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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 20

   by Al McMordie - 03/01/2018

The Playoff races in the Eastern and Western Conferences this season are more competitive than in any recent season in memory. In the West, there are seven teams separated by just two games in the loss column. And in the East, five teams are separated by just three games in the loss column. With less than six weeks left in the season, it appears NBA fans will be treated to a furious race to the finish. Let's take a look at the goings-on around the league.

Spread Watch

The Houston Rockets are 48-13 this season, and are on a mission. They're hell-bent on finishing with the #1 seed, and are currently on a 14-game win streak. They've also covered their last four games, and are 9-3 ATS since February 1. Will Houston's win streak continue? I wouldn't bet against it, notwithstanding the fact that Houston has a murderer's row schedule upcoming. The Rockets will host Boston on Saturday, before traveling to Oklahoma City and Milwaukee for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday. And this weekend's game vs. Boston is one which Houston should be hungry to win, given that Boston defeated it, 99-98, earlier this season after trailing by 26 earlier in the game. And the Celtics' only lead in that game was after Al Horford made the game-winning shot with 3.7 seconds left! For technical support, consider that home teams, off three SU/ATS road wins, have cashed 65% since 1990 when playing with revenge. Take Houston minus the points over Boston on Saturday.

Total Watch

The Denver Nuggets have allowed each of their last 12 opponents to score over 100 points. And those twelve foes have averaged a whopping 115.66 points per game. The Nuggets' adjusted defensive efficiency rating ranks 24th in the league. So, it's no surprise that 11 of the Nuggets' last 12 games have sailed 'over' the total, including the last eight in a row. This week, Denver will travel to Memphis for a game on Friday, and then play the following night, in Cleveland. Like the Nuggets, the Cavaliers have also struggled to contain their opponents, as Cleveland ranks 28th in the league in adjusted defensive efficiency. These two teams have gone 'over' the total in each of their last three meetings. And those three games have averaged 129.3 ppg. I look for another relatively high-scoring game on Saturday. Take the 'over.'

Injury Watch

The San Antonio Spurs' injury-ravaged season continued on Wednesday when All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge sprained his right ankle in the first quarter. That injury forced Aldridge out of the game, and the Spurs proceeded to lose, 121-116, to the Pelicans. The Spurs are also dealing with injuries to Pau Gasol (knee) and Kawhi Leonard (quad), so their front line is currently decimated. Against New Orleans, San Antonio was forced to use reserve center Joffrey Lauvergne against Anthony Davis, and Davis finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. For the game, New Orleans finished with 68 points in the paint. This week, San Antonio will catch a break, as it will play home games vs. the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, on Saturday and Monday, respectively. Certainly, the Spurs will be favored to win each of those two games. And I will especially like the Spurs vs. the Lakers -- with or without Aldridge and/or Gasol -- as the Spurs are 90-57-5 ATS since 2002 at home off an upset loss. Take San Antonio.

Schedule Watch

The Milwaukee Bucks enter the weekend on a 3-game losing streak following a blowout loss in Detroit, on Wednesday. But the good news is that they are back at home, where they have won 19 of 31 games this season. Milwaukee will face the Indiana Pacers (Friday) and Philadelphia 76ers (Sunday), and I'll be stunned if they lose both of those games. Indeed, one of Milwaukee's best team trends will be active in the Friday night game vs. Indiana, and may also be active in the game vs. Philly, as well. And that is to play on the Bucks, at home, if they are off back-to-back losses. Dating back to February 12, 2014, Milwaukee has gone 37-11-1 ATS in this situation. Take Milwaukee vs. Indiana. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my College and Pro Hoops Winners in March, or my Hockey plays, 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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