Last Updated: 2017-11-12
The daily winter sports calendar keeps shearing off pages as we approach the holiday season. Both the NBA and the NHL have tried to accommodate requests from the players’ unions regarding more downtime, but we’re still finding a lot of good situational betting spots across those sports.
From the looks of it in the NBA, we’re still seeing a good number of back-to-backs and threes-in-four, but what we are seeing tends to be more days off before and after road trips in order to help out the players. That’s good for us as bettors because we can find a lot of good situational spots with the help of the schedule. It was a little bit worrisome that both leagues started earlier than in past years, but the number of advantageous betting spots doesn’t seem to have lessened, at least not to this point.
With that, here are the situational betting spots for the week ending November 19:
Monday November 13
Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Pelicans – By the time the Hawks play this game, they will have played nine road games and just four home games. Some home cooking would be nice for one of the worst teams in the NBA. With this last game of yet another challenging road trip, it looks like Pelicans or nothing. This is a little bit of a sandwich spot for the Pelicans with better competition in the Clippers and Raptors before and after, but this is a good spot to put a beating on somebody and the Pelicans have two star players capable of doing just that. Lay the big number without fear.
Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks – Let’s look at how this season is going for the Cavaliers. They are only 5-7, but have beaten the Bucks twice, the Wizards, the Celtics, and the Bulls. They lost, but covered against the Rockets. They’ve lost to the Hawks, Knicks, Pelicans, Nets, and Magic. They play when they want to play. More often than not, they haven’t wanted to play. LeBron wants to put on a show in NYC. It’s just in his nature. He should. Derrick Rose has a return to New York that he should be amped up about. It’s Cavs or nothing here, even with the built-in bias in their lines.
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Clippers – This is a tricky spot for both teams. The 76ers have a day off before and after in Los Angeles, with the Lakers coming up on Wednesday, and players can get themselves in a little bit of trouble in Hollywood with some downtime. The Sixers are also on a pretty sizable road trip, so they have some fatigue concerns. The Clippers, however, return home from a trip of their own, and then have three days off before hitting the road from November 17 to November 27. The Sixers are in the midst of a culture change and may be all business here, but this does come after a game against Golden State, which is never an easy spot for a team.
Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors – The Magic have regressed already from their hot shooting start to the season. The Warriors are coasting through the regular season by going through the motions without a whole lot of concern for how the standings look. Kevin Durant is dealing with a couple minor things and the team just hasn’t quite hit that stride. Maybe this is a spot where they roll somebody as a big favorite. The Magic are having one of those long Western Conference road trips. The Warriors hit the road for four straight a couple days after this game, so they don’t have any look-ahead or letdowns. This looks like a pretty standard case of rested home team blows out tired road team.
Tuesday November 14
San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks – In all sports, some games just mean more to one team than another. This game for the Spurs doesn’t mean a whole lot, but for a bottom feeder like the Mavs, playing well against the big name in the state is a big deal. San Antonio visits Minnesota on Wednesday, in a game with revenge from opening night. San Antonio will be tasked with covering a sizable number and they may not be able to do it given the spot. We should get an A+ effort from Dallas and I’d be surprised to see anything above a C+ from the Spurs.
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets – Here’s a classic, NBA Handicapping 101 spot on Tuesday night. The Brooklyn Nets are in their first home game back off of a long trip, which is usually not a great spot, but it still beats the spot for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics host the Raptors on Sunday and then host Golden State on Thursday on TNT. This is a standalone road game against a bad basketball team. It would be a big surprise to see Boston run and hide in this game and we’re going to see a big number in this one. It’s Nets or nothing and this may be the best spot of the week.
Wednesday November 15
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers – The LA double is generally not good for teams. As mentioned, Los Angeles gives athletes plenty of chances to get in some sort of predicament. Not all players fall into this trap, obviously, but the nightlife scene in Los Angeles is probably only rivaled by Miami when it comes to NBA destinations. The Sixers have four days in Los Angeles with Sunday’s off day, Monday’s game, Tuesday’s off day, and Wednesday’s game. This is already the tail end of a very long roadie for Philly. The Lakers are back home after a very long roadie of their own, so backing them ATS might not be the best bet, but an under should be a good look. It would be a surprise if either team has legs for this one.
Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks – Little Caesars Arena has been good to the Pistons so far, but they’ll head back out onto the NBA highway to battle the Bucks. Milwaukee can’t seem to get things going in the right direction this season, but there is a lot of talent on that team. Overall, Milwaukee looks like a buy team to me, but especially in this spot with the Pistons kicking off a mini Midwest road trip after so much success at home. We may get a little bit of line value on the Bucks as a result as well.
