After a 1-1 Thursday, and a 2-3 last night you’ll notice my previews are much longer tonight. I’ve studied all day and worked twice as hard to try and bounce back from our first consecutive non-winning days in my entire time on the site so far. It’s laughably far from a crisis, and I think we all know we’ll have losing runs, and sometimes losses are just the motivation you need to keep the good form going and make sure you don’t get complacent! That’s exactly the motivation the last two days have given – although we unarguably had our fair share of bad luck in the Dallas game – and perhaps should be at least evens, but let’s focus on tonight’s card that I’ve worked hard on, and hope we can open up February with a potential 6-3 run this first weekend with Sunday still to come!
Charlotte Bobcats @ Houston Rockets (1.00am)
Here’s my logic: We are bound to win a total bet eventually, right? It’s been a less than pleasing run but with unbelievable haul on taking the + points there for all to see, it shows we can just as easily get on a similar run with totals and the total luck will change at some point. In truth I win more of these than I lose but just haven’t bothered to tip too many totals just yet. Tonight Charlotte plays a Houston team potentially better than any other in the NBA when it comes to offense and they’re averaging a massive 9 more 3 pointers than their opponents. 9 three point shows more is giving them a +27 point advantage from outside the arc and has helped see them average just over 37% of their 3 pointers. A Good average to boot with their average of 108 points per game. Also, a favourable start is that whilst the Rockets are already hitting 37% of their 3’s against much better teams than Charlotte, the Bobcats are actually allowing OVER a HUGE 40% of 3 point shots made by their opponents. For one game that wouldn’t be great, but that’s their SEASON average! Bobcats can always potentially struggle but the Rockets play such a fast and purely attack orientated brand of basketball that pretty much any team could score 100 against this side. I think the total is a good way to go tonight. Even if the Bobcats lag behind, hit 80-90 and fall below 100… The Rockets could easily fly 20 or 30 points over 100 on the right night.
Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors (3.30am)
Are the Warriors a straight up better team than the Suns? Yes. Are the Warriors likely to take this game? You’d think so, but a 9 point win is a big number in the NBA and it doesn’t come easy against any team on any given night. This Phoenix team has met with the Warriors already this season and the game was a tight affair as the Warriors won by 2 points, 87-85. The Warriors are averaging 100 points on the season while the Suns are averaging 95, although giving up 103, but both stats suggest they could fall within the 8.5 line. Add to this that it’s been 16 meetings since the Warriors beat Phoenix by 8 points or more, and that’s a good 5+ years, which suggest these teams match up fairly well. Curry is still listed as questionable for this match. If he misses then on paper it can only help the bet, and even if he plays he won’t be 100% and it’ll be his first game back, so it goes without saying he won’t be completely himself. I still expect the Warriors to pull out some sort of win but I think asking them to win by 9 or more is slightly questionable, despite the Suns having played last night. Some of the Suns played surprisingly put up record numbers last night in the 10 point loss to the Mavericks, but they kept the game pretty close right up until the end. They faded as the game went on in the 4th against a recently good form Dallas side that scored 35 points in the final quarter. The Warriors shouldn’t be scoring 35 points in a final quarter against the Suns, who can probably keep it a lot closer in the circumstances. But to be safe, I’m going to skip the +8.5 and even take the +10 line at reduced but still valuable odds!
Washington Wizards @ San Antonio Spurs (1.30am)
After 5 straight + wins, it’s lead to 3 straight +3 losses on this Wizards team. Last night they went down by 9 points to the Memphis Grizzlies. I said I’d keep on backing the Wizards until it got to the stage where we just couldn’t go on doing it, and I had solid reason to oppose them. That’s tonight. Last night the Grizzlies were a 6 point favourite and beat the Wizards by 9. Let’s be honest, it could have been double figures and the rest. The Wiz were just lucky they weren’t playing the most punishing of opponents at time. Tonight they are playing exactly that. The Spurs come in to the game an 11.5 point favourite. The bookies are asking the Spurs to just win by 3 more points than the Grizzlies did last night, against a Washington team that will be tired, might not like the pace of the Spurs and isn’t giving me any solid reason to think they’ll bounce back. The Spurs are ranked 3rd in both points scored and assists in the NBA and it shows how solid a team unit they are, whilst and their fast style of play as I’ve already said should catch Washington out. It’s no guarantee but I just feel Memphis are actually a pretty physical Basketball team and whilst it should have been bigger than a 9 point win, the Wizards did have to hustle hard and kept close in relation to the 6 point spread. Tonight it could be a lot harder. Interestingly, the spread has actually gone up a point and a half since I started writing. No added team news to report, but I’m still content with taking this spread. Same logic applies.
Chicago Bulls @ Atlanta Hawks (12.00am)
A combination of team news and recent meeting history sways me to believe the Hawks can cover a single digit spread in style. The Bulls were a +5 dog and covered last night in a 4 point loss to Brooklyn, I bet I was put off of by the absentees they had. Tonight, the absentees lead me to believe staying with this confident Hawks team all game will be a big, big ask. It’s the second game of a back to back road stand and the favourite have covered the spread the last 4 times in this game. The Hawks won by 17 the last time the two met and although revenge may be wanted, this Bulls team played last night and again tonight they’ll miss key players Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Two big names in the NBA that do a hell of a lot for this Bulls team, who will be left asking a LOT of Luol Deng on his own. Last night only 8 players saw minutes. Obviously with bench rotation you expect at least 10 players to see minutes, and I think it will reflect tonight as these players could become heavy legged in the second half and final quarter especially. A lot of their starters played nearly the whole game which is never good on a back to back, but interestingly the Bulls were 0-5 against the spread on the second of a back to back – meaning the last 5 times they came in to this sort of situation they failed to cover a spread. They were blew out a few times, and that was even with Deng, Noah and Boozer on several occasions. I also noticed the Bulls have an AWFUL spread record on a Saturday this season, and their road record stands at a respectable 13-7 (although that’s come from fielding fully fit sides) but the Hawks are a strong 16-7 at home and (in their eyes) still chasing the Heat who have been in different, but hold a 4 game lead over the Hawks that can be cut down tonight. In reality they won’t catch the Heat, but the motivation is there and it’s perhaps another factor to consider. Let’s take the favorite.
(As usual, odds were done at the time of my writing. Today’s were taken at 18.15pm. Please use Matchbook or www.bestbetting.com for the current best odds, should they have shifted)
Charlotte-Houston Over 208.5 @ 1.98 with Matchbook
Phoenix Suns +10 @ 1.78 with Marathon
San Antonio Spurs -13 @ 1.97 with Matchbook
Atlanta Hawks -7 @ 1.97 with Matchbook