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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 15
by Al McMordie - 01/24/2018
The NBA All-Stars were announced on Tuesday and, per usual, there were several snubs. For my money, the biggest of all the snubs was Detroit's Andre Drummond, who is averaging 14.3 points, 15 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game! But, given the way the league's current players treat the All-Star game (run-and-gun with zero defense), Drummond's strengths wouldn't even be brought to bear in the game, so it's not worth shedding a tear. Let's take a look around the league.
In one way, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing worse than any NBA team of the past 28 seasons. Yes, they have a 27-19 record. But they're 12-33-1 (.266) ATS in those 46 games. And that's by far the WORST point spread win percentage of any team through 46+ games in the last 28 years. To put it into further context, let's take a look at the next five worst marks. In the 2013-14 season, the Bucks were 15-31 (.326) ATS. In 2008-09, the Grizzlies were 15-30-1 (.333) ATS, as were the Cavaliers in 2010-11. Then, in 1994-95, the Warriors were 15-29-2 (.340) ATS, while the Timberwolves equaled that record in 2004-05. So, the Cavaliers' ATS win percentage is a whopping .060 worse than the 2nd worst record. That may not seem like a big margin, but it's absolutely huge. Indeed, consider that the difference between the Cavaliers and the 2nd worst-ranked Bucks (.060) is equal to the difference between the 2nd worst-ranked Bucks (.326) and the 35th worst-ranked teams (there were seven teams tied for 35th place with a 18-28 (.386) ATS record). On Tuesday, the Cavaliers were upset, 114-102, by the San Antonio Spurs. And that was the ninth straight point spread defeat for LeBron James & Co. This week, the Cavs will attempt to cash a ticket in Las Vegas with two home games against the Pacers (Friday) and Pistons (Sunday), before a re-match with the Pistons in the Motor City on Tuesday. Of these games, I love Cleveland to blow out Indiana. It's true that the Pacers have already defeated the Cavaliers in the season's first two meetings. But NBA favorites, playing with double-revenge from two losses earlier in the season, are a solid 127-93 (58% ATS) in the regular season since 1990 if they're also off an upset loss in their previous game. Take the Cavaliers on Friday.
The San Antonio Spurs have been among the most injury-riddled teams this season. In their last game -- a 114-102 win over Cleveland -- no less than four rotation players (Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili) were sidelined. Indeed, the TNT Television announcing team joked that the Spurs had a better team out with injury than the starting five in the game (LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Anderson and Danny Green). And the hardest thing for the Spurs right now is scoring the basketball, as Aldridge is their only consistent offensive weapon. Not surprisingly, six of the Spurs' last seven games have gone 'under' the total (with just the game against the defensively-challenged Cavaliers sailing 'over'). This week, the Spurs will face the Grizzlies on Wednesday, in Memphis, before returning home to take on Philly and Sacramento. Like the Spurs, Memphis has also been going 'under' the total this season (26-18 'under'). And I foresee a relatively low-scoring game on Wednesday, as the Spurs have gone 19-5 'under' the total when playing without rest after a home win the previous night.
The Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the last two games (vs. Philadelphia and Phoenix), as he is suffering from soreness in his left knee. He also sat out games on Nov. 22 and Dec. 23 with the same ailment. Without their superstar in the lineup, the Bucks went 1-3 SU and ATS in those four games. But the good news is that Antetokounmpo is scheduled to play Friday, at home vs. Brooklyn. And he will have had a full eight days' of rest going into that game, which will (hopefully) have alleviated his soreness. With their All-Star back in the lineup, I'll pull the trigger on the Bucks vs. the Nets, as the Bucks are 23-6 SU and 21-7-1 ATS vs. the Nets in the last 29 meetings, including 16-4 ATS as a favorite.
On Sunday, the Philadelphia 76ers will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. And what's most noteworthy about this game is that the Thunder own the longest, current win streak vs. an opponent, as they've defeated the 76ers 17 straight times (12-5 ATS) since 2009. The knee-jerk reaction might be to play on the OKC Thunder in this game. But consider that teams on a 16-game (or worse) losing streak have actually done quite well over the years, as they're 49-22 ATS in the regular season since 1997. Take Philadelphia + the points on Sunday. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss my red-hot Football, Basketball and Hockey winners here at BigAl.com. Join for a week, month, six months or year today to get all of my award-winning plays.