Latest Odds to Win the 2015 NBA Title

Kerr
Kerr
Steve Kerr has done a wonderful job with the Warriors but can he get them to the NBA Finals?

It’s really amazing how things can change over the course of a season in the National Basketball Association. Injuries, coaching changes and just getting hot at the right time can all play a part in the rise and/or fall of fortunes of these teams.

Odds to win 2015 NBA Championship

Golden State Warriors 7/2

Cleveland Cavaliers 15/4

San Antonio Spurs 7/1

Atlanta Hawks 15/2

Chicago Bulls 17/2

Among these top five favorites, I honestly can’t say there’s a sure thing here. We’ve seen the Cavaliers bounce back from a losing streak and right into a nice long winning streak which stands at 11 heading into last night. The Atlanta Hawks just had a 19-game winning streak and had all five starters named “player of the week.”

The Bulls will go only as far as Derrick Rose’s health can take them and the Spurs will have to be healthy as well in order to repeat. Obviously Golden State is the favorite because they are undeniably the best team in the league right now. What worries me is the amount of three-point shots they rely on each night. Will that come back to haunt them in the playoffs when teams start to pick up the defense?

Dallas Mavericks 12/1

Los Angeles Clippers 12/1

Memphis Grizzlies 12/1

Oklahoma City Thunder 16/1

Houston Rockets 18/1

Toronto Raptors 20/1

When you look at the group above, I think the team that stands out is Oklahoma City. I say that because they are one team of this group with two guys that can carry a team for certain periods of time. That said, the Thunder are still on the outside looking in on the playoffs right now.

I can’t see Houston being a legitimate threat if Dwight Howard keeps battling health issues and I’m not sure how serious to take the Clippers. They obviously have loads of talent, but can they make it out of the difficult Western Conference? Dallas is a team that makes me think a little too. Don’t be surprised to see them hanging tough in the end.

Aldridge
The hopes of the Blazers rest on the health of LaMarcus Aldridge.

Portland Trailblazers 25/1

Washington Wizards 28/1

Miami Heat 100/1

Detroit Pistons 150/1

Milwaukee Bucks 150/1

I really liked what Detroit was doing until guard Brandon Jennings went down with a torn achilles. They had been playing extremely well in the wake of releasing Josh Smith but now they are likely looking at a lottery position again unless they can get needed help at guard.

Portland’s fate will ride with LaMarcus Aldridge and his hand. If he can play through the pain and prove to be as effective as always then they have a shot with he and Damian Lillard. Washington will be a really interesting team to watch. They’ve lost seven of ten and their last five games so perhaps the shine on them is wearing off.

New Orleans Pelicans 150/1

Phoenix Suns 150/1

If one player could get his team to the NBA Finals it’s Anthony Davis who has been outstanding in 2014-2015. This will definitely not be his year, but if the Pelicans get some pieces around him then look out in the future.

Boston Celtics 500/1

Brooklyn Nets 500/1

Charlotte Hornets 500/1

Indiana Pacers 500/1

Remember when the Indiana Pacers were on the verge of knocking off the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference? Ya, things have changed that much in Indianapolis. They’ll be more looking for a lucky bouncing ping pong ball come summertime.

Sacramento Kings 1000/1

Utah Jazz 1000/1

Denver Nuggets 2000/1

Orlando Magic 2000/1

Sometimes the sports books in Vegas are just trying to be nice. This is the case here as none of these teams has chance in Hades of winning the NBA Title. The Kings, Jazz and Nuggets would need miracles at this point just to get into the playoffs.

Who I Like?

Atlanta, Golden State, Memphis and Cleveland.

NBA Favorites on Tap as I Get Back in the Basketball Swing

LeBron Love
LeBron Love
LeBron James and Kevin Love have to stay healthy if the Cavs are to live up their preseason billing.

I’m going to do my very best to get back in the swing of the action on the hardwood today because it feels like forever since I’ve discussed it. Rather than jump back in with lines for tonight’s action, I’m going to give you the latest odds on who wins the National Basketball Association title. Odds provided by our friends at Bovada.

Cleveland Cavaliers 4/1

Golden State Warriors 5/1

The Cavs are still the darlings of Las Vegas despite injuries to LeBron James and a less than 100% Kevin Love. Currently, Cleveland is sitting in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference and they trail Conference leader Atlanta by 12 games. I don’t see the Cavs getting the one seed and you shouldn’t either.

