The NBA Slate Offers Some Potential Pitfalls

DJ
DJ
D.J. Augustin has done his best to replace the injured Brandon Jennings in Detroit.

There are some really interesting lines tonight and just as interesting are some of the trends too. As the Knight of the Templar told Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely.”

Detroit (+2) at Charlotte (O/U 191.5) – The Pistons were playing so well following the dismissal of Josh Smith and then Brandon Jennings went down with his season-ending injury. D.J. Augustin has actually played pretty well in his absence averaging over ten points and almost five assists per game. Still, the Pistons are two games out of the final playoff spot and it’s not going to be easy.

The Hornets are in the seventh seed but have lost two straight despite winning six of their last ten. With Kemba Walker out indefinitely and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist day-to-day, Hornets could be in trouble.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in four of Detroit’s last five games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Charlotte’s last seven games… The Pistons are 5-1 straight up in their last six games at Charlotte… The Hornets are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games at home versus Detroit.

The Pick: Take Detroit and the OVER.

Joerger
David Joerger has the Grizzlies in great shape in the Western Conference.

Brooklyn (+11.5) at Memphis (O/U 190) – The Nets are dead even with the Miami Heat for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but would lose the tie-breaker if the season ended today. Brooklyn has actually been better on the road than they have been at home but I’m not sure that will help here.

Memphis continues to put pressure on Golden State in the West. Right now, the Grizzlies are three games back. What’s gone in Memphis has been impressive and I don’t see this team going away any time soon.

Trends: The Grizzlies have won nine of their last ten games… The Nets have lost six of their last ten games.

The Pick: Take the Nets getting those points and the OVER.

Houston (+2) at Phoenix (O/U 214.5) – The Rockets come to the desert six games out of the first seed in the Western Conference but they have teams breathing down their necks. Portland, Dallas, the LA Clippers and the defending champion Spurs are all within three games of Houston.

The Suns find themselves currently hanging on to the final playoff spot by the skin of their teeth. New Orleans is a game back and Oklahoma City is two games behind. Phoenix must win games at home and needs to try and beat teams ahead of them in the standings.

Trends: The Suns have won four of their last ten games… The Rockets have won seven of their last ten games…

The Pick: Take the Rockets getting the points and the OVER.

Denver (+2) at LA Lakers (O/U 198.5) – These two teams have combined to lose nine straight games and they’ve also combined to win just two games in their last 20. The Nuggets are just 7-19 on the road this season and they are a full eight games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. In other words, they aren’t making the playoffs.

The Lakers are a mess on and off the court as disgruntled players have started to speak out a little more than the Lakers’ front office would like. Between injuries and an overall lack of talent, this has just not been a good run for the purple and gold.

Trends:  The Lakers have lost four in a row and nine of their last ten… Denver has lost five straight and has lost nine of their last ten.

The Pick: I’ll take the Nuggets getting the points and the UNDER.

Saturday’s Game 1 Match-Ups

This is what teams have played all year for and what bettors (hopefully) have been saving some of their money for – the NBA playoffs! The excitement of the NBA playoffs finally tips off today with four match-ups bettors and fans aren’t going to want to miss. Check out our picks below before you make your wagers and enjoy the drama and the intensity of the postseason!

Boston Celtics +7.5 at New York Knicks -7.5

It hasn’t been an easy year on the aging and injured Celtics, especially this week with everything that was going on in their hometown. The finished the regular season with a 41-40 record (one game cancelled due to Boston bombing suspect manhunt) and although they’ve played well against their bitter rival New York in years past, this Knicks team is playing their best basketball of the season right now and looks a bit too powerful for the shorthanded Celtics to handle.

Still, we can’t underestimate the resilience and determination of the Celtics. They’ve battled through injuries to their stars, including Kevin Garnett, and have played most of the year without Rajon Rondo, still managing to make the postseason. I expect the Knicks will win, but it will be close, so take the Celtics to cover +7.5 in a hard-fought game one.

Golden State Warriors +7.5 at Denver Nuggets -7.5

The Warriors are successful when they hit outside shots, which is most of the time considering they shoot better than 40% from three-point territory, but they won’t be able to win game one, or the series for that matter, if they can’t win some of the inside wars against the Nuggets.

