half and the results ended up being the same: Celtics win/cover & Under.
In this series, the Pacers are a stunning 12 of 40 on uncontested three-point attempts. That seems unfathomable. Whether or not they are able to stay alive to fight another day, I do see an Over Sunday afternoon. I realize that Indiana is w/o Victor Oladipo, but them averaging just 87 PPG on 39.8% shooting vs. Boston is kind of stunning. Remember they've been w/o Oladpio for awhile now and still averaged 107.3 PPG on 47.2% shooting for the regular season. Boston averages 111.8 PPG too. The first half of Game 3 showed me these teams are capable of putting together a high scoring game when facing each other. 10* Over Celtics/Pacers
|04-20-19||76ers v. Nets UNDER 233||Top||112-108||Win||100||7 h 42 m||Show|
10* Under Sixers/Nets (3:05 ET): The big story here is that Philadelphia likely will be w/o Joe Embiid. But they didn't have Embiid for Game 3 either and still won 131-115 here in Brooklyn. It was their second straight 130+ point game against the Nets, but this time they didn't shoot nearly as well as they did for Game 2 in Phillly (56.1%). That wasn't surprising, but the game still easily went Over the total. As a result, oddsmakers have been forced to up their O/U line for Game 4. I see some value here w/ the Under as Philly should start to cool off offensively.
Brooklyn attempted 39 three-pointers in Game 3, a playoff record. Problem is they made only eight. While that percentage may very well improve Saturday afternoon, the real issue for the Nets lies on the defensive end. When they pulled their Game 1 upset, they did so by holding the Sixers to just 102 points. While not necessarily noted as a defensive team, Brooklyn did at least show they are capable of defending the Sixers well once. Now there's no Embiid and at home the task should (theoretically) be easier. Despite Game 3, the Under is still on a 7-3 run when the Nets are off an ATS loss.
Philadelphia has seen the Over go 7-2 their last nine games, but this is a higher total than usual for them. The last two games have seen them shoot better than 40% from three-point range. They figure to "cool off" moving forward as they weren't exactly a great three-point shooting team in the regular season. Their scoring drops off by about 6 PPG on the road compared to at home. Following a SU win by 10 or more points, the Under is on a 6-2 run in 76ers' games. They scored at least 30 in every quarter of Game 3. That won't happen again here. 10* Under Sixers/Nets
|04-19-19||Raptors v. Magic UNDER 210||Top||98-93||Win||100||27 h 0 m||Show|
8* Under Magic/Raptors (7:05 ET): I had the Under in Game 1 of this series. In my analysis, I stated that "an outright upset is definitely in the realm of possibility here" due to the Raptors' poor history in Game 1's. That's exactly what happened as the Magic won outright 104-101 as 9.5-pt dogs. Of course, I'd also noted the Magic posted the league's top defensive efficiency rating in the second half of the regular season and won 22 of their final 31 games. Given Orlando's defensive prowess, I certainly thought it odd that they came into the playoffs riding a 7-game Over streak.
Game 1 went Under and so did Game 2. I thought Toronto might underestimate their opponent for Game 1, but that was definitely not the case in Game 2 as they came out and won 111-82. The Magic didn't shoot well in either game (40% and 37%). We figure to see improvement in that department for Game 3, now that they're at home. But at the same time, Toronto is no slouch defensively itself. The Raptors have not allowed any opponent to shoot 50% since the All-Star Break. Incredibly, they've allowed only three opponents to shoot 50% or better since January 1st.
But let's go back to the fact Orlando has posted the defensive efficiency rating in the league since the Break. Toronto came into the playoffs having scored 110 or more points in nine consecutive games. I said that streak would end in Game 1 and it did. They scored 111 in Game 2, but again I'm calling for less than 110 pts here. Neither Kawhi Leonard nor Kyle Lowry should shoot as well as they did in Game 2. When Orlando is off an ATS loss, the Under has gone 24-11 this season. The Under is also 6-0 their last six times hosting Toronto. 8* Under Magic/Raptors
|04-17-19||Pacers v. Celtics OVER 203||Top||91-99||Loss||-109||11 h 31 m||Show|
10* Over Pacers/Celtics (7:05 ET): My hats off to anyone who had the Under in Game 1 of this series as it was a FIFTY point winner! As a result, the O/U line has come WAY down for Game 2. The Under was a perfect 8-0 in Game 1's across the playoffs, so that was something else for the oddsmakers to consider. Monday featured a pair of high-scoring Game 2's though, showing we should be careful about putting "too much stock" into one result. Note that the previous three times the Pacers and Celtics had met, they had combined to score 214 or more points. Take the Over here as there's some serious value.
The trend stretches back awhile, but Indiana is 14-3 Over the L17 times it was held to 75 pts or less in its previous game. Despite being one of the top Under teams in the regular season, the fewest number of points they scored in a regular season game was 89, done a few times. They average 107.6 PPG. Game 1 swung entirely on a dreadful 8-point third quarter. For the game, the Pacers shot just 33.3% overall and were 6 of 27 from three-point range. They had just 29 pts in the second half. Obviously, we'll see much better shooting from them in Game 2. As for the defensive end, while they led the league in PPG allowed in the regular season, they still gave up 107.7 per game away from home.
Boston averages 112.0 PPG for the year. They shot just 36.7% from the floor in Game 1 and turned the ball over 20 times. Yet they still won comfortably, thanks to the Pacers' own ineptitude and that decisive third quarter. That many turnovers should (theoretically) lead to more points from the opponent. But Indiana converted those 20 TO's into only NINE points. That's remarkably bad. This will be the lowest total for any Pacers-Celtics matchup this season and seven points lower than the O/U line for Game 1. Can we say "value?" 10* Over Pacers/Celtics
|04-16-19||Thunder v. Blazers OVER 221||Top||94-114||Loss||-110||14 h 21 m||Show|
8* Over Thunder/Blazers (10:35 ET): It was kind of an ugly Game 1, but Portland held serve on its home court, winning 104-99 and covering as 3.5-pt chalk. In case you missed it, the Blazers are the only team w/ home court advantage in the 1st round NOT to be favored. A large part of that was due to the fact the Thunder swept the regular season series, SU and ATS. Also, Portland had lost 10 consecutive playoff games entering Saturday. They are without one of their best players too (Jusuf Nurkic), but that hardly mattered in Gm 1 w/ OKC shooting so poorly and Damian Lillard scoring 30 points.
Neither team shot the ball well in Game 1 as the Blazers were 41.9% from the field and the Thunder an even worse 39.8%. OKC really struggled from three-point range, going 5 of 33. I suspect we'll see drastic improvement in that department here on Tuesday. For the season, the Thunder are averaging 114.3 PPG on more than respectable shooting - both overall and from behind the arc. Paul George (8 of 24) really struggled from the floor in Game 1 and should be better here. Portland's starting backcourt (Lillard and McCollum) were a combined 18 of 45 and also should see collective improvement.
As of this writing (Monday afternoon). the Under has gone a perfect 8-0 in the NBA Playoffs! That's right, every Game 1 stayed Under. I expect at least one game will probably go Over Monday night (didn't play either total) and eventually that trend will start to even out. The Over remains 15-5-1 in Portland's last 20 home games where they average 117.9 PPG, a nice jump (about 3 PPG) from the overall average. Also, the Over is 20-5-1 the L26 times the Blazers have take the court on exactly one days rest. Portland is not as good defensively as they showed Saturday, but they are a top five team in offensive efficiency. 8* Over Thunder/Blazers
|04-16-19||Spurs v. Nuggets OVER 207.5||Top||105-114||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
10* Over Spurs/Nuggets (9:05 ET): We cashed the Spurs in Game 1 as they turned in a truly masterful performance by holding Denver to just 96 points in what was an outright upset as 6-pt underdogs. Taking both games at the Pepsi Center isn't something many, if any, thought the Spurs could do. But now they have a chance. We do respect Denver enough to hold off on taking the points again, but don't discount what we taked about in our Game 1 analysis either. San Antonio has been "sneaky good" on offense this season, ranking fifth in efficiency and 1st in 3-pt shooting %. Take the Over for Game 2 (as the number is several points lower than it was for Game 1).
As of this writing (Monday afternoon), the Under has gone a perfect 8-0 in the NBA Playoffs! That's right, every Game 1 stayed Under. I expect at least one game will probably go Over Monday night (didn't play either total) and eventually that trend will start to even out. Now, speaking of trends, the Under has hit in all five Spurs-Nuggets matchups this season. After a March meeting (in San Antonio) peaked w/ an OU line of 230 (!), predictably we are now at the lowest number yet. The Spurs are 6-1 Under their last seven games overall as well.
But I simply can't see the Nuggets shooting the ball so poorly yet again. They finished at just 42.0% from the field in Game 1, including 6 of 24 on three-pointers. It also didn't help that they missed 8 of 24 free throw attempts. The Spurs, as usual, were pretty efficient from three-point range as they made 7 of 15 attempts. Note that it was a 30-point third quarter (17-13 in favor of Denver) that really sealed the Under Saturday night. I don't see such a quarter taking place again here. For the season, the Nuggets average 113.7 PPG at home while the Spurs give up roughly the same number on the road. With the oddsmakers having dropped the total for Game 2, I see value. 10* Over Spurs/Nuggets
|04-13-19||Magic v. Raptors UNDER 213||Top||104-101||Win||100||9 h 29 m||Show|
10* Under Magic/Raptors (5:05 ET): You shouldn't go underestimating the Magic in this series. They have won 22 of their last 31 games and since the All-Star Break the only team in the East w/ more victories is top-seeded Milwaukee. The Magic have played exceptionally well on the defensive end in the second half, posting the league's top efficiency rating since the Break! With Toronto's poor playoff history, particularly in Game 1's, an outright upset is definitely in the realm of possibility here. But I feel that the Under is the best play in Game 1 of this series.
Now the Raptors did close the regular season by scoring 110+ points in nine straight games. That's a franchise record and they've gone 7-1 SU/ATS the L8 games w/ the only loss coming by two to a desperate Charlotte team. A number of franchise records (on offense) were set in the regular season, but this is now the playoffs and we know how Toronto struggles when we get to this point. Incredibly, they are 2-12 all-time in Game 1's, which includes a 1-9 mark in the first round. That lone victory came last year against Washington. I don't think we'll see the same level of offensive prowess from the Raptors here that we did in the regular season.
Like Toronto, the Magic seemingly closed the regular season w/ an offensive barrage. Their last seven games have all gone Over the total. But that, and what Toronto did over roughly the same timeframe, set us up to go the opposite way here. On April 1st, the Raptors did beat the Magic 121-109 here at Air Canada Centre. But the season's first three matchups all went Under and saw Orlando cover (including two outright upsets). The Magic only average 104.9 PPG on the road, so Under is the way to go here. 10* Under Magic/Raptors
|04-07-19||Nets v. Pacers OVER 219||Top||108-96||Loss||-107||9 h 51 m||Show|
10* Over Nets/Pacers (5:05 ET): Brooklyn recorded perhaps its biggest win of the season yday, beating Milwaukee 133-128 on the road. The win brought them back to .500 (40-40 SU) on the year and more importantly back into a sixth place tie w/ Orlando. There are still five teams vying for the final three available spots in the Eastern Conference, but the Nets would seem to have a nice cushion given they're 1.5 games ahead of ninth place Miami (who they play in the regular season finale). But still a win here in Indiana would be huge. But the Pacers won't make it easy on 'em.
Indiana is off a bad loss to Boston, who will likely be their first round opponent in the playoffs. Right now the Pacers are 5th in the East, significantly ahead of the Nets, by 7 games. But what they are playing for right now is home court advantage in the first round against the Celtics. Losing 117-97 (here at home) Friday did the no favors as it put them a game behind Boston in the standings. So motivation won't be lacking on either side Sunday. You have to expect the Pacers will shoot a lot better here than they did vs. Boston, who held them to a 41.3 FG% for the game.
Indiana played good defense in a home and home sweep of the Pistons earlier in the week, but other than that - in the last five games - they've allowed other three opponents to all shoot above 50%. Brooklyn obviously had no difficulty scoring yday, putting up 133 pts on the team that leads the league in defensive efficiency. It was the 8th time in the last 9 games that the Nets scored at least 110 points. At the same time, they often struggle defensively, which is evident by the fact they've given up at least 115 pts in seven of those last nine games. The Over is 5-1 in their last six road games while the Over is 4-0 in Indiana's last four home games. 10* Over Nets/Pacers
|04-05-19||Heat v. Wolves OVER 217||Top||109-111||Win||100||13 h 0 m||Show|
8* Over Heat/T'wolves (8:05 ET): As badly as Miami needs this game, I'm not convinced they deserve to be favored in Minneapolis. But if they are going to win, it likely would be as a result of some poor T'wolves defense. The T'wolves did just hold Dallas to 108 pts in a two-point road win Wednesday night. However, in the four games prior, they allowed 122, 130, 118 and 132. This is a team giving up 113.9 PPG for the year and the Heat probably are set to improve (offensively) after five straight games of scoring 105 pts or less. Take the Over in this one.
The Heat just got swept in a home and home by Boston and that really has hurt them in the playoff race. Of the four teams battling for the final three spots in the Eastern Conference (all separated by one game), they are the ones on the "outside looking in" right now. They allowed 110 and 112 pts to the Celtics, which may not seem like a lot, but it's also a number Minnesota can easily reach (they average 114.8 PPG at home). Before losing to the Celtics by 10 (112-102) at home Wednesday night, the Heat had been playing good defense, holding five straight opponents below a 43.0 FG%. But they're still just 3-3 SU over the L6 games.
Bottom line is I expect Miami to both score and allow more here than what we've been seeing from them recently. The Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings vs. Minnesota, including a 113-104 LOSS back in December. Now the number is noticeably higher for the rematch. But the Over has also cashed in six of Miami's previous seven non-conference games. Conversely, the Over is 16-5 in Minnesota's last 21 non-conference games. Given those numbers, it should come as no shock to learn that BOTH teams' number of points given up AND scored rises against non-conference competition. 8* Over Heat/T'wolves
|04-04-19||Cavs v. Kings UNDER 228.5||Top||104-117||Win||100||13 h 41 m||Show|
10* Under Cavs/Kings (10:05 ET): Despite these teams both being among the very worst in the league defensively (in terms of points allowed), I see this game still staying Under. Yes, Cleveland has gone Over in five straight while giving up an average of an average of 122.6 PPG and its opponents are shooting a lights-out 55.1% during that time. The Cavs are allowing 113.9 PPG for the season, which 23rd in the league, and they are dead last in efficiency. But despite everything you just read, I believe we are in store for an Under tonight in Sacramento. The number is just too high.
