Two nationally televised doubleheaders will headline Sunday and Monday in the National Basketball Association. The trade deadline has come and gone, which means rosters around the league are mostly shaped to what they will look like for the remainder of the year.
Dwight Howard was the center of attention in trade talks and after all of the build-up, he decided to stay in Orlando. Rumors stated he could be shipped to New Jersey which would have taken him off the third best team in the Eastern Conference to the third worst.
This Sunday, Howard and the Magic (29-16 straight up, 25-20 against the spread) take their talents to South Beach to face the Miami Heat (32-11 SU, 21-22 ATS) in the first game on ESPN. Orlando leads the season series 2-1 (SU and ATS) with the last meeting decided in overtime as Howard racked up 24 points and 25 boards. All three games have been taken by the home team.
The Heat failed to cover in their last two wins at home against the Pacers and Hawks and the Magic have not fared well on the road, either. Orlando is 1-5 ATS in its last six road contests. Both teams are healthy which should make for a great matchup.
A Western Conference pairing is in the later slot as the Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers were once a sneaky pick to come out of the West but the wheels completely fell off. Portland has now traded Gerald Wallace, fired head coach Nate McMillan, and is 3-7 SU and ATS in its last 10. In the midst of that was a 42-point loss to the then-struggling New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, the Thunder control the conference at 33-11 (24-20 ATS) but have surprisingly lost three out of their last four at Chesapeake Energy Arena where they had been lights out. One positive for the Blazers heading into this game is that they are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings in OKC.
Looking ahead to Monday night on TNT, the aforementioned Magic will host the Chicago Bulls (36-10, 27-19 ATS). Superstar PG Derrick Rose is expected to miss Saturday’s game versus Philly with a groin injury. Bettors should follow the Don Best odds screen for his status in Orlando. To further the issue, Rose’s backup C.J. Watson is questionable with an ankle injury for Saturday as well.
Simply put, the Bulls as a team do not have many issues. Chicago is stellar on defense giving up just 89.5 points per game and even without Rose, the Bulls were able to defeat the Heat last Wednesday. On the road, they post a remarkable 16-8 ATS record.
The victor on Monday night will take the season series with them as they are tied at 1-1. The road team won and covered in both meetings.
Finally, the defending champion Dallas Mavericks (25-20 SU, 21-23-1 ATS) will be in Denver to face Nuggets (24-20 SU and ATS). Denver swapped centers before the deadline with the Washington Wizards sending Nene Hilario to one of the worst teams in the NBA and receiving the talented but sometimes frustrating JaVale McGee in a three-team deal. McGee is doubtful for the Nuggets’ Saturday game versus the Celtics.
The Pepsi Center has not been kind to the Nuggets against the number. Denver is just 9-15 ATS on their home floor but, however, the Mavs are just 8-13 SU on the road. Dallas leads the season series at 2-1 (SU and ATS).
Each of these teams seems to be on a race to lose money for their backers. The Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their last six overall while Dallas is 0-5 ATS in their last five overall.