NBA Handicapping Preview: A Summary for some of Friday’s action and first-blush thoughts.
Portland Trail Blazers (10-8) at Brooklyn Nets (6-11).
Line: Blazers -3.5, Total: 211 (12 p.m. EST).
The Blazers had an awful game against the Sixers last time out in a 101-81 loss. CJ McCollum had the worst shooting game of his career as a starter, going 1-for-14 from the field. Portland shot a pathetic 33.7% from the floor and added 17 turnovers on offense. The Blazers have now gone under the Vegas total 9 games in a row.
The Timberwolves and the Wizards had 9-game under streaks snapped earlier this week. Ironically, both teams had their streaks ended by the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Can we have a third 9-game under streak end in the same week? That may be difficult as we have a 12 noon EST start for this game, which is 9 a.m. PST start for the Trail Blazers. So the “afternoon under angle” is in play for this game.
It will be difficult for me to take this game over the total. However, Brooklyn is 6-2 to the over at home this season. Portland is 1-6 to the under in regulation time on the road. The Blazers only over on the road was on the back-end of a back-to-back.
So I am torn on the total. However, I am interested in the side.
Portland Trail Blazers -4, laying $110 to win $100 – I am not crazy about laying 4 points with a team on the road who is playing in a game that has a 9 a.m. start in their time zone. However, this contest is the Blazers third game on this road trip, so they have had some time to adjust to the change in time zone.
This is a revenge spot for the Blazers, who lost to the Nets just two weeks ago in Portland, 101-97. However, D’Angelo Russell was a key component in the victory for Brooklyn in that game because he scored 21 points and added 9 assists in that game. That sidebar is important because Russell is out Friday because he is still recovering from knee surgery.
Portland is also in bounce-back mode off that horrific loss to the 76ers last time out. McCollum is certainly in major bounce-back mode after the worst shooting day of his pro career as a starter. Jusuf Nurcik had 6 turnovers for Portland. I expect this Blazers squad to put forth a much better effort on Friday to win and cover the spread in this game.
New York Knicks (10-7) at Atlanta Hawks (3-15).
Line: Knicks -2, Total: 208 (7:30 p.m. EST).
The Knicks will get another chance to see if they can perform on the road anywhere near as well as they do at Madison Square Garden. New York is 1-4 straight up and ATS (Against The Spread) this season on the road. Their only win was at Cleveland earlier in the season during a stretch where the Cavaliers could not beat the Washington Generals had the Harlem Globetrotters perennial opponent been on the Cavs’ schedule at that time.
Atlanta is no bargain at home, going 1-6 straight up and 3-4 ATS. However, the Hawks are 5-1-1 to the Over at home this season. The Knicks are 5-0 to the under on the road. I like Atlanta to win this game but doubt if I have the guts to put real money on them.
Orlando Magic (8-10) at Boston Celtics (16-3).
Line: Celtics -8.5, Total: 208 (7:30 p.m. EST).
After starting the season 8-4, Orlando is showing signs of the team projected by prognosticators before the season to win less than 30 games. In fact, most forecasters had the Magic winning 26 games this season. Orlando has lost 6 straight games and things will not get any easier on Friday when they play in Boston.
The Celtics own the best record in the league at 16-3 and are also 15-3-1 ATS. Boston is also 7-1 straight up and 6-1-1 ATS at home. However, the Celtics just had their 16-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night at Miami. Normally I would say Boston should be in bounce-back mode tonight coming off a loss. However, when a long winning streak is snapped, most teams usually have a let-down spot in their next game.
So let’s say Boston wins this game. The next question is, “Will they cover the Vegas spread”? There is one tidbit working against Boston in that regard. The Celtics have not had a NC2 yet this season. This means that they have yet to not cover the spread in two consecutive games. It is rare for any team in the NBA to be into their sixth week of the season and not have a NC2 on their slate.
I like Orlando to cover this number.
26-14 (regular season), +$1060.
#1 Sides: 26-11
#1 Totals: 26-11
Sides: (1) Por, (2) Orl, (3) Cha, (4) Mia, (5) Det, (6) Atl, (7) GS, (8) Mem, (9) Ind, (10) NO
Totals: (1) Mia ov, (2) Cha ov, (3) Orl ov, (4) Por un, (5) Det un, (6) NO ov, (7) Mem un, (8) GS un, (9) Atl un, (10) Ind un.
Note: I may have more thoughts and plays early in the afternoon as I debate playing that #1 total.
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