Last Updated: 2019-01-13
The NBA world keeps on spinning at its plodding and methodical pace. Most teams have played about half of their regular season games so far. There are some very good teams, some okay teams, and some really bad teams, but there are a lot of intriguing playoff races in both conferences and we don’t have any clear runaways.
As far as I’m concerned, situational handicapping still has a place in the NBA, even with a season in which every game seems to matter for just about every team. Well, at least for those in playoff contention anyway. We had some really good spots hit last week. We’ll have some really good spots hit this week. We’ll have some spots that look good not come in. Such is life betting the NBA.
Here are some situational spots to consider for the week ending January 20:
Monday January 14
Charlotte Hornets at San Antonio Spurs – The Hornets are playing a sixth and final road game on this long trek that started in Denver on January 5 and went to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento, and now San Antonio. This is the sixth road game in 10 days. It is also a run of three road games in four days. The Spurs are playing a fourth game in six days themselves, but obviously this spot is much worse for Charlotte. The Spurs have been playing some really good ball lately as well.
Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings – Monday is light on situational spots for the most part. We’ve got one here as Portland plays a back-to-back. The Trail Blazers were in Denver on Sunday and the trip from Denver to Sacramento is no easy flight at night after a game in altitude. The Kings are wrapping up a three-game homestand and will head east for a long road trip after this one. You would think the Kings would be invested here. The Trail Blazers will be coming off of a much more important division game.
Tuesday January 15
Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks – With two days off and the Lakers coming to town on Thursday for a TNT tilt, is Oklahoma City going to be invested in this standalone road game against one of the league’s worst teams. The Hawks have three days off after this game, so they can focus all of their efforts on it. They’ll be getting a nice home price here and could keep this one pretty close for comfort.
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers – The Bulls have been this year’s Team of Dysfunction in the NBA and a couple of nights off in Los Angeles prior to this game should give the team a chance to blow off some steam. The Lakers are wrapping up a mini two-game homestand. For Chicago, this is the fourth game of a five-game trip that ends in Denver on Thursday. It would be Lakers or nothing for me here, but situational spots are few and far between to open the week.
Wednesday January 16
Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics – These types of games will always mean a little more for the teams involved. This one may end up with a playoff atmosphere in Boston, so we’ll have to look for something of a letdown in the following game. This is the fifth game in eight days for the Celtics and the sixth in 10 days. That’s a lot for a team that has just recently gotten healthy. The Raptors, meanwhile, have two days off prior to this matchup. The Celtics are playing exceptional basketball right now, so it’s hard to go against them, but this spot does favor the Raptors.
Milwaukee Bucks at Memphis Grizzlies – The Bucks are in a tough spot on Wednesday. This is a back-to-back with travel after playing the Heat on Tuesday. That makes this a fourth game in six days, a fifth game in eight days, a sixth game in 10 days, and a eighth game in 13 days. This will also make five straight games played in a different place, including a stop at home on Tuesday. For the Grizzlies, this is a standalone stop at home in the midst of road games against Miami, Houston, Boston, and Toronto. I like the Grizz here and this is probably my favorite situational spot of the first part of the week.
Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons – The Magic have a great chance at a road win on Wednesday night when they take on the Pistons. Orlando has two days off before this game and this is the first home game back for the Pistons after playing four games in six games, with two in LA, one in Sactown, and one in Salt Lake City. I’ll be looking for the Magic catching a small number here and will sprinkle a little money line.
Thursday January 17
New York Knicks “at” Washington Wizards – The Wizards are the home team for this game in London, as the Knicks play yet another game away from home. New York played at home last Friday and last Sunday in the first two home games for the ‘Bockers since Christmas Day. They’ve had plenty of time off, three days in fact, to get situated across the pond and will have three days off after. The Wizards are working with the same schedule. The Wizards have played spirited ball in the past without John Wall, so they’d be the preferred side here, but who knows what this line will look like.
Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets – The Bulls wrap up this lengthy five-game road trip in Denver on Thursday. You would think that this would be a good spot for Denver, but it may not be as ideal as you would think. The Nuggets are playing a sixth game in nine days and just finished up a five-in-seven with games against Portland and Golden State. This could be something of a flatter spot for a team that will be laying doubles. That’s not to say that I can bet on the Bulls, but it isn’t a play on Denver either.