The Warriors are sitting in the catbird seat in the West three and a half ahead of Portland. They’ve nine of their last ten games and have lost just once in 19 games at home. Retaining the top spot will not be easy because the Western Conference is still where the powerful teams reside but I expect the Warriors to be in this for the long haul barring injuries.

Popovich
Will Popovich be able to rest his vets and keep the Spurs in the upper half of the Western Conference?

San Antonio Spurs 13/2

Atlanta Hawks 7/1

The defending champion Spurs are in the seventh spot right now eight games behind the Warriors. They’ve won eight of ten and are just five and a half games out of the second spot held by the Blazers. In usual Gregg Popovich form, he’s making sure the veterans are getting the right amount of rest. My concern for them though is will it matter? The West is so good and young that I’m not sure a repeat is in the cards.

Atlanta is far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference and they sit five games ahead of second seeded Washington. They’ve won 13-straight games and are beating teams by an average of almost seven points per game. The one major concern with the Hawks is that their opponents in the East are a far cry from the talent level out west. That said, all the Hawks need to do is get to the NBA Finals where anything can happen.

Dallas Mavericks 15/2

Chicago Bulls 8/1

Dallas is tied with rival Houston for the fourth/fifth spot in the West. They’ve won seven of ten including their last two in a row. The trade for Rajon Rondo has certainly paid dividends and his presence will be crucial down the stretch.

The Bulls have lost two straight and have won just four of their last ten games. Still, their comfortably in the fourth spot four and a half games ahead of the Cavaliers. My honest question for you if you like the Bulls here is what can you expect from Derrick Rose?

Oklahoma City Thunder 10/1

OKC is currently sitting in the ninth spot and out of the playoffs if the season ended today. The season doesn’t end today however and that’s good news for the Thunder. They’ve won three straight and six of their last ten so perhaps this team is starting to come together for a second half stretch run behind a healthier Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Longer Shots I like

Washington Wizards 25/1 – With the Cavaliers struggling, perhaps they get by the Hawks and into the NBA Finals.

New Orleans Pelicans 200/1 – Right now, the Pelicans are four games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference and when you have a player like Anthony Davis, why can’t the Pelicans make a run?

 

Clippers vs Warriors in Game 4, with Sterling’s Comments Lingering in the Air

On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Clippers will be in northern California to play the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of their best of seven first round NBA playoff series in the Western Conference. The Clippers lead the series 2-1 after losing Game 1 but coming back to win 2 straight.

However, the Clippers might not have 100% of their minds on today’s games thanks to the alleged comments made by their owner Donald Sterling. The Clippers owner is alleged to have spoken to his girlfriend, who is half-black and half-Mexican, telling her not to invite African-Americans to the Clippers home games.

It was announced late Saturday that players on the Clippers had actually threatened to boycott their playoff game on Sunday, but head coach Doc Rivers stepped in and quickly dismissed that action. Rivers like his players is irate over the alleged tape-recorded conversation and hopes the NBA will do something to Sterling if the tape is confirmed to be authentic.

Back to basketball.

Bovada and sportsbook.com has Los Angeles as the favorite in the game by 2.5 points. The total on topbet and betonline is sitting on 209.5 at the moment.

The Clippers at one time led Game 3 by 18 points and looked on their way to another 40-point rout like in Game 2. However, the Warriors stormed back in the fourth quarter and missed a shot at the buzzer that could have won the game.

In that game, the Clippers did not cover a spread as the favorite of 2.5 points.

Part of Golden State’s problem in Game 3 was its long range shooting. The Warriors hit just 6 of their 31 shots from beyond the three-point line.

With the win, the Clippers road record is now 24-18 SU and 25-16-1 ATS. For the Warriors, their home record is now 27-15 SU and 20-21-1 ATS.

The Los Angeles win was big on Thursday as the visitor. In the previous seven games between the two teams, the home team was 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS.

Since the beginning of the 2011-12 NBA season, the Clippers are 7-8 SU and 6-9 ATS against Golden State. The OVER in the point total has cashed in 10 of those 15 games.

Andrew Bogut who has a problem with his ribs will miss another game for Golden State.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul continue to carry the offensive load for the Clippers, while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are firing from long distance for the Warriors. David Lee is averaging 14 points and nearly 9 rebounds for Golden State. The big man was slowed by a hamstring problem late in the season.