Sacramento is no better than Cleveland on the defensive end. Well, in terms of efficiency, they are 18th. That's not terrible. But they also give up 114.9 PPG, which is 26th. They just gave up 130 points in their last game. But that was against the Rockets and this is against Cleveland. The Cavs rank near the bottom of the league in scoring (29th) at 104.6 PPG. While the Kings play at one of the league's fastest tempos (3rd), the Cavs play slow (29th in pace of play). In spite of the bad defensive numbers from both sides, Cleveland's offense may very well be what keeps this game from going Over the total.
Kevin Love won't be playing in this game either. Such was the case when the teams first met back in December. Now that game did go Over with both teams shooting lights out. I don't see that kind of shooting being replicated here, however. Cleveland obviously averages less PPG on the road than they do at home. They can't possibly continue to allow the shooting percentages we've seen recently. The Kings were held to 105 pts here at home by Houston. They too are in line to see defensive improvement in this game. The Under is 8-1 following the Kings' previous nine double digit losses at home. 10* Under Cavs/Kings
|04-01-19||Bulls v. Knicks OVER 212.5||Top||105-113||Win||100||11 h 24 m||Show|
10* Over Bulls/Knicks (7:35 ET): Two of the league's worst teams meet tonight in the Big Apple w/ nothing really on the line except draft position. Truthfully, there's very little chance the Knicks don't end up w/ the worst record in the league. They have three fewer wins than every other team and w/ only six games left, it's difficult to imagine them making up that difference. They've lost six in a row and 14 out of their last 15, but are actually favored here, which is obviously a real rarity. Despite having been held under 100 pts nine times in the last 12 games, I do expect the Knicks to score "more than usual" tonight against the Bulls.
Chicago is slightly better on both offense and defense than New York and thus has won seven more games. Really, the gap probably shouldn't be that big as the Knicks do deserve to be favored in this spot. The Bulls have lost four in a row themselves and three of those have been by 20 or more points. Strangely enough, the those three 20+ pt defeats all came at home while the one that didn't was on the road, at Toronto. The Bulls actually average slightly more PPG on the road than at home. But they continue to give up points in bunches w/ the L5 opponents averaging 117.6 PPG.
I already mentioned that the Knicks are slightly worse defensively than the Bulls. They give up 114.2 PPG on the year, which is not quite bottom five in the league, but it's close (6th worst). In terms of efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions), the Knicks are 28th. That's two spots below Chicago. So w/ two of the worst defensive teams in the league squaring off in a game that means next to nothing, plenty of points should be scored. The only prior meeting this season between these teams saw 231 total pts scored (Bulls won 116-115) and it should be something similar here. 10* Over Bulls/Knicks
|03-26-19||Wizards v. Lakers OVER 232.5||Top||106-124||Loss||-113||15 h 20 m||Show|
8* Over Wizards/Lakers (10:35 ET): This game is on Unlike the other two games in this package, I expect plenty of points to be scored tonight in the Staples Center where the Lakers host the Wizards. Both teams are simply looking to finish up very disappointing seasons. The Wizards were a playoff team last year (finished 8th), but got off to a lousy start this season (2-9 first 11 games) and recent play has been just as ugly (lost 7 of 10). Meanwhile, no team has been more disappointing than the Lakers, who will miss the playoffs despite having LeBron James. Go w/ the Over here as defense should be optional in this matchup.
James did his best w/ what he had this year. He's averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game (really good numbers!), but he missed significant time in the middle of the season (17 games w/ a groin) and the roster around him wasn't all it was cracked up to be. James did just post his 81st career triple double the other night (29-11-11) in a 111-106 victory over Sacramento. It was just the 2nd SU win for the Lakers in the last 12 games and just the 2nd ATS win in the last 15 games. No team has been worse to bet on this year as LA's YTD ATS record is now 27-44-2. However, I do expect them to score a lot tonight against a Wizards team that's allowing a putrid 119.2 PPG on the road this season.
Washington comes in off a home loss to Miami, which all but sealed their fate as a non-playoff team. They now trail the 8th place Heat by 6.5 games for the final spot. Because of the poor defense, the Wiz have been the league's top Over team this year (60.8% of games), going 45-29 overall. They've allowed 113 or more points in six straight games and four of their last five opponents have shot 50% or better from the field. The Over is 10-2 their last 12 road games. I look for this to be a wild game w/ little defense being played. 8* Over Wizards/Lakers
|03-26-19||Clippers v. Wolves UNDER 230.5||Top||122-111||Loss||-109||13 h 49 m||Show|
8* Under Clippers/T'wolves (8:05 ET): The Clippers have surged up the Western Conference standings and are now tied for fifth, thanks to a five-game win streak (longest active in the West). Tonight, they're a short favorite in Minnesota and while all signs point to victory, I think the Clips may have more of an issue scoring than the oddsmakers realize. Actually, they very well may hit their season average of 114.7 points per game, but that still likely won't be enough to send this game over what is a very high total. Take the Under.
Minnesota just turned in one of their better defensive performances in awhile, holding Memphis to 99 points on Saturday. Now that was against the league's lowest scoring team, but the Under is now 5-0 in the T'wolves previous five contests. A big part of that is also they haven't been scoring as much as per usual. They've averaged only 105.4 PPG, which is well down from their season average. One positive is that the T'wolves do consistently play better defense here at home compared to the road. They allow "just" 109.4 PPG at home as opposed to 116.8 PPG on the road. That's certainly significant as the team gets ready to play its next four games here at the Target Center.
The Clippers did just score 124 points on Sunday, but that was against the sorry Knicks. It's been a fairly favorable stretch that has seen the team win 10 of its last 11 games overall. Unfortunately, they enter this game a little short-handed as the underrated Landry Shamet is likely out due to an ankle injury suffered on Sunday. Shamet, who had started 16 games, had been averaging 11.7 PPG since coming over in a trade w/ Philadelphia. This total just screams "too high" to me as I don't see a repeat of last month's meeting (here in the Twin Cities), a 130-120 T'wolves win that saw both teams shoot better than 51%. 8* Under Clippers/T'wolves
|03-26-19||Magic v. Heat UNDER 205||Top||104-99||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
8* Under Magic/Heat (7:35 ET): First off, props to Orlando for delivering me a huge win last night. They were a signature *10* Ultimate Power release and came through w/ "flying colors," defeating Philadelphia 119-98 as small home dog. Tonight's game in Miami was already set to be an important battle, but the Magic's win last night sets up a scenario where the winner here will be in the "coveted" eighth position in the Eastern Conference (i.e the difference between making the playoffs and NOT making the playoffs). I expect a hard-fought battle here and an Under.
As stated in yday's analysis, Orlando has played sensational defense as of late. They are #1 in the league in defensive efficiency since the break and further strengthened those numbers last night by holding the Sixers under 100 pts. The Magic really dominated in the 2nd half, holding Philadelphia to just 38 points and there was a 12-minute stretch where the Sixers did not make a single shot! With the exception of an overtime win against Memphis last week, Orlando has held every other opponent to 106 points or less in their last eight games. In four of the last five games, they've held the opponent under 100 points! The Under is 8-2 their last 10 games.
What's curious about Miami is they have a worse record at home than on the road. Numbers are basically identical (in terms of points scored vs. allowed), but they're only 17-20 SU here on South Beach as opposed to 19-17 SU on the road. Their last game was Saturday when they beat the Wizards 113-108, in D.C. That came on the heels of a disastrous showing the night prior in Milwaukee where they were held to only 87 points. In fact, the Heat had been held below 100 in three of five games before "breaking out" against the Wizards. Both teams shot better than 50% in their last game, something I don't see happening here. Orlando only averages 103.8 PPG on the road as their FG% is way down compared to at home. 8* Under Magic/Heat
|03-23-19||Pistons v. Blazers UNDER 216||Top||112-117||Loss||-110||14 h 12 m||Show|
10* Under Pistons/Blazers (10:05 ET): Things couldn't have gone much better than what I chose Detroit as my *10* Game of the Week Thursday night. They blew out the Suns by 20 points and are now in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, despite a recent dicey stretch. Much of that "diceyness" has come on the road where they've suffered defeats at the hands of Cleveland, Brooklyn and Miami. In Thursday's analysis, I said they couldn't afford another such "slip up" and they came through. But I'm not nearly as optimistic about their chances tonight here in Portland.
The Blazers are trying to lock down a top four spot in the Western Conference. They've won five of six w/ the only loss coming last Saturday night at red hot San Antonio. Since then, they've managed to beat Indiana and Dallas here at home. The Blazers are predictably a much better team at home where they've gone 27-9 SU on the season and their offensive PPG increases while defensive PPG decreases (compared to overall season average). I think it'll be more the defense that "rules the day" tonight even though the Over is 11-1-1 in Portland's last 13 home games. They are also 4-0 Under after allowing 100+ points the previous game.
It was actually defense that carried Detroit to victory in Phoenix Thurs night. They held the Suns to just 35 second half points, which was the difference in a game they actually trailed at halftime. The Pistons only shot 42.2% from the floor and remain one of the worst shooting teams in the league. As alluded to above, some recent performances on the road leave a lot to be desired. They scored only 75 in Brooklyn and 74 in Miami and for the year are shooting just 42.9% away from home. The Under is 4-1 their last five road games and 16-5 their L21 vs. the Eastern Conference. 10* Under Pistons/Blazers
|03-20-19||Pelicans v. Magic UNDER 224.5||Top||96-119||Win||100||10 h 10 m||Show|
8* Under Pelicans/Magic (7:05 ET): Despite already being eliminated from playoff contention and having a worse overall record, a case can be made that New Orleans has been a better team than Orlando this year even though the Magic are very much alive for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pelicans do have a slightly better YTD point differential. But they've also had to deal w/ the ongoing Anthony Davis saga and play in the tougher conference. Nevertheless, these two teams will meet tonight in Orlando and for a variety of reasons I'm expecting this to be a low-scoring game, at least lower scoring than the oddsmakers are anticipating. Take the Under.
Each of the Magic's last four games have gone Under. Two of them saw them get held under 100 points. The other two saw them do the same to their opponents. Probably not coincidentally, the two sub-100 pt efforts (both losses) came on the road. The two times they held the opponent below the century mark (both wins) came here at home. Given where this game is being played, I expect another strong defensive effort here from the Magic. Even in those two road losses, they allowed just 105 and 100 points. In the L5 games, they're allowing an average of 98.6 PPG. Helping the cause is the fact the Pelicans are now limiting Davis to about 20 mins per game.
New Orleans' recent efforts have been at the opposite end of the spectrum. Five of their last six games have gone Over and - on average - no team's games have a higher average total PPG than the Pelicans (232.1). Their last two games were a 138-136 loss to Phoenix and a 129-125 win over Dallas. Note both were overtime games, however. The L5 games have seen NO allow a frightening 128.6 PPG. But what goes up, must come down and in the case of that average, there's only one direction it can go. 8* Under Pelicans/Magic
|03-18-19||Nuggets v. Celtics UNDER 222||Top||114-105||Win||100||12 h 35 m||Show|
10* Under Nuggets/Celtics (7:35 ET): Both of these teams would obviously like to "move up" in their respective conference's standings. Denver has been in a battle w/ Golden State all season for the top spot in the Western Conference and currently trails the Warriors (who play @ SA tonight) by one game. Boston, largely viewed as an underachiever this season, is currently 5th in the Eastern Conference. But I can see them making a late move, getting all the way up to third by the end of the regular season. Regardless of the outcome of this game, I envision it being low-scoring. Take the Under.
Denver has strictly been an Under team of late. They are 10-1 Under the L11 games and while some of that has to do w/ high totals, they've also been playing some pretty good defense as well. Over the L5 games, the Nuggets have allowed an average of just 105.4 PPG, which is below their season average. During that stretch, only Golden State has exceeded 107 against them. The last two games, both wins at home, were really low scoring. They beat Dallas 100-99 and Indiana 102-100. Of course, the Nuggets' offensive production also goes down when they leave Denver. They are averaging 107.9 PPG on the road this season, well off what they average at the Pepsi Center.
Denver is fully healthy right now, but Boston is not. Both Al Horford and Gordon Hayward sustained injuries in Saturday's 129-120 win over Atlanta. The last four Celtics games have all gone Over the total, a stark contrast to Denver, though before the four-game streak, Boston had gone Under in six straight. The Celtics have also won five of six and I expect a team that ranks in the top five in defensive efficiency to "show up" tonight. At home, Boston is allowing just 106.6 PPG. This should be a much lower-scoring game than anticipated. 10* Under Nuggets/Celtics
|03-17-19||Hornets v. Heat UNDER 215||Top||75-93||Win||100||13 h 23 m||Show|
8* Under Hornets/Heat (1:05 ET): These division foes met not that long ago. It's only been 10 days, in fact, since the Heat prevailed 91-84 in Charlotte. The Hornets had won both previous matchups, but those came all the way back in October. Nevertheless, right now, these teams are locked in a tight battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami currently has the edge, but only by a game as they just took a horrendous loss Friday to Milwaukee. Under normal circumstances, losing to the Bucks would not be a big deal. But the Heat blew a 20-point lead at home.
Charlotte won its last game, 116-110, in Washington. The result was much needed as it stopped a five-game ATS losing skid. It was also just the third win in the last nine games (second over the Wizards). Note that since losing to Miami, the Hornets have been involved in four straight high scoring games, all of them seeing at least 223 or more total pts scored. But I think this one will shape up similar to the last game w/ the Heat where neither team shot the ball particularly well. The Hornets had a 40-point 1st quarter against the Wizards Friday, something that I don't see happening here against a much better defensive foe.
The Under is 11-5 in the L16 meetings, including 5-2 here in Miami. But that's not likely to be what's on the minds of the Heat players heading into this one. Rather, it's "how did we let that one slip away against Milwaukee?" Giving up 73 second half points certainly didn't help, but then again, the Bucks are arguably the top offensive team in the league not named the Warriors. Charlotte is probably incapable of a similar barrage. The Heat remain a top 10 team in defensive efficiency, but they wound up only shooting 40.9% against the Bucks. A division battle this late in the season has all the makings of a low-scoring game. 8* Under Hornets/Heat
|03-15-19||Bucks v. Heat UNDER 220||Top||113-98||Win||100||10 h 46 m||Show|
8* Under Bucks/Heat (8:05 ET): So, if you read the writeup on the side, it should be pretty obvious that I'm also going w/ the Under in this one. Again, "there have been four times in the NBA this year that a team has held an opponent to eight points or less in a quarter. Three of those have come from Miami! The latest was that decisive 3Q vs. the Pistons Wednesday as they outscored them 33-8 in that stanza. The last time they hosted Milwaukee, they kept the Bucks in check, holding them to 87 points. That was the Bucks' second lowest point total in a game all season. They shot 9 of 43 from three-point range and Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to a season-low nine points on 3 of 12 shooting" (reprinted from writeup on side).
