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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 22

   by Al McMordie - 03/20/2016

NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 22

The Game of the Century, Part II lived up to expectations (unlike the first meeting), as San Antonio won a thriller, 87-79, against Golden State. The Spurs hounded Steph Curry by switching on defense, and effectively took away his biggest weapon -- the three-point shot. San Antonio also controlled the pace. The game had just 90 possessions, 12 less than the Warriors' average. The result was that the Warriors scored just 79 points, their lowest output in 212 games. More importantly, it moved the Spurs to within three games of the Warriors, with two more meetings to go, so the #1 seed is still up for grabs. The games this week won't have the stature of Spurs/Warriors, but there's still money to be made. Let's take a look.

Spread Watch

The maddenly inconsistent (or consistently maddening) Cavaliers lost all four of their games to the spread last week. And it was capped off by a 122-101 blowout loss in Miami, as a 4-point favorite. For all of Tyronn Lue's bluster, in his first press conference as coach, about doing things "better" than David Blatt, he hasn't. Cleveland was 30-11 SU and 19-21-1 ATS under Blatt this season. It gave up just 95.7 ppg, and outscored its foes by 5.65 ppg. With Lue at the Helm, the Cavs are 19-9 SU and 12-15-1 ATS. One of Lue's goals was to increase his team's pace of play. Understandably, the Cavs are now giving up more points per game (101.0). But, importantly, their defensive field-goal percentage has significantly declined. Under Blatt, the Cavs ranked in the Top 10 (44%), but they rank in the bottom half (46%) since the coaching change. This week, Cleveland has games against four really bad teams (Denver, Milwaukee, Brooklyn and New York), each at least 10 games below .500. I like Cleveland to find success this week, as it's won nine straight games vs. foes that were at least 10 games under .500 (6-3 ATS), and is 27-6 SU and 20-13 ATS the past two seasons against such cupcakes (including 11-5 ATS if the Cavs were off an ATS loss).

Total Watch

When the Miami Heat signed Joe Johnson, they were 29th in points per game (96.9), ahead of just the Philadelphia 76ers (95.8 ppg). And they were 36-21-1 'Under' the total. Since then, the Heat's offense has taken off. It's averaged 112.0 ppg, better than any team in the league, except for Golden State (115.0). Not surprisingly, the Heat have gone 'Over' the total in eight of 11, including each of their last six games. Can their high-scoring games continue? Miami's first game this week will be at New Orleans, on Tuesday. New Orleans just decided to shut down its best defensive player, Anthony Davis, for the season. And New Orleans has also been giving up a ridiculous amount of points. Since March 5, the Pels have surrendered 113.2 ppg, and have gone 'Over' the total in eight of nine games. Moreover, six of the last nine meetings between Miami and New Orleans have sailed 'Over' the total. Tuesday's game seems to be a great candidate for a high-scoring contest.

Injury Watch

Houston lost its 3rd straight game to the spread when it fell, 109-97, to the Hawks on Saturday. But more worrisome is that James Harden (28.6 ppg; 7.2 apg) injured his foot when he landed on Thabo Sefolosha in the 3rd quarter. Harden continued to play, but failed to register a point or assist the remainder of the game. Harden is questionable to play at Oklahoma City, on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday, looms a huge game vs. Utah, which sits just one game behind Houston in the battle for the Playoffs. But if there is a silver lining, it's that Houston has gone 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS since November 23, 2013 without Harden in the lineup. So, even if Harden doesn't play vs. OKC, bettors might want to take a shot with the Rockets. More ammunition for Houston on Tuesday: it's 64-36-3 ATS on the road off three pointspread losses.

Schedule Watch

The Spurs and Warriors are a combined 67-0 straight-up at home this season (39-27-1 ATS). This week, the Spurs will try to stretch their season record to 37-0 with home games vs. Miami and Memphis. Meanwhile, the Warriors can move to 35-0 at home by besting the Clippers, Mavericks and Sixers. The oddsmakers have certainly made adjustments, so it hasn't been profitable to play on these two juggernauts at home since February 1 (combined 10-10 ATS). But the one spot which has been lining bettors' pockets all season has been to play on these two teams at home off an ATS defeat. They're 22-7 ATS in this situation. Of the five Spurs/Warriors home games this week, the one which stands out to me is Golden State's game on Wednesday vs. the Clips. If the Warriors happen to lose ATS at Minnesota, on Monday, then they would be a solid play vs. the Clippers, especially since L.A. is an awful 12-33-1 ATS since December 13, 2005 vs. foes with an .857 (or better) home win percentage. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my hoops and hockey winners here at BigAl.com, as I'm 167-120 my last 187 in Hoops; and 20-9 my last 29 NHL. Join today for a week or month to get all of my award-winning selections.

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