Last Updated: 2018-03-04
With so much excitement in the world of college basketball right now, it is easy to overlook the other sports. You definitely don’t want to do that, as the NHL and NBA are still giving us plenty of opportunities to make money on a nightly basis. Simply by handicapping the schedule in the Association, you can find some good starting points and betting angles. It is always good to isolate certain games and narrow your focus, especially if time is a factor.
Fortunately, we’ve got that luxury in the NBA, especially with a lot of teams playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. Also, keep in mind that some of these NBA venues will be hosting conference tournaments or March Madness regionals, so some teams may wind up on the road for prolonged periods of time.
Here are the NBA situational betting spots for the week ending March 11:
Monday March 5
Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls – The Bulls are one of a handful of NBA teams tanking their way to the end of the season. But, the Bulls could be a feisty opponent for the Celtics on Monday night. Boston is heading north to the Twin Cities after this one for a matchup against the Timberwolves on Thursday night with a TNT audience tuned in. On Saturday night, the Celtics were in Houston to battle the Rockets on national TV. This game draws no national audience. Boston will be laying a big number here and I’d be surprised to see a full-on effort. Chicago, though, is not in a position to win many games, so look for the Bulls in the first half and then watch the tank job in the second.
Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers – The Bucks and Pacers are both in very interesting spots on Monday that could yield an under. Milwaukee is playing a home/road back-to-back, with Sunday’s game against Philadelphia and this game in Indianapolis. This is also the fifth game in seven nights for the Bucks. The Pacers are playing a road/home back-to-back, with a late arrival from Washington. Milwaukee’s game on Sunday night is on ESPN against the Sixers. The Pacers are returning home after a long road trip, which is often a fade spot, but the Bucks are in a bad spot as well. To further complicate this game, these two teams played on Friday and Indiana won on the road. From a side standpoint, it is hard to weigh the pros and cons, but an under makes a ton of sense to me.
Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers – The Trail Blazers will be in a bad spot on Monday night. They’ll have a proverbial putt inside the leather on Tuesday night at home against the Knicks. This is a win that they should grab with ease as well, but Portland just played Oklahoma City on Saturday night in a huge game with big Northwest Division and Western Conference implications. Sunday night off in Los Angeles can be enticing for the players. The Lakers are returning home from a long road trip, so it isn’t a great spot for them. My guess here is that we see a sluggish start from both squads and I would definitely look to play Portland in the third quarter when they wake up.
Phoenix Suns at Miami Heat – What a bummer for the Suns, right? They play a back-to-back in Atlanta and Miami and can’t enjoy what South Beach has to offer. Ah, but take a deeper look. The Suns play an afternoon game in Atlanta. That means that they’ll have time to head out and hit the town on Sunday night. This is a young team and a team going absolutely nowhere. It is a road back-to-back for the fourth game in six days. Miami should be able to name the score here. Laying the big number is the way to go.
Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz – It is a busy night for situational spots in the NBA. The Magic head out on a prolonged road trip and stop in Salt Lake City for the first of five away from home. This is the fourth game in six days for the Magic and the fifth in eight. The Jazz have a day off before and after this one before they embark on a mini three-game roadie. Orlando has been playing some poor basketball of late, especially on the defensive end, and we probably won’t see much in the way of legs in this one. Utah will be laying a big price, but it appears to be the only way to go.
Tuesday March 6
Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks are a bottom-feeder and Mark Cuban has made his intentions for the rest of the season very clear. It hurt him in the pocketbook. In this spot, the Nuggets find themselves in a difficult situation. After Saturday’s game in Cleveland, the Nuggets flew out on Sunday to Dallas. On Wednesday, they’ll host the same Cavaliers and will do so on ESPN. Dallas is awful, but Denver might not have a ton of energy in the tank here for a Tuesday night game in a mostly empty building against one of the league’s worst. I’d look for Dallas to cover as a home pup here.