I do expect Milwaukee to be better defensive than they were against New Orleans. After all, like I said, this is the #1 team in the league in defensive efficiency (a very important category). The Under is 6-1 in the Bucks' last seven conference games. The Under has also cashed in both of this season's matchups against the Heat, easily so in the one here in Miami. This total is higher than either of the previous two meetings, which seems like a mistake by the oddsmakers.
Miami has held three of its last six opponents below 90 points. Will that happen again here? Probably not, though it is worth mentioning they held the Bucks below 90 when they last hosted them. The Heat are also in the top 10 in defensive efficiency for the season. The Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings overall and 16-5-1 the L22 meetings here on South Beach. 8* Under Bucks/Heat
|03-14-19||Mavs v. Nuggets OVER 220||Top||99-100||Loss||-109||14 h 19 m||Show|
10* Over Mavericks/Nuggets (10:35 ET): Denver got a much needed offensive outburst Tuesday night, scoring 133 points at the expense of the defensively challenged T'wolves. That snapped a nine-game Under streak for the Nuggets. More importantly (for them), it was a win, just their second in the last six games. Yet they are still very much alive for the top spot in the Western Conference, just one game back of the Warriors. Here, I think they should again put up a ton of points as they face a struggling Dallas team. Take the Over.
The Mavericks have lost six in a row and 11 of their last 12. Not helping is the fact rookie sensation Luka Doncic is not 100%. Tuesday against San Antonio, Doncic didn't even score until the final minute of the first half. He finished w/ only 12 points and had nine turnovers. It was clearly one of the worst games of his career. Now, the last time Dallas faced Denver, they were w/o Doncic entirely. It was only the third game Doncic missed all season and the Mavs managed only 104 points on 40.5% shooting. Obviously, Doncic's health is worth monitoring here, but this Over bet stands with or without him.
Denver didn't shoot well in that previous meeting either, finishing w/ a FG% of only 40.8. They shot 60% against Minnesota Tuesday and upped their scoring average at home to 116.5 for the year. The Mavericks' scoring average hardly drops on the road, even though their won-loss record (6-27) is far worse than it is at home (21-13). The problem lies on the defensive end as they're giving up 113.1 PPG on the road, compared to just 106.3 PPG at home. When the teams met here in Denver earlier in the year (December), the final score was 126-118, an easy Over. Similar story here. 10* Over Mavericks/Nuggets
|03-13-19||Jazz v. Suns UNDER 222.5||Top||114-97||Win||100||14 h 44 m||Show|
10* Under Jazz/Suns (10:05 ET): Utah has taken a couple of "bad" losses recently. I went against them both times: a road loss to Memphis and home loss to OKC. In each instance, the Jazz were the betting favorite. Such is the case again tonight, but at least they're playing a Phoenix team that shouldn't provide much resistance. Then again, the Suns have gone 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS their last five games. They just upset the Warriors (as 16.5-pt dogs!) in Oakland. So maybe this ISN'T the layup Utah is hoping for. Regardless, I'm taking the Under here as the Jazz are usually good defensively and the Suns have been better (at least recently).
In those last two games, the Jazz did not shoot the ball well. They finished the Memphis game w/ a 42.7 FG% and were even worse against OKC (36.4%). Admittedly, those are two of the better defensive teams in the league. Phoenix is near the bottom of the league in both points allowed and efficiency. But aside from a 127-120 loss at Portland, the Suns have been much better on the defensive end of late. During the five-game ATS win streak, they've allowed an average of "just" 109.6 PPG. The four games besides the Portland one saw them give up no more than 111. The Under is also 4-1 in the Suns' last five home games.
The Under is also 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two. None of those five totals were as high as this one is. The only previous matchup this season saw the Jazz hold Phoenix to 88 points. Now that was in Salt Lake City and the Suns were without their top two scorers. They also went just 3 of 17 from behind the three-point line. But I still maintain this O/U is too high. Utah scored only 89 points against OKC on Monday and isn't really an offensive juggernaut to begin with. The Under is 5-0 the last five times the Jazz have been off an ATS loss and I expect this to be a pretty low-scoring affair. 10* Under Jazz/Suns
|03-10-19||Bulls v. Pistons UNDER 217||Top||108-131||Loss||-110||16 h 3 m||Show|
8* Under Bulls/Pistons (12:05 ET): Two of the worst shooting teams in the league, statistically speaking, collide Sunday afternoon in the Motor City. The Pistons are red hot and as a result have seized the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference pecking order. They've won 11 of 13 w/ the most recent win coming Friday against these Bulls. That game saw them come back from a 21-point deficit, scoring 43 pts in the fourth quarter. Playing at home, Detroit is unlikely to fall into any sort of similar deficit just as they are not likely to have a 43-point quarter again. Nor are the Bulls probably going to turn in a 66-point half here. Take the Under.
Chicago raced out to a 66-49 halftime advantage on Friday, based on the strength of forcing 11 first half turnovers, which were converted into 20 points. In the 2H, they forced only seven turnovers and those were converted into just four points. As alluded to above, the Bulls are not a sharp shooting team. They are dead last in the league in offensive efficiency. Note that despite the big 1st half from the Bulls on Friday, and the Pistons' huge 4Q comeback, the game still stayed Under by a few points. The Bulls shot 51% from the floor Friday. The last time they shot above 50%, they went Under in their next game.
Detroit finished w/ a 54.2 FG% Friday, a number usually uncommon for them. Now it was the third time this month that they shot 53% or better and the Over is still 9-2 in the Pistons' last 11 games. However, this is a team that still ranks 28th in the league in field goal percentage (at 44.1). Only Cleveland and New York are below them. One positive for Detroit here is they shouldn't have to worry much about the Bulls from behind the three-point line. Chicago is 27th in the league in three-point attempts and 29th in three-pointers made per game. Familiarity breeds an Under. 8* Under Bulls/Pistons
|03-09-19||Suns v. Blazers UNDER 229.5||Top||120-127||Loss||-109||23 h 21 m||Show|
10* Under Suns-Blazers (10:05 ET): The Suns arrive in Portland on a rare three-game win streak and have won four of their last five overall. Though not a season-best win streak, they can match it w/ another win tonight (previous 4-game win streak took place back in December). Easier said than done, however, as they'll be playing a Blazers team that's looking to bounce back from a couple of defeats. Also, the entirety of Phoenix's current win streak has come at home. They have the fewest number of road wins in the league (5) and have dropped nine in a row to Portland.
The Blazers are off B2B losses for the 1st time since right before the All-Star Break. Previously, they had won six of seven w/ the only loss coming by two points at Toronto. Poor defensive efforts were the culprit in both defeats, more notably when they gave up 120 pts to a Memphis team that is last in the league in scoring. The 129-121 loss to OKC was an overtime game that saw Damian Lillard get ejected at the end of regulation, a game where he scored 51 points. But Lillard's teammates did not shoot the ball particularly well. It will likely be a more even distribution of scoring tonight.
Portland has gone Over in four straight while Phoenix has gone Under in three straight. So something's gotta give tonight. The Suns are a poor defensive team playing on the road, but I still believe this total is too high. Suns' games still "only" average 222.5 PPG. Blazers' games average 224.1 PPG. Portland is a much better defensive team at home (only 108.6 PPG allowed) and the Under is 6-1 in their last seven games after giving up 125 or more the previous time out. The total here is significantly higher than what it closed at for the teams' last meeting back in January. 10* Under Suns/Blazers
|03-06-19||Knicks v. Suns OVER 224.5||Top||96-107||Loss||-109||12 h 15 m||Show|
8* Over Knicks/Suns (9:05 ET): The Suns have actually won three of their last four games, which includes shocking triumphs over the Lakers and Bucks. But tonight's opponent can attest to the fact that when you're a bad team, the "good times" don't often last for very long. It wasn't too long ago that the Knicks had won three of four, but they've since reverted back to their "past ways" by losing three straight. That leaves NY at a putrid 4-30 SU their L34 games. In a battle of teams w/ the worst SU records in their respective conferences, I expect plenty of points to be scored in this one. Take the Over.
Phoenix has scored no fewer than 112 pts in each of its last five games. But it was a stunning effort at the defensive end that was largely responsible for Monday's upset of the Bucks here at home. The Suns held Milwaukee, the league's 2nd highest scoring team to just 105 pts on 36.8% shooting. It was the second time upsetting the Bucks this season. But suffice to say such a defensive effort is quite "out of the ordinary" considering the Suns rank 28th in the league in points allowed and 29th in defensive efficiency. After B2B games (both wins) where they allowed fewer than their season average, expect Phoenix to regress tonight defensively.
The Knicks have given up plenty of points recently. Five of their last six opponents have scored at least 115 and they too are a bottom five team in defensive efficiency for the season. The first time these teams met, which was back in December, saw the Suns prevail 128-110 in MSG. A similar combined point total here is definitely not out of the question considering neither side really has anything to play for and thus defense will be "lax." Honestly, with the two teams separated by just one-half game in the "race" for the league's worst record, the loser here is probably the ultimate winner. 8* Over Knicks/Suns
|03-05-19||Rockets v. Raptors UNDER 227.5||Top||107-95||Win||100||11 h 26 m||Show|
10* Under Rockets/Raptors (8:05 ET): So I cashed the Under on Houston's last game, which for them was an outright win in Boston (115-104 as 2.5-pt dogs). It's a similar total (and pointspread) for tonight's game in Toronto and I'm sticking w/ the Under. The Rockets may have won five straight, averaging 118.2 PPG in the process, but I don't see them hitting that number here as the Raptors are allowing just 107.9 PPG at home for the season. Note that Toronto's last game, a 112-107 loss in Detroit, went to overtime. So the number of total points scored there is a bit misleading.
Toronto is a top seven team in defensive efficiency. The key here for them will be keeping James Harden in check. Harden registered 58 pts in a come from behind victory over Miami last Thursday before scoring 42 more against Boston. That's 100 pts in two games, but note in the two games prior he had been held to 17 of 50 shooting, including an absolutely woeful 1 of 21 from three-point range. So I expect Harden's scoring to curtail some here tonight. He did not shoot the ball well in the first meeting w/ the Raptors (9 of 25) even though the Rockets still won 121-119.
Toronto was tied w/ Detroit 100-100 at the end of regulation Sunday, so Over bettors got a real "break" there. The Raptors shot only 38.5% from the floor in the loss, but that was after shooting 55.6% in a win over Portland the game prior. They'll finish somewhere in between tonight. The Under is 7-3 the L10 times Toronto has allowed 100+ points in their previous game. This total just looks too high to me as it's two top tier teams playing on national TV, which should mean more defensive intensity from both sides. 10* Under Rockets/Raptors
|03-03-19||Rockets v. Celtics UNDER 226||Top||115-104||Win||100||7 h 49 m||Show|
8* Under Rockets/Celtics (3:30 ET): It wasn't pretty, but Boston finally got a win Friday night (their 1st since the All-Star Break!) by beating Washington (here at home), 107-96 as 9.5-pt chalk. Their own co-owner just referred to February as the "worst" he can remember. Maybe that's overstating things, but the team has been a disappointment. But I still wouldn't be surprised to see them make a move up the Eastern Conference standings before the end of the regular season. Things won't be easy today, however, as the Rockets come calling for a nationally televised home game.
Houston has won its last four games, scoring at least 118 points every time, but all four wins were relatively close (none greater than eight points). On Thursday, they needed every bit of James Harden's 58 points to overcome a 21-point 2H deficit and beat the Heat 121-118. That came on the heels of another 2H comeback, albeit not quite as dramatic, against Charlotte the night prior. Despite the high scores, the Rockets have not shot the ball particularly well during this win streak. In fact, their 49.4 FG% vs. Miami was their highest in a game since a win back on 2/1 vs. Denver.
Because they're facing the Rockets, this is a high total for a Celtics game. Of course, it's not quite as high as it was for their last game vs. Washington, which was my Total of the Week. I had the Under and that was never in doubt as the teams stayed 28 points clear of the number. Boston remains a top four team in the league in defensive efficiency, which will be key moving forward. Each of their last three games have stayed Under, but that also has just as much to do w/ the fact they were held below 100 pts in two of the games. They've failed to score 100 in three of their five games since the All-Star Break. 8* Under Rockets/Celtics
|03-01-19||Wizards v. Celtics UNDER 231||Top||96-107||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
10* Under Wizards/Celtics (8:05 ET): Washington has gone Over the total in 10 straight games. So it's no surprise we've got a high total Friday night in Boston. But the Wizards are highly unlikely to put together the same kind of offensive performance they turned in Wednesday night in Brooklyn (scored 125 points). That was just their NINTH road win of the year and previously the Wiz had lost four in a row overall. Tonight's matchup is pretty conducive to an Under considering the Celtics are a defensive-minded team, but have failed to score even 100 points in three of their four games since the All-Star Break.
Boston's struggles are front and center in the league right now. They are 0-4 since the Break and there's been a lot of finger-pointing. The most recent setback came Wednesday, here at home vs. Portland. They lost that game 97-92 even though they held the Blazers to 35% shooting in the first half. Portland also really struggled in the game from three-point range. If there is one "silver lining" for the Celtics, it's that they still rank fifth in the league in defensive efficiency. But anytime you fail to score 100 pts three times in a four-game span, offense is a real concern.
So this is obviously a very high total. It's just the second game all year for Boston w/ an OU line of 230 pts or more. The previous high was 232, set on 1/26 vs. Golden State. That game, a 115-111 loss, did stay Under. While 12 of the last 16 meetings w/ the Wizards have gone Over, including seven of eight here in Beantown, the OU line for the last meeting was substantially lower than it is tonight. We're talking a double digit change from the oddsmakers. While that last game resulted in final score of 130-125, it was an overtime game that saw 30 pts scored in the extra five minutes. 10* Under Wizards/Celtics
|02-25-19||Blazers v. Cavs OVER 222||Top||123-110||Win||100||20 h 26 m||Show|
10* Over Blazers/Cavs (7:05 ET): Somebody break up the Cavs! They've won two straight, just the the third time they've pulled that off all season. They've actually won three of their last four games. But there's yet to be a single three-game win streak in Cleveland since LeBron James left town. Following the previous two win streaks, the Cavs would go onto suffer a home loss both times. I do expect them to lose tonight, but I feel even stronger about this being a high-scoring affair due the Cavs' poor defense and the fact they are now stronger offensively w/ Kevin Love back in the lineup. Take the Over.
Portland is off a very impressive win in Philadelphia. They scored 130 points on a Sixers team that is pretty respectable on the defensive end. Cleveland is anything but respectable defensively as they come into this game ranked dead last in efficiency. The gap between them and the 29th team in DE is actually larger than the difference between 24 and 29! So I'd expect the Blazers to score plenty again here. They torched Cleveland for 129 pts in the first meeting, which was last month at home. They've also averaged 116.8 PPG their last five games.