Denver takes pride in dominating the paint and it should be able to do just that against Golden State tonight, which will give it a huge rebounding edge. The Warriors should keep things fairly close with their three-point shooting prowess, but look for the Nuggets to pull away in the final minutes, covering -7.5.

Chicago Bulls +4.5 at Brooklyn Nets -4.5

The Bulls always battle hard. They play a tough physical style that almost always keeps the game close, but they may be without one of their toughest and most physical players, Joakim Noah, today who is a gametime decision for game one with a foot injury.

If Noah can’t go, Carlos Boozer may have to put a body on Nets star Brook Lopez, which would give the Nets a little size advantage inside. Still, considering these teams didn’t play a game that was won by more than four points all year, the Bulls should be able to at least keep this thing close. I like the resilient Bulls to cover +4.5 here and if they have Noah, look for them to take game 1.

Memphis Grizzlies +5 at Los Angeles Clippers -5

The Clippers edged the Grizzlies in seven games in last year’s first round and with an even stronger team, it looks like the Clippers have an edge once again this year.

Of course, the Grizzlies have gotten stronger as well, even after trading leading scorer Rudy Gay, but they have consistently struggled in this particular match-up and with the Clippers at home today, that trend is unlikely to change today.

Look for the Clippers to earn the game 1 win and cover -5 here.

NBA Playoff Futures Odds

After a grueling 82-game schedule, the 16 best teams in the NBA have been awarded berths to the postseason and now a brand new season begins to decide a champion. The slate is wiped clean and the records are thrown out. Theoretically, each team has the same chance to win, but as always, there are the favorites. Here are the futures odds and our top value picks with those odds to win the 2013 NBA title.

Miami Heat – 5/8

The Heat are the odds-on favorites to win repeat as NBA champions as rightfully so. They dominate regular season opponents, going 66-16 this year, and even completed the second longest winning streak in NBA history, as they went on a 27-game tear that last almost two months.

The biggest reason to like the Heat though, is that they basically have the same team they did last year – the team that won the 2012 NBA championship. So, the only reason they wouldn’t win it again is if they faced injuries in the playoffs or simply underperformed, but as we’ve seen with this team, that’s not likely.

Of course, the 5/8 odds don’t give bettors a big money-making opportunity and considering they are other capable teams out there, maybe the Heat aren’t the best value pick? Let’s have a look at a couple other contenders.

Oklahoma City Thunder – 17/4

After meeting in the NBA Finals last year, the Thunder proved to be a formidable opponent for the Heat, but in 2012, they weren’t quite ready to win it all. This year, they have just as strong of a team and the added experience, so they have a reasonably better chance to win the championship now.

That’s why their 17/4 odds present some decent value. They are the clear favorites out of the West, meaning that they are the clear favorites to meet the Heat for a rematch in this year’s final series. And since they’ve stayed healthy and have an arguably deeper team than last year, the Thunder could upend the Heat this time. The Thunder are a solid pick here at 17/4, but we must look on.

New York Knicks – 16/1

We’re skipping the Spurs at 10/1 because…well…the Spurs are old, and they haven’t performed well in the postseason in years, so they aren’t a real threat, but the Knicks certainly are this season.

Not only are the Knicks the second best team in the East, but they are a team that is fully capable of upsetting the Heat, which appears to be a mandatory trait in a championship team this year. The Knicks are 3-1 against the Heat so far this year, so we know they can win in Miami and in New York against the league’s best.

The Knicks don’t really play a “team” game, but the sum of their exquisite individual performers has contributed to some big and often impressive wins. New York has put together several long win steaks and they’ll likely have to get hot at the right time, but it certainly could happen. Consider the Knicks a solid pick as well at 16/1, but maybe not quite as good as the more balanced Thunder.

Denver Nuggets – 25/1

The Nuggets were my dark horse pick earlier in the season, but after an incredible second half of the season, Denver is a legitimate title contender now.

