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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 24
by Al McMordie - 04/06/2018
The NBA's season has just six days left, and most of the Playoff seeds are unknown at this juncture. In the Eastern conference, Cleveland and Philly are tussling over the #3 seed, while Miami, Washington and Milwaukee all hope to avoid the #8 slot. Out West, it's even more congested, with the Jazz, Spurs, Thunder, Pelicans, Timberwolves and Nuggets separated by a mere two games in the standings. Let's take a look at the season's final week.
There is no hotter team in the NBA right now than the Philadelphia 76ers. Brett Brown's men have won their last 12 games, and have covered 10 in a row. This hot streak has moved the 76ers within a half-game of the Cavaliers for the 3rd seed out East. And, of course, with a hobbled Celtics squad currently in 2nd, the 3rd seed would be a lot more desirable than the 4th seed. What's most impressive about Philly's streak is that it has continued to win ever since center Joel Embiid went down with an injury on March 28. The Sixers also will be favored to win each of their four remaining games, including the all-important home game on Friday, April 6 vs. Cleveland. Can the Sixers run the table and end the season on a 16-game win streak (and 14-game ATS win streak)? I wouldn't bet against them. And especially not if they defeat Cleveland on Friday (which I think they will). Indeed, the Sixers will have a big advantage in that game, as Cleveland will play that game without rest. And the Cavaliers are an awful 2-14 ATS on the road off back-to-back wins when playing without rest. Lay the points with the 76ers on Friday.
The San Antonio Spurs have a severe home/road bias this season. At home, the Spurs are 31-8 straight-up and 24-13-2 ATS. And they've won their last nine home games in a row (8-1 ATS; 7-2 'under' the total). But on the road, San Antone is a miserable 14-26 SU and 17-22-1 ATS, including 0-7 SU its last seven (and 1-11 SU its last 12). A key reason for this is that San Antonio's defense has not traveled with it on the road, of late. Indeed, since the All-Star break, the Spurs' defensive rating at home is 97.3 (2nd in the NBA), while it's 110.5 on the road (#22). Not surprisingly, San Antonio has now gone 'over' the total in 10 of its last 14 road games. The Spurs will close out the season with home games vs. Portland and Sacramento, and a road game next Wednesday, at New Orleans. Of these, I would target the Saturday night home game vs. the Trail Blazers to play 'under' the total, as Portland's currently riding a 5-1 'under' streak.
The Golden State Warriors are the league's most talented team. Unfortunately, this might be a star-crossed season (which some might view as karma for Zaza Pachulia's takeout of Kawhi Leonard in last year's playoffs). Currently, Steph Curry and Patrick McCaw have significant injuries, while Omri Casspi and Andre Iguodala also are hobbled. The Warriors are 57-22 SU and 33-46 ATS this season, and firmly ensconced in 2nd place in the Western conference. They also haven't covered two straight games since February 26, and have gone 5-13 ATS since. The Warriors will play their final home game of the season on Saturday vs. the Pelicans (who are still battling for a playoff spot), and then travel to play the Suns (Sunday) and Jazz (Tuesday). Without anything to play for, I would grab the points with Phoenix in a home underdog role, on Sunday. Yes, it's true that the Warriors have won 14 straight in the series. But the last game (the previous Sunday) was close, and the Suns easily covered in Oakland, as a 14.5-point underdog. This game also will be Phoenix's final home game of the season, and home underdogs have cashed 60% since 1991 in their final home game when playing .666 (or better) foes. Take the Suns + the points over Golden State.
The Washington Wizards will close out their home schedule with a game next Tuesday vs. the Celtics. And the Wizards will play that game with a significant 'rest' advantage, as they will have had the previous three days off, while the Celtics will play on just one day of rest. Since 1991, .500 (or better) teams have cashed 59.2% in their final home game of the season when playing with at least 2 more days' of rest than their opponent. With the Wizards currently locked in a tight battle for playoff position with the Bucks and Heat (and Boston locked into the #2 seed), we'll lay the points with Washington on Tuesday. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my NBA, NHL and Baseball winners here at BigAl.com. Or, better yet, join for a week, month, six months or year today to get all of my Award-Winning selections.