March 1st 2013 - Posted 5:35 PM Eastern Time
There are 12 NBA games scheduled tonight and we see value in 5 different bets tonight.
#1: Take Toronto Raptors at +2 spread against Indiana Pacers risking 3 Units (7:05 PM)
The Pacers are a tough team at home, there is no doubt about that. On the road however they have been mediocre at best going just 12-16 this season. The same is true for a majority of the teams in the league, most play much better at home and the Toronto Raptors are no different. In fact the Raptors have actually had the Pacers number as of late. On Feb 8th, the Raptors went into Indiana and knocked the Pacers off in overtime in game where we had taken the Raptors as +7.5 underdogs. This time around Rudy Gay has had time to adjust to his new team and the chemistry. Toronto is a team that plays up, or down to their level of competition. Over the past month they have beaten teams such as the Clippers, Denver and New York on their home court and have gone into hostile territories and knocked off the likes of New York (once again), Washington (who has been playing much better) and even this same Indiana team. They have struggled in their last couple of games with losses to Cleveland and Washington but I believe that is more due to lack of motivation than it is ability. The Raptors should be plenty motivated tonight to play the Pacers.
The Pacers tonight will be on the second half of a back to back after being beaten by the Clippers on their home floor last night. In last night's game Indiana committed 19 turnovers in the game and went "cold" from the field mid way through the third quarter. That has seemingly been the Pacers MO when they have struggled. They do not have the most potent offense in the league and rarely crack the 100 point mark. The way teams have beaten Indiana this season has been to cause turnovers and play solid defense. That formula worked for the Clippers last night and Toronto is one of the few teams in the league who know how to beat the Pacers. These two teams have historically played some pretty close games and they match up well together. The Pacers have failed to beat the Raptors by more than 2 points in their last 3 attempts and I don't think it happens tonight either. The Raptors are 20-10 ATS going all the way back to 1996 when playing the Pacers in Toronto. On the second half of a back to back playing a more "dynamic" offense, I predict that Indiana drops to 0-2 against the Raptors tonight. Take the points
#2: Take Houston Rockets at -8.5 spread against Orlando Magic risking 3 Units (7:05 PM)
This is a classic high scoring team vs low scoring team battle. The Magic really have nothing going for them at the moment with a rash of injuries and poor performances, this team has just simply "packed it in" this season and are simply going through the motions until the off season. Orlando was able to get a victory the other night against another struggling team in the Philadelphia 76ers, however that didn't come as too much of a shocker.
Houston is not Philadelphia, or one of the lowly teams in the league. They are a dynamic offensive team that is capable of hanging 120 points on any team on any given night. As a matter of fact, Houston has managed to score over 100 points in 14 of their last 15 games! Against this disabled Magic team that is allowing opponents to shoot 46.6% against them as well as giving up over 107 points per game, slowing this Houston attack won't be easy tonight.
The Magic's offense has only seen the 100 point mark once in their last seven games! The Rockets are feasting on bad defenses this season, and are 21-7 ATS facing a team that allowed 100+ in their last game. The Magic is mired in an ATS slump at 1-10 ATS in their last 11 against a team that scored 100+ in their last game.
What it boils down to is that Houston shouldn't even have to try very hard and they should walk away with over 100 points scored tonight. I'm not saying that the Rockets will blow the doors completely off the Magic since they will be on the road and the Magic may come out with a little bit of fight since snagging a victory but by comparison, there is nothing that I see that would make me think that the Rockets don't win this game by double digits. Lay the points.
Some Trends to consider:
Rockets are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings in Orlando
Rockets are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall
Orlando is just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games when playing on 1 days rest.
#3: Take Atlanta Hawks at -4 spread against Phoenix Suns risking 3 Units (9:05 PM)
Phoenix has surprisingly won their last 2 games including a shocker over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday but the fact remains that the Suns are still a poor team and next to the Magic probably the worst team in the league. This is due to their offense just being so inconsistent. As a team the Suns struggle to score 90 points on a consistent basis and that just does not cut it in this league. The Memphis Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers are teams that have the ability to struggle on the offensive end because their defense is top notch and will keep the game close, the Suns simply don't have that as their defense give up an average of 98 points per game.