Cleveland has scored 111 and 112 in the two games since the All-Star Break. Love led the way w/ a season-best 32 points Saturday vs. Memphis, despite sitting out the final 5:23. Among all the Western Conference playoff contenders, Portland is NOT exactly one of the premier defensive teams. They give up 112.9 PPG on the road. So the Cavs should score plenty tonight as well. Them scoring 112 against a Memphis team that is #1 in the league in points allowed was pretty impressive. Portland has gone Over in five out of its last six games vs. teams with losing records. 10* Over Blazers/Cavs
|02-24-19||Clippers v. Nuggets UNDER 233.5||Top||96-123||Win||100||9 h 60 m||Show|
10* Under Clippers/Nuggets (5:05 ET): This total has gotten too high, IMO, as Denver games don't really come close to averaging what the oddsmakers are asking for here. Home games do find the Nuggets averaging more points per game than on the road, but they also give up less. Clippers games, on average, are a bit more high scoring. However, they still fall short on the threshold here. This is the third meeting this year between these two teams. The first went Over, but the second stayed Under and this is - by far - this highest O/U line of the three games. Take the Under.
The Clippers came back from the All-Star Brak and beat Memphis Friday night, 112-106. They did have to rally in the 4Q as they were trailing. Lucky for them, the Grizzlies aren't a very good offensive team. While Denver isn't likely to shoot as poorly here as Memphis did, that's built into the O/U line already. Over bettors have cashed in the Clips' last four games. However, two of those games saw them shoot really well, one in particular (59% vs. Phoenix!). The Over is 17-10-1 in Clippers' home games, but they've gone Under more than they have Over on the road.
Denver also opened the 2nd half of the season w/ a win, theirs coming in Dallas by a score of 114-104. Again, that final score wouldn't have gone Over this total. It didn't even go Over its own total. The Nuggets were a little rusty in that first game back, shooting only 40.8% from the floor. They were fortunate in that Dallas shot basically an identical percentage. Another area where they were fortuitous was offensive rebounding as they grabbed 21 there alone and 63 boards total. The number of second chance points simply won't be there this time nor will we likely be seeing a 39-point quarter from the Nuggets today either. 10* Under Clippers/Nuggets
|02-21-19||Celtics v. Bucks UNDER 227.5||Top||97-98||Win||100||12 h 26 m||Show|
10* Under Celtics/Bucks (8:05 ET): I can see this being the matchup for the Eastern Conference Finals, but we have a long way to go until then. Milwaukee is certainly in good position coming out of the Break as they lead the Conference w/ a 43-14 SU record along w/ the NBA's best point differential (+9.8). Boston has been hit hard by both injuries and internal strife, thus they are "lagging" behind some in 4th place (37-21 SU), though they can claim the East's 2nd best point differential at +6.4. Coming out of the Break, I expect both sides to be a bit rusty, thus I'll go w/ the Under here.
Milwaukee is known as an "offensive team," but they actually sport the league's best defensive efficiency rating. (Boston isn't too far behind at #4). The Bucks ended the 1st half w/ three straight Unders and only one opponent has topped 107 pts in their last six games. This will be just the third time this season that the Bucks are playing w/ three or more days rest. The Under is 2-0 the previous two times and they've also gone Under the last four times when playing teams with a winning record. Given the competitive nature of the two teams involved here, this seems like a really high total.
Boston and Milwaukee have met two times this year and both games did go Over. However, those were lower totals. Both games took place in Boston and each team won once. It should be noted that the Celtics' scoring does drop slightly, down to 109.9 PPG, on the road. Now Milwaukee obviously averages more PPG at home, but neither team's average PPG scored + allowed adds up to what the total is for tonight. Again, with this being the 1st game back from the Break, I don't see either side being in "peak" form offensively. 10* Under Celtics/Bucks
|02-13-19||Kings v. Nuggets OVER 230||Top||118-120||Win||100||13 h 20 m||Show|
8* Over Kings/Nuggets (9:05 ET): Denver has been one of the biggest surprise teams of the first half as no matter what happens here, they'll go into the All-Star Break in a top three position in the Western Conference. But as far as surprises go, nothing has caught me off-guard more than the fact Sacramento has remained relevant in the playoff hunt. The Kings are four games over .500 and currently in the eighth position in the West. I don't think that will last, but there's no denying this team is performing well above expectations. I expect this game to go Over the total.
A reason to be a bit trepidatious regarding Sacramento is their defense. They give up 114.5 PPG, which is bottom five in the league. On the road, the number predictably jumps slightly (to 116.6 PPG). Now the Kings have spent the better part of a month going Under the total more often than not. The Under is 14-2 their last 16 games. But oddsmakers aren't fooled for this one. The total is high for a reason. The Kings are going to give up a lot of points to a Denver team averaging 116.0 PPG at home.
The Nuggets have gone Over in four of their last five games vs. winning teams. They had lost three in a row before drilling Miami on Monday, 103-87 as 9.5-point chalk. I don't see them getting away w/ that kind of defensive effort here. Sacramento is fourth in the league 3-point shooting percentage. (For the record, Denver is also in the top 10). Both prior meetings this year between these two have gone Over w/ at least 230 total pts scored each time. 8* Over Kings/Nuggets
|02-13-19||Heat v. Mavs OVER 209||Top||112-101||Win||100||13 h 50 m||Show|
8* Over Heat/Mavs (8:35 ET): I also expect this matchup to be a higher scoring than expected. I've already gone into how Dallas should win. I believe that win comes w/ a strong offensive night. For four consecutive games, they've been held under their season scoring average of 108.8 PPG. I don't see that happening here. The Mavs' scoring average rises to 110.7 PPG at home.
An interesting thing about Miami is that they have actually performed better on the road than at home. Obviously, that doesn't mean I think they'll win here. But coming off a poor 87-point effort in Denver, the Heat should at least score more tonight. They average 105.5 PPG on the road for the season. They shot only 41.2% from the floor in Denver. They were particularly dismal from three-point range where they went 9 of 33 (27.3%). They also stunk from the FT where they shot a poor percentage on a low number of attempts (10 of 16). All those percentages should improve tonight.
But Dallas should shoot better than they have been recently as well. Ironically, they shot decent against Houston (lost by 16) after three straight games being at 41.4% or lower (won two of those). On average, Mavs' games see 217.5 total PPG scored. So you can see we've got some value here. After being snubbed from the All-Star Game, look for Luka Doncic to have a strong effort here. 8* Over Heat/Mavs
|02-12-19||Jazz v. Warriors OVER 229||Top||108-115||Loss||-102||14 h 10 m||Show|
10* Over Jazz/Warriors (10:35 ET): This should be a good game. Golden State's reputation precedes itself while Utah is as hit as any team in the league, let alone the Western Conference. Despite continuing to win, the Warriors have actually had their share of struggles recently, getting off to a slow start vs. Phoenix and then barely escaping w/ a two-point win over Miami. I actually contemplated taking the Jazz plus the points in this one, but I think the Over is the stronger play here as both teams have been doing a lot of scoring recently.
Utah dominated San Antonio on Sunday, winning 125-105. Over the last five games, they are averaging 114.4 PPG and that's even w/ a poor 98-point effort vs. Houston. In winning 14 out of their last 18, the Jazz have scored at least 110 pts eleven times. With Golden State having regressed considerably on the defensive end, I don't expect Utah having much difficulty scoring in this game. The Jazz have shot 50% or better in three of their last four games. They are also 6-2 Over this season w/ a total of 220 pts or higher. The Over is 5-1 the last six games overall.
Golden State has now won five times this season after trailing by 15+ points. Two of those five wins have been the last two games. They trailed Phoenix early by as many as 17, then faced that same deficit against the Heat. The Dubs were far more fortunate to win that game, which I cashed easily w/ Miami as 14-point underdog. Another of the come from behind efforts came early in the year vs. Utah. That was a 124-123 final where the Warriors shot better than 56% from the floor and Durant/Curry combined for 69 points. They had 62 more in a loss to Utah in Salt Lake City in December. As per usual, Golden State is leading the league in scoring (119.1 PPG). They've scored at least 115 in eight of the last nine game. 10* Over Jazz/Warriors
|02-09-19||Hornets v. Hawks UNDER 230||Top||129-120||Loss||-109||21 h 26 m||Show|
10* Under Hornets/Hawks (7:35 ET): The Hornets have played 11 games this season with a total of 230 points or higher. Ten of them have resulted in Unders. The previous two seasons had no such games. So a benchmark of sorts has been established for this team when betting totals. Their last game was really low scoring as they lost to Dallas by a score of 99-93. Up next is a date in Atlanta and while the Hawks are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, I look for the Under pattern to continue here. The Hawks only scored 101 in their last game, a blowout loss to Toronto.
Despite being division rivals, these teams haven't met since late November. The last meeting had a similar O/U line and easily stayed Under as Charlotte prevailed 108-94. The Hawks and Hornets combined to go 15 of 64 from three-point range and Atlanta shot just 34.4% overall. Maybe the shooting won't be that poor this time around, but I still wouldn't expect this to turn into a shootout. The Hawks are bottom five in the league in offensive efficiency while Charlotte is in the bottom third in pace of play. Two of the three meetings in November stayed Under.
Atlanta managed only 33 points in the second half vs. Toronto on Thursday, thus they blew a 17-point lead and ended up losing by 18. That's quite the swing. Meanwhile, Charlotte never got out of the box vs. Dallas. It was a bad night from three as they missed 26 of 37 attempts. It's a proven fact the Hornets don't go Over when the total is this high and the truth is few teams do. Too much has to go right and I just don't see this turning into a shootout. The Under is 12-4 in the last 16 meetings. Also, the Under is 5-2-1 the Hornets' last eight road games as well as 5-1-1 the L7 times they have been off a SU loss. 10* Under Hornets/Hawks
|02-08-19||Bucks v. Mavs OVER 222.5||Top||122-107||Win||100||24 h 58 m||Show|
8* Over Bucks/Mavs (8:35 ET): Dallas has gone Under in each of its last four games as well as 9 of the last 10. They're also on a money-making 8-0 ATS run that stretches back to January 21st. But even though they're 19-7 SU at home this season, it's going to be tough to keep Friday's opponent in check. The league-leading Bucks are coming to town and just got stronger offensively by making a (trade) deadline deal for Nikola Mirotic, who may or may not suit up tonight. Not like the team needs him though. They already average an Eastern Conference high 117.8 PPG and just dropped 148 in their last game. I'll be going w/ the Over here.
Wednesday's 148-129 win over the Wizards makes it five straight wins AND covers for Milwaukee. This is a team w/ few holes and I have them atop my own personal power rankings. But if there was one curious thing about the Mirotic deal, it's that they passed up on a chance to pick up what would have been a key defensive piece. Stanley Johnson was acquired in a trade from Detroit and is known for being an underrated defender. But he was then flipped as part of the Mirotic deal.
These teams met on MLK Day and the 116-106 win by Milwaukee managed to stay under the total by less than a bucket. Dallas shot just 41.4% from the field and missed 7 of 17 free throws. That was pretty much the difference. I expect more from the Mavs offensively here as they average 111.2 PPG at home. I don't think the loss of Harrison Barnes (traded to Sacramento) will affect them much offensively. Maybe defensively it will. Bottom line is that after holding four straight opponents under 100 pts, that will NOT be happening here against one of the top offensive teams in the league. 8* Over Bucks/Mavs
|02-05-19||Wolves v. Grizzlies OVER 203||Top||106-108||Win||100||12 h 41 m||Show|
10* Over T'wolves/Grizzlies (8:05 ET): If there's one team you can count on for a low total it's Memphis. The Grizzlies are 29th in offensive efficiency and last (30th) in PPG. They also play at the slowest tempo. They've gone Under in four straight and the last game (a win!) was a 96-84 final against the Knicks. But looking at tonight's O/U line vs. Minnesota, the number is too low. Minnesota doesn't play much defense at all and this should be a much more high scoring game than the one the two teams played in the Twin Cities last week. Take the Over.
Last Wednesday, the T'wolves beat the Grizzlies 99-97, in overtime. As you can probably guess, neither team shot well in that game. Minnesota won despite shooting 38.9% overall and 22.9% from three-point range. Memphis was actually slightly better in both categories and made two more free throws. So how did they lose? It was an issue of volume as the T'wolves simply attempted more shots. The final one they took was the most important as Karl-Anthony Towns made a desperation jumper at the buzzer. Speaking of Towns, he scored all 16 of his pts in that game after halftime. I don't see a player of his caliber getting shut out in the 1st half again tonight.
Minnesota then lost a close game at home over the weekend, 107-106 to Denver. After scoring 38 pts in the 1st quarter of that game, they failed to do much offensively the rest of the way. Memphis is tough on defense, but I still see the T'wolves shooting better here than they did in last week's meeting. This is a team that averages 111.4 PPG and they've been under that number in four straight games. At the same time, they also give up 114.4 PPG on the road, so we should see Memphis break out offensively as well. While the Grizzlies have gone four straight games w/o breaking 100, the last three were all on the road. 10* Over T'wolves/Grizzlies
|02-02-19||76ers v. Kings OVER 235||Top||108-115||Loss||-106||15 h 52 m||Show|
8* Over Sixers/Kings (10:05 ET): Sacramento had stayed Under in 11 consecutive contests going into Wednesday night, but that didn't stop me from picking them to go Over a very high number against Atlanta. As discussed here, the Hawks are one of the league's very worst teams - overall and defensively - so I said a shootout would be in order and that's exactly what we got as the Kings went onto win by a score of 135-113. Tonight, a much better team comes to California's capital city and again the expectation here is for a high-scoring affair. I agree. Take the Over.
Philadelphia will have to guard against a letdown here as they are coming off a huge upset of Golden State, on the road, Thursday night. The Sixers won 113-104, thanks in no small part to the Warriors shooting an uncharacteristic 11 of 38 from three-point range. It should also be pointed out that game featured a very low-scoring 4th quarter w/ both teams scoring only 18 points. Before that, the teams were on pace for a 240-point game. Sacramento may not be Golden State, but I expect them to shoot better from three than the Dubs did Thursday night. For the year, the Kings are 38.2% from behind the arc. That's the third best mark in the league.
