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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 6
by Al McMordie - 11/28/2016
It took 4 1/2 weeks, but the Golden State Warriors have gone from the bottom to the top in NBA margin of victory and shouldn't be headed the rest of the season. The Warriors lost their first game by 29 points, but in their next 16 games, their margin of victory has been +15.81, which equates to an average of +13.18 for the entire season. At the other end of the spectrum are the Brooklyn Nets, who have been outscored by 9.13 ppg. Let's take a look the upcoming week in the Association.
As highlighted in our introduction above, the Golden State Warriors have been on a roll. It's true the season started off slowly with a 29-point loss at home to the San Antonio Spur, and a 2-5 ATS record through their first seven games. But it was only a matter of time before this juggernaut jelled. And the Warriors are 10-0 straight-up and 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games, including a perfect 4-0 ATS last week. Not even an injury to defensive leader Draymond Green could derail this freight train. Green, who leads the team in rebounding, blocks, steals and assists, was sidelined on Saturday vs. the Timberwolves. But the Warriors never missed a beat, and triumphed, 115-102, as a 12.5-point favorite. They have just too much shooting for other teams to defend. The Warriors are averaging 118.4 ppg on 50.6% shooting for the season, and have an Efficiency Rating of 118.38, which would be the best offensive number in NBA history, should it be maintained. (Going into this season, the 1986-87 Lakers owned the most efficient offense in NBA history, with a rating of 115.6.) This week, the Warriors will host Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix. The Monday night game against the Hawks will provide Golden State's offense with its most difficult test since it lost its season-opener to the Spurs. Atlanta has the most efficient defense in the league this season (100.67), and ranks 9th in overall Net Efficiency Rating (offense + defense), with a +2.34 rating. But even if Green misses this game, I like the Warriors, as the Hawks have won just once, and covered just two of their last 12 games as underdogs of +6 or more points. Even worse for the Hawks: they'll be playing their fifth game in seven nights. And teams playing their 5th game in seven nights are just 10-20-1 ATS vs. the Warriors since Steph Curry was drafted. I look for a blowout win by the Warriors on Monday.
The Atlanta Hawks have been playing fantastic defense. For the season, Atlanta ranks #1 in Defensive Efficiency, and is giving up just 102.5 ppg. Not surprisingly, it has gone 'under' the total in eight straight games. This week, though, Atlanta will face two of the NBA's best offensive clubs, so don't be surprised when the Over/Under streak ends. On Monday, the Golden State Warriors, who rank #1 in offense, will welcome the Hawks to Oakland. Then, on Saturday, Atlanta will visit Toronto, which owns the league's #4 offense. I expect each of these two games to be relatively high-scoring, as the Hawks have gone 'over' the total in 22 of 34 games under coach Mike Budenholzer, if they were an underdog of more than 3 points in the game.
The Memphis Grizzlies are off to a superb start this season. Under new coach David Fizdale, Memphis is tied for 4th in the Western Conference with an 11-6 record. One of the key players in Memphis' strong start has been 35-year-old veteran Zach Randolph. The bruising forward is averaging over 14 points per game to go along with almost 8 rebounds, even though Fizdale now brings Randolph off the bench, which has reduced his minutes from 30 to 22, compared to last season. But Randolph's efficiency has greatly increased, and his PER for this season is a sparkling 20.57. On Thursday, however, Randolph suffered some bad news when his mother passed away and he has been given a leave of absence from the team to deal with his grief, and take care of his family. It's unclear when he will return to the squad, but he'll likely miss Monday's game vs. Charlotte, and possibly several more games, as well. Memphis is already thin at the forward position, with James Ennis (9.1 ppg; 5.3 rpg), Chandler Parsons (7.7 ppg; 3.0 rpg) and Brandan Wright currently sidelined. Thus, I expect JaMychal Green to get the bulk of Randolph's minutes. But Green's PER is a below-average 11.9 this season, and his stats won't get better with increased minutes. Memphis will be a team to look to go against for so long as Randolph remains away.
The Los Angeles Lakers will start off a four-game road trip this week with a trip to the Crescent City to play New Orleans. The Lakers ended last week with an upset win at home over the Hawks, while the Pelicans suffered a 91-81 upset loss to the Mavericks, on Sunday. This will be the 2nd meeting in New Orleans this season between these two clubs; the first went to the Lakers by a 126-99 score. That was the Lakers' biggest win, and New Orleans' biggest loss of this season. I look for the Pelicans to avenge that 27-point defeat, as home teams are 17-1 ATS in the regular season since 2001 with revenge from a 24-point (or worse) upset home loss earlier in the season. Additionally, this season, NBA teams have cashed 18 of 21 games off a straight-up loss by less than 20 points, if they were playing with same-season revenge. We'll back the Pelicans on Tuesday. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss my red-hot winners here at BigAl.com. I'm on a 35-20 run, so join for a week or month today to get all of my award-winning plays.