With all of the trade talk rumors behind them, the Atlanta Hawks have continued to "fly". The Hawks are one of the hottest teams in the country right now having won and covered 4 straight games and their last 6 out of 7. Josh Smith has assumed his role as the key playmakers on this team and together with Al Horford, their offense has exploded. The Hawks over this winning stretch are averaging over 100 points per game and their defense has quietly kept opponents in check. The Hawks recently knocked off an extremely tough Jazz team on the road their last time out.
The Suns are probably still gloating about their win over the Spurs, after all they haven't had much to celebrate lately. Tonight they get a reality check and brought back to earth. Against "lesser" competition the Hawks have thrived this season. Atlanta should make this one look easy tonight. Lay the points.
#4: Take Denver Nuggets at +1.5 spread against Oklahoma City Thunder risking 3 Units (10:35 PM)
The Nuggets are once again underdogs at home against the Thunder. The last time these two teams met in a similar situation back in January it was the Nuggets who won that game in overtime. As a matter of fact the Nuggets were "up" a majority of the game before pulling away by 10 points late in the second half. It took a number of consecutive 3 pointers from Oklahoma City to force the game into OT. I wouldn't expect that to happen again.
The Nuggets are the team that other teams fear most on their home court. The Nuggets are about as unbeatable as it gets at home given their near perfect 24-3 home record. Oklahoma City on the other hand isn't the same team on the road as they are at home as they are just 16-11 on the road this season. Now I am not saying that OKC isn't a great team, as they are one of the best in the league, however their road record, especially recently having dropped 4 out of their last 5 road games has been shaky at best.
Miami, San Antonio, the Nuggets have the best home records this season with only 3 losses. That is some pretty elite company. Denver ranks second in the league in rebounding, third in the league in scoring and 3rd in the league in assists. The Thunder ranks 1st in the league in scoring but just 10th in rebounding and 17th in assists. Their record speaks for itself, Denver is a completely different monster at home. Denver wins this game outright. Take the extra 1.5 points.
#5: Take Denver Nuggets / Oklahoma City Thunder to go UNDER the posted total of 218.5 points risking 3 Units (10:35 PM)
This is a classic case of the lines-makers over-valuing this matchup given the Nuggets recent 4-1 "Over" mark since the All-Star break and Oklahoma City's 20-4 straight run of games playing "Over" the total. They have slowly been creeping up the total in both the Thunder and Nuggets games and have been missing the mark recently and I believe this time they have pushed too far. This is the one game that is going to catch them.
The "normal" line in a Nuggets game this season has been around the 204-208 mark. The same thing goes for the Thunder typically around the 200 mark. This total opened at 219.5 points and it will be the highest mark either team will have been asked to cover. That is going to require each team to score 110 points to cover this number! That is simply a lot of points to generator in only 4 quarters. Not to mention the fact that The Nuggets and Thunder have combined for 220 points or less in 18 straight meetings (not counting overtime). Not once has the number gone over 220 points in regulation.
This will also mark the 3rd time this season that these teams have faced off. When you get familiar with the style of a team you learn how to defend them better. Both teams should already have a good understanding of what the other is trying to do offensively as they have seen it twice already. Typically when two highly offensive teams play each-other, everyone expects to see an absolute shootout and are almost completely shocked when it turns into a defensive battle. That's exactly what I expect will happen tonight. I don't expect the defenses to completely rule the game however I expect there to be enough resistance on the defensive end to try and prevent the other team from getting easy buckets. With a total listed as high as this, it doesn't take much to make this number go under. One 20-21 quarter in my opinion is all it would take to cash this ticket. This is a national televised game on ESPN tonight and I feel that the defenses step up. Unless this game goes to over-time, I think the chances of the under is much more likely.
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