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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 13

   by Al McMordie - 01/18/2016

It's been 44 years since the NBA has had two teams in the same season, like Golden State and San Antonio, that have smashed their opponents. One has to go back to 1972, when the Bucks (+11.16 ppg) and Lakers (+12.28) were at a level similar to that of the Spurs (+14.21) and Warriors (+11.15). And, like this season, those two teams were both in the Western Conference, so the "de facto" NBA Championship was in the semi-finals, and won by the Lakers, four games to two. We're still a week away from the first regular season meeting between these two juggernauts, so let's take a look at what is on the horizon this week.

Spread Watch

The San Antonio Spurs are, by most metrics, not only the best team in the league this season, but also the best team "in Vegas." The Spurs have, by a wide margin, the best point differential (+14.21), the best pointspread differential (+4.72), and the best ATS win percentage (.682). To illustrate just how dominant the Spurs have been, consider that the second-best point differential belongs to Golden State, which trails San Antonio by 3.06 ppg. The second-best pointspread differential is owned by Detroit, which has covered the spread by 2.07 ppg, a whopping 2.65 ppg less than San Antonio's margin. And the second-best ATS win percentage is Orlando's .605, significantly less than the Spurs' .682 mark. To further illustrate how special a season San Antonio is having, consider that the Spurs have only lost back-to-back games against the spread once, and that was back on November 18-20, against the Nuggets and Pelicans. This week, San Antonio will play the Suns and Lakers. And an argument can easily be made that the Suns -- and not the 76ers or Lakers -- are currently the NBA's worst team. Phoenix has won just one of its last 14 games, and has been outscored by 13.42 ppg in this stretch. For the season, the Suns have covered just 38% of the time, and have failed to cover the spread by an average of -3.63 ppg. Both of those stats rank dead last in the league! And, lest one think the Spurs might be "overvalued" vs. Phoenix, consider that, since 1991, in the 2nd half of the season, teams have covered 76.1% of the time if they had a total pointspread differential of +6.79 or better (i.e., by how many points a team has covered the spread, relative to its opponent). Also, teams have cashed 65.3% since 1991 in the second-half of the season, if they've covered the spread in 26.8% more of their games than their opponent. Look for the Spurs to rout the Suns on Thursday.

Total Watch

For years, the Memphis Grizzlies have been marketed as "Grit-N-Grind," to reflect their defensive-oriented principles and blue-collar attitude. Indeed, over the previous four seasons, Memphis had allowed 92.9, 89.2, 94.5 and 95.0 ppg. And they went 'under' the total in 55.6% of their games (195-156 'under'). But this season, there's been very little "grit" on Beale Street, and the Grizzlies have seen their defensive average balloon to 98.7 ppg. Memphis also ranks in the bottom half in defensive efficiency. Last week, Memphis played all four of its games 'over' the total, as it gave up 100.2 ppg. This week, the Grizz will play New Orleans, Denver and Minnesota. Each of those three teams ranks in the bottom 10 in defensive efficiency. The game against the Nuggets, especially, looks like a prime game to go 'over' the number as the Nuggets also played all of their games last week 'over' the total.

Injury Watch

On Saturday, the Chicago Bulls announced center Joakim Noah will need surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder. He's expected to miss the rest of the season. Noah initially injured himself on December 21 against Brooklyn. He returned three weeks later, on January 11, only to get re-injured four days after that vs. Dallas. This is a significant blow for the Bulls. But not just because Noah was averaging 8.8 rebounds a game. It was also widely speculated he would be used as trade bait next month to fetch Chicago additional scoring help. So, with this injury, the Bulls' hopes on that front are dashed. Additionally, Kirk Hinrich was also injured in that Dallas game, and he'll miss Monday's game against the Pistons, at the least. The Bulls are currently on an 0-5 ATS run, and own (along with the Pelicans) the NBA's second-worst ATS win percentage (.384). With games against Detroit (.578 ATS %), Golden State (.600 ATS %), and Boston (.550 ATS %) on deck this week, it could get much worse before it gets better.

Schedule Watch

The Los Angeles Clippers open their week with a big game against Houston, the team which knocked them out of last year's Playoffs. The Clips have already lost the first two games of this regular season vs. Houston, and have dropped five straight to the Rockets dating back to last season's Playoffs. Certainly, Los Angeles will desperately want to win this game, on Monday night. Following that, the Clippers will travel to Cleveland on Thursday, and then play without rest the next night, in New York. That Friday game, at the Knicks, looks to be a potential landmine for the Clippers, and especially if LA comes into that game off back to back wins. Over the past 2+ years, the Clippers are 18-24 ATS when playing without rest, including 5-13 ATS off back-to-back wins. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my Winners here at BigAl.com, as I'm 63-33 my last 96 in Basketball and 63-38 my last 101 in Football. Join for a week or month today to get all of my award-winning selections.

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