Road Favorites Highlight My NBA Games for Tonight

Wall
Wall
Can John Wall and the Wizards turn things around tonight against the Pistons?

Detroit (+3.5) at Washington – Both the Pistons and Wizards have chosen poor times to hit losing streaks. Washington has dropped six straight games and eight of their last ten while Detroit has gone just 5-5 over their last ten and has dropped two in a row.

While the Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two conferences, the playoff race is unbeatable. Right now Detroit is in the 12th spot but amazingly, they are just one game out of the eight and final playoff spot. The Wizards are currently in the fifth spot and despite their poor play shouldn’t fall any further than sixth but stranger things have happened.

Trends: Detroit is 1-5 straight up in their last six games on the road… Washington is 0-5 SU in their last five games… The Pistons are 7-3 SU in their last ten games on the road at Washington… The Wizards are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games versus Detroit.

The Pick: It’s hard not to like the Pistons tonight getting the points as well.

Toronto (-12) at New York – The Knicks have dropped eight of their last 10 games and as you know are now without Carmelo Anthony for the remainder of the season. I’m glad he was able to get so many minutes in the All-Star Game before shutting it down. Did you sense the sarcasm there?

Toronto is feeling heat right now from both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have a one half game lead over the Bulls and a one game lead over the Cavs as the teams battle for the second spot in the East. The tight predicament is due to the Raptors four-game losing streak.

Trends: Toronto is 1-4 straight up in their last five games… New York is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Raptors are 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games on the road… The Knicks are 1-8 SU in their last nine games.

The Pick: This is a good place for the Raptors to get back on track but I like the Knicks getting all those points.

Teague
Jeff Teague and the Hawks head to Miami to play the Heat tonight.

Atlanta (-5) at Miami – Lost in all of the discussion about Cleveland’s big win over Golden State is the fact that the Hawks continue to lead the Eastern Conference. They’ve won six of their last ten but they’ve won three straight as they head to South Beach.

The Heat are trying to survive without Chris Bosh as they currently reside in the seventh spot in the East. The problem is that there are five teams within two and a half games of them.

Trends: Atlanta is 21-4 straight up in their last 25 games… Miami is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Hawks are 1-5 SU in their last six games on the road in Miami… The Heat are 7-15 SU in their last 22 games at home.

The Pick: I love the Hawks to cover tonight.

Memphis (-5) at Minnesota – Despite winning six of their last ten, the Grizzlies have dropped two in a row and continue to hold down the second seed in the Western Conference. The T-Wolves may have gotten Kevin Garnett back but they have the worst record in the West and Memphis comes in having played well in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Trends: Memphis is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games… Minnesota is 8-17 straight up in their last 25 games… The Grizzlies are 6-2 SU in their last eight games on the road in Minnesota… The T-Wolves are 3-14 SU in their last 17 games versus the the Grizzlies.

The Pick: I like Memphis to cover this evening.

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.

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.

Saturday NBA Slate Has Some Big Spreads

Anthony
Anthony
I have to wonder what goes through Carmelo's mind when he laces them up for this Knicks' team each night.

With the NFL taking a break this weekend, the NBA is in my focus. Here are four games I like for you tonight.

New York (+9.5) at Charlotte – The lottery-bound Knicks are dead last in the Eastern Conference and I see little help on the way. I expect Phil Jackson to continue dumping as much salary as he possibly can.

The Hornets have won eight of their last ten and have pulled within a half game of the eight spot in the Eastern Conference. Strangely enough though the Knicks come in on a three-game winning streak.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in five of the Knicks’ last seven games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Charlotte’s last seven games at home… New York is 3-7 against the spread in their last ten games against the Hornets… Charlotte is 4-1 straight up in their last five games at home.

The Pick: Take the Hornets to cover and the OVER.

Kidd
Jason Kidd has made the Bucks competitive despite the loss of Jabari Parker.

Detroit (-2) at Milwaukee – The Pistons have won seven of their last ten games as they continue to play well in the weeks since Josh Smith was sent packing. Although they are currently in the 10th spot in the East, they are just a game behind Brooklyn for the all important eight spot.