The Nuggets don’t always defend well, but they have the best scoring squad in the league and the second best rebounding team. They play physical on the inside and shoot well from the outside. The combination has been lethal to opponents all season long and that combo could carry the Nuggets deep into the postseason as well.

Of course, the Nuggets aren’t as experienced in big games as some of these other teams, so it will be interesting to see how they perform under pressure, but you can’t go wrong here at 25/1. Even a small wager could pay off big if the Nuggets get the job done.

 

Wednesday NBA Quick Picks: April 3, 2013

With only a few weeks left in the 2012-2013 NBA regular season, the action on the hardcourt is only heating up and there isn’t much time to take advantage of betting juicy 12-game slates, like the one the Association is serving up today. You’ll want to get your wagers in early today, so you can sit back and soak in all the NBA excitement and before you do, make sure to check out our trustworthy quick picks below for 10 of the games!

Washington Wizards +3.5 at Toronto Raptors -3.5

The Wizards have drastically improved since the return of John Wall – posting a record of 23-18 – but their road woes have continued, as they’ve managed just seven wins away from Washington. Still, the Raptors haven’t exactly been stellar at home and the Wizards are hot – coming in winners of eight of their last 12 – so take the Wiz to cover +3.5 in the win.

Philadelphia 76ers -4 at Charlotte Bobcats +4

As winners of three straight, the Sixers look like they’re poised to end the season strong. Look for them to continue their winning ways against the lowly Bobcats, covering -4 in the process.

New York Knicks +3.5 at Atlanta Hawks -3.5

After blowing out the Miami Heat on the shoulders of a 50-point performance from Carmelo Anthony, you could safely say the Knicks are playing with a chip on their own shoulders. As winners of nine straight, the Knicks are proving they belong among the top teams in the East. Look for them to continue their recent dominance today in a win over Atlanta, covering +3.5.

Brooklyn Nets -4.5 at Cleveland Cavaliers +4.5

The Cavs have looked absolutely lost during their nine-game losing skid and things won’t get any easier when the playoff-bound Nets come to town. Look for Brooklyn to cover -4.5 in the win.

Detroit Pistons +7.5 at Boston Celtics -7.5

Boston may be running out of juice and has been riddled with ill-timed injuries down the stretch, but with Paul Pierce back in the lineup, it should be able to defeat Detroit. Still, it probably won’t be that easy, so expect the Pistons to cover +7.5 in defeat.

Minnesota Timberwolves +5 at Milwaukee Bucks -5

Minnesota doesn’t have much to play for in this one, but with the Bucks being a few wins away from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff spot, expect them to come out hungry. Their desire and talent should be enough for them to cover -5 in the win.

Orlando Magic +14 at San Antonio Spurs -14

The Spurs are obviously far better than the Magic, but covering 14 is too tall a order for the injury-ridden Spurs. Take Orlando to cover +14 in what will still most likely be a loss.

Denver Nuggets +2.5 at Utah Jazz -2.5

The Nuggets have enjoyed plenty of hot streaks this season, but the Jazz seem to catching fire at the right time, as winners of five in a row. Without Ty Lawson, the Nuggets will fall on the road. Take Utah to cover -2.5 in victory.

Phoenix Suns +15.5 at Los Angeles Clippers -15.5

The Suns have dropped nine of their last 10 contests, but they should still be able to compete against a Clippers team that has lost three in a row. Take Phoenix to cover +15.5 in the loss.

New Orleans Hornets +8 at Golden State Warriors -8

The Warriors are starting to pick up the pace again as winners of seven of their last 10. Meanwhile, the Hornets’ struggles have continued and we shouldn’t expect things to improve for them on the road against Golden State. Take the Warriors to cover -8 in the win.

 

Don’t Forget the NBA During March Madness

Erik Spoelstra

 

Erik Spoelstra
Spoelstra's Heat are now at 23 and counting.

I get it. You came here looking for advice on just who to take in your NCAA office bracket pool aren’t you? Well, you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow until I give you my Final Four picks because today I’m focusing on the ‘Forgotten.’

You may know the ‘Forgotten’ better as the National Basketball Association. During the month of March the NBA becomes like Allen Iverson these days. They desperately want to be relevant but there are far more important things to discuss.

