Last Updated: 2018-01-07
We keep rolling right on through the NBA regular season in hopes of building our bankrolls by taking advantage of the schedule. There are so many opportunities in this period between the holidays and the All-Star Break, as we discussed last week. “Schedule losses” are a real thing, and keep in mind that those schedule losses can even be outright, let alone ATS defeats.
We’ve got a busy schedule in the NBA this week, which is not the case in the NHL, where a lot of teams are enjoying their bye weeks. You’ll have to narrow your focus to the hardwood this week because that is where most of the betting opportunities will present themselves.
Here are the NBA situational betting spots for the week ending January 14:
Monday January 8
Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves – We saw the Cavaliers struggle on defense against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in a 131-127 win. Will they have a more focused effort on the defensive end against the Minnesota Timberwolves? We’ve been watching Cleveland closely this season and those that have been able to isolate their schedule spots have done quite well knowing when to back them and when to fade them. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure here. Young and uber-talented teams have had issues with Cleveland in the past because the Cavs are so savvy and so efficient. They take pride in knocking those teams back down to reality. However, Cleveland heads to Toronto after this for a big Eastern Conference matchup. This has been a weird roadie with Boston, Orlando, and St. Paul, followed by Toronto and Indianapolis before the Warriors come to Cleveland. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this spot. Maybe the line will give us some clues.
Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers – The Rapid Revenge Theory will be in play in Indy when the Bucks tip off with the Pacers. The Bucks and Pacers played on January 3 and the Pacers got blasted by 21 points on the road in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Revenge is in play for Indiana and very attainable, with Milwaukee playing a fourth game in six nights. I’ll be all over the Pacers in this spot and it may be my favorite spot of the week.
San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings – The Spurs won’t have a whole lot of incentive to embarrass the Kings, who are playing quite a bit better lately. San Antonio will be playing its fourth game in six nights and a road back-to-back off of a visit to Portland on Sunday. The Kings are in Los Angeles the next night, but won’t have any downtime to take in the “sights”. Sacramento catching a healthy number of points here seems like a good play against the road-weary Spurs.
Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers hung with the hungover Warriors for a little while on Saturday, but eventually fell very short. With Blake Griffin out indefinitely with a concussion, this will be a very interesting number. Typically, teams rally in that first game after the loss of a star. The Hawks play a 6:30 p.m. PT Sunday nighter against the Lakers, so they’ll have time to go out after the game. Atlanta has nothing to play for this season. Steve Kerr outright mentioned how his team went out on the town and they really don’t have a lot to play for in the regular season either. What will a team like Atlanta do? I doubt we get much of an effort from the Hawks on Monday night. The Clippers are a hideous bet to make right now, but they’re the right side here.
Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors – The Nuggets might be live here. They’ve gotten a little bit healthier and have the type of team that can give Golden State some fits by playing with physicality and skill. Golden State had that hangover game in Los Angeles on Saturday and managed to persevere. Another crack at the Clippers is on deck. The worry I have for Denver is that it is the fourth game in six nights, but that will be priced into the number. Denver doesn’t win this game, but a competitive effort that covers wouldn’t be a shocker.
Tuesday January 9
Orlando Magic at Dallas Mavericks – Tuesday is a much quieter night in the NBA than Monday, which is weird with the National Championship Game going off on January 8. In any event, the Magic are in an interesting spot on Tuesday night. They have had a lot of injury woes. This is a road back-to-back with Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee. Typically, we see teams struggle in these non-conference games, but the Magic aren’t playing for anything in the division or the conference. Getting wins wherever they can get them is all that matters. Dallas is a winnable game. For a team that hast lost nine of 10 and 24 of 28, this seems like a game to get excited about. They could be very live in this spot.
Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors – The Raptors are in a unique spot on Tuesday night. After wrapping up a road trip, they’ll play the back end of a back-to-back by hosting the Miami Heat. The Heat head to Indianapolis right after the game, so it is the front end of a back-to-back for them. The Raptors, however, host Cleveland on Thursday and Golden State on Saturday. Toronto tends to be pretty good about staying in the moment in these spots, but with this game as the first home game back after a roadie, I’d be concerned in this situation. How engaged and invested are the Raptors? It may not be enough to cover a healthy number.
Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder – What a miserable back-to-back for Portland. The Trail Blazers stop in OKC on Tuesday and head to Houston on Wednesday. OKC is in an interesting spot as well. Minnesota is ahead of OKC in the Northwest Division standings and the two play on Wednesday night in St. Paul. Portland has actually been a better road team than home team by record, but has struggled to string anything together of late. This looks like a stay away game, but you could make a good case to fade both teams on Wednesday.
Wednesday January 10
Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets – So, we’ll try to make that case. The Rockets are playing a standalone home game here, as they’ll hit the NBA highway and go west to battle Phoenix on Friday. Portland is obviously in this tricky back-to-back. Playing Houston with tired legs is not a good thing at all. On the other hand, the Trail Blazers are catching Houston in the midst of some struggles. The Rockets have only won three of their last 10 going into this week. Can the Rockets mobilize to take care of business here? The spot says they should, but we haven’t seen it much lately.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves – To me, this looks like one of those spots when the more experienced team figures it out. The three previous meetings this season have all been very close, with Minnesota victorious in two of them. The games have been decided by two, three, and four points, so late-game variance has been the deciding factor. Minnesota’s two wins came when OKC was still feeling things out on October 22 and October 27. Since OKC’s December 1 win over the T-Wolves, they are 13-5, so that feels like it was a bit of a turning point. I’d lean towards the OKC side here, depending on the number and how the early part of the week shakes out.
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors – This is a “name the score” type of game in my estimation. Golden State hits the road for a tough trip on Thursday, but they’ll be motivated to erase the bad memories of Saturday’s win. Golden State eventually wore down the Clippers and won by 16, but it was ugly early. This one should be well in hand throughout as far as I’m concerned. Golden State has no reason to be hungover here. The Clippers just don’t have a whole lot of firepower and will be more concerned with Thursday’s winnable game in Sacramento.
New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies – We’ve got a lot to unpack about this seemingly innocuous game. The Pelicans are playing a standalone road game with days off before and after. Memphis is playing just its third game of the New Year. Memphis lost to the Clippers on January 2 and at home to Washington on January 5. That is a lot of downtime. Practice time is all well and good, but the Grizzlies are 7.5 games out of the playoffs already and won’t make up ground, so they already have an eye on the Trade Deadline and the future. How engaged are teams like that going to be in practice? Not very. The Pelicans should take care of business here because they really need wins. Memphis will beat some dregs and that will be about it.
Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards – Lots of interesting spots this week, as we keep plowing through what appears to be the longest situational article of the season. The Jazz started a road trip on January 5 against Denver. A stop in Miami on Sunday was the precursor to this game in Washington. The Jazz have two days off to sit around in Washington and do what? Take in some sights? Eat some food? This seems like the type of game that would lull them to sleep a little bit. On the other hand, the Wizards have three days off prior to this game. I’d expect this one to be sluggish and sloppy in the early going. A first-half under and a full-game under could both yield some profit here.
Thursday January 11
Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors – So, here’s the thing. Toronto is a great regular season type, a dubious distinction that they would love to get rid of. Nevertheless, I think this game means a lot more to them than Cleveland. I think the Cavaliers get amped up for the Warriors and the Celtics, but that’s about it. Otherwise, the season is mostly an exercise in maintaining the status quo and not getting buried in the standings. Playoff revenge is clearly in play here, especially since none of the four games were close in last year’s second round. Even though Toronto is a competitor, the Cavs have never had issues with Toronto in the postseason. I think Cleveland’s focus is the game at Indiana, a place that has given them fits, before the home game against the Warriors. I’m laying it and playing it with Toronto here. I don’t think this game means nearly as much to the Cavs and it seems like they have a sadistic sense of humor in allowing some of the contenders to build up a false sense of confidence.