The Bucks sit at 21-21 and not surprisingly they have gone 5-5 over their last ten games. The loss of Jabari Parker to his ACL injury was a tough blow but Jason Kidd has kept this team competitive with good defense.

Trends: The Pistons are 12-3 straight up in their last 15 games… The total has gone UNDER of 12 of Milwaukee’s last 13 games… Detroit is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against the Bucks… The total has gone OVER in five of Milwaukee’s last seven games against the Pistons.

The Pick: With the Pistons being better on the road then at home, I like them to cover and I like the UNDER.

Philadelphia (+16) at Memphis – At 8-35, the Philadelphia 76ers are going nowhere and now they have to try without guard Troy Wroten is out with a knee injury. The Sixers have lost four straight and are just a half a game ahead of the New York Knicks who have won three in a row.

Memphis has won six of their last ten and currently resides in the second spot in the Western Conference. Although the Grizzlies have been good at home (17-5), the Sixers are actually better on the road than they are home.

Trends: Philly is 1-8 straight up in their last nine games on the road… The total has gone OVER in five of Memphis’ last seven games… The Sixers are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games when playing on the road in Memphis… The Grizzlies are 5-1 SU in their last six games at home against Philadelphia.

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

Washington (-4.5) at Portland (O/U 195.5) – The story here is obviously “life without LeMarcus” in Rip City. Portland’s all-star big man is out six to eight weeks with a hand injury. Portland currently resides in the third spot in the West but common sense tells us that won’t last. The question is just how long can the Blazers hang on without Aldridge?

For the Wizards, they are in the second spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Atlanta Hawks by six and a half games. Washington needs to pay closer attention to Toronto and Chicago who are just a game behind them. The Wizards will go as John Wall goes and he’ll be challenged by good guard play in Portland.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in four of Washington’s last six games… Portland is 1-5 straight up in its’ last six games… The Wizards are 3-6 against the spread in their last nine games in Portland… The Blazers are 2-4 SU in their last six games against the Wizards.

The Pick: I like the Blazers to halt their two game skid and take the UNDER.

Grizzlies Short-handed in Game 7 versus Thunder

Saturday features three game sevens in the first round of the NBA playoffs. In one of the matchups, the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Oklahoma City Thunder, in their Western Conference showdown with the winner moving on to the conference semifinals and the loser going home for the summer.

Odds makers at Bovada and sportsbook.com have made Oklahoma City the 9-point favorite, while topbeat and betonline have the point total for the game sitting on 185.5.

The Thunder will look to take advantage of Memphis not having All-Star forward Zach Randolph in the lineup after he was suspended by league officials for throwing a punch in Game 6 of the series.

The Thunder forced a Game 7 with a 108-84 rout on the road Thursday in Memphis. Not only do the Grizzlies have to worry about filling a huge hole literally and figuratively for the loss of Randolph, they have to worry about Mike Conley their point guard who strained his hamstring in the loss on Thursday.

Conley will dress and play, but will not be anywhere near 100%. In Game 6, The Thunder’s Kevin Durant responded to harsh criticism in the local press by scoring 36 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

The Thunder also changed their starting lineup by adding veteran Caron Butler and sitting Thabo Sefolosha. That gave Durant more space on the court and allowed point guard Russell Westbrook to drive to the hoop.

Over the last three seasons, Memphis is 14-7 against the number, including covering in 9 of 12 road games, when playing Oklahoma City. However, this season, on the road overall, the Grizzlies are just 21-21-2.

Oklahoma City this season at home is 35-9 straight up and 24-19-1 against the spread according to data from betonline.

Memphis has been able to control the tempo for much of the regular season, but will need to do that much better tonight than they did in Game 6 if they hope to win and move on.

More pressure will be put on Marc Gasol the Grizzlies center with Randolph out suspended.

Gasol for the series is scoring 16 points per game and hauling down nearly 9 rebounds. However, on offensive he needs to pick it up a notch to make up for the 18 points that Randolph scores each game.