Wednesday was one of Sacramento's higher scoring efforts all season. It was only the fourth time that they topped 130 pts this season. Interestingly enough, the Over is a perfect 3-0 following the previous three instances. Considering how many times in a row they went Under, one would reasonably expect things to start going the "other way." This might be a high total for Philly, but it's not quite as high as the Golden State game and the Sixers are averaging 1117.4 points over the last five games. They also allow 114.8 PPG on the road. I think we're looking at what will be one of the higher scoring games in the NBA this week. 8* Over Sixers/Kings
|01-30-19||Hawks v. Kings OVER 235||Top||113-135||Win||100||13 h 16 m||Show|
10* Over Hawks/Kings (10:05 ET): Unless you closely follow NBA totals, you are probably unaware that Sacramento has gone Under in 11 consecutive games. If you think that sounds highly irregular, well, you'd be right. Not only is the length of the streak unusual, but given the team in question, so is the way that it has gone. The Kings have been one the league's WORST defensive teams all season, giving up 115.1 points per game. The fact that they have gone under in 11 straight games might make tonight's high O/U line seem questionable, but the Kings are matched up here w/ the league's VERY WORST defensive team (Atlanta). I expect a shootout and won't be scared off by the number. Take the Over.
Some of Sacramento's recent games have been "close calls" when it comes to the total. Sunday's 122-108 loss to the Clippers stayed Under the closing O/U line by half a point. Last Tuesday's game at Toronto was also just a bucket shy of going Over. It must be noted here that tonight is the Kings' first game back home following a long, six-game road trip. In those six road games, their offense largely "betrayed" them as they averaged just over 100 PPG. This is a team that averages 113.0 PPG at home and overall. So I expect a rather dramatic increase in scoring from the Kings tonight, not just because of the opponent they're facing, but also due to simple "law of averages." Over the course of the six-game road trip, Sacramento's shooting got progressively worse, "bottoming out" w/ a 39.8 FG% vs. Clippers Sunday.
Atlanta would seem to be the cure for any team's offensive woes. While the Kings rank 26th in the league in points allowed (115.1 PPG), the Hawks are dead last, giving up 117.5 PPG. Interestingly enough, Atlanta just beat the same team (Clippers) that Sacramento lost to in its last game. Of course, the Hawks happened to get the Clips playing in the second night of a back to back. Still, they (Atlanta) were able to score 123 pts, which is encouraging for tonight. I'll conclude by mentioning that the first time these teams played this season (in Atlanta), the final score was 146-115 in favor of the Kings. Expect another wild one tonight. 10* Over Hawks/Kings
|01-29-19||Bucks v. Pistons OVER 218.5||Top||115-105||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
10* Over Bucks/Pistons (7:05 ET): This was going to be an interesting number from the oddsmakers as Bucks games - on average - are much more high scoring than Pistons games. Milwaukee's efficiency has fallen a bit over the last month or so, but they're still the second highest scoring team in the league right now, trailing only Golden State. As for Detroit, they're close to the bottom of the league in scoring and have averaged only 97 pts over the L5 games. Both teams are on Under streaks and the Under is 6-0-1 the L7 times they have met. But I think the number is low and we're "due" for an Over.
Milwaukee has gone Under in three straight games, but all of those had high O/U lines. The team should be plenty motivated tonight after losing at OKC on Sunday. They were down double digits at halftime as Giannis Antetokounmpo had only three points and was 0 for 6 from the field. I'm going to go out on a "limb" here and say that won't happen again here. There's been only one game since Christmas where the Bucks failed to score at least 111 points. They are also 28-14 Over the L3 seasons after allowing 115 or more points.
Detroit has seen the Under cash in each of their last five games as well as 9 out of its last 10. They've only been able to top 101 pts once in the last seven games, which is pretty shocking in the modern NBA. When they faced Milwaukee on New Year's Day, they were able to only score 98 points. But that game was on the road and still almost went Over (stayed Under by a point). The Pistons do average a respectable 107.7 PPG at home. Antetokounmpo scored only 15 in the last meeting as well. Improved offense should be expected from both sides in this one. Thus, I'm on the Over. 10* Over Bucks/Pistons
|01-25-19||Pistons v. Mavs OVER 210.5||Top||101-106||Loss||-106||10 h 50 m||Show|
10* Over Pistons/Mavericks (8:30 ET): Both teams have been seeing a lot of Unders this month, but I look for that to change in a major way Friday night. Detroit comes in having gone Under in four straight games and 8 out of its last 10. Dallas is also on a 4-game Under streak and is 9-2 Under in January. But you'll notice this number has been set much lower than recent O/U lines - for both sides. I feel we have a number we can exploit here as Pistons' games are averaging 214 points this year while Mavs' games are at 218.9. Over is the play in the one.
No one will mistake the Pistons for a sharpshooting team. But Blake Griffin is having a great season, averaging 26.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He's shooting 48% from the field and just went for 37 in a win Wednesday night at New Orleans. The rest of the team contributed only 61 pts, a number they almost certainly "have" to top tonight. At the same time, I do not expect Detroit to maintain its recent defensive numbers, which have seen their last five opponents average only 101.2 PPG. Remember the New Orleans team they faced two nights ago did NOT have Anthony Davis.
Dallas does have Dennis Smith Jr back in the lineup and that's certainly a good thing as he and rookie Luka Doncic form one of the more exciting young backcourts in the league. The Mavs went 2-4 SU in a six-game stretch w/o Smith, whose absence reportedly had to do w/ him being upset over his diminished role because of Doncic. Smith scored 17 in a 106-98 win over the Clippers Tuesday. I would expect the Mavs' offensive numbers to start going up w/ him now back in the fold. The Mavs have only shot 42.9% the L5 games, which is well below their season average. They average 111.6 PPG at home. 10* Over Pistons/Mavericks
|01-24-19||Pelicans v. Thunder UNDER 238||Top||116-122||Push||0||12 h 54 m||Show|
10* Under Pelicans/Thunder (8:05 ET): New Orleans would seem to be in some real trouble w/o superstar Anthony Davis and tonight is NOT a spot where they're likely to "figure things out." They just lost last night, at home to Detroit, and what made that loss all the more painful is that it was the first time all year they dropped a game when allowing fewer than 100 points (final score was 98-94). The fact they failed to score 100 pts themselves (just the sixth time this season) may very well be a "sign o' the times" without Davis, who is going to be out until at least next week.
Oklahoma City has actually been one of the league's top defensive teams for most of this year. They enter Thursday tied (w/ Utah) for the third best defensive efficiency rating in the league. After a few wild (i.e. high-scoring) games earlier in the month, things have settled down a bit for the Thunder over the L7 days as they've won three straight. This would seem to be a favorable spot for them as New Orleans is just 1-6 SU/ATS when playing in the second night of a back to back. But I'm not sure OKC can score enough to cover what is a lofty pointspread.
Therefore, Under is the call here as the Pelicans should continue to struggle to score w/o Davis. I already mentioned how they typically struggle when playing in the second night of a back to back. Those struggles are actually more about the defense, but this is a massive total, one where neither team's YTD scoring average would add up to an Over. Even the Pelicans, whose games - on average - are the highest scoring in the league (231.5 PPG) don't add up to what the oddsmakers are calling for here. This total is simply too high considering NO is w/o Davis and OKC is inconsistent shooting the ball. 10* Under Pelicans/Thunder
|01-22-19||Kings v. Raptors OVER 228||Top||105-120||Loss||-110||12 h 7 m||Show|
10* Over Kings/Raptors (7:05 ET): Sacramento is a team that I remain highly skeptical of, moving forward. The fact that they are over .500 has to be considered a major shocker at this point as coming into the year, it was expected to be them and Phoenix at the bottom of the Western Conference. But although the Kings are 24-23 SU on the year, they do happen to own the West's third worst overall point differential, a sign that regression could be forthcoming. Last night was certainly a step in the WRONG direction as they were blown out in Brooklyn, 123-94.
Things certainly don't get any easier for the Kings tonight as they must head north of the border to play Toronto. The Raptors are battling the Bucks for the top spot in the Eastern Conference right now w/ the two teams tied for first (Milwaukee technically percentage points ahead). Toronto has been a dominant team on its home floor, going 20-4 straight up while averaging 115.4 PPG. This team has been doing plenty of scoring lately, although some of that is tied to a 140-138 win over Washington that went to double overtime. They are top 7 in offensive efficiency, for the year, however. They'll also be getting Kawhi Leonard back (missed L2 games) tonight.
I've been through this before, but the fact Sacramento gives up so many points will ultimately be their undoing. They are bottom five in the league in PPG allowed (115.2) and that number gets even worse on the road. Last night, they allowed 123 points to a Nets team that is nowhere near what Toronto is offensively. However, it was still the eighth straight Kings game that stayed Under the total as they shot just 41.9% from the field. They should improve on that number tonight and while the number is high, I expect this game to go Over the total. (The total was even higher when these teams met in Sacramento earlier in the season). The Kings are 23-12 Over as underdogs this season, including 13-4 when on the road. Such a streak of Unders is a bit perplexing when you consider how bad Sacramento is defensively. 10* Over Kings/Raptors
|01-21-19||Mavs v. Bucks UNDER 225.5||Top||106-116||Win||100||7 h 35 m||Show|
8* Under Mavs/Bucks (2:00 ET): Although Golden State has been making a strong case recently, I still consider Milwaukee to have been the best team in the league over the 1st half of the season. They now lead the Eastern Conference w/ a 33-13 SU record and have outscored their opponents by 10.0 PPG. That's a remarkable point differential over a 46-game stretch considering the next best team (Golden St) is +6.5 PPG. I'm sure the Bucks will score plenty this afternoon, but will their opponent? I look for this game to stay Under the total.
Dallas isn't exactly one of the top offensive teams in the league. On the road, they've played very poorly this season, going just 4-19 SU. A three-game losing streak is a killer in the current Western Conference climate and in this instance, it's dropped the Mavs to third from the bottom in the Western Conference. I do not see this team making any kind of serious run to the playoffs, but they do have at least one thing going for them and that's rookie Luka Doncic. Of course, Doncic's emergence has led to Dennis Smith Jr going AWOL, which isn't exactly what you want. In the Mavs last two games, they've scored "just" 200 points.
In the Mavs previous 12 games, the Under has gone 9-2-1. On offense, they haven't been shooting the ball well for awhile now. They've been at or below 43% from the field in seven of the past eight games. The Under is also 7-0 off their previous seven losses. On Saturday, they lost 111-99 to Indiana. The Mavs have also gone Under in their last six non-conference games. Milwaukee has seen the Under cash in five of their last seven games. They aren't likely going to shoot the ball as well in this game as they did in their last one (55.3%) vs. Orlando. 8* Under Mavs/Bucks
|01-18-19||Warriors v. Clippers UNDER 242||Top||112-94||Win||100||16 h 35 m||Show|
10* Under Warriors/Clippers (10:35 ET): So, I guess we now have to get used to NBA totals in the 240's? It's become almost a nightly occurrence to see a 230+ pt total on the card, but thanks to Golden State (who else?) the bar is getting raised. In their last two games, the Warriors have scored an astronomical 289 pts by themselves (!) and their last game was a 147-140 final, which flew past a 241-pt total that tied for the highest O/U line in any game this season. For the record, there have only been nine games in NBA history (prior to tonight) w/ totals of 240 pts or higher. Four of them (and now a 5th) have taken place this season. Not surprisingly, the Warriors have been involved in 2 of the 4. Both of those games went Over. This one won't. Take the Under.
Golden State has gone Over in four straight games, scoring 140 or more in three of those. That's just ridiculous. They and New Orleans just set a record w/ 43 made three-pointers, breaking the "old" mark of 41, which was just set earlier this month when the Warriors beat the Kings. Steph Curry has made 28 three-pointers himself the L3 games, tying his own record, and has made at least eight in all three games. No player before him had ever made 8+ three-pointers in three straight games. I have to think that this ridiculous amount of scoring we're seeing from Curry and the Warriors is "due" to subside, at least a bit, no?
There are two things that should disrupt the Warriors' recent rash of Overs. One is that DeMarcus Cousins is set to make his debut tonight. As good a player as "Boogie" is, he could very well disrupt the offensive flow. Two is that the Clippers are struggling right now. They've lost four in a row. The Under is also 6-2 in their L8 games. I realize that recent history says the Over is the way to go in this Pacific Division matchup (9 straight Overs!), but this O/U line is simply too high. 10* Under Warriors/Clippers
|01-16-19||Magic v. Pistons OVER 206||Top||115-120||Win||100||11 h 6 m||Show|
10* Over Magic/Pistons (7:05 ET): Both of these teams got off to surprisingly good starts to the season. But, in each instance, that's rapidly faded. Orlando, even after big upsets over Boston and Houston in the last week, is five games below .500. Right behind them (by one-half game) is Detroit, who has lost 17 of its last 22 games. But in the watered down Eastern Conference, no one is really ever out of it (well, there are a few teams) and these two actually rank 9th and 10th in the Conference respectively. I anticipate this being a higher scoring game than anticipated. Take the Over.
The Magic beating the Celtics and Rockets on B2B nights is not something I, nor anyone else outside of Orlando, saw coming. Against Boston, they trailed by 10 at halftime even though there was a stretch where they'd held the Celtics w/o a field goal for 5:45. The win over Houston was another rally as this time the Magic found themselves down seven w/ just under five minutes to go. They were very lucky in that James Harden had an all-time horrific night shooting the ball as he went 1 for 17 from three-point range. Detroit isn't known as a three-point shooting team, but they should easily top what Harden did from distance. Orlando has largely been an "Under team" this season, but the Over is 9-3 when they're off a SU win as a dog.
Detroit has seen its last four games all stay Under the total, but those numbers were all higher than the O/U line for tonight. They were held to just 94 points Monday night in Utah, on 38.9% shooting, but that was against a Jazz team that ranks near the top of the league in defensive efficiency. It should also be pointed out that game did feature a pretty high-scoring 1st half as it was 59-53 Pistons heading into the break. Unfortunately, Detroit could only manage 35 points in the second half. The last time these teams played, the game went Over despite them combining to go 15 of 59 from three-point range. 10* Over Magic/Pistons
|01-14-19||Pistons v. Jazz OVER 209.5||Top||94-100||Loss||-106||13 h 59 m||Show|
8* Play Over Pistons/Jazz (9:05 ET): So these teams just met nine days ago and I took the Over in what ended up being a 110-105 Utah win and cover. Both teams shot an identical percentage from the floor (47.6%), each going 39 of 82. The Pistons also outshot the Jazz from three-point range, making 11 of 25 as opposed to just 7 of 21 for Utah. Detroit was also 80% from the free throw line, but Utah had 12 more attempts and made nine of them. That was the difference in the ballgame. I thought the total was too low in the Motor City and the oddsmakers still haven't adjusted for the rematch here in Salt Lake City. I'm on the Over again.
Something else I've written about recently is how you're going to see the Jazz go on a nice run here in January. I said this before taking them Friday night against LA, a game they easily covered as 8.5-pt chalk as they won 113-95. They won again the following night, again here at home, 110-102 over Chicago (though they did not cover). The schedule sets up well for Utah moving forward as this is their fourth straight game playing as a home favorite. They'll visit the Clippers on Wednesday, but after that it's four more home games and they should be favored every time.
