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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 16

   by Al McMordie - 02/06/2017

For much of the season, most NBA pundits believed we would eventually see a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But, lately, the Washington Wizards have played like they want to break into the conversation. Scotty Brooks' squad is now 14-2 since January 4, which compares favorably to Cleveland's 8-7 record. So, the Wizards must be considered a dark horse to represent the Eastern Conference. Let's take a look at other goings-on around the NBA.

Spread Watch

The Miami Heat blew out the 76ers, 125-102, on Saturday for their 10th straight win (both SU and ATS). And the craziest thing about this hot streak is that it would have been impossible to see it coming. Indeed, the Heat were 11-30 (.268) prior to ripping off their 10 wins. The last time anything even remotely close to this happened, where a bad team went on an extended win streak, was two seasons ago, when the 5-23 (.178) Pistons went on a 7-0 SU/ATS streak. And, then, in 2005, the 22-46 (.323) Warriors won eight in a row (6-2 ATS). But no team this bad has ever won 10 in a row, not to mention 10 straight ATS wins, too. Also, Miami didn't compile this streak only against cupcakes. They beat, arguably, the best team in NBA history, Golden State, and also knocked off Houston and Atlanta. This week, the Heat will hit the road for games at Minnesota, Milwaukee, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. I fully expect the streak to be snapped on Monday by the Timberwolves, as NBA teams off back-to-back wins are a poor 37-62 ATS their last 99, if they scored 117+ points in their previous game, and they're matched up against a foe off a loss.

Totals Watch

The San Antonio Spurs have gone 'over' the total in 14 of their last 20 games, notwithstanding the fact that the Spurs have given up the 2nd least amount of points (behind Utah), and have the 2nd most efficient defense (after Golden State). Moreover, since Paul Gasol got injured, the Spurs have played at a faster pace. Before Gasol's injury, the Spurs were 25th in the league in pace, and averaged 96.93 possessions per 48 minutes. But after his injury, that number is up to 101.37 possessions per 48 minutes, and the Spurs are 6th in pace in this stretch. Gasol won't likely return until after the All-Star Break, so the Spurs' next six games at least, should be played at this faster pace. This week, the Spurs will embark on the first leg of their 8-game Rodeo Road Trip. On Monday, San Antonio will be in Memphis, followed by games against the 76ers (Wednesday), Pistons (Friday) and Knicks (Sunday). The Grizzlies (6-0 'over' run), 76ers (8-1 'over' run), Pistons (14-4 'over' run) and Knicks (4-1 'over' run) have all been involved in relatively high-scoring games of late, so I look for the Spurs' stretch of 'overs' to continue.

Injury Watch

Toronto's DeMar DeRozan continues to be sidelined by his ankle injury. The All-Star injured himself on January 22, against the Phoenix Suns. He initially missed three games, and returned January 29 to play 36 minutes vs. the Magic. But he's been out for their last four games. Not surprisingly, the Raptors have struggled without DeRozan on the floor. Dating back to the January 22 game, the Raptors are 3-6 SU and 4-5 ATS. Toronto is also currently without forward Patrick Patterson, as well. Overall, the Raptors are 8-9 in the 17 games that either or both players have missed since January 1. This week, the Raptors will alternate home and road games against the Clippers (Monday), Timberwolves (Wednesday), and Pistons (Sunday). If DeRozan and Patterson are both out on Monday vs. Los Angeles, then the Clippers would be worth a look.

Schedule Watch

Since the Spurs moved into their current home, the AT&T Center, 14 years ago, the Spurs have taken an extended road trip at this time of year while the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo took over the premises. The Spurs have used these Rodeo Road Trips over the years to bond as a team, as well as to generate momentum for the playoff push to come. And San Antonio's done exceptionally well. They've gone 82-35 SU and 61-52-2 ATS on these road trips. They've had just one losing trip, and that was in 2015, when they went 4-5. Last season, the Spurs bounced back to go 7-1 on their 8-game road trip, and they'll have another 8-game trip this season. First up will be a Memphis Grizzly squad looking to avenge last year's playoff series defeat (a 4-0 sweep). Overall, the Spurs have won nine straight vs. Memphis. But .545 (or better) teams, playing a division foe with revenge from a playoff series loss, have gone 24-48-1 ATS since 1991. I look for Memphis to cover as a home underdog. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my red-hot winners here at BigAl. com. I'm currently on a 22-7 run. Join for a week, month, six months or year to get all of my award-winning selections.

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