The exception here is the Miami Heat and their 22-game winning streak that went into Boston last night. The exception is also the fact that Kobe tried to play, but the ankle just isn’t responding. Oh, he has the flu now too. The exception is that the playoff race is starting to take shape in both conferences.

Miami entered play last night in Boston having pretty much wrapped up the one seed in the Eastern Conference. They lead second-place Indiana by 11.5 games after all. Kevin Garnett was a game-time decision going into the game which means he is less than 100%. Assuming the Heat won, I still have reservations that they will get to the record of 33 simply because they still have the Knicks and Spurs on the schedule.

Both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been excellent during this run, but they are getting big contributions from guys like Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and veteran Ray Allen.

When Miami decides that it wants to play defense they are downright unbeatable. The question right now is will they be able to stay interested and motivated enough to get themselves ready for the playoffs? This streak should do it and the fact Boston was the team that ended Houston’s 22-games streak a few years ago.

Update: Miami defeated Boston 105-103 last night to make it 23 wins in a row.

If there was ever a good time for Kobe Bryant to be laid up with an ankle injury and the flu, then this is certainly it. After knocking off Sacramento Sunday Night, they played at woeful Phoenix and then host the Washington Wizards on Friday. That should give Bryant time to both get healthy and heal.

 

George Karl
Karl and the Nuggets have a pretty impressive streak of their own going right now.

While many have suggested that maybe the Lakers would play better without Bryant on the floor, that probably isn’t the case. Kobe will never be known as a ‘good sharer’ of the ball but he understands at this point in his career what it takes to win games and be successful long-term. LA continues to cling to the 8th seed in the West by one game over Utah.

Update: The Lakers were beaten in Phoenix 99-76.

Keep an eye on the Denver Nuggets. Dwarfed by the Heat’s impressive streak, Denver has won 11 straight and is just one game back of the LA Clippers for the third seed and five back of Oklahoma City for the second. Catching the Thunder may be a stretch but, but I can easily see them grabbing the three spot.

The Eastern Conference is really intriguing. Spots two through seven are separated by just 3.5 games which means teams could go from a solid two or three seed down to a six or seven in short order.

Games Tonight

Denver at Oklahoma City – If the Nuggets have any hope of catching the Thunder in the West then this is a must-win game. OKC is just too tough at home though for me not to take the Thunder.

LA Clippers at Sacramento – The Clippers are actually 7-3 over their last ten but are in serious jeopardy of slipping into the fourth or fifth seed if they aren’t careful. Winning game like this one are a must. Take Lob City in this one.

 

Nuggets Extend Win Streak to 7 Games

There’s more than one team that’s on a nice roll in the NBA at the moment.

Everyone wants to talk about the Miami Heat and their 16-game win streak lately and for good reason. It’s the most impressive run a team has been on all season, but it’s overshadowed another praise-worthy streak that more folks should be talking about out West.

The Denver Nuggets extended their win streak to seven games on Thursday with a big home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers 107-92. The Nuggets have now won eight of their last nine and have positioned themselves into fifth place in the West with a record of 41-22, just one game back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the all-important fourth seed, which would grant them home court in the playoffs. And for the Nuggets home court advantage in the first round would mean everything, as they are a near-perfect 27-3 at the Pepsi Center so far this season.

“We’re extremely dangerous, especially if we get home-court advantage,” JaVale McGee said, via ESPN.com. “We’re a great team. We work hard, we play hard. And the way we’re playing right now, when we get to the playoffs, it’s going to be amazing.”

Ty Lawson led the way for Denver with 20 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, while Danilo Gallinari added 20 points of his own in the win. The Nuggets have now taken two of three from the Clippers this season, with both wins coming on Denver’s home turf.

The Nuggets were magnificent once again on the offensive end of the floor, hitting 43-of-77 field goals (55.8%), while dishing out 33 assists as a team. Denver came into the game ranked 3rd in the league in scoring (105.7 PPG) and 3rd in assists (24.4 per game).