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – The Rockets have two days off to prep for this one, but this breakdown is more about what is coming after for Houston. This kicks off a run of five games in seven days, with road stops in OKC, Milwaukee, Toronto, and Dallas before returning home to host the Spurs. The Rockets will be good to go here, and so will the Thunder with two days off to prep, but the Rockets are an intriguing team to watch the rest of the week.
Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors – How out of hand does this one get? A well-rested Warriors team with three days off takes on a Brooklyn team playing its fourth game of a road trip that started on Tuesday February 27. You’ll have to lay something huge here, but the Nets aren’t likely to put up too much of a fight. Golden State does play San Antonio and Portland later in the week, so we’ll see if there are any signs of a look-ahead, but with three days off, they’ll just be happy to get back on the court.
Miami Heat at Washington Wizards – The Heat are in a road back-to-back situation here and it is also a standalone road game. The Wizards have Monday off and two days off following this game. Washington has played some pretty decent basketball in the absence of John Wall and the Wizards do seem to step up in spots like this. Miami has a crack at revenge on Saturday at home. The Wizards look like a good play here.
Wednesday March 7
Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are a bit of a mess right now, but Reggie Jackson will be back in rhythm and that could help Blake Griffin and the offense. They’ll need to show some more signs of life with the Raptors coming to town, but this is a bad spot for the road favorites. This is a home/road back-to-back for Toronto. DTW is about a half hour outside of Detroit, so the Raptors will get in very early in the morning and this is a standalone road game. Houston visits the Air Canada Centre on Friday. I’ll be looking to fade Toronto here.
New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings – Let’s get ready to taaaaaaaaaaank. The Kings are going to given the Pelicans a break on Wednesday night. New Orleans will be playing a third road game in four nights and a road game immediately following a couple of days in Los Angeles. The Pelicans have Monday off in the City of Angels and then play the Clippers on Tuesday. This looks like a pretty easy win, but it might not be easy in the first half. Look to live bet New Orleans going into the fourth quarter if the Pelicans are trailing.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets – One of the stories coming out of Cleveland lately is that LeBron James has looked pretty gassed since the All-Star Break. It’s not like the Mid-Winter Classic is any kind of break for #23. The Cavs kick off a six-game road trip on Wednesday in Denver. They won’t play Utah on this trip, but this is one tricky altitude spot with not one, but four days coming up in Los Angeles. LeBron has a place out there and you can bet that the other players know what’s up and where to go. I’d be worried about backing the Cavs on Wednesday.
Thursday March 8
Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets – The Nets are awful, as we all know, but Thursday’s spot kicks things up a notch. The Hornets are an easy play. Brooklyn wraps up a 10-day road trip with this game in North Carolina. A cross-country return flight on Wednesday leads into this Thursday game with a team that just wants to be at home and probably just wants to be done for this season. The Hornets are trying to bank as many wins as possible in hopes of getting back into the postseason picture. They’ve got a great chance at an easy one here.
Boston Celtics at Minnesota Timberwolves – Look for live betting opportunities in this one on Thursday night. The Timberwolves have five full days off prior to this game. Boston has two days off, but will return home after this game. If the T-Wolves start out slow with the long layoff, they may be worth taking live, as Boston finishes a three-game road trip that included four off days.
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors – The Spurs are certainly watered down with Kawhi Leonard out and LaMarcus Aldridge has spent some time in street clothes recently, but the Warriors always take things up a notch in this rivalry. Even though Houston has usurped San Antonio’s role as Golden State’s primary competition, these games tend to bring out the best in the Warriors. This will be a very interesting line from the oddsmakers, especially if San Antonio has more injury issues to contend with.
Friday March 9
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers – Portland seems to be a thorn in the side of Golden State as a team that can step up and play the Warriors tough. A rested Portland team with two days off will get a crack as a home dog in this one. The Warriors haven’t placed as much emphasis on the regular season this year. With that in mind, I wonder if this is one of those spots when Golden State slaps down a pseudo contender in the West or if the back-to-back factor is a bit too much. With a long flight to MSP on deck, the Warriors may not be fully invested to cover whatever number is asked of them.
Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings – The Magic aren’t tanking as obviously as other teams. They just can’t play defense. My guess is that we get a high-scoring affair here in this one. Sacramento is wrapping up a five-game homestand and Orlando will be rested with Thursday off. This total should be pretty high, but it should go over the total with two teams that are not the least bit interested in playing defense right now.
Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors – I’ll be on Toronto here. I may regret it, but the Raptors really step up in these regular season scenarios. They are a great defensive team, which will help against James Harden & Co. The Rockets return to Texas for a back-to-back with Dallas and San Antonio on Sunday and Monday and this is the third game in four nights. I’m thinking that the Raptors view this as a statement game. I don’t see Houston viewing it in the same manner.
Washington Wizards at New Orleans Pelicans – This is a head-to-head sandwich spot for the Wizards. After playing Miami on Tuesday, the Wizards will head to the Big Easy for Friday’s game and then move over to South Beach for Saturday’s rematch. The Pelicans are playing their first home game since February 26, so they’ll be happy to be back in front of the home faithful. It will be Pelicans or nothing for me on Friday.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Clippers – How will the Cavaliers fare on this West Coast swing? The courtship of LeBron James will be a big angle as we go forward and especially with this four-day stay in Los Angeles. Will that be a distraction? LeBron was just there a couple weeks ago for the All-Star Game and more of the same questions will be asked. I wonder about Cleveland’s mindset in these games against the Clippers and the Lakers.
Saturday March 10
Phoenix Suns at Charlotte Hornets – Another good spot for the Hornets on Saturday as the road-weary Suns visit Charlotte. The Suns will be playing their fourth road game in seven days and sixth road game in 12 days. They’ll head back home right after this game and have a couple of days off. I would not expect any kind of effort from Phoenix.Charlotte is a team that struggles to blow people out, so this line should be plenty reasonable.
Washington Wizards at Miami Heat – The Wizards and Heat will battle it out again on Saturday. After playing on Tuesday in D.C., the venue shifts to South Beach. Washington will be coming in on a back-to-back after playing New Orleans. If Friday sets up as expected, we’ll have a highly motivated Wizards bunch in search of a bounce back victory. If the Heat lose on Tuesday, the Rapid Revenge Theory is in play. This should be a compelling game.
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers – The Magic should be catching a healthy number on Saturday. The Clippers are playing a back-to-back after entertaining the Cavs, who will have a Saturday night to have fun in Los Angeles. The Magic don’t get the luxury of a fun night in LA here, as this is a back-to-back after playing in Sacramento. Orlando did have Tuesday night off in Los Angeles on this long road trip. The Magic are playing a fourth game in six nights, but with the Clippers off of the Cavs game, there could be a big enough spread to entice me to take the Magic.
Sunday March 11
Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves – With any luck, we’ll get a little bit of line value to take the Warriors against the Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon. This is the third game in 2.5 days for the Warriors, but it will be in front of an ABC audience. The Timberwolves are missing Jimmy Butler and this is one of those games in which the loss of Butler may loom large. I’ll be hoping that the spot keeps this price a point or two low so I can take the road chalk.
Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks – We’ll see what sort of situation the Raptors are in on Sunday against the Knicks. It could be a letdown spot or maybe a flat spot, as the Raps head to New York for a couple games against the Knicks and Nets. The Knicks are playing their first home game since February 26, so we’ll see if the MSG faithful give them any kind of boost. My guess is no, but this is a tight spot for the Raptors as well.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers – The Cavs have a little extra time to recover from Saturday’s night out because this is a 6 p.m. PT game on ESPN. One thing that is noteworthy about this trip for Cleveland is that some of the new pieces and parts on the roster can spend some time with their teammates while the MAC Tournament invades The Land. Camaraderie-building exercises with nights out on the road can be really helpful for a team, assuming LeBron is around his teammates and not at his crib in LA or schmoozing with business associates.
Keep an eye out for these NBA situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!
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