Pick: I like the Clippers to come out strong on the emotion that has been boiling over due to the comments allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling. The Clippers will win and cover 112-107.

 

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.

Wednesday Betting Tips: NBA Basketball

Jarrett Jack and the Golden State Warriors fell short against Indiana on Tuesday night. Expect more of the same as the team travels to New York on Wednesday.

With a 10-game NBA slate to choose from, bettors will have plenty of action laid out in front of them on Wednesday night.

Here at Casino Review we’ve filtered through those games and picked out three that should be well worth the watch, starting with what could be a shootout at Madison Square Garden.

 

Golden State Warriors @ New York Knicks

8:00 PM ET

New York (33-20, 20-8 home) will take to the court on Wednesday night knowing that a win is essential. Not only have the Knicks been passed by Indiana for the No. 2 playoff berth, the Manhattan side has also lost five of the last seven. Mike Woodson’s side will be hoping Sunday’s 99-93 win over Philadelphia is the start of a positive run.

New York isn’t the only side that needs to win either. Golden State (33-24, 15-17 road) fell to Indiana in a grueling encounter on Tuesday night, snapping a three game winning streak. The Warriors are 3-7 over the last 10, and have fallen further behind the likes of Denver and Memphis. If Mark Jackson’s side doesn’t pick things up, those playoff chances could start to slip.

The Warriors enter Madison Square Garden with a 15-6 record against Eastern Conference opponents this season. That’s certainly something for the Knicks to be worried about.

This Season: This is the first meeting between the sides this season. They’ll tangle again in Oakland on Mar.11.

Last Season: Despite a horrible season last year, the Warriors did manage to beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden in the only game between the sides. The final score was 92-78.

Favorite: New York Spread: Total: 205½

Take: NEW YORK – With plenty of time to rest after Sunday’s home win over Philadelphia, New York has a huge advantage over the Warriors, who played just 24-hours earlier. However, Golden State (29-26-2 ATS) has fared better against the spread than New York (26-27-0 ATS), so take the Warriors to cover the 8½ points. Take the total to go over, a trend both teams have favored this season.

 

Milwaukee Bucks @ Houston Rockets

8:00 PM ET

With the Lakers still in the rearview mirror, Houston (31-27, 19-8 home) will be looking to gain ground over their star-studded Hollywood counterparts. A 105-103 loss in Washington on Saturday was not the type of result Kevin McHale and Co. was looking for. The side will hope to do better against the Bucks on Wednesday.

Losers of nine of the last 12, Milwaukee (27-28, 13-14 road) knows exactly how the Rockets feel. The slumping Bucks – currently holding onto the No. 8 berth in the East – are making plenty of cautious glances over the shoulder at a Toronto side on the rise. A 95-90 win in Dallas on Tuesday was the perfect way to start this tough Texas back-to-back.

Houston enters the game with some distinctive advantages. Not only are the Rockets very good at home, they’ve also compiled an 18-7 record against Eastern Conference opposition this season. Miami is the only team from the East to win at Toyota Center this season.

This Season: The Rockets defeated the Bucks 115-101 in Milwaukee on Jan. 4.

Last Season: Milwaukee defeated Houston 105-99 at the Toyota Center in the only game between the sides last year.

Favorite: Houston Spread: 7 Total: 219½

Take: HOUSTON – As patchy as the Rockets have been at times this season, the side is a far better choice than a Milwaukee side that has been deadweight of late. Add to that Houston’s fantastic home record against the East and you have a team ready to win. Take Houston (32-25-1 ATS) to cover the spread also. Although Houston (32-26-0) favors the over this season, take the total to go under as the Bucks struggle to score.

 

Atlanta Hawks @ Utah Jazz

9:00 PM ET

If, and we reiterate if, the Lakers do manage to put together a run, it might not be Houston that has to worry. Currently just one game in the loss column ahead of the Rockets, Utah (31-26, 21-7 home) could well be dragged into a fight for the final playoff berth. Two straight losses, including a 110-107 overtime loss to Boston on Monday, certainly haven’t helped the cause.

Atlanta (32-23, 14-13 road) meanwhile currently sits fifth in a tight-as-you-like Eastern Conference (at least from No. 2 downwards). A win over the Jazz on Wednesday could see the Hawks overtake the idle Nets into fourth.

The Hawks have won three straight and six of eight all told. More importantly, the side has won four straight on the road. Utah has won six of the last eight, and is 7-2 at home against Eastern Conference opponents this season. Only Chicago and Boston (this past Monday) have had success EnergySolutions Arena.