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves – Spurs or nothing here. I definitely have this game circled as a spot to play on the more experienced team that has been there and done it before. Minnesota returns home from a little bit of a road trip, including a final game in the altitude in Salt Lake City. The Spurs are in a back-to-back, so I’m sure we’ll get a half-point or so of line value for that. As mentioned above, this is a revenge spot for the Spurs. I think they do care a little bit more about things like that than other teams. I’d expect Gregg Popovich to adjust and, if the Spurs are healthier, the team to have more success.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets – Scroll back up and take note of what I said about the Cavaliers for Monday’s game against the Knicks. They play when they want to. I don’t think they’ll want to play here. With Friday’s home game against the Clippers looming and a road trip coming to a close, this is one of those “punt” games for Cleveland. Hornets plus the points is the way to go in this spot.
Thursday November 16
Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics – This will be fascinating. The Warriors like to slap teams down when they present themselves as challengers. Even without Gordon Hayward, the Celtics have looked like a pretty good team this season. They’ll be fully invested in this one, but do they have the frontline skill to match up with the Warriors? That remains to be seen. Golden State has a travel day and a day off to get accustomed to the time change. This is a TNT audience. Until proven otherwise, I’m a Golden State backer in a spot like this.
Friday November 17
Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls – How fascinating could this spot be? The Hornets visit the Bulls in a standalone road game. If Wednesday plays out like I mentioned, this could be a letdown spot in a standalone road spot against a horrible Bulls team. This is the last home game for Chicago until November 26. Will they want to get away from the Chicago media and the scrutiny? Maybe, but they also may want to get a win before what will probably be a winless road trip. They won’t even need to win to cover the number, so they are a play worth looking at in this one.
Miami Heat at Washington Wizards – The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play for this one with the Heat and Wizards. This is a home-and-home with the game in Miami on Wednesday and then the finale here. It is a standalone road game for the Heat, but the division element mitigates that a little bit. See how Wednesday’s game plays out and then look for line value.
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs – This will be viewed as good litmus test for the new-look Thunder, who have really struggled to gel. The Spurs will be playing a third game in four nights, so the spot isn’t ideal for them. Is this a spot where Oklahoma City’s talent can come together and win out? Generally, the Spurs, who systemically take apart the rest of the league with their efficiency, win comfortably over dysfunctional teams. This line should tell the story. You get to choose the ending.
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings – I love handicapping spots like this. This is a standalone road game for Portland. It is also the front end of a home-and-home, so the Kings will be the road team in Oregon the next night. Typically, a standalone road game is a fade spot. But, in this case, this is the first home game for Sacramento off of a long trip to the East Coast. They’ll go right back on the road the next night. Portland will be a road favorite, but they are a road favorite worthy of your money based on the spot here.
Saturday November 18
Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers – Obviously we’ll go right back to those teams with the home-and-home setup. The Rapid Revenge Theory is in play. The standalone road game is in play for Sacramento. The standalone home game is in play for Portland, who starts a long road trip of its own right on through to November 30. I’d probably look to go back with Portland again in this spot. The Kings will be playing a third game in four nights after playing in Atlanta and taking a cross-country flight home to arrive in the early hours of the morning on Thursday. They’ll be gassed. It’s Portland or nothing.
Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic – The Magic return to a magical spot on Saturday night. After a long road trip and two days off to lick some wounds, Orlando draws a Utah team playing its third game in four nights off of the Knicks and Nets. If we go further back, this is Utah’s sixth game in nine nights since November 10. It’s hard to play defense with tired legs and Utah’s best attribute is its propensity for playing defense. Orlando appears to be a strong bet next Saturday as a home underdog.
Los Angeles Clippers at Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets are in another good spot at home in this one. The Clippers have this game sandwiched between road games in Cleveland and New York City. Ask yourself, as an NBA player, which game means the least to you? If you answered this one, you are correct. If the Charlotte spot against Chicago works out as anticipated, that could be an embarrassing moment for the Hornets. They’ll look to bounce back here.
Sunday November 19
Golden State Warriors at Brooklyn Nets – After playing the Celtics and the upstart Sixers, the Warriors will play the lowly Nets on a sleepy Sunday in Brooklyn. With Oklahoma City coming up in two days, this is an inherent flat spot for the Warriors. Also, it will be the third game in four nights on the East Coast. For Brooklyn, this will be the end of a nice little three-game homestand with several off days. Brooklyn should bring its best effort. The Warriors probably won’t. With Brooklyn asked to keep it respectable at home, they should.
Detroit Pistons at Minnesota Timberwolves – If the Pistons have some road woes, as I talked about earlier, this would be a spot for them to continue. This is the front end of a back-to-back with the Cavaliers at Little Caesars Arena on Monday. That sets up really nicely for Minnesota, who could have a less-than-stellar week with a road tilt against the Jazz, the Spurs, and then the lowly Mavericks on the road in a standalone road spot. This might be a get right game for Tom Thibodeau’s bunch and the spot sets up well for it.
Keep an eye out for these NBA situational betting spots each week at BangTheBook.com!