Utah has won and covered five straight times against Detroit. To have any chance of snapping that streak, the Pistons are going to have to find a way to score (obviously!) as they come in averaging just 104.6 points over the L5 games. Not a terrible average, but a slight increase would be helpful here. For them, tonight is the end of a four-game trip out West. The Under is 3-0 so far, but the totals for the previous three games were all much higher than this one. They did just upset the Clippers on Saturday, led by Blake Griffin's 44 points. So if you want to know where the offense is likely to come from, there you go. Utah is shooting 46.7% for the year at home where it averages 111.1 PPG. An average game from the two sides, in terms of points scored and allowed, would work itself out to an Over here. An "average game" doesn't sound that difficult to me. 8* Over Pistons/Jazz
|01-13-19||Bucks v. Hawks UNDER 232.5||Top||133-114||Loss||-117||7 h 4 m||Show|
8* Under Bucks/Hawks (3:35 ET): This total is simply too high, especially if Giannis Antetokounmpo ends up not playing. Sure, we know the Bucks can score on Atlanta. The last time these teams played, Milwaukee was my 10* Game of the Week and they hung 144 pts on the Hawks, making 55 of the 100 shots they attempted. That's a ridiculous percentage considering the number of field goal attempts and something that's unlikely to be repeated, especially on the road and possibly w/o their best player. For the record, with or without "The Greek Freak," this Under play stands.
Antetoukounmpo is expected to play here as he was upgraded to probable this morning. When the Bucks trounced the Hawks earlier this month, none of the starters played more than 22 minutes as it was a 43-14 game at the end of one quarter. I would not expect that kind of game to unfold yet again here, even if Milwaukee ends up winning comfortably. On the road, the Bucks' scoring average "dips" to 113.1 PPG, down from 120.5 at home. The Under is 12-6 this year for them when the face a team w/ a losing record. Atlanta has one of the worst records in the league at 13-29 SU.
The Bucks did just lose w/o Antetokounmpo, 113-106 at Washington, so that might give Atlanta some hope here. Plus, the Hawks are off a pretty shocking results as they went to Philly on Friday as DD underdogs and came away w/ a 123-121 victory. However, take note that the Under is 29-12 the L3 seasons when Atlanta is off an outright win as a dog. That includes 8-2 this season. The Hawks are near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency (29th). Milwaukee has gone Under in its last three games. 8* Under Bucks/Hawks
|01-12-19||Celtics v. Magic OVER 213||Top||103-105||Loss||-115||19 h 22 m||Show|
10* Play OVER Celtics/Magic (7:05 ET): It's been a tale of two games this week for Boston, who blew out Indiana Wednesday (at home), only to then lose at Miami on Thursday. In my eyes, this is a team destined to move up the Eastern Conference standings in the second half of the season as the own the second best point differential in league right now. I find that point diff is a far better predictor of future performance than is a team's actual won-loss record. That being said, I still would be a little guarded about laying this many points on the road tonight, even though the opponent has struggled mightily of late.
This season got off to a somewhat promising start for Orlando, but they've hit the skids hard. They just ended a six-game road trip w/ four consecutive losses, all by double digits. In the last three, they failed to score even 100 points every time. I realize that facing a Boston team that ranks third in the NBA in defensive efficiency doesn't exactly scream "offensive turnaround," however the Magic do average a respectable number of points per game at home (105.9). Curiously, they also allow FAR more points per game at home (111.4) than they do on the road (105.0). Boston should score plenty in this game.
Despite ranking 3rd in defensive efficiency, the Celtics still give up 108 PPG on the road. The Over is 14-7 in their 21 road games so far and the number of points they're allowing has to be considered the main reason they have a losing record (10-11 SU) outside of Beantown. Thursday in Miami marked just the fifth time the Celtics were beaten by double digits this season. The Over is 3-1 off the previous four instances. The Over is also 9-2 their L11 games overall. The Miami game marked the 1st time Boston had been held under 100 pts (they scored 99) since a game vs. Utah on November 17th. When they hosted Orlando back in October, it was their lowest scoring game of the season (lost 93-90), but that was a dreadful shooting night for both sides and only 19 total free throws were attempted in the contest. 10* Play OVER Celtics/Magic
|01-09-19||Bulls v. Blazers OVER 206||Top||112-124||Win||100||14 h 24 m||Show|
10* Over Bulls/Blazers (10:05 ET): I tried w/ the Over in Portland's last game, but unfortunately they and the Knicks just couldn't "get there" falling a a bit short of the number. At first glance, a date w/ Chicago (who ranks last in the league in offensive efficiency) hardly seems to be the likely end of a now eight-game Under streak. But this number is not just low from Portland's perspective; it's also low for the Bulls too as they're giving up almost 110 PPG on the season. They've allowed more than that each of the L3 games and all of those were at home. Take the Over here.
As I talked about in Monday's writeup on Blazers-Knicks, Portland certainly doesn't have much trouble scoring as they've now averaged 114.4 points over the last five games. This despite relatively pedestrian shooting, save for the blowout of Philadelphia back on December 30th. But they haven't been above 50% in any game since and a hot shooting night is probably forthcoming. The Bulls have allowed 50% shooting in each of their last three games. Three-point shooting is a specific area where Portland should improve moving forward. Note that before the game vs. NY, the Over had been 4-0 the L4 times the Blazers had faced a team w/ a losing SU record.
So much for defensive improvement under HC Jim Boylan. The Bulls have allowed 112, 119 and 117 pts the last three games w/ those respective opponents all shooting better than 50% from the floor against them. I look for that trend to obviously continue tonight. On offense, the Bulls haven't been attempting enough threes under Boylan, but I look for that to start changing very soon. Zach LaVine is one of the NBA's top scorers at 23.9 PPG. Bottom line here is that it's time for Portland's Under streak to expire and this number is far too low. The average number of PPG scored in both teams' games YTD exceeds what the number is here. 10* Over Bulls/Blazers
|01-08-19||Wolves v. Thunder OVER 226.5||Top||119-117||Win||100||11 h 12 m||Show|
10* Over T'Wolves/Thunder (8:05 ET): Minnesota just fired its HC (and team president) Tom Thibodeau, which I view as a bit of a curious decision as expectations are simply too high for this young team in the loaded Western Conference. The team had been better since dealing Jimmy Butler away and had even won B2B games, getting their YTD scoring differential into the black. T'Wolves star Karl Anthony Towns seemed stunned by the move as well. So I'm not sure this decision by ownership is going to have a positive impact on the team.
Speaking of YTD point differentials, Oklahoma City has the top one in the Western Conference right now and has a real shot at finishing 1st. I think it's them, Golden State and Denver and entering play tonight, the trio is separated by just 1.5 games. Don't look for OKC to have any sympathy for Minnesota's plight as they are in off an embarrassing 116-98 loss (here at home!) to Washington Sunday night. That was a dismal offensive showing for the Thunder, who failed to score 100 pts for the first time in nearly a month. I look for a bounce back game on that end of the floor tonight as the T'wolves are not noted as a defensive team (allow 114.6 PPG on the road).
Oklahoma City actually leads the league in defensive efficiency. Sunday night was just the fifth time they allowed more than 115 pts in a game this season. But they allowed 114 the last time they faced Minnesota, which was right before X-Mas. That game ended up being a two-point T'wolves win as both teams shot well (Minnesota was 14 of 27 from three-point range). Prior to holding the Lakers to 86 points (no LeBron) on Sunday, Minnesota had seen its L10 games all go Over the total. With Sunday marking one of Minnesota's best defensive showings of the year and one of OKC's worst offensively, it's only natural things slide back to the mean tonight. 10* Over T'wolves/Thunder
|01-07-19||Knicks v. Blazers OVER 220.5||Top||101-111||Loss||-106||24 h 6 m||Show|
10* Over Knicks/Blazers (10:05 ET): Portland has gone Under in every game since Christmas. That's a streak of seven straight (if you're counting at home) and the Under is 14-3 their L17 games overall. That's quite the streak of Unders right there. But I look for it to end on "Championship Monday" (if you already haven't done so, pick up my side/total on Bama-Clemson!) as they're playing a Knicks team that is very bad defensively. But an additional key here is I expect a rested Knicks squad to also play better than usual on the offensive end. Take the Over.
Portland is a little better defensively at home than they are on the road (not uncommon in this league). But that will be offset here by the fact they also average more PPG at home (again, not uncommon). Total PPG in Blazers' home games isn't all that different from the road. They come into this game having not shot the ball particularly well any of the L3 games. Yet they've still scored at least 109 pts in each, including 110 in an impressive win over the Rockets Saturday night. For the year, they average 113.6 PPG at home on better than 46% shooting from the field.
I look for the Blazers to have a break out offensive game here against a Knicks team that simply cannot defend. New York ranks 29th in the league in defensive efficiency and gives up 117.0 PPG on the road. When you look back and see that they just beat the Lakers on Friday (snapping an 8-game losing streak), 119-112, take note LA played that game w/o the services of LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo. Against some evidence to the contrary, I do expect NY to shoot well in this game. They're only at 38.6% from the field the L5 games, which is a really low number that is due to go up. Being rested is huge as the Knicks are 7-1 Over this season when playing on exactly two days rest. They are also 9-2 Over against the Western Conference this year. The Over is 3-0 their L3 games and when these teams met in MSG back in November, it was a 118-114 final (in favor of Portland). 10* Over Knicks/Blazers
|01-06-19||Heat v. Hawks UNDER 221.5||Top||82-106||Win||100||10 h 18 m||Show|
10* Under Heat/Hawks (6:05 ET): Even though they were double digit dogs, Atlanta was a pretty easy target for me Friday night in Milwaukee as that particularly matchup would certainly qualify as one of the biggest mismatches in the entire league right now. Sure enough, it was every bit the mismatch I thought it would be, if not even more so. The Hawks were completely buried, losing 144-112 as the Bucks shot 55.0% for the game and had two 40+ pt quarters. It was a 43-14 game at the end of the 1Q and was never close from there. Tonight, Atlanta is at least back home where they'll host division rival Miami, another team that has been playing quite well of late.
The Heat have won 8 of 10 w/ one of the two losses coming by a single bucket vs. Toronto. The team's latest win came Friday against the Wizards (no John Wall, remember) 115-109. It was the sixth straight Miami game to go Over the total. In the last five, they are averaging 111.6 PPG, which is well above their YTD average of 107.2. They've also shot a blistering 49% from the field, which is well above their season average of 43.9% (one of the lowest FG%'s in the league). So the Heat are due to "cool off" (pun intended!) and while I know it's hard to say that it will come here, given what the Bucks just did to the Hawks, I think regression to the mean offensively is all but inevitable for Miami.
These teams have met twice before this year and both games did go Over. But in those two games, it was Atlanta that shot surprisingly well and thus they have won both games. I don't look for the Hawks to be that prolific tonight as they too rank near the bottom of the league in field goal percentage and they are also 29th in the league in offensive efficiency. Interesting about Miami's recent rash of Overs is they have actually held half of the opponents to 94 pts or fewer! Every O/U line has been significantly lower than the one here w/ five of them at 207 pts or lower. We've got plenty of "wiggle room" here as only the last game (vs. the Wizards) would have gone Over this total. 10* Under Heat/Hawks
|01-05-19||Jazz v. Pistons OVER 208.5||Top||110-105||Win||100||11 h 14 m||Show|
10* Over Jazz/Pistons (7:05 ET): It wasn't necessarily easy for Utah last night (trailed Cleveland at the half), but a strong second half propelled them to a 117-91 win and cover. Still a game under .500 for the year, they desperately need to keep winning as the Western Conference is as loaded as ever this year. One thing that does speak well for their future is that they own the West's fifth best YTD point differential. As I've said many times before, point differential is typically a far better predictor of future outcomes than is a team's actual win-loss record. I do expect the Jazz to start making a move up the standings.
But with tonight being the second game of a back to back, I'm not quite as optimistic on the Jazz's chances in the Motor City. The total does look awfully low, however, and that has me thinking Over. Taking advantage of the league's worst defensive team (Cavs) last night, Utah shot 51% from the floor and scored 117 points. But that point total has not been atypical of late. It was the 4th time in the last 5 games that Utah scored at least 116. The Pistons team it will be facing tonight has had defensive issues of its own of late. On a recently completed four-game road trip, they allowed two opponents to shoot 60% from the field!
The Pistons were able to avoid a winless trip by winning a low-scoring game at Memphis Wednesday night, 101-94. Detroit is not the prettiest shooting team in the league by any means as Wednesday marked the sixth time in the last seven games that they posted a FG% below 44.0. But perhaps they'll break out here against a Utah team that does often struggle to defend on the road (FG% allowed of 46.5). When looking at each team's season scoring average, in terms of points scored and allowed, both are in excess of tonight's total. An "average" game thus should land us Over the total and I think we'll get more than average here tonight. 10* Over Jazz/Pistons
|01-02-19||Wolves v. Celtics UNDER 216||Top||102-115||Loss||-105||5 h 28 m||Show|
8* Under T'Wolves/Celtics (8:05 ET): Minnesota has gone Over in eight straight games. Boston has gone Over in six straight. Those respective streaks have conspired to get this total far higher than it ought to be and I'm going Under on this Wednesday night ESPN matchup. Boston remains one of the top defensive teams in the league, ranking 4th in efficiency. Minnesota is a team that was 12-2 Under in the month of November. So December may have simply been a case of "regression to the mean" for them. These teams played almost exactly one month ago (12.1) and a hot shooting night from Boston resulted in a 118-109 final, which went Over the total of 216. But tonight, they'll be w/o leading scorer Kyrie Irving due to an eye injury suffered in Monday's loss to San Antonio.
In last month's win at Minnesota, the Celtics shot 47.1% overall from the field, including 17 of 44 from three-point range, and they went a perfect 21 of 21 at the free throw line. Those percentages are simply unlikely to be matched here, especially w/o Irving. Gordan Hayward also tossed in a season-high 30 points in the Twin Cities. Irving had 21 pts and 9 assists, production that won't be easy to make up. Monday night in San Antonio, the game seemed well on its way to an easy Under before Boston had an uncharacteristic defensive breakdown, allowing 46 pts in the third quarter, including 21 in a three-minute stretch. San Antonio made 14 of the 26 three-pointers it attempted in the game. Again, that's simply not emblematic of the kind of defense the Celtics usually play.