This Season: Atlanta scored a 103-95 home victory over the Jazz back on Jan. 11.

Last Season: The sides met just once in last season’s lockout-shortened campaign. The Hawks took a 139-133 victory at home, but it took four overtime periods to separate the two teams.

Favorite: Utah Spread: 5 Total: 198½

Take: UTAH – This is a close call but expect the Jazz to rebound from Monday’s loss and start turning that home court into a fortress again. Take the Jazz (17-11-0 ATS home) to cover with the total going over.

 

Wednesday’s NBA Schedule (in full)

Sacramento @ Orlando

Toronto @ Cleveland

Detroit @ Washington

Golden State @ New York

Dallas @ Memphis

Milwaukee @ Houston

New Orleans @ Oklahoma City

Phoenix @ San Antonio

Atlanta @ Utah

Denver @ Portland

Sunday NBA Quick Picks: Feb. 24

With around 25 games remaining in the regular season, the playoff pressure is beginning to ramp up for some NBA squads, while others (ahem, the Heat) are starting to show their dominance. We’ll see all of that and more on display today as the Association has a juicy nine-game slate for us to sink our teeth into. Here are our quick picks for eight of the nine games in the NBA today.

Los Angeles Lakers +3 at Dallas Mavericks -3

It’s no secret. The Lakers have been the biggest disappointment of 2012-2013, but they are playing better lately. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games, including the last two. The teams have split the season series so far, going 1-1 against one another, but with the Mavs at home and also playing well (three-game win streak). I like Dallas to take this one, covering -3.

Golden State Warriors -1.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves +1.5

The Warriors hit a rough patch in recent weeks, but they are starting to get back on track, as they’ve won their last two games. Meanwhile, the T-Wolves continue to struggle without their star Kevin Love. Take the Warriors to cover -1.5 and win on the road today.

Sacramento Kings +6 at New Orleans Hornets -6

Considering the Hornets have been worse at home than on the road and considering both teams are on losing streaks entering tonight’s game and each have the exact same record, this one is a toss-up. For that reason, take the Kings to cover +6.

Cleveland Cavaliers +13 at Miami Heat -13

With the Heat playing their finest basketball of the season, they are getting a huge spread against the struggling Cavaliers. The Heat have won 10 straight and there’s no question they should defeat the Cavs on their home floor, but I just hate these huge spreads. All the Cavs need to do is play halfway decent and they will cover this spread, even on the road. The Heat will win, but it’s safer to take Cleveland to cover +13.

San Antonio Spurs -9.5 at Phoenix Suns +9.5

The Spurs are also getting a large spread and will be on the road today, where they have only been half as strong – 22-11 compared to 22-2 at home. The Suns are certainly struggling as losers of eight of their last 10, but they should be able to cover +9.5 today in the loss.

Boston Celtics +2 at Portland Trail Blazers -2

Despite dropping their last seven games, the Blazers are getting two points at home against a Celtics team that has played well recently, winning seven of their last 10 games. Even though the Celtics have been atrocious on the road, I can’t go against the recent trend here. Portland will break out of its funk, but no tonight. Go Boston to cover +2 in the win.

Chicago Bulls +9 at Oklahoma City Thunder -9

Both teams have struggled a bit recently, but the Thunder are getting nice odds to win at home, where they are 24-4 this season. There’s little doubt that they will do it, but Chicago is too good defensively to get blown away, even by the Thunder. Take Chicago to cover +9 in the loss.

Philadelphia 76ers +10.5 at New York Knicks -10.5

Both teams are coming into this game on four-game losing streaks, so it’s hard to imagine liking the Knicks by more than a few points against anyone right now. Play this one safe and take the Sixers to cover +10.5 on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday NBA Quick Picks: Feb.20

With the NBA back from its All-Star break, there will be a lot for bettors to keep track of today. There are 11 games in action in the Association today, but don’t worry. We’ve made it easy by providing you with the winning quick picks. Check ’em out!

Memphis Grizzlies +1.5 at Toronto Raptors -1.5

The Raptors may have one of the worst records in the NBA, but they’ve stepped up their game since acquiring Rudy Gay in a trade from Memphis as winners of their last five games. However, the Grizzlies have also continued to win despite losing Gay and are currently on a four-game streak of their own. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the trade.

The Raptors got the better end of the trade, but the Grizzlies are still be far the better team. Take Memphis to cover +1.5 today.