Sacramento Kings at Charlotte Hornets – The Kings start their East Coast roadie in Charlotte. This is a Charlotte team playing its first game back after that 10-day road trip. Teams generally have a little extra push when starting a road trip in order to begin 1-0 and make it easier to have a successful trip. Teams in their first home game back after a long roadie have traditionally been fade teams. I’d take a shot on the Kings here based on those two factors and also the fact that Charlotte just isn’t a great team anyway.
Friday January 18
Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic – Sometimes hunches can be a good thing in the betting world. You’d certainly like to know your edge or at least have a good idea of it, but when you’ve done something for a long time, things just sort of present themselves to you from time to time. This feels like one of those spots for me. The Nets will be coming off of a three-game stretch against Toronto, one of the best teams in the NBA, Boston, and Houston, with the latter two being red, red hot. This feels like a much better chance for Brooklyn to get back on track, as the Magic could very well be coming off of that nice road win on Wednesday. I think Brooklyn is a sneaky good play here.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz – I find that I expect too much from Cleveland when the Cavs get into a good situational spot. This isn’t one of those, but it is an interesting game. The Cavs are playing the fifth game of a prolonged six-game road trip that started back on January 9 with a back-to-back in New Orleans. These two teams completed a trade in November that sent Kyle Korver to Utah and Cleveland got back Alec Burks. Burks is now a full-time starter for the Cavs, while Korver has had some issues settling in with Utah. It probably doesn’t have much of anything to do with the game, but, like the rest of the week, spots are few and far between… at least until Saturday.
Saturday January 19
Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers – The Thunder and Sixers play a midday matinee on ABC on Saturday afternoon at 3:30. It isn’t a particularly bad spot for either team outside of that. These signature games on network TV generally elevate both teams a little bit, but the odd start time may impact both teams negatively at the outset. Maybe a derivative play on the first half under or the Sixers, who obviously don’t have to change time zones at home, is in order.
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks – We saw the Hawks hang with the Raptors last week in what was a bad spot for Toronto. Will Atlanta do the same here against Boston? The Celtics are in a back-to-back with travel off of hosting Memphis. The Hawks are fresh as a daisy with three off days prior. Interestingly enough, we’ve only had this situation five times in the NBA as of January 12 and the team with no rest is 4-1 ATS. I’d still look at the Hawks, but let’s see how the week goes for Boston and if they can stay hot.
Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors – The Grizzlies and the Raptors battle it out on Saturday in a tough spot for Memphis. This is a back-to-back with travel off of playing the Celtics on Friday night. This has been a tough run in general for Memphis lately. Dating back to January 5, Memphis has played the Spurs twice, the Pelicans, the Heat, the Rockets, the Bucks, and the Celtics. Those are a lot of good teams in a two-week span. This is the third game in four nights for the Raptors, but not that bad of a spot otherwise. They’d be the preferred side here.
Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls – This is a fun one. Miami is in a back-to-back with short travel from Detroit to Chicago. Chicago is at home for the first time in two weeks and only has one day off to get situated back in town after the long five-game road trip. The Bulls will also hit the road right away for a game on Monday night in Cleveland. Miami is the more trustworthy team and the travel from Detroit to Chicago isn’t bad at all, especially with the hour-long flight getting returned with the time difference. I’d be looking to back the Heat here.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets – Obvious spot is obvious here. The Cavs round out their six-game road trip with a hellacious altitude back-to-back. From Salt Lake City to Denver, the Cavs aren’t going to have much in the way of legs. Also, this is a third game in four nights. The question here is how badly does Denver want to beat Cleveland. With three days off after the game that potential ugly effort on Thursday, I’m guessing this is a massive blowout. This will be an uncomfortably large number to lay, but I’ll be laying it on Denver.
Sunday January 20
Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves – A trek from CLT to MSP is a pretty long one for the Suns. This is a fourth road game in six days and actually the second game of a run of five games in seven days for the Suns. They’ll be playing a lot of (bad) basketball in the middle of January. Minnesota has Saturday off and had two days off before hosting the Spurs on Friday. This looks like a great spot for the Wolves to hang a beating on somebody for Flip Saunders’s kid.
Keep an eye out for these NBA situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!
<< Previous PostNext Post >>