Boston is attempting more threes themselves this year, but that's tied to Irving and the number they had (44) the last time they faced Minnesota was definitely on the "high side." Minnesota is toward the bottom of the league in 3PA and is thin right now in the backcourt w/ both Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague injured. The Under is 13-6 this year when the T'wolves face a team that has a winning record. 8* Under T'wolves/Celtics
|12-31-18||Celtics v. Spurs UNDER 218||Top||111-120||Loss||-110||10 h 14 m||Show|
10* Under Celtics/Spurs (7:05 ET): Two defensive-minded teams meet in a game that is sadly buried on New Year's Eve. Things weren't always looking rosy for the Spurs at the defensive end. They started this season by posting some of their worst numbers on that end of the floor in the Gregg Popovich era. But they've certainly turned things around this month. At one point, they held seven straight opponents under 100 pts. They went nine straight holding teams to a FG% of 43.5 or lower. As a result, they are now just 1.5 games out of 4th place in the Western Conference.
Despite the Over being 5-0 in the last five games and 8-1 their last nine, Boston is #3 in the league in defensive efficiency. In terms of net efficiency rating, they aren't all that far off from the top two teams in the East, Toronto and Milwaukee. So even though the Celtics are currently in 5th place in the East, expect them to start moving up the standings shortly. They've won three of four coming into tonight, including a nice come from behind effort against Memphis on Saturday where Kyrie Irving led the way w/ 26 points and 13 assists. They held the Grizzlies to just 16 pts in the 4Q.
The rash of recent Overs for the Celtics seems atypical and is likely to reverse itself. Meanwhile, the Spurs have gone Under in 8 of their last 11 games. With all five starters scoring in double figures, led by LaMarcus Aldridge's season-high 38 points, the Spurs scored 122 on the Clippers Saturday night. I would not look for such an offensive performance to be repeated tonight. Lucky for them, they are allowing only 103.9 PPG at home, a huge improvement over the 114.7 PPG they allow on the road. These teams have gone Over the L4 times they've played, but the totals were far lower, including a pair of sub-200 pt lines LY. 10* Under Celtics/Spurs
|12-29-18||Knicks v. Jazz OVER 214||Top||97-129||Win||100||12 h 30 m||Show|
10* Over Knicks/Jazz (8:05 ET): Utah's streak of Under has now reached eight in a row, but the last two have been razor-thin and I think they have a willing dance partner for an Over tonight in the Knicks. New York has been terrible defensively all year long and has given up an average of 118.8 PPG its L5 contests. What an absolutely dreadful month of basketball its been in the Big Apple w/ NY going just 2-11 in December w/ both wins coming by only two points in overtime. They were just swept in a home and home by Milwaukee, failing to score 100 in either game.
Despite NY's recent offensive ineptitude, I think Utah has a chance to set a season-high in points scored tonight and that alone could very well lead to an Over. The Jazz do averaged 110.1 PPG at home and I'm somewhat shocked that they have a losing record here as they've outscored opponents. Coming off a poor 97-point showing vs. Philadelphia on Thursday, we should see a bounce back offensively here. They shot just 38.4% against the Sixers, who are a top 10 team in defensive efficiency this year. The Knicks rank 29th in defensive efficiency and are not used to seeing totals this low.
The Knicks didn't shoot well in either game vs. Milwaukee, but did allow an average of 110.5 PPG. Really, that number of points allowed is kind of low for the Knicks. They've allowed at least 109 in 15 consecutive games. They've allowed an average of 115.6 PPG in December, which is fourth most in the league. Utah is going to score plenty tonight, so really this one comes down to whether or not the Knicks can top 100. I think they can as they are averaging 107.8 PPG for the season and the Over is 4-2 this year when they're a road dog of at least 12.5 points. 10* Over Knicks/Jazz
|12-29-18||Cavs v. Hawks UNDER 218.5||Top||108-111||Loss||-110||12 h 60 m||Show|
8* Under Cavs/Hawks (7:35 ET): This is a matchup of two of the league's worst teams and while that usually signals a lack of defense, I look for this one to stay Under the total. Certainly, this matchup is "due" for an Under after the last TEN have all gone Over. That includes a pair this season w/ the winning side scoring 133+ in each game. But for both teams tonight, this is the second game of a back and back and I expect them to be pretty tired. Cleveland scored only 94 pts in a loss at Miami last night while Atlanta had to go to overtime to overcome Minnesota.
The Hawks came out and scored a season-high 42 first quarter points last night. They would get up by as many as 22 but blew the entire lead by getting held to 47 pts over the next two quarters of play. They were pretty fortunate to win as the T'wolves committed an innumerable amount of miscues down the stretch. The game was tied 112-112 at the end of regulation, which would NOT have been an Over had the game been over. So Over bettors were lucky to get the extra five minutes last night. I don't see another 40+ pt quarter on the horizon here and it should be pointed out that the Hawks are tied for 29th in the league (next to last) in offensive efficiency.
Cleveland plays at a slow pace, slower than all but one team (Memphis). I talked about the importance of tempo in last night's Under bet between San Antonio and Denver and we saw what happened there. Last night's Cavaliers game did go Over, but that was due to a low total. The Cavs have failed to score 100 pts in five of their last six games now, including three straight. When they beat the Hawks back on October 30th, they got a season-best 26 pts from Rodney Hood and also forced 23 turnovers, leading to 28 pts. I don't see either of those elements being present tonight. The Cavs aren't even averaging 100 PPG on the road for the year. 8* Under Cavs/Hawks
|12-28-18||Spurs v. Nuggets UNDER 214.5||Top||99-102||Win||100||13 h 49 m||Show|
8* Under Spurs/Nuggets (9:05 ET): With all that's currently going on in the sports world, you may not have noticed that the Spurs have turned things around and are back to being a player in the Western Conference as per usual. Now they currently still sit in ninth place, but this is a crowed conference as only 3.5 games separate them from the top. What's not surprising is how San Antonio has engineered its turnaround and that is w/ improved play on the defensive end. They held seven straight opponents under 100 pts before losing to Houston last Saturday.
Coming off the Christmas break, the Spurs rebounded w/ a win, beating Denver 111-103. Tonight is the second half of the home & home vs. the Nuggets, this time the game takes place in Denver. The Spurs held the Nuggets to just 38.9% shooting Wednesday night, their ninth straight game holding the opposition to a FG% of 43.5 or lower and their fourth straight time allowing under 39 percent. While the Nuggets should prove harder to defend tonight at home, I don't see them going 18 of 40 from three-point range again like they did on Wednesday. That's well above their average of 10 makes per game from behind the arc.
Denver is down three starters currently - Will Barton, Paul Milsap and Gary Harris, Jr. That coupled w/ the fact that leading scorer Nikola Jokic scored only four points while attempting five shots and it's a wonder how the Nuggets lost by only eight Wednesday night. San Antonio has actually become a remarkably efficient offensive team (#2 behind Golden State), but they still play at one of the slowest paces in the league. Surprisingly, Denver actually plays at a slightly slower pace. With both teams ranking no higher than 25th in adjusted tempo, this promises to be another relatively low scoring affair and I'm on the Under. 8* Under Spurs/Nuggets
|12-27-18||Blazers v. Warriors UNDER 226||Top||110-109||Win||100||13 h 21 m||Show|
10* Under Blazers/Warriors (10:35 ET): Both of these teams are off rather humiliating setbacks on Christmas Day. For a second time in less than week, Portland got demolished by Utah. Both games saw them held below 40% shooting while allowing the Jazz to shoot better than 55%. It was a 30-point loss at home last Friday and a 21-pt loss in Salt Lake City X-Mas night. As for Golden State, they got blown out on their home floor by the Lakers, 127-101, despite LeBron James having to leave the game early w/ a groin injury. So the stage is set for one of these to bounce back Thursday night.
Portland has failed to break the 100-point barrier three times in its last four games. That includes both losses to Utah. They did beat Memphis 99-92 back on 12.19. Oracle Arena seems like an unlikely place for the Blazers to turn things around for all the obvious reasons (Golden State is good!), plus they are only 5-11 ATS on the road to begin with. Tuesday in Utah, Damian Lillard scored 20 points, but that was on 9 of 21 shooting, and the rest of the starting five combined to make just 12 field goals. Lillard's fellow starter in the backcourt, CJ McCollum, is in a real shooting slump right now. He had only 11 pts vs. the Jazz and has missed 15 of his last 17 three-point attempts.
Perhaps McCollum and the Warriors' Klay Thompson can have a discussion about shooting slumps before tipoff. Because Thompson is in the midst of a bad one himself, having shot just 30.8% from the field the L4 games, including 3 for 18 from three-point range. On X-Mas, he was held to a season-low five points on 2 of 7 shooting. One positive for the Warriors is that when they hosted Portland last month, they held them under 100 points on 40.9% shooting. Something similar is certainly possible here tonight. Six of Golden State's last eight games have stayed Under the total. 10* Under Blazers/Warriors
|12-27-18||76ers v. Jazz OVER 218.5||Top||114-97||Loss||-110||13 h 21 m||Show|
8* Over Sixers/Jazz (10:35 ET): The Jazz have gone Under in their last seven games, but they were one score away from ending that streak Christmas night as they blew out Portland 117-96 (total was 214.5). That was the second time in less than a week that they crushed Portland, having also done so (by 30!) on the road last Friday. Tonight, they welcome in an Eastern Conference opponent that is off a pretty brutal loss on X-Mas, 121-114 in overtime at Boston. The Sixers didn't even end up covering despite having a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
My condolences to anyone who had the Sixers on Christmas or the Under for the matter. Neither they or the Celtics shot the ball very well (both below 42%), yet because of OT, the game went Over. That's over and done with (literally!) though and the bottom line here is I expect Philly to shoot much better tonight. Boston is #2 in the league in defensive efficiency and while that's where Utah finished last season, the Jazz have fallen a bit on that end of the floor this season. Note the Sixers shot 53% or better in three of their four games previous to Christmas. The Over is 7-4 when they are a dog this season.
Utah's Under streak is due to end sooner rather than later. Note that the 1st meeting between these teams went Over (a similar total) even though the Jazz shot just 4 of 22 from three-point range. You have to figure they'll shoot much better than that tonight as they're at home. In the final three quarters vs. Portland Tuesday, they were 13 of 21 from three-point range. Also, they did dominate the paint in Philly, scoring 66 points there in that first meeting. If there is one concern though, it's that they allow visiting teams to shoot nearly 38% from behind the arc. 8* Over Sixers/Jazz
|12-26-18||Pacers v. Hawks OVER 216.5||Top||129-121||Win||100||11 h 19 m||Show|
10* Over Pacers/Hawks (7:35 ET): Indiana is on an incredible run of Unders lately w/ 13 of their last 14 games going that way. During this time, they've turned it on defensively, holding 10 of the last 11 opponents to 42.2% shooting or lower. It's not like Atlanta, tonight's opponent, is a huge threat to shoot the lights out here, but they are shooting a respectable 45% for the year at home and averaging 110 PPG. Plus, like most bad teams, the Hawks aren't good defensively as they allow nearly 118 PPG, which is second most in the entire league. I'm on the Over in this one.
One particular area when the Hawks struggle to defend is the three-point line as opponents are making 37.5% from there for the year. That's the second highest percentage allowed in the league and is especially problematic for tonight as Indiana is making 37.0% of its threes for the year, which is top five in the league. These teams did play last month and it was still a low-scoring game. Indiana won 97-89 even though they were a strong 12 of 30 from three-point range. The key was they were just 23 of 58 (39.6%) from two-point range, which is highly irregular. Atlanta also shot very poorly overall, making only 35.6% of its field goal attempts, including 27.6% from 3-pt range.
That last meeting was in Indiana. The average Hawks' home game far exceeds what the O/U line for tonight's contest is. By the way, I should probably mention that the Hawks have won a season-high three straight games. They may be w/o leading scorer & rebounder John Collins and while the team's last game w/o him was quite low-scoring, I look for a different scenario to play out here. With this game taking place the day after X-Mas, don't be surprised if both sides aren't at their most intense on the defensive end. All three games during the Hawks win streak have stayed Under. But not only have they not won four in a row this year, they've never gone Under in four straight either. 10* Over Pacers/Hawks
|12-25-18||Blazers v. Jazz OVER 214.5||Top||96-117||Loss||-107||32 h 27 m||Show|
8* Over Blazers/Jazz (10:35 ET): Utah just trounced Portland 120-90 (in Portland!) four days ago, so you can bet the Blazers are out for revenge. But this game takes place in Salt Lake City and the Blazers are just 1-7 ATS their L8 road games. I do think the pointspread is a bit inflated, but it's the total that I believe is offering more value in this final matchup of the NBA's five-game Christmas slate Tuesday. It's easily the lowest O/U line of the five games and when you look at how many points are typically being scored in Portland games this season (221.1) and that Utah is averaging over 110 PPG at home, I think you have a clear sign that Over is the way to go here.
The last couple seasons have seen the Jazz be one of the more staunch teams in the league at the defensive end. But they've slipped from 2nd (last year) in defensive efficiency to 6th (this year). That may not seem like a huge drop, but truthfully they've recently risen up the efficiency rankings thanks to performances like the one they had in Portland Friday night. They held the Blazers to 40% shooting for the game and to their second lowest point total of the season to date. But I expect an offensive bounce back from the Blazers in this one. They already did bounce back a bit in a 121-118 overtime win over Dallas on Sunday, including a 37-point second quarter. Really, the Blazers should have finished off Dallas in the regulation as they had a 14-pt 2H lead.
Utah comes into this game on a six-game Under streak, but a lot of those games had higher totals than this one. The Jazz have held four of their last six opponents to a FG% of 40.2 or less, but I do NOT project that to be the case here as Portland comes in 48.0% its L5 games despite what happened in the head to head meeting Friday night. Also, the Jazz should start to improve offensively. They beat both Portland and Golden State in a three-day span despite SG Mitchell missing 30 of his 36 field goal attempts! The last three times these teams have played, the game has gone Under, but I like this one to go Over. 8* Over Blazers/Jazz
|12-25-18||Thunder v. Rockets OVER 221||Top||109-113||Win||100||25 h 59 m||Show|
10* Over Thunder/Rockets (3:00 ET): I realize that Unders have been the way to go on these NBA X-Mas Day affairs, in years' past. But the 2018-19 season has seen an influx of scoring and I believe we're gonna see the trend reversed this year in a couple games, including this one featuring Thunder-Rockets. Little can be ascertained from looking at the only other time these teams played this season, which was back on November 8th. Russell Westbrook didn't play for OKC, yet the Thunder still won easily, 98-80 as five-point home underdogs. So maybe there is one thing we can ascertain and that's OKC is the better team here. I do believe that to be the case still, but the Rockets are a little different now than they were in November as well. Over is the call here.