Memphis could not stop Westbrook form attacking the rim in Game 6 and look for more of that in Game 7 with Conley nursing a sore hamstring. If Conley cannot play many minutes, the Grizzlies must play Beno Udrih, who has averaged just 16 minutes a game during the series.

The Thunder not only is playing at home in a Game 7 but against a depleted roster for the Grizzlies.

Pick: Oklahoma City 105-93

Thursday NBA Playoff Game 3 Match-Ups

NBA fans and bettors endured some real snoozers in the opening games of the NBA playoffs, but now teams are starting to get familiar with one another and with game threes moving to the lower seeded teams’ home courts, we should get some more competitive games today, and spreads that should be easier to bet as well. Here’s a look at all three NBA playoff games today and our point spread picks.

Miami Heat -8 at Milwaukee Bucks +8

The Miami Heat didn’t need to be fired up for their opening round series with the sub .500 Bucks, but after Brandon Jennings said the Bucks would win in six games, the Heat definitely responded, crushing Milwaukee in each of the first two battles.

Now, for the Bucks to make Jennings’ prediction come true, they would have to win the next four games in the series starting today and based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s safe to say that won’t happen.

In fact, having the home floor probably won’t even help Milwaukee with how strong Miami is playing. The Heat look determined to defend their 2012 title and it looks like a first round sweep is in the cards for the champs.

Look for Miami to cruise to another easy win today, covering -8 points.

Brooklyn Nets +3.5 at Chicago Bulls -3.5

The Bulls may have taken control of the series after their game two win knotted things up at 1-1, but surprisingly, they haven’t played all that well at the United Center this season, so maybe they don’t have an advantage?

Considering that Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich are both dealing with injuries, the Bulls definitely aren’t at 100%, but then again they haven’t been at full charge all year and still have managed to pull off big wins in the face of adversity.

This one is a tough call, but I like the Bulls to build off the momentum they started with the win in game two and cover -3.5 tonight. Expect this series to go the distance, but for Chicago to gain the upper hand today.

Los Angeles Clippers +4.5 at Memphis Grizzlies -4.5

The Grizzlies have been known as the league’s best defensive team all season, but some foul trouble in games one and two has kept some of their stars off the floor, resulting in two losses to open up the series. Meanwhile, the Clippers have found ways to win. In game one, they dominated, and in game two, they had to rely on a Chris Paul buzzer beater. Things will only get tougher for the Clipps when they head to Memphis today.

The Grizzlies don’t match up particularly well against the balanced attack of L.A., but they are strong enough to put up a good fight in the series and that starts today. I like Memphis to bounce back and earn a win at home with some of their signature sticky defense.

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 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.

Friday Betting Tips: NBA

LeBron James and the Miami Heat may have cruised past Brooklyn on Wednesday, but Friday's trip to Indianapolis will be a very different affair.

Pinch, punch, first of the month. Get your February off to a bang with a piece of the NBA’s 12-game schedule on Friday night. With 24 teams in action, there’s plenty of storylines to take in, not to mention betting options. Casino Review has filtered through the slate and come up with three games we think could be very fruitful.

 

Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers

7:00 PM ET

Back on Jan. 8, Miami (29-13, 11-10 road) scored its lowest point total of the season. The South Beach side came unstuck against a relentless Pacer defense that night, scoring just 77. The Heat will look to avoid a similar fate on Friday night.

Indiana (27-19, 17-3 home) has won 12 straight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and will be looking to notch another win against the Heat. The last time the Pacers lost at home was on Dec. 7 against the Denver Nuggets.

Indiana’s stifling defense ranks No. 1 in opponent’s field goal percentage (.419) and No. 2 in opponent’s scoring (89.9 PPG). Only Memphis has given up fewer points. The Heat meanwhile are the league’s best shooting team (.489) and second best three-point shooting side (.386). Those numbers have led to 102.7 points per game, good enough for fifth in the league.