Detroit Pistons -3.5 at Charlotte Bobcats +3.5

The Bobcats only have 13 wins on the season, but one of them came against the Pistons in the teams’ only other meeting this season. This time around, the Bobcats will have the home floor, but the last time they won back-to-back games was back in November. Go with the better overall team and take Detroit to cover -3.5 on the road.

New York Knicks +4 at Indiana Pacers -4

These two will renew their long-standing rivalry for the third time this season, as the Knicks and Pacers have split the previous two games between each other. The Knicks are coming off a two-game losing streak, but should be refreshed after the break, while the Pacers have dominated opponents at home with a 21-5 record. Look for Indiana’s defense to be the difference and for the Pacers to cover -4 today.

New Orleans Hornets 0 at Cleveland Cavaliers 0

Since both teams have been equally horrendous this season with similar records coming into tonight’s game, the odds makers are going easy on us and giving us an even line. Honestly, this one really is a toss-up though. Since Cleveland has the home floor, take the Cavs to win this one.

Miami Heat -5 at Atlanta Hawks +5

The Hawks have been superb at home this season (17-9), but the Heat have been superb everywhere and they are playing their best basketball of the season at the moment, as they are currently on a seven-game winning streak. Look for the Heat to make it eight in a row by covering -5.

Brooklyn Nets +3 at Milwaukee Bucks -3

The Bucks have gotten the better of the Nets so far this season, winning two of the previous three match-ups, but Brooklyn is coming in with plenty of momentum as winners of its last three. Look for the Nets to keep it going by winning on the road and covering +3.

Oklahoma City Thunder -2.5 at Houston Rockets +2.5

This match-up should be the highest scoring of the day, as it boasts the league’s top two scoring teams, but it’s a match-up the Thunder have dominated lately, winning the previous two meetings this season by more than 20 points on each occasion. Even on the road, take the Thunder to cover -2.5.

Philadelphia 76ers +3.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves -3.5

Although Minnesota has played better at home than on the road, they haven’t fared well without Kevin Love in the lineup, losing eight of their last 10 games. Look for the 76ers to take this one, covering +3.5.

Orlando Magic +10.5 at Dallas Mavericks -10.5

Yes, the Magic are 1-9 in their last 10 games, but the Mavericks haven’t been fantastic either, making their massive favoritism in this one unwarranted. Orlando should be able to cover +10.5 in the loss today.

Boston Celtics +7 at Los Angeles Lakers -7

I’m sorry, but the Lakers shouldn’t be getting seven points against anybody right now, much less a Celtics team that has won eight of their last 10 games. This should be easy money. Take Boston to cover +7 against the floundering Lakers.

Phoenix Suns +8.5 at Golden State Warriors -8.5

Normally I would love the Warriors here against the Suns, but as losers of their last six games, the Warriors confidence is obviously shaken. Their last win was in fact against Phoenix a couple of few weeks back and they did win by more than 8.5, but that was then and this is now. The Warriors should have enough to snap the streak, but they aren’t playing their best ball right now, so take the Suns to cover +8.5.

 

 

Tuesday Betting Tips: NBA Basketball

The Celtics and Nuggets go head-to-head Tuesday night in a game that could shine the light on what to expect from both teams for the rest of the season.

Feeling a bit deflated by All-Star weekend? You’re not the only one. Those things used to be fun, right? Alas.

Well, the good thing about the All-Star break is that with its climax the NBA begins for real and everything is up for grabs. By the end of Thursday’s trade deadline we’ll know who has gone where and more importantly, who hasn’t gone anywhere.

After that, we’ll have eight weeks to find out if the Lakers can turn it around; if San Antonio can keep ahead of the rest of the West; if Miami is about to win a second title; and all those other questions that have been brewing over this first half.

Let’s get things started then with the NBA’s return to action on Tuesday night. As usual, Casino Review has picked out three games that should be of interest. Today though, we start with one you’re probably planning on avoiding.

 

Charlotte Bobcats @ Orlando Magic

7:00 PM ET

With seven combined wins between them this calendar year, a skirmish between the Bobcats and Magic isn’t exactly appealing. Even fans of the two teams are planning on boycotting this one.

