Last Updated: 2018-02-03
The light at the end of the tunnel is there for the NBA players as we head into the first full week of February. The All-Star Break is less than two weeks away, so that nice mid-winter vacation is on the horizon for the league’s non-stars. For the players in the All-Star Game, they don’t get much of a Break, but do get to decompress a little bit from the stresses of carrying their respective teams.
But, we still have a full week of NBA betting action and a lot of situational spots to consider. The league has incorporated some more off days and started earlier this season, but the six-day layoff means that the schedule has to condense somewhere. We’re seeing a lot of that over the next 11 days.
Here are the NBA situational betting spots for the week ending February 11:
Monday February 5
Charlotte Hornets at Denver Nuggets – Let’s start with the most obvious of spots. The Hornets play a road back-to-back in Phoenix and Denver on Sunday and Monday. The early game in Phoenix does allow the Hornets to get to Denver at a reasonable time, but it is still a second consecutive game day with the altitude factor in play. The Hornets are also in a tough spot right now with a lot of Kemba Walker trade rumors floating around. Denver isn’t in the best of spots, coming down from the (mile) high of playing Golden State at home on Saturday and with a road trip to Houston on Friday, but this is a game that Denver cannot afford to lose and they should play like it.
Orlando Magic at Miami Heat – This is an interesting little handicap. The Magic play a standalone road game on Monday, sandwiched between home games against Washington and Cleveland. Orlando has actually played Cleveland tough this season. Miami is back home playing the first game after a long road trip and that is never an easy spot. Even with a look-ahead factor, a night off in Miami, and a standalone road game, I’m still inclined to look at the Magic in this spot against a Heat team that will be laying a decent number.
Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans – The Jazz play a third road game in four nights on Monday when they battle the Pelicans. This is a third game in four nights for New Orleans as well. The adjustment period to life without Boogie Cousins has not been easy, but the Pelicans still have the best player on the floor in Anthony Davis. The initial shock has passed and the Pelicans have played four games without him. Given the tough spot for Utah, I might be looking at the home team here, but the price will really matter.
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers are in a state of flux right now with the Blake Griffin trade and they’re trying to figure out how to work in the new additions. But, they are in a terrific spot on Monday night. Dallas has Super Bowl Sunday night off in Los Angeles. You know there are some parties going on for the big game that will run deep into the night. It’s not like Dallas has much of anything to play for anyway. The Clippers, on the other hand, are knocking on that #8 seed door. I think this is a rout. Lay it and play it with LAC.
Tuesday February 6
Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors – I’ve spoken about this before, but these regular season meetings against elite-level competition mean a lot to the Toronto Raptors. Maybe it has to do with their lack of playoff success, but they tend to really be invested in games against Boston, Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, and the like. Boston is in a pretty decent spot here, though. This is the first road game of a short two-game trip. This is the second meeting between the teams. Toronto became Boston’s 12th straight victim back in November when the C’s won 95-94, but they did trail by five at the break. I think Toronto exacts revenge here, but we’ll have to see the line before really making a call.
Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks – With the injury suffered by Malcolm Brogdon last Friday, I’m looking to fade the Bucks. This feels like just another setback in a season full of them. This is a fourth game in six nights, all with travel, and the team’s depth is certainly weakened. Brogdon’s development was thought to be the missing piece for Giannis and the Bucks, but they still keep taking too many steps back and that got Jason Kidd fired. The Knicks are not a good team, but they’re in a decent spot here and I think they come away with this one.
Houston Rockets at Brooklyn Nets – This spot is flatter than pressed wood for the Houston Rockets. They have two days off to chill around New York City before taking on the Brooklyn Nets. After road game in San Antonio and Cleveland, and with a trip to Miami on deck, the Rockets are in a real flat spot. Brooklyn ends a nice homestand with this game before heading out to Detroit on Wednesday, which is a spot we’ll touch on soon. Houston will be tasked with winning by a big number here and I’m not sure it will happen. At the very least, look at Brooklyn in the first half because Houston is so much better over a larger number of possessions that the Rockets just might wake up in the second half.
Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers – I wasn’t lying when I said we had a lot of spots this week. The Wizards play a fourth game in six nights by visiting the 76ers. This is a back-to-back with travel from Indianapolis, where the weather could be ugly on Tuesday. Travel headaches are something that we don’t really think about, but it could be a hassle to get out of town for this back-to-back. Considering the Wizards go from Orlando to Indy to Philly, it is a tough little trip. A standalone home game against Boston is on deck. Also, I like to believe that an Eagles win in the Super Bowl would have a carryover effect to the other pro teams in town. I saw it firsthand in Cleveland when the Cavaliers won their title and the Indians nearly responded with one of their own. There is a trickle-down effect to these things in my opinion. That’s not to say the Sixers are going to make the Finals or anything, but I think they’ll get a bump if it happens.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic – Fading the Cavaliers is almost too easy these days. They have two days off after playing Houston and fly all the way down to Orlando just to come back and play Minnesota at home on Wednesday against old friend Andrew Wiggins and old nemesis Jimmy Butler. This is a horrible, no-good, terrible, awful spot. The Cavs will be favored, because they’re the Cavs, but I’m not entirely sure they deserve to be.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors – The games just keep coming. There aren’t any situational spots here, though, outside of the fact that these two teams play each other and have already had some epic battles since Kevin Durant jumped ship for Golden State. Oklahoma City seemed to have it all together, but then Andre Roberson went out and now they’re all over the map. They’re a disaster defensively without Roberson and if there is any team in the NBA that can exploit that to the fullest degree, this is the one. I think this game is a statement game for the Warriors. We’ll see if it plays out that way, but it’s the way I’d bet the game.
Wednesday February 7
Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons – The only concern here for the Pistons is how much they’ve been able to assimilate Blake Griffin and the other new pieces into the mix. It is a bad spot for Brooklyn with a standalone road game against a Detroit team that hasn’t had any bad spots in quite some time. In an ideal world, we get the Nets to upset the Rockets and then we get a cheaper price on Detroit. In the real world, it doesn’t matter because Detroit is clearly the side.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers – It feels like the woes continue for Cleveland on Wednesday. Minnesota is a solid team. Jimmy Butler has done very well against the Cavs and you can bet that somebody like Tom Thibodeau will know how to exploit all of Cleveland’s defensive shortcomings. Of all the issues plaguing the Cavaliers right now, the one not getting any chatter is the total lack of effort from LeBron James. Whether he’s trying to send a message that he needs help or isn’t happy with the composition of the team or isn’t happy with Tyronn Lue or…look, the dude ain’t happy and he’s playing like a guy that ain’t happy. He may be the best player on the planet, but at 70 percent effort, he’s just not the same. Until we see him flip that switch, the team won’t. And who knows when that will be.
Thursday February 8
Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards – The John Wall-less Wizards play a fifth game in eight days as they return home to take on the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are playing the front end of a back-to-back, but they’ve had a relatively light schedule since coming back from London. They’re in a pretty good spot here as a road favorite. Friday’s game against Indiana is the spot I’d circle as a bad one with Cleveland on deck, but I think they’ll be good to go in this spot.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers are my preferred play on Thursday night. Oklahoma City can come down from the game against Golden State with a night out on the town in LA on Wednesday. That makes a tough spot even tougher in my estimation. The Lakers have a really light schedule before this game and also could be out for revenge after playing Oklahoma City on Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t know how many points they’ll be getting, but it should be enough for me to back the dog.
Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors – If you looked up “sandwich spot” in the Handicapper’s Dictionary, you’ll find this game. The Warriors play home games against Oklahoma City, Dallas, and San Antonio this week. Dallas has two days off in Oakland after a tough spot in Monday. My hope here would be that Dallas gets shamefully embarrassed on Monday by the Clippers and we catch an even better price on this game. It is certainly possible. I don’t really care what the exact number is. It will be over 15 points and that will be enough for me to take Dallas here. The Warriors aren’t as invested in regular season dominance this season as they were last season. They’ll win and do so by just enough to not lose any momentum going into Saturday.
Friday February 9
Charlotte Hornets at Utah Jazz – These are my favorite types of games to handicap. Charlotte wraps up a stretch of four road games in six nights and a string of six games in 10 nights with a game in altitude against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz, however, are playing their first home game after a lengthy road trip. Which angle do you like more? Fading the team in its first game back or fading the team playing a back-to-back in altitude for the fourth straight road game? To me, I think Charlotte’s spot is worse, but a big enough number will keep me off of Utah. After all, this is their fifth game in eight days as well.
Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat – The NBA season is hard. It is long. It is a grind. Not one, but two nights off in Miami makes it a little bit easier. The Bucks can hit up the beach. They can go out. But, they can also get back in the right mindset by having that second day off. It really helps that a team doesn’t have to go all out and party the night before a game. Milwaukee can let loose on Wednesday, go a little crazy on Thursday, and then get in the right mindset for Friday’s game. I think I’ll be backing the Bucks here. They’ll be a modest underdog, but I don’t think this is a bad spot at all.
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings – Portland finds itself in a bad spot on Friday night. The Trail Blazers return home from an Eastern Conference road trip to play the lowly Hornets on Thursday. They’ll immediately hit the NBA highway again to play Sacramento in a back-to-back. There’s nothing worse than getting home, getting settled, and then having to leave right away again. They’ll spend the next several days before the Break at home, including games against Utah and Golden State. I think this is a pretty bad spot for a road favorite and I’ll hope there’s enough value to play Sacramento plus the points and maaaaaaaybe sprinkle the money line.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks – Every spot honestly seems like a struggle for Cleveland at this point. In this one, they’ll be on the road against a pretty poor Atlanta squad, with road games against Boston and Oklahoma City on deck. Atlanta is in a back-to-back after playing Orlando on Thursday night on the road. We all know that Cleveland has been historically bad ATS and that has been built into most of the lines. I won’t be backing them as a favorite here. Much like other Cavs games, this is a spot to fade the Cavs or stay away.
Saturday February 10
Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers – The Clippers are in a really tricky spot on Saturday. Los Angeles goes from Detroit on Friday to face old friend Blake Griffin to this spot in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Sixers are in a back-to-back as well, but it’s a home back-to-back. You’ll definitely want to investigate what the Sixers plan to do with Joel Embiid, but if he is good to go, so are you and you can back the phavorites in Philly.
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors – The Spurs don’t have Kawhi Leonard, so this isn’t the potential postseason preview we’d usually think about, but it still means a lot when these two teams get together. The Spurs have been really good without Leonard this season and still present a challenge for Golden State. I mentioned earlier in the piece that Golden State isn’t as invested in the regular season this year as the Warriors were last year, but this spot may buck that trend. I’ll be curious to see how a Leonard-less Spurs team is lined against the Warriors.
Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic – This feels like it has the makings of a potential flat spot for Milwaukee. From the warmth of the Sunshine State to back to cold and chilly Milwaukee right after the game. Furthermore, as I mentioned, I think the Bucks are a good bet on Friday. If that comes to fruition and they do find a way to pull the outright upset, we’ll have a golden opportunity to fade them as a road favorite against Orlando.
Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns – This could be a spot or it might not be. If Denver plays poorly in Houston on Friday, I’d expect a big effort against the Suns on Saturday. If Denver plays a close game and loses a tough one, it might be hard to get back up for this road back-to-back with travel. I’m not entirely sure how this spot will set up. Keep in mind that I’m forecasting six or seven days in advance and things just aren’t always going to work out. Keep this spot in mind, though.
Sunday February 11
Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – I’ll be on Boston here. I think we get a good effort from the Cavaliers, but I think we get Isaiah Thomas trying to do too much. He has not been a good fit in Cleveland on either end of the floor. He doesn’t seem to be healthy. He seems to be leaking things to media members that have typically had no insight on the Cavs. It’s not a good fit and he’s not playing well. If he was efficient and dropping 28 a game with eight or nine dimes, it would be different. He isn’t. He’s been a detriment. He’ll probably be a bigger one on Sunday with something to prove. That puts me squarely in the Boston camp.
Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks – It appears like the Atlanta Hawks will be a good look on Sunday. Atlanta takes on a Detroit team playing a standalone road game. The Pistons are taking a break from a long run of home games to fly to Atlanta and then come right back home to play the Pelicans on Monday. The Hawks will be playing a third game in four nights, but they only had a short flight to Orlando in that span. With two road games before the Break, including a stop in Detroit, I think they get up for this home game.
Keep an eye out for this situational spots article every week at BangTheBook.com!
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