The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the NBA’s surprise teams and bettors have been paying very close attention as well. They’re part of a big 11-game slate on Wednesday.
Philly (10-3 straight up) leads the Atlantic Division by four games over the Knicks and has the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference. Coach Doug Collins has done a remarkable job, tied for third in the league in scoring (100.8 PPG) despite no one at more than 16.2 PPG (Lou Williams).
The 76ers are also the best team against the spread (10-2-1) entering Tuesday's action. They’re followed by Dallas (10-4), Denver (9-4), Minnesota (9-4), Cleveland (8-4) and Orlando (8-4).
Collins’ crew hosts Denver on Wednesday night and is a perfect 6-0 SU and ATS at the Wells Fargo Center. Denver (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS) will be flying in from a Tuesday night game in Milwaukee (as 3-point favorites) but this is another deep team that’s scoring 104.1 PPG (ranked second).
Denver is just 2-3 SU away, but 4-1 ATS pending Tuesday’s result.
Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks – 8:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
The Hawks (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) have played the last three games without center Al Horford, out several months with a torn pectoral muscle. Those were wins over Charlotte (111-81), Minnesota (93-91) and Toronto (93-84), but didn’t cover the last two and Portland is the toughest test yet.
Scoring could be an issue for Atlanta going forward with the combination of Jason Collins and Zaza Pachulia unable to compensate for Horford’s 12.4 PPG. Tracy McGrady (7.6 PPG) is also questionable Wednesday with a continuing back injury.
Portland (8-5 SU, 7-5-1 ATS) is in the midst of a 6-game road trip. It started with losses at San Antonio (99-83) and Houston (107-105 OT) before winning at New Orleans (84-77) on Monday. The Trail Blazers are 2-4 SU and ATS away this year, compared to 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS at home.
Starting center Marcus Camby (ankle) missed the last two games and is questionable at best for this contest. Fellow veteran Kurt Thomas is starting in his place and neither is a big scorer. The ‘under’ is 5-1 for Portland away, with the ‘over’ 5-2 at home.
Atlanta is 5-0 SU and ATS in the last five meetings between the teams.
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers – 10:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
This will be the third game in three nights for the L.A. Clippers (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS). They beat New Jersey at home on Monday, 101-91 as 9-point favorites for their third straight win and cover.
Chris Paul (18 PPG, 8.4 APG) missed his first game of the season with a hamstring injury. Chauncey Billups started at the point. Paul was listed as doubtful Tuesday night at Utah as 4-point ‘dogs, with the result still pending. Mo Williams (foot) was also doubtful and there’s very little guard depth which could prove costly on Wednesday.
Dallas (8-6 SU, 10-4 ATS) had its 5-game winning streak snapped Monday night at the Lakers. That was a 73-70 final with both teams struggling from the field. The Mavericks did get the slim cover as 3½-point underdogs and are now 6-0 ATS in their last six.
Coach Rick Carlisle’s team is third in the NBA in points allowed (88.5 PPG). That number is a miniscule 73.5 PPG over the last four, with the ‘under’ 4-0. The ‘under’ is also 10-1 in Dallas’ last 11 overall.
Anthony probable, Bargnani doubtful in Wednesday quick hits
The New York Knicks’ (6-7 SU, 3-10 ATS) once promising season is evaporating quickly. They’re riding a 3-game losing streak, both SU and ATS, heading into Wednesday’s home game with Phoenix. Leading scorer Carmelo Anthony (26.1 PPG) is probable with an ankle injury, but a previous wrist ailment is also affecting his shooting.
Phoenix is 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS pending Tuesday night’s final at Chicago as 9-point ‘dogs. That makes the Knicks game a very tough ‘back-to-back,’ especially with the elderly Steve Nash and Grant Hill as starters. The Suns are 0-4 SU and ATS their last four after going 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS the previous six. The ‘under’ is 9-3 for them this season.
Boston (4-8 SU, 5-7 ATS) is 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five games as it hosts Toronto. Four of those Celtics losses were at home after losing just eight games there all of last year. The ‘under’ is 5-0-1 in their last six, not reaching 90 points in any of them.
Toronto (4-10 SU, 8-6 ATS) has lost 5-straight as well, but has managed to cover the last three. Center Andrea Bargnani (calf) is doubtful to miss his fourth game in a row. He’s the leading scorer (22.3 PPG) with the team scoring just 79.3 PPG without him (87.8 PPG with him).