Before maybe considered Denver to be a high-scoring dark horse as far as the Western Conference championship was concerned, but now many are looking at the Nuggets as a legitimate contender out West. They certainly have the speed and the scoring ability to keep up with the Thunder, they have the youth to wear down a team like the Spurs in a long series and we’ve seen what they can do to the Clippers. So, who not the Nuggets?

Updated futures odds weren’t available for Friday, but be sure to check back and see where odds makers have the Nuggets because whatever their odds are will likely present a solid value and a good wagering opportunity for those who want to throw a few dollars down. Sure, with the amount of talent out West and with the Heat soaring, it will be tough for a team like Denver to break through, but with the way they are playing at the moment, they can beat anybody.

 

3 Dark Horse NBA Futures Picks

After seeing each NBA team play in more than 50 games this season, we have a good idea of who the favorites are and who will likely contend for the championship in 2013, but as always, there a few teams waiting in the wings, ready to pounce if the top dogs find trouble down the stretch. These are the dark horse teams and although they don’t have extremely good odds to become champions this season, they still have strong value as long shots because if they pull through, you are bound to be swimming in cash and if they don’t, you won’t stand to lose much. However, to really be considered a dark horse, you also need to be a team with a decent shot at winning and we’ve got three picks that fit the bill. Here are the top 3 NBA dark horses:

1. Denver Nuggets – 40/1

After going on a nine-game winning streak toward the end of the first half of the season, the Nuggets propelled themselves into the Western Conference title hunt with a 33-21 record going into the All-Star break. The Nuggets near flawless record at home (22-3) and their high-scoring nature (105.1 points per game, 3rd in the league) makes them prime dark horse candidate, as does their 40/1 odds. The Nuggets have beaten several of the league’s top teams already and if they can improve their position slightly up from 5th in the West, they’ll receive home court in the first round of the playoffs, which is almost an assured advancement with the Nuggets. With the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs all playing top notch basketball, it certainly won’t be easy, but the Nuggets are one team that could surprise people, but not us. Denver is very valuable at 40/1.

2. Golden State Warriors – 50/1

The Warriors also are unfortunate to be in the ultra-competitive Western Conference this season, but considering they are just one game behind the Nuggets, they too are in strong position and if they are able to make a run late in the season, they could climb right to the top. Buoyed by a versatile offense that includes big man David Lee and guard Stephen Curry, the Warriors are also a threat to take down the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs, simply because they can keep up on the scoreboard. The Warriors are scoring 101 points per game, but also are allowing 101 points per game, so they are a little more of a long shot at 50/1. Still, they have the capabilities of boasting a stronger defense in the second half of the season. They are slightly less valuable than Denver, but still a solid pick at 50/1.

3. Brooklyn Nets – 33/1

Although the Nets have better odds – which in some cases would decrease their value as a dark horse – they do have a fairly complete team with Deron Williams running the point, Joe Johnson on the outside and Brook Lopez in the middle. They also happen to be in the East, which is slightly less competitive, as evidenced by the West’s All-Star win on Sunday. They are still definitely a dark horse, but a good one with a 31-22 record, which is only six and a half games back of the East-leading Heat. They’ve also played well recently, winning their last two games, so they could be poised to go on a run. Because of the aforementioned reasons, the Nets are our No. 3 pick at 33/1.

 

Tuesday NBA Quick Picks

The Association has six games on tap for us today and many of them feature some of the league’s best teams. With only three days of NBA basketball remaining before the All-Star break, you’ll want to take advantage and get your fix starting today with a modest, but tasty sampling of games. Here are our quick picks for each of the six games on the menu.

Denver Nuggets -2 at Toronto Raptors +2

Denver may have had its nine-game win streak snapped its last time out against Boston, but there was no shortage of offensive production for one of the league’s best scoring teams, as the Nuggets still managed to put up 114 in the overtime loss. Denver hit one point below that mark the last time they played Toronto back on Dec. 3, but won that game 113-110.

The Raptors have been playing well since they acquired Rudy Gay, winning their last two games, but the Nuggets feature too potent an attack for the Raptors to deal with. Look for Denver to cover -2 in the win.

