NBA Saturday Nov. 17th
YTD ATS: 2-1
YYD Moneyline: 0-1
Celtics to beat Raptors at 1.30
Celtics/Raptors under 184.5 at 1.95
Been another awkward start to the season for the Celts. Blowout loss to the Heat followed by a terrible home loss to the Bucks before two slim margin wins over the lowly Wizards. That followed by another home loss to a Sixers team without their best player. It looked like the C's were showing age and missing Ray Allen but then they turned things around winning 3 in a row including back to back road wins against two of the better home teams in the league in Milwaukee and Chicago and then a nice comeback win at home against Utah without their best player, Rajon Rondo, for the majority of the second half.
Rondo's status is uncertain for tomorrow's early afternoon dual against the Raptors. Celtics struggle some without Rondo especially since his backup/starting SG Avery Bradley is on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Boston was one of the worst offensive teams in the league last year with Rondo, arguably one of the best orchestrators at the helm.
If there is one team, however, that makes things easier for teams on the offensive end its definitely the Raptors. Surpringly enough though the Raptors held their own against the Celtics last year going 2-2 and defending their home court both times. Unfortunately for Canada's loan NBA representative, they were defeated by a combined 59 points when they headed south to Boston.
With Garnett on him, I expect Toronto's best player Andrea Bargnani to have some struggles. Just a terrible matchup for the Raptors.
Wizards 2.45 over Jazz
Another dreadful start to the season for the team based out of the nation's capital. No one's doing the Wiz any favors as they opened up with 5 out of their first 7 on the road which included a 3 game road trip that came to end on Wednesday when the Wizards held their own but fell short in a 6 point defeat to Dallas.
Washington has started the season without its two best players in Nene and John Wall, who's out for another 4 weeks with a stress fracture.
In their defense, the Wizards 0-7 record doesn't do them justice. They're an impressive 4-3 ATS and out of their 7 losses only one has been by more than 10 and the Wiz have been very competitive in games losing twice to Boston, but once in overtime and the other by only 3 points at home.
Utah has started the year enigmatically. The team that snuck into the 8 seed last year has an abysmal 1-6 record on the road which doesn't really come as a surprise since they've been 29-45 on the road the last two seasons and have a relatively young team.
If these teams were playing in Salt Lake City I'd expect the Jazz to be a double digit favorite and have no problem disposing of an undermanned Wizards team but on the road, on the second night of a back to back against a well rested team that's looking forward to getting back home I think the line on this one is wrong. Its tough to favor an 0-7 squad but if ever there was a scenario where they should be favored its definitely this one. Wiz end their losing streak.
Mavericks/Cavaliers over 200 at 1.95
Cleveland has allowed more than 100 points in 7 of their 8 games this season. Thats expected for a team with a young, undersized backcourt that lacks a true shotblocker (although Vareajo and Tristan Thompson are pretty active on the defensive end). Cav's coach Byron Scott has been known to lead stellar defensive teams in the past (Nets, Hornets), but it seems that the veteran coach is having a difficult time preaching defense to his young squad.
Dallas too has not been very good on the defenive end which is definitely a surprise since thats what the team has hung its hat on the last 2 years including the team that won it all just 2 seasons ago. Mark Cuban's boys are without their best player and former finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, but its hard to believe that the absence of the German is the cause of their struggles at the defensive end. Dallas has allowed more than 100 in 6 out of their first 10 games and has scored 99 or more in 5 out of 10 games.
The Mavs are on the second night of a back to back on the road which definitely doesn't bode well for the over but if theres any antidote for an ailing offense its definitely the porous defense of the Cavs. Expect points from both ends.
Bucks 1.27 over Hornets
Even though they lost a game where I thought they definitely would have won last Saturday at home against Boston, the Bucks are my pick to be one of the surprise teams in the east this year. Monta Ellis is a tad overrated in my eyes and although a backcourt consisting of him and young Brandon Jennings is undersized, they make up for their lack of stature with tremendous quickness and great foot speed.
In addition, Milwaukee is flat out dangerous at home. Only 2-2 so far this year and 17-16 during a transition season last year, the Bucks were 72-51 at the Bradley Center the 3 seasons prior to that.
New Orleans went from being one of the worst, most undermanned teams in the NBA last year to one of the more promising young squads in the league. Dynamic shooting guard Eric Gordon, who played only 9 games last year, is sidelined yet again with a knee injury but the Hornets have done about as well as they can without him. A 3-4 record isn't anything to brag about, but New Orleans is 5-2 ATS and have a lineup that consists of 2 rookies and 3 others at the age of 25,24, and 22.
The Hornets took a beating last night at home against the defending Western Conference champs losing by 15. I just don't think the team has it in them to come out and get it done after the quick turnaround of getting pounded and flying north to Milwaukee to take on a team that usually does more than enough to defend their home court.
Heat to beat Suns at 1.30
One major rule I set while betting basketball and American football is staying away from road favorite ATS and definitely on the moneyline but this is a situation where I feel pretty comfortable making an exception. Phoenix is 4-6 so far including a 25 point defeat at the hands of the Heat in Miami 12 days ago and are coming off of back to back losses including a 12 point blowout loss to the Lakers just last night. Its been a long week against some of the best teams in the league for the Suns (Denver, Chicago, L.A. and now Miami) and the result of this game will be the difference between a good week or a bad one.
Miami will probably be without the services of Dwyane Wade and Marion Chalmers, both being game time decisions but questionable with lower body injuries. Of course no one wants to be without their starting PG and the best SG in the league but if anyone can sustain these kind of losses its Miami, especially for a few games. The Heat have future hall of famer Ray Allen to call to off the bench and although backup PG Norris Cole is, in my opinion, one of the worst players in the NBA, the Heat have the luxury of giving the ball to the best player on the planet (LeBron James) and letting him run the show. Miami's gotten roughed up twice on this long road trip at Memphis and against the Clippers but the Suns, especially on the second night of a back to back, just don't have enough talent to beat Miami.