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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 17

   by Al McMordie - 02/05/2018

The Boston Celtics made a big move last week when they signed Greg Monroe, after he was bought out by the Phoenix Suns. And the East's #1-seeded team might have more players in its sight, as GM Danny Ainge is refusing to stand pat with his roster. The trade deadline is Thursday, so the next four days will be significant for the Playoff contenders. Let's take a look around the Association.

Spread Watch

The Utah Jazz enter the week as one of the league's hottest team, as they've won five straight games (both SU and ATS). And even more impressive has been their offensive production, as they've scored 129, 129 and 120 points in their last three wins! Moreover, their five opponents have not been creampuffs, as four of the wins were of the upset variety, against quality foes (Pistons, Raptors, Warriors and Spurs). This week, Utah's schedule also offers up some difficult tests, as the Jazz have road games at New Orleans (Monday), Memphis (Wednesday) and Portland (Sunday), along with a home date vs. Charlotte, on Friday. The one game I have circled to fade the Jazz is Monday's road game against the Pelicans. First, the Jazz may once again be without rookie Donovan Mitchell, who also missed Saturday's win in San Antonio. And, second, road teams have been poor on the road off 5 SU/ATS wins, if they're matched up against a rested opponent off a straight-up loss. Since 1990, they've gone 80-104-10 (43.4% ATS). Take the Pelicans over the Jazz on Monday.

Total Watch

The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd two weeks ago. Through that date, the Bucks were 23-22 straight-up, and 18-23-4 ATS. And they had gone 'over' the total in 27 of their 45 games. Joe Prunty has been installed as the interim head coach and, interestingly, the Bucks have gone 6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS and 7-0 'under' the total since his promotion! And Prunty also filled in as head coach for a game vs. the Wizards, on November 20, and that game went 'under' the total as well. What first jumps out when one analyzes Milwaukee's recent games is that it's been playing much better defense. The Bucks have held five of their last seven opponents under 100 points. In contrast, they only held 12 of their first 45 foes under 100 points. Prunty has moved his team away from Kidd's high-pressure, trapping style on defense, and that's paid big dividends. On offense, Prunty has emphasized the movement of the ball from side to side. Will Milwaukee's string of 'unders' continue this week? They'll hit the road, with games at New York, Miami and Orlando. Certainly, the first two games -- against the Knicks and Heat -- are good candidates to be low-scoring, as New York is currently on a 5-0 'under' run, while Miami has played six of its last seven 'under' the total. Of the two, the Friday night game vs. the Heat looks to be the best to play the 'under' as the Heat and Bucks are 7-3-1 'under' the total in their last 11 meetings in Miami.

Injury Watch

When it rains, it pours. The latest, bad news for the Cleveland Cavaliers is that All-Star Kevin Love sustained a non-displaced fracture in his left hand in last Tuesday's loss to the Pistons. And Love has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for Cleveland, as he's averaging 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and has a 22.88 PER. Love did, however, decline to have surgery, but expects to return in time for the Playoffs in April. However, his injury surely came at an inopportune time for the Cavaliers. Coach Tyronn Lue changed his rotations two games prior, and the Cavaliers won and covered both of those games (just the second time all season the Cavs won and covered two straight games). But Cleveland is 0-3 ATS since, and is 14-36-1 ATS on the season -- the NBA's worst point spread record (thru 50+ games) in the last 28 years! This week, Cleveland will try to right its sinking ship with games against Orlando, Minnesota and Atlanta. And I actually will be looking to play on Cleveland in certain situations over the next few months, as I believe they will be undervalued, given their horrific ATS record. This week, Cleveland's game in Orlando on Tuesday is the one which I've circled to play on LeBron James & Co. Cleveland has dominated Orlando, with a 19-2 SU and 16-5 ATS record over the past six seasons. And the Cavs will also play that game with two days' of rest, while the Magic will be unrested following a game the previous night in Miami. Take the Cavaliers minus the points.

Schedule Watch

The San Antonio Spurs certainly haven't caught many breaks this season. Their best player, Kawhi Leonard, has suited up for just nine games this season, and remains out until after the All-Star break, at the least. And Rudy Gay also remains sidelined. So, it's not too surprising that the Spurs are flirting with their worst season record since 1996-97, when they were 20-62 (.244). Of course, this season, the Spurs still actually have a winning record, at 34-21 (.618). But it very well could be the first time since 1996-97 that the Spurs didn't win at least 60% of their games. This week, the Spurs will attempt to snap their 2-game losing streak (and 3-game ATS losing streak) with games at Phoenix and Golden State. I love San Antonio vs. the Suns on Wednesday, as Phoenix will be unrested, while the Spurs will have had the previous three days off. And San Antonio is 84-53-2 ATS vs. unrested foes, and 34-13-1 ATS as a road favorite in the regular season off three (or more) ATS defeats. Take the Spurs on Wednesday. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my red-hot hockey and hoops winners here at BigAl.com. Join for a week, month, six months or year today to get all of my Award-Winning selections.

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