Portland Trail Blazers +11.5 at Miami Heat -11.5

The Heat have looked plenty impressive during their recent five-game winning streak, a streak that has produced another streak – LeBron’s franchise record-setting streak of five consecutive games with 30 or more points and 60% shooting.

However, the Heat will be up against a team in the Blazers that defeated them earlier this year – 92-90 on Jan. 10. Considering the Blazers are also a team that plays in many close games, expect the Heat to win, but not to cover the large spread. Take Portland to cover +11.5 in the loss.

Sacramento Kings +8.5 at Memphis Grizzlies -8.5

Both teams are coming into today’s contest on a two-game win streak, but the Grizzlies have gotten the better of the Kings in their last two meetings, beating them by more than 15 points on each occasion.

With home court advantage, look for Memphis to continue its dominance over one of the West’s weakest squads and pick up another easy win while covering -8.5.

Oklahoma City Thunder -5,5 at Utah Jazz +5.5

With a 19-6 home record, Utah has been almost unbeatable in the comforts of its own building, but with the one of the league’s best offenses coming to town, the Jazz will likely be in for a major challenge.

The Thunder are scoring 106.4 points per contest and considering they’ve already beaten Utah once this year, OKC should be able to do it again, even on the road. Take the Thunder to cover -5.5 in the win.

Phoenix Suns +9 at Los Angeles Lakers -9

Both teams in this match-up have underachieved, but only one of them faced lofty expectations in 2012-2013.

However, the Lakers are playing much better lately, winning seven of their last 10 and they’ll definitely be a favorite to win against the worst team in the West. But to spot them nine points against any team right now seems like a mistake. Since they are still without Pau Gasol and are playing with a banged up Dwight Howard, look for L.A. to win, but not by nine points. Take the Suns to cover +9 in the loss.

Houston Rockets +4.5 at Golden State Warriors -4.5

The Warriors have hit the skids recently, dropping all  four games on a road trip, but they’ll be at home today, where they are 16-6 on the season. Meanwhile, the Rockets are winners of six of their last 10 and will bring in one of the most explosive offenses in the league (106.1 PPG) that will look to keep the Warriors down.

Golden State is simply too talented to stay down for long though, so expect them to bounce back at home and pick up the win, covering -4.5.

Monday Betting Tips: NBA

Indiana and Denver will tussle again on Monday, this time in the Mile High City.

Sunday night saw the top picks for this year’s NBA Finals – Miami and Oklahoma – fall in upset fashion to Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers respectively, reminding everybody in the process that this is a fairly unpredictable season in the Association.

Unpredictability was the buzz word for basketball at both collegiate and professional level this past weekend and the same may well prove to be true in this upcoming week.

Casino Review has picked out three of the key fixtures on Monday’s NBA schedule to see if any more upsets are on the horizon.

 

Memphis Grizzlies @ Philadelphia 76ers

7:00 PM ET

Memphis (28-15, 11-8 road) arrives in the City of Brotherly Love on Monday looking to continue to keep within touching distance of the pacesetters out west. Memphis currently occupies the #4 spot in the Western Conference, but the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers are extending the gap.

Philadelphia (18-25, 12-10 home) would simply be happy with a playoff spot at this juncture. The Sixers – without new signing Andrew Bynum all year – have had a rough time of it, currently finding themselves 2½ games back of the #8 spot in the East.

At a glance this one is a major mismatch. Memphis has limited opponents to a league best 89.2 points per game while Philadelphia has struggled scoring and shooting. However, this might not be as easy as many would think for the Grizzlies.

Philadelphia defeated Memphis 99-89 on Dec. 26, the only time the sides have met this season. What’s more, Memphis is playing in the second night of a back-to-back series, having lost at home to New Orleans at home on Sunday night. The Grizzlies have not been a solid side on the road either. Philadelphia will be in with a chance.

Favorite: Memphis Spread: Total: 178

Take: MEMPHIS – Whilst Philly has a chance, the Grizzlies are 12-4 against Eastern Conference opposition this season, and will be looking for payback following December’s loss, which came during a period of four losses in six games. Take Memphis (25-17-1 ATS) to cover the spread against an inferior Philadelphia (19-24-0 ATS). Take the total to go under, as it has done in 27 of 43 Memphis games.