But, for Casino Review at least, there’s something uncomfortably alluring about watching the two worst teams in the league square-off. Maybe it’s the thought that these two could end up with the No. 1 and No. 2 pick in June’s draft, although with the luck these sides possess, they’ll probably fail at the lottery as well. Regardless…

As far as futility goes, Orlando (15-37, 9-18 home) has topped the Bobcats of late. Since earning a win over the Wizards on Dec. 19, the Magic has gone 3-24 (.111), tallying losing streaks of 10 games and 12 games during that period. The Central Florida side is 2-12 (.143) at home during that time.

Orlando has the added hassle of dealing with Hedo Turkoglu’s suspension.

It doesn’t read much better for the Bobcats. Charlotte (12-40, 5-21 road) has lost 15 of the last 18 games. The side has failed to exceed 100 points in each of its last nine games – 41 of 52 all told this season – and has succumbing to seven straight road losses. The last time the Bobcats won on the road was Jan. 18. However, that night the side defeated Orlando.

While most won’t care who comes out of this one with the ‘W’, both teams have the opportunity to start afresh following the break.

Favorite: Orlando Spread: 6 Total: 202.5

This Season: Orlando defeated the Bobcats 107-98 in Charlotte on Dec. 15. That was the 11th loss of what would turn out to be an 18-game losing streak for the Bobcats. Charlotte defeated the Magic 106-100 on Jan. 18, handing the Florida side its first loss in what would become a 12-game losing streak.

Take: CHARLOTTE – Orlando has home advantage but it hasn’t made anything of that this entire season. The Magic looked like it had lost the plot before the break, and there’s little to suggest that they’ll find it again. If the side trade J.J. Reddick going forward, it will become the bottom of the barrel. The Bobcats can score an upset on Tuesday night, but take the total to go under.

 

Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets

9:00 PM ET

Once the bad taste of Charlotte-Orlando is out of your mouth, tune in for the best game on Tuesday’s schedule as the Nuggets host the Celtics.

Having navigated key injuries for the three weeks or so, Boston (28-24, 8-15 road) is about to find out if it can keep afloat in the playoff race. The Celtics play 10 of the next 12 on the road, starting with this trip to the Mile High City.

The Celtics won seven straight following Rajon Rondo’s season-ending injury (six of which were at home) and have taken eight of the last nine. Their road record is less desirable though. The Celtics have lost four of the last five on the road and have tallied just three road wins this calendar year.

Meanwhile, Denver (33-21, 22-3 home) will be looking to put the skids on a three-game losing streak. Prior to that trifecta of losses, the Nuggets had won nine straight, 15 of 17, and looked like the hottest team in the league. The side will be happy to be home on Tuesday night.

The Nuggets have won seven straight at home and 12 of the last 13. The side has dropped just three games at the Pepsi Center all season. That trend has seen the side enter this game as a healthy favorite.

Favorite: Denver Spread: 7 Total: 205

This Season: Boston scored a 118-114 overtime win over the Nuggets in Bean Town on Feb. 10.

Take: DENVER – The Celtics’ road woes could illuminate their fragile roster in this upcoming road stretch. They certainly will against Denver. The young Nuggets will run at the Celtics and keep the tempo high, and even Boston’s solid defense will leak points. Take the Nuggets (32-22-0 ATS, 17-8-0 ATS home) to cover, with the total going over – mainly thanks to Denver’s scoring.

 

Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz

9:00 PM ET

The third of our picks features a side looking to rebound from a pre-break slump and one looking to remain consistent.

Golden State (30-22, 14-15 road) dropped five straight heading into the All-Star break, compelling many to ask if the honeymoon season the Warriors have been enjoying is about to go south? Mark Jackson’s side will look to return to winning ways in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

Golden State has found it tough on the road of late, dropping four straight and seven of the last nine.

Meanwhile, Utah (30-24, 20-6 home) continues its consistent play. Having won two straight, four of six, and six of nine, the Jazz is just one-game back of the Warriors for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. With five wins from the last six home games, the side – which has been linked to Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe via the rumor mill – will fancy its chances against the Warriors.

Favorite: Utah Spread: 4 Total: 203.5

This Season: Golden State defeated Utah 94-83 in Salt Lake City on Dec. 26.

Take: GOLDEN STATE – With a refreshed squad, the Warriors will pull off the upset here but whether the team can return to its earlier form remains to be seen. Take the total to go over.

 

Remaining NBA Schedule (Tuesday)

Toronto @ Washington

Milwaukee @ Brooklyn

Memphis @ Detroit

Chicago @ New Orleans

San Antonio @ Sacramento

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.