Back when these teams first met, Houston had yet to make the call to put perpetual loser Carmelo Anthony on ice. Deactivating Anthony has definitely been a case of "addition by subtraction" for the Rockets this season. He certainly didn't help in OKC last month, missing 10 of 11 shots. Now Houston must also overcome the loss of another key player, Chris Paul, for this X-mas Day showdown. James Harden is going to have to carry the workload, but that's okay as he's been averaging nearly 40 PPG in the team's last six contests. Also, the underrated Clint Capella is helping out w/ three 20+ pt efforts in the L5 games. At home, I can tell you the Rockets are a lock to improve upon their three-points shooting from the 1st meeting where they went 11 of 42.
Houston averages 112.7 PPG at home. So even though OKC is #1 in the league in defensive efficiency, I'll look for the Rockets to score their "share" here. As for the Thunder, Paul Georgia is averaging 34.3 points the L6 games and Westbrook has posted a triple double in three of the last four games. This month, they've scored no fewer than 107 pts in 10 of 11 games. One bad quarter (17 pts) cost them Sunday vs. Minnesota. They scored a total of 95 pts in the other three quarters. In that first meeting w/ the Rockets, all five starters were in double figures by the end of the third quarter. They scored 59 pts in the 1H, but just 39 in the 2nd as the game was out of hand. I expect a more competitive - and certainly higher scoring game - this time around. 10* Over Thunder/Rockets
|12-22-18||Mavs v. Warriors UNDER 225||Top||116-120||Loss||-104||10 h 0 m||Show|
10* Under Mavericks/Warriors (8:35 ET): Dallas doesn't figure to fare too well tonight. They're 0-8 straight up their last eight road games w/ a total of 220 pts or higher. They're big underdogs here at Golden State. In addition to that, they come in riding a four-game losing streak. Three of those losses have taken place on the road, where they're significantly weaker. At home, the Mavs are a strong 13-3 SU on the year. But on the road, they're just 2-12 SU. However, I'm going to concentrate on a different trend tonight and that's the fact Dallas hasn't gone Over in four straight games all season. Take the Under.
Golden State is probably as healthy as they've been all season. But that didn't prevent them from getting beat 108-103 out in Utah Thursday night. They were held to 40 percent shooting overall, including 32 percent from three-point range in another low-scoring effort. The Under is now 5-1 in the Dubs' last six games and they've been held to 110 pts or fewer in four of those games. Dallas may certainly not be as staunch as Utah, but I think they can keep the Warriors in relative check tonight.
I mentioned above that Dallas has not gone Over in four straight games all year. Well, they come into this game on a three-game Over streak. Not only are they 2-0 Under when off three straight Overs this season, but they're 10-2 in the situation the L3 seasons. When these teams faced off last month, it was a 112-109 Mavs win in Dallas (GSW not as healthy at the time). The O/U line for this game is about 10 points higher than it was for last month's, which seems to be an overadjustment by the linesmakers. The Under is 9-4 this season in Golden State home games where the total is 220 pts or higher. 10* Under Mavericks/Warriors
|12-21-18||Pistons v. Hornets OVER 218||Top||86-98||Loss||-110||11 h 55 m||Show|
10* Over Pistons/Hornets (7:05 ET): In an Eastern Conference w/ no depth, both of these teams figure to make the playoffs. They are likely to battle for the 6th seed, a spot which the Pistons currently occupy w/ a 15-14 SU record. But Charlotte is just one-half game back, has a better YTD point differential and has already beaten Detroit twice. But this play isn't about who's covering, rather I'm looking at a total which seems too low. The first two meetings both stayed Under, but only by a handful of points. Thus I'm looking at the Over cashing tonight as neither side is exactly noted for its defensive prowess.
Detroit allowed a shooting percentage of just 43.7% in its last game (at Minnesota), yet still gave up 123 points. The game did go into overtime, but the Pistons allowed just five points in the extra five minutes. Had the T'wolves shot even reasonably well, who knows how many points they could have scored. While two Minnesota players - Robert Covington and Dario Saric - combined to go 7 of 16 from three-point range, the rest of the team was an abysmal 2 of 17 from behind the arc. Charlotte is a much better three-point shooting team, especially here at home where they're hitting 37.1% for the year. Look for them to make the Pistons pay tonight from distance.
The Hornets allowed only 99 points their last time out, but that was against Cleveland. The Pistons aren't exactly the greatest shooting team in the world, but they'll present a far greater challenge defensively here for Charlotte. Detroit is averaging 110.7 PPG on the road. Meanwhile, the Hornets are averaging 115.2 PPG at home. Looking at season averages, we're several points clear of the O/U line, so all we need is an "average game" from both sides here. Note in the last meeting, Charlotte didn't shoot the ball well at all. I expect those numbers to go up substantially here tonight. 10* Over Pistons/Hornets
|12-19-18||Thunder v. Kings UNDER 235.5||Top||132-113||Loss||-115||13 h 25 m||Show|
10* Under Thunder/Kings (10:05 ET): Sacramento has been shredded defensively over its last four games, giving up 130 or more points three times. Note that none of those games went to overtime. Monday, they were caught playing the second game of a back to back and fell into a massive early hole in Minnesota. They trailed by 30 at halftime and ended up losing 132-105. But I don't look for tonight's game to be nearly as high scoring as they face an OKC team that is stout defensively (#1 in the league in efficiency) and often struggles to score on the road. Take the Under.
The Thunder come into this game off a 121-96 win over Chicago. That was actually a revenge spot for them as they'd lost to the Bulls, in Chicago, earlier this month. As I just stated, OKC is the top team in the league in defensive efficiency as they are the only team holding its opponents below one point per possession. At the same time though, we should expect a reduction in their own scoring tonight seeing as they are shooting only 43.9% on the road this year. The Thunder are also the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, in terms of percentage.
These teams have met twice before this season and both games went Over. However, this is the highest O/U line yet. Sacramento got almost nothing from its starting five in Minnesota Monday, but the bench did score a season-high 78 points. That number will come down rather dramatically here. As for OKC, the Under is 6-1 this season when they are facing a team w/ a winning record and 10-4 when they are on the road. Thunder games don't typically approach the number of total pts the oddsmakers are calling for here. In fact, their road games average "just" 214.3 points. 10* Under Thunder/Kings
|12-16-18||Knicks v. Pacers OVER 214.5||Top||99-110||Loss||-107||9 h 14 m||Show|
10* Over Knicks/Pacers (5:05 ET): Indiana is working on a few streaks coming into this Sunday afternoon contest. For starters, they've covered their last four games. They've won their last five straight up. But the one we'll focus on today is that they've gone Under nine straight times. That seems like an unsustainable streak to me and the oddsmakers have taken notice, installing a pretty low total for this matchup. It is actually higher than when these teams played back on Oct 31, but that was still early in the season when both were figuring things out. (The Knicks still haven't really figured things out, btw).
Leading scorer Victor Oladipo is now back for Indiana. His absence for 11 games at least partially explains the Under streak. He has been back for the last two contests, but predictably, it's taking some time to get back "into rhythm." Oladipo is just 10 of 27 from the field, with 26 points, so far. Don't be surprised though if this is the game where he gets it going again. He did nail a couple of clutch threes late in the team's 113-101 win over Philadelphia Friday. That's probably a sign of things to come.
The Knicks roster resembles a M*A*S*H* unit right now w/ a lot of guys hurt. But on Friday, they were able to rally back from a 21-point deficit to defeat Charlotte in overtime, 126-124. That final score is obviously inflated by five extra minutes of play, but the Knicks clearly have their issues defensively as they give up 115.2 PPG on the year and are 29th in the league in efficiency. The question here is how many points will NY score? Well, they average about 109 (108.9 PPG to be exact) and if they can get to that number, then this game should have no problem going Over. The Knicks are 3-0 Over the L3 games and 10-2 Over when seeking revenge for a home loss. 10* Over Knicks/Pacers
|12-14-18||Wizards v. Nets UNDER 226.5||Top||118-125||Loss||-110||19 h 51 m||Show|
10* Under Wizards/Nets (7:35 ET): Two struggling teams meet here. Washington has to be on the short list for biggest disappointment in the league, having started 11-17 SU. Having made the playoffs four of the past five seasons, in-fighting and just bad basketball are threatening to tear this team up. They've lost three in a row coming into tonight, the most recent defeat coming at home to Boston Wednesday night. That game went to overtime, so beware the 130-125 final score. I feel tonight's O/U line is simply too high, thus I'm on the Under.
Brooklyn has been searching for answers ever since losing leading scorer Caris LeVert to a serious injury. From 11/21 to 12/5, they lost eight in a row, but have since found a spark w/ a three-game win streak (also 3-0 ATS). They certainly didn't appear to miss LeVert Wednesday, winning 127-124 at Philadelphia while shooting nearly 52% from the field. Winning on the road, against one of the top teams in the East, is certainly impressive. Especially when you consider the Sixers shot 54% overall themselves! But the Nets counteracted that by going 14 of 28 from three-point range and 37 of 43 from the FT line. Spencer Dinwiddie went for a career-best 39 pts as well. I suspect none of those numbers will be repeated tonight.
Washington is a perfect 4-0 Under following a game where they allowed 130+ pts this season. Bottom line is that all the numbers from both teams' last games are due to come down. That's both offensively and defensively. Brooklyn will not make nor will they attempt as many free throws. They aren't going to shoot 50% from three-point range on a high volume of attempts either. When they met two weeks ago, it was a rough shooting night all around as the Wiz prevailed 102-88 in D.C. The teams combined to 16 for 59 from three-point range and Brooklyn was just 30 for 81 overall for the game. 10* Under Wizards/Nets
|12-13-18||Bulls v. Magic OVER 209||Top||91-97||Loss||-115||22 h 29 m||Show|
10* Over Bulls/Magic (9:35 ET): I like both side and total in this game, which takes place in Mexico City. Let's start w/ the total, which I like a little bit more. In one of the more bizarre trends you'll find, the Bulls & Magic have gone Under the total 11 straight times when facing off. I'm going to call for that to end Thursday as this O/U is way too low for pretty much any matchup, by 2018 standards. I realize the Magic are coming off a terrible 76-point showing in Dallas while Chicago is dead last in the league in offensive efficiency. But when you look at the season-long numbers for both sides, it adds up to an Over.
The Under is 8-2 in the Bulls' previous 10 games. They too are off a couple "stinkers" offensively. First, they were held to 77 pts in a humiliating 56-pt home loss to Boston. Then, perhaps equally as embarrassing was getting held to 89 points at home by Sacramento. There's a lot of turmoil going on w/ the Bulls right now as the players haven't exactly taken a "liking" to interim HC Jim Boylen. But both Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis are back from knee injuries and we should start to see some improvement, at least on the offensive end.
Orlando is off a dreadful shooting night against Dallas where they finished at 36% overall from the field and missed 20 of 28 three-point attempts. You have to figure they're going to shoot better here, even in a relatively unfamiliar environment. Leading scorer Nikola Vucevic, in particular, should have a bounce back game after he scored a season-low eight points on 4 of 15 shooting vs. Dallas. The Magic were also w/o both Mo Bamba (suspended) and third-leading scorer Evan Fournier in that one. Both are expected back Thursday and like Chicago, we should see a rather dramatic increase offensively from the Magic compared to the last game. They average 104.6 PPG while giving up 107.9. Chicago averages 101.8 PPG while giving up 112.9. Both of those points scored vs. allowed averages work out to an Over here. 10* Over Bulls/Magic
|12-13-18||Clippers v. Spurs UNDER 223||Top||87-125||Win||100||22 h 30 m||Show|
8* Under Clippers/Spurs (8:35 ET): We've gotten a glimpse of the "Spurs of old" as in their last two games (both wins), they've held the opposition to just 97 and 86 points respectively. That's a far cry from when Greg Popovich's team was torched for 127 PPG over the previous six games, a stretch where the Over went 6-0. While their defensive efficiency rating has slipped (tied for 26th), perhaps we're seeing the start of a turnaround. For tonight, it helps that the Spurs are at home where they allow "only" 106.6 PPG as opposed to the 118.1 PPG they give up on the road.
The Clippers have been one of the real surprises in the league so far. At one point, they head the best record in the Western Conference! But after needing OT to get by lowly Phoenix Monday night, the Clips got blown out in Toronto 123-99 the following night. It was their third SU loss in the last four games and they're 0-4 ATS during that same stretch. They've been held under 100 pts in all three losses and have averaged just 98.5 PPG in regulation factoring in the game against the Suns. Right now, LA is w/o Lou Williams, who is their third leading scorer despite being a reserve.
San Antonio shot a blistering 62% from three-point range in Tuesday's 111-86 win over Phoenix. I wouldn't look for that number to be repeated here. Even though they are shooting the ball really well from distance for the season, the Spurs are still at "only" 38.9% behind the arc. Nor would I look for Bryn Forbes to approach the career-high in points (24) he set vs. Phoenix, a night which included him going 5 for 5 on three-point attempts. Through the years, the Spurs are 6-1 Under in home games where the total is 220 pts or higher. These teams played a high scoring game last month (116-111 Clippers win), but I expect different this time around. 8* Under Clippers/Spurs
|12-13-18||Lakers v. Rockets OVER 223||Top||111-126||Win||100||11 h 57 m||Show|
8* Over Lakers/Rockets (8:05 ET): When these teams met early in the season, they have little difficulty in going Over a much higher total. Thus, I have no problem taking the Over here. The Lakers lost that early season meeting, 124-115, in Houston. It was part of an 0-3 start to the season for them, but they're the ones that have turned things around, going 17-7 SU since. Meanwhile, the Rockets are still trying to dig themselves out of a hole. They're two games below .500 entering play tonight and second from the bottom in the Western Conference.
Under has admittedly been the way to go w/ the Lakers over the last month. The Under is 16-4 in their L20 games, a stretch which dates all the way back to Halloween. Their last two games have stayed Under the total, but both came against low-scoring teams, Memphis and Miami . This should be a much different style of game w/ Houston likely trying to push the pace. Also, it's not as if the Lakers are a bad offensive team. They average 113.1 PPG on 47.4%. You may have heard of LeBron James, who has seen improvement in his three-point shooting since coming to LA. James and the Lakers should exploit a Rockets team that is 25th in defensive efficiency.
Houston found itself down double digits at home in the first half to Portland Tuesday night. They roared back for a 111-103 victory, snapping a three-game losing streak. They'd also gone 2-7 SU and ATS the last nine games. I have to say that it's been rather shocking to see how far the Rockets have fallen offensively after being neck & neck w/ Golden State last year in terms of efficiency and points per game. But there's still a lot of time to rectify that fall and the team's home games are already 7-4 to the Over, even if their last one didn't quite get there. Again, the total was much higher when these teams played early in the year (237.5) and the game went Over despite terrible FT shooting from both sides and the Lakers missing 24 of 32 three-point attempts. Six of the last eight meetings have gone Over. 8* Over Lakers/Rockets