 

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz

9:00 PM ET

With the season series tied at 1-1, Houston (24-22, 9-14 road) and Utah (24-20. 15-4 home) will be looking to gain an advantage over their opponent as well as continue on the winning path.

Houston has won two straight, and three of four, following a season-long seven game losing streak. The Rockets currently sit at #8 in the Western Conference.

Utah won in last outing and has scored four wins in five, and eight in 11. The Jazz have also taken six straight home games, moving up to the #7 spot in the process.

The two sides meet at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday night, with Houston looking to continue its high-scoring ways. The Rockets average 103.6 points per game, good enough for second in the league. The high-scoring, fast-paced offense has come with some consequences though. The Rockets give up 102.9 points per game (27th) and have turned the ball over more than any other side in the league. Utah meanwhile will look to hold off the run-and-gun Rockets, something the side achieved the last time the two sides met in Utah, a game that finished 102-91 in favor of the Jazz.

Favorite: Utah Spread: 3 Total: 209½

Take: HOUSTON – Take the Rockets – who have breached the 100-point mark in 21 of the last 30 games – to continue scoring big, upsetting the Jazz in the process. Take the total to go over.

 

Indiana Pacers @ Denver Nuggets

9:00 PM ET

Still embroiled in a tough Central Division chase with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana (26-18, 10-15 road) will look to gain some ground on Monday. That might be a tough task though. The Bulls play the hapless Hornets at the United Center, and the Pacers face a tough trip to the Mile High City.

Denver (27-18, 17-3 home) has taken three straight against Indiana, including a 92-89 victory in Indianapolis on Dec. 7. Furthermore, the Nuggets gave won six of the last seven against Indiana when playing at the Pepsi Center. Things get a lot worse when you consider that Denver has lost just three home games all season.

Indiana shouldn’t bow down just yet. Of those three losses, one was to Washington and one to Minnesota, both sides that are not as good as the Pacers. For the record, the other loss came to Miami; a team Indiana beat 87-77 on Jan. 6. The Nuggets have also struggled against Eastern Conference opponents this season, compiling a 7-6 record. The Pacers meanwhile have gone 12-8 against the West.

Indiana also happens to be the best team in the league at limiting an opponent’s field goal percentage (.419), and has given up just 89.9 points per game. Only Memphis has bettered that number. Add to this the fact that these are the top two rebounding teams in the league and you have the blueprint for a punishing game of basketball.

Favorite: Denver Spread: Total: 196

Take: DENVER – Winners of nine of the last 11, the Nuggets will take advantage of the fortress they call home. The side simply has too much firepower, even for the rough and ready Pacers’ defense. However, expect this to be a tight game with the Pacers (22-22 ATS) covering the spread and the total going under.

Wednesday’s NBA Betting Tips

Memphis and San Antonio will meet for a third time this season, with both previous games having gone to overtime.

Get your midweek hardwood fix tonight with a 10-game schedule from the Association. Casino Review has fished out the top three games on the slate, and then thrown in some instant picks too. Read on to find out who you should be backing on Wednesday night.

 

Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder

8:00 PM ET

Oklahoma City (30-8, 18-3 home) and Denver (24-16, 9-14 road) meet on Wednesday night for the first of a pair of games this week, and the first of four this season.

The Thunder continues to pace the NBA, becoming the league’s first 30-game winner on Monday night. Winners of four straight and nine of 11, Kevin Durant and Co. will look to make a statement against their division rivals.

Denver meanwhile has won seven of the last eight, but a big portion of that trend has come at the Pepsi Center, as the Nuggets make up for a road-heavy early schedule. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 112-105 on Jan. 6, the side’s only road game so far this calendar year.

Expect this to be a high-scoring affair as two of the top five scoring teams in the NBA take to the court. Oklahoma City averages 105.1 points per game (2nd) while Denver scores and average of 102.7 points (5th).