San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers – In a standard sense, two days off in Los Angeles would make me want to fade a team as hard as possible. Not here. Not the Spurs. They seem immune to stuff like that. That’s not to say that the players won’t go out to restaurants, bars, and clubs, but I think Gregg Popovich is so savvy at handling these things and I think his players feed off of that mutual respect. They’ll be ready to go. The Lakers probably won’t have many answers for San Antonio’s efficiency. I think the Spurs take care of business here and head on home.
Friday January 12
Golden State Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks – How invested will the Warriors be in this spot? Milwaukee has a pretty high upside, but not much consistency. Do we see good Milwaukee or not-there-yet Milwaukee? If we see good Milwaukee, maybe it can elevate Golden State’s interest level. Then again, the Warriors play Toronto on Saturday and Cleveland on Monday. It seems like they’d be more concerned about those games. Milwaukee is probably live here, but I don’t know if I want to trust them.
Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks – The last time these two teams met was an interesting scenario. It was a home-and-home, in which the Nets got blown out at home and then returned the favor by rolling the Hawks in Hotlanta on December 4. Brooklyn owns two double-digit wins in the season series. I’d bet them here in this spot as well. The Hawks are playing their first home game after a long road trip. I wouldn’t expect much from them here at all. I don’t think this game is all that close, to be totally honest. This is probably my favorite spot of the second half of the week.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers – A lot of people are going to view this game as a massive look-ahead for the Cavs with Golden State in Cleveland on Monday. I don’t see it. This is a spot where the Cavs have struggled historically. They know that. Handicapping the Cavs’ regular season is fascinating. It is a psychological exercise. In this particular spot, I think they come to play and they let the world know it. I know it’s a back-to-back with travel and all that off of a Raptors game, but I think this is a circled game for them. I’m not sure Indiana will have an answer if my read is right on this game.
Saturday January 13
Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers – I think there’s a very good chance that the Kings sweep this home-and-home set. The Kings host the Clippers on Thursday, a day after the Clippers likely get bombarded by the Warriors. Sacramento heads to LA for Saturday’s game. I just don’t see the Clippers all that invested. Doc Rivers has done a hell of a job keeping this team competitive and engaged without Chris Paul, but playing without Blake Griffin again makes it all feel like it was for naught. The Kings are a buy team for me as the season goes along with their youth and talent figuring it out. I think this is another example with a good road win.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Charlotte Hornets – Sometimes NBA teams have that “WTF?!” type of game. I think this profiles as one for the Thunder. After playing five games in eight days, two days off before playing the Charlotte Hornets, only to return home right after seems like a schedule loss type of situation. The Hornets are not a good team at all, as we know. I’m just not sure how motivated the Thunder are coming into town. They’ll be road chalk, and by a decent margin at that. Let’s put it this way. There’s no way I’m laying it. I’d be far more inclined to take it.
Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards – If the Nets handle their business on Friday, they are Fade Central on Saturday. This quick two-game trip is a back-to-back. The Wizards also have a back-to-back, but they are looking to bank wins with John Wall back in the fold and healthy. This week allows them to do that with very winnable home games and no bad spots. The Nets go back home to take on the Knicks on Monday, which is a game with more importance. I think this one truly is a schedule loss for the Nets and I’d lay the juicy number with Washington, if Brooklyn wins in Atlanta. Going .500 on the road trip works for them.
Sunday January 14
Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat – Getting out of Milwaukee for a night out in Miami in the middle of January does not suck. This is a Bucks team that is still very young and the allure of the club scene on a Saturday night in South Beach is too much to pass up. Miami is in a great spot here, despite the fact that this game kicks off a stretch of five games in seven nights for Erik Spoelstra’s bunch.
Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves – It is a big week in the Northwest Division with some head-to-head matchups. The Trail Blazers play their fourth game in six nights here before heading home. Minnesota will also be in a similar spot playing a fourth game in six nights and a fifth game in eight nights. The difference here is that Portland has been racking up some frequent flyer miles, whereas Minnesota has been home since last Friday. That should be enough of an edge for the Timberwolves to handle their affairs in this one.
Keep an eye out for those NBA situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!
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