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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 24
by Al McMordie - 04/04/2017
With just nine days left in the NBA's regular season, there are several story lines that still need an ending written. The biggest one is whether Boston can supplant Cleveland as the Eastern Conference's #1 seed for this year's Playoffs. But all eight of the Eastern Conference's seeds, and five of the Western Conference's seeds remain unsettled, at this point. Let's take a look at the upcoming week.
The Golden State Warriors are on an 11-game win streak, and they've covered nine of 10, including their last five in a row. And this point spread hot streak reversed a stretch where the Warriors lost 10 of 11 against the spread. For the season, Golden State's ATS record is just 38-37-2, but what bodes well for it in the Playoffs is that it's excelled against the better teams in the league. The Warriors are 28-12-2 ATS vs. .460 (or better) clubs, and 12-3 ATS vs. foes that have won more than 63% of their games. This week, the Warriors will face off against the Timberwolves, Suns and Pelicans. Of those games, Golden State's match on Tuesday vs. Minnesota looks to be the most troublesome, as the Warriors are a poor 2-7 ATS in the last nine meetings between the two teams, and have lost two of the last four straight-up.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' defense has been abysmal since the All-Star Break, as it ranks next-to-last in efficiency over that span. And this spate of awful play has sent Cleveland's season defensive efficiency rating all the way down to #22 (1.11 points per possession). In contrast, the league's two best teams -- the Spurs and Warriors -- have the two best defensive efficiency ratings (around 1.04 ppp). This doesn't bode well for the Cavaliers in the Playoffs, as one has to go all the way back to 2006 to find a Champion (Miami Heat) which ranked outside the Top 10 in defensive efficiency. In conjunction with poor defensive play has been a propensity to go 'over' the total. The Cavaliers have gone 'over' in six of their last eight games, and Tuesday's game looks to be another great opportunity to play the 'over' as the line has been installed at 221.5 points. This season, when the over/under line has been at least 209 points, the Cavs have gone 'over' in 39 of 58 games, so I look for a relatively high-scoring game on Tuesday.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been on a serious roll since acquiring center Jusuf Nurkic from the Denver Nuggets in mid-February. Indeed, the team had just won its 13th game of 16 when it was discovered that Nurkic had sustained a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg. It's possible that he will be able to return in the Playoffs, but Portland will be without him for the rest of the regular season. The Trail Blazers have gone 1-1 straight-up (but 2-0 ATS) in their two games since he was sidelined, and have covered seven straight games, overall. However, I don't see the team's good fortune lasting much longer. This week, the Blazers will face the Jazz twice, sandwiched around a home game vs. the Timberwolves. Tuesday's road game at Utah is a great situation to fade Portland, given that the Trail Blazers will be unrested following a road game in Minnesota. And since 1990, unrested road underdogs have covered just 32.3% off seven (or more) point spread wins.
For over two years, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been horrid on the road when playing without rest. Dating back to February 6, 2015, they're 7-20 straight-up and 6-20-1 ATS in this situation, including 1-9 SU/ATS this season. This week, the Cavaliers will play their biggest game of the season at Boston, on Wednesday, following a home game the previous night vs. Orlando. The winner will have the inside track to get the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston's 22-4 its last 26 home games, and will have the added benefit of playing with two days' of rest. But Cleveland's won eight of the previous 10 meetings, straight-up. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my winners here at BigAl.com. Join for a week, month, six months or year today to get all of my award-winning selections.