Odds: Oklahoma City is favored in this one, with the spread standing at 8½. The total is 208.5

Take: OKLAHOMA CITY – The Thunder has turned Chesapeake Energy Arena into a fortress. That fortress is likely to hold-up against a Denver side that is not as efficient on the road as it is at home. Take the Nuggets to cover the spread, with the total going under.

 

Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs

8:30 PM ET

Division rivals Memphis (24-12, 10-7 road) and San Antonio (29-11, 16-2 home) do battle for a third time this season on Wednesday night. So far, both sides have held their home court advantage.

San Antonio enters the game just two back of Oklahoma City for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. A win will also put the Spurs within a half-game of the Clippers.

Memphis will be looking to gain ground on a San Antonio side that currently sits three games in front. Winning in the Alamo City won’t be easy though; the Spurs have dropped just two home games all season, the last of which came on Nov. 19. The Spurs have won 12 straight at home since.

Memphis’ woes have mainly come on the road this season. The Grizzlies have won just five road games against teams with a winning record. That trend needs to change if the side is to continue to push for a top four finish in the Western Conference. Make no qualms about it, a win in San Antonio would be a huge deal.

Odds: San Antonio is favorites (-4½) with the total at 186½.

Take: SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs simply don’t lose at home. Add to that the fact that Memphis doesn’t play well on the road and you have the recipe for a home win. The Spurs and Grizzlies rank in the league’s top five when it comes to covering the spread, which makes this one a difficult game to pick. Take San Antonio to cover. Take the total to go under. Memphis has been involved in fewer games (13) that have seen the total go under than any other team in the league.

 

Miami Heat @ Golden State Warriors

10:30 PM ET

The question coming into this one should have been, are the Warriors for real? Instead, we’re left scratching our heads and pondering whether Miami is for real.

Miami (24-12, 8-9 road) fell to Utah on Monday, dropping the Florida side below .500 on the road this season. That loss also lent itself to a 1-3 record to start this current six-game road trip. To put it bluntly, Miami is reeling, at least away from South Beach.

Golden State (23-13, 12-5 home) might just be the tonic the Heat needs though. Despite an impressive overall record, one that has surprised most, the Warriors have dropped three of the last four, including a tough home loss to Memphis. Prior to that game, Mark Jackson’s side had won 11 of 13 at Oracle Arena.

Miami pulled out a 97-95 win when the two sides played at AmericanAirlines Arena on Dec. 12.

Odds: Miami is favored, with the spread at just two. The total is 205.

Take: MIAMI – The Heat will take advantage of the Warriors’ mini-slump, but this is likely to be as close as the previous meeting between the sides. Take the Heat to cover the spread (just) with the total going over.

 

Instant Picks…

Take Chicago (21-15, 10-5 road) to win north of the border and cover the spread (-3½) against Toronto (14-24, 10- 8 home). Take the total (184.5) to go under.

Take Indiana (24-15, 9-12 road) to pile some more misery on an Orlando (13-24, 7-12 home) side that has lost 11 of the last 12. Take the Pacers to cover the spread (-1½) with the total going under.

Take Brooklyn (23-15, 8-8 road) – winners of seven straight – to defeat an Atlanta (21-16, 12-6 home) side that has been slipping of late, upsetting the Hawks and the spread (+4) in the process. Take the total to go under.

Take Boston (20-17, 13-6 home) to extend its winning streak to seven with a home win over New Orleans (12-26, 6-13 road). Take the Hornets to cover the spread (+8) with the total (183.5) going under.

Take Dallas (16-23, 10-7 home) to build a four-game winning streak while sending Houston (21-18, 7-11 road) to a fifth straight loss. Take the Mavericks to cover the spread (-4½), and the total (213) to go under; both of these sides rank in the top five in terms of the total exceeding the marker but 213 is simply too much.

After three wins on the bounce, take Washington (7-28, 1-15 road) to slip up on the road in Sacramento (14-24, 11-10 home). Take the Wizards to cover the spread (+4½) though, with the total going over.

Take Portland (20-18, 13-5 home) to defeat Cleveland (9-31, 5-19 road), but take the Cavaliers to cover the spread (+7). Take the total (197) to go under.