Miami has struggled on the road this season, but things have looked a little more positive of late. Wednesday’s thrashing of Brooklyn moved the side above .500 on the road, and marked a third road win in four games. However, Bankers Life Fieldhouse is a fortress, and only three sides (Toronto, San Antonio, Denver) have gotten out with a win.

Favorite: Miami Spread: Total: 185½

Take: INDIANA – That stifling defense has already worked once against the Heat, and while LeBron James and Co. will be looking to approach this game very differently, Miami has yet to prove it’s worth backing on the road. Both sides have seen the total go under more times than over this season – Indiana has gone 28-18-0 in favor of the under – so take the under in this one.

 

Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets

7:30 PM ET

Having been embarrassed by Miami on Wednesday, Brooklyn (27-19, 17-8 home) will look to get back to winning ways on Friday as the Bulls travel to the Boroughs. Reggie Evans is sure to keep his mouth quiet before this one.

The Nets have lost three of the last four, having gone 10-2 following Avery Johnson being replaced by P.J. Carlesimo.

Chicago (28-17, 13-6 road) meanwhile is in fine form, having won two straight, five of six, and eight of 10. The Bulls hold a slender lead over Indiana in the Central, a lead they will look to maintain on Friday.

The Bulls scored an 83-82 victory over the Nets at the United Center on Dec. 15. That low-scoring affair was typical of a Chicago side that is limiting opponents to 90.9 points per game (3rd) and .425 shooting (2nd). The Nets have been fairly solid defensively too, holding opponents to 94.7 points per game (5th), but teams have shot well against the team (.463). Neither team is dynamite at the offensive end of the floor, so don’t expect this to be anything but a defensive struggle.

Chicago is one of the NBA’s best road teams, and has won six of the last seven away from the United Center. In a bizarre turn of events, the Bulls are actually better on the road than at home. Brooklyn has been tough at home. In fact, Wednesday’s loss to Miami broke a streak of eight straight home wins.

Favorite: Brooklyn Spread: 3 Total: 182

Take: CHICAGO – Brooklyn is good at home; Chicago is better on the road. The Nets’ recent form is something to get worried about, while the Bulls continue to not only play consistently, but better than expected. Take the underdog Bulls with the total going under, as is generally the case when either of these sides takes the court.

 

Washington Wizards @ Memphis Grizzlies

8:00 PM ET

Forget Thursday night’s 106-89 loss in Oklahoma City. The first real test for a Rudy Gay-less Memphis (29-16, 17-7 home) side will be the visit of the Wizards.

The Grizzlies are not as good as the Thunder. We all know that, so grading the side’s midweek trade on that result alone is fruitless. While the Wizards might not have been a good yardstick for any team at the start of the year, a side that has gone 7-5 over its last 12 games does make a good place to measure.

Washington (11-33, 3-19 road) may not be a contender this year, but the team is becoming respectable. Prior to the side’s last two losses, it had struck four wins from six. This is no longer the whipping boy of the Eastern Conference (Charlotte, Orlando; over to you).

Memphis will need to refocus and beware of the Wizards. They may only have won three road games, but all came against Western Conference opposition (New Orleans, Denver, Portland).

Favorite: Memphis Spread: Total: 179

Take: WASHINGTON – Firstly, Washington (27-16-1 ATS) is the best team in the league at covering the spread. Memphis (26-18-1 ATS) is no slouch, but the Wizards have a knack for frustrating bookmakers. Now, Memphis is unsettled and looking to mold itself into a very different team. That takes time, and Friday won’t be soon enough. Both teams have favored the under considerably this season, so take the total to go under.

 

Remaining NBA Schedule (Wednesday)

LA Clippers @ Toronto (7:00 PM ET)

Orlando @ Boston (7:30 PM ET)

Milwaukee @ New York (7:30 PM ET)

Sacramento @ Philadelphia (7:30 PM ET)

Cleveland @ Detroit (7:30 PM ET)

New Orleans @ Denver (9:00 PM ET)

Portland @ Utah (9:00 PM ET)

Dallas @ Phoenix (9:00 PM ET)

LA Lakers @ Minnesota (9:30 PM ET)