April 5th 2013 - Posted 5:25 PM Eastern Time

#1: Take Utah Jazz at -8 spread against New Orleans Hornets risking 3 Units (9:05 PM)

The Jazz have already taken two out of three games against the Hornets this season and tonight they're facing them at home. At home the Jazz have managed to win 28 games this season with an ATS record of 23-14 in Salt Lake City! The Hornets however, have only managed to get 10 wins on the road this season and are winless on the road for almost 2 months!

What this game boils down to is that the Jazz need wins right now. There are no two ways about it. Utah is just half a game back of the Lakers for the 8th and final seed in the West. The Jazz have played really well as of late, winning 5 of their last 6 but right now Utah can't afford to just play well; they need to take advantage of every single game left on their schedule and that especially applies to home games! Even though it may not seem like it since they are playing a Hornets team that doesn't really have much to play for, this game is a must win for the Jazz! With the Lakers playing a good Memphis team tonight, this may be the night that Utah feels it can put them in the playoffs.

The Jazz were in a similar situation the other night when they were playing another team that didn't have a whole lot to play for, the Portland Trailblazers. Portland came to Salt Lake City and got completely shutdown. Utah led the game by as many as 20 points in the 3rd quarter but ended up letting Portland make a late meaningless mini-comeback and won the game by 10. While I don't expect New Orleans to simply roll over and die in this game, it is hard to go against a team like Utah, who is already a strong home team who now also basically holds their destiny in their own hands. Utah is the better team and has a lot more motivation going in this game than their opponents. The Jazz should get another comfortable win at home like they did against Portland and win by double-digits.

4 more trends to consider:

  • The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Friday games
  • The Jazz have won 10 of 12 at home in this series by an avg of 13.5 points!
  • The Hornets are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 road games
  • The Jazz are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games

#2: Take Houston Rockets at -6 spread against Portland Trailblazers risking 3 Units (10:35 PM)

With the NBA regular season soon coming to a close, the Rockets come into their next few games hoping to officially clinch playoff status and improve seeding by catching Golden State while Trailblazers are basically just looking forward to an off-season vacation.

The Blazers really do look like they have packed it in for the season. The team has dropped 6 games in a row (and 8 of 10) and all those losses have come by double digits! Lack of depth has really hurt the young Blazers' chances as of late. Offensively Portland just looks lost as of late and their lack of defensive intensity hasn't helped them either. Portland superstar LaMarcus Aldridge has been sitting out the last few games but will likely be back in the fold tonight which should help matters for a team that has truly looked awful. He and Damian Lillard are really all that Portland is bringing to the table tonight with Nicolas Batum likely out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Even though Aldridge is in the lineup tonight, he has been nursing an ankle injury and will not be 100%.

Houston on the other hand has been very good as of late going 7-3 straight up in last 10 games. Offensively the Rockets have figured out their best way to win games; 3-point shooting is always the key for Houston. Harden and Line not only shoot and make a bunch of three pointers in each game, they also get rest of their spot up shooters a lot of open looks with their "drive and kick out" style of basketball.

The Trailblazers have also lost their last 3 home games losing to the Nets (93-111), Jazz (95-105) and most recently got demolished by Memphis (76-94)! Houston currently sits 1 game behind Golden State for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Whoever gets that seed will avoid having to face San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the first round, which is huge. That alone should give Houston plenty of motivation to come out and win this game. Houston beat Portland 118-103 in its last meeting on February 8th and I think we may see a similar result tonight. Lay the points.

Some Trends to consider:

  • The Trail Blazers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 vs. NBA Southwest.
  • The Rockets are 5-1-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
  • The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

#3: Take LA Lakers at -2 spread against Memphis Grizzlies risking 3 Units (10:35 PM)

Because of a dominant performance against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and a Utah Jazz loss to Denver the other night, the Los Angeles Lakers now find themselves sitting in alone in the eighth spot in the West, just a half a game ahead of the ninth place Jazz who are their main threat. Given all of the Lakers' struggles this season and all of the controversy surrounding whether or not they will even make the playoffs, these Lakers sure have clawed their way back into contention. The key for them now is holding onto that spot. That is what the goal of tonight's game is going to be and with the experience they have, they should see to it.

Unlike the Lakers who are fighting for their playoff lives, a team that is guaranteed to play in the postseason is the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has won 4 straight games following a 94-76 victory in Portland on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies themselves are locked in a battle against the other team in Los Angeles, trailing the Clippers by 1 and a half games for the fourth spot and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

This is no doubt a a huge game for both teams when it comes to playoff implications. The Lakers need to win to stay in while the Grizzlies are looking to secure home-court in the 1st round. In the bigger scope of things however one has to believe that the Lakers are the team that desperately needs this win and much more so than the Grizzlies, especially since the Jazz are playing the lowly Hornets at home tonight. If the Lakers lose and the Jazz win, then both teams would be tied for the 8th spot with Utah holding the tie-breaker and ultimately bumping the Lakers right out of the playoffs; so this should be a huge game for LA tonight and Kobe and co. will do all they can to pull out the win.

The Grizzlies are a tough team, there is no doubt about that. They have arguable one of the best defensive teams in the league and both Randolph and Gasol can beat people up down low. But while Memphis has won two straight games on the road, they did previously drop five straight games away from home and have had their struggles on the road. LA on the other hand looked great against Dallas earlier in the week and they looked much better defensively. When it comes to motivation and the will to win tonight, I have to side with the Lakers at home as they will simply want this game more and do whatever they need to win. If the Lakers can somehow navigate through the Memphis defense, then LA should do enough to grab the win and cover. Lay the points.

Two more trend to consider:

The Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record AND just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games overall.


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