February 1, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
The first February NBA card provides bettors with a healthy 12-game card. Among the matchups, the Bulls and Nets hook up in Brooklyn, while the Knicks host the surging Bucks at Madison Square Garden. We'll begin with another key Eastern Conference matchup as two teams with bad blood meet up in a playoff rematch.
Heat at Pacers - 7:05 PM EST
Miami eliminated Indiana in six games of the second round of last season's playoffs, but the Pacers picked up some revenge in the first meeting this season. Indiana silenced Miami's offense in an 87-77 defeat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the Pacers cashed in the home underdog role. The Heat heads to the Hoosier State tonight off another impressive victory on Wednesday night.
The defending World Champions beat the Nets for the third time this season, 105-85 as 2 ½-point favorites, the third win over Brooklyn by double-digits. Miami drilled 11 three-pointers in the victory, while bouncing back from Sunday's double-overtime setback at Boston. Erik Spoelstra's team has cashed just three of the last 10 times in the away 'chalk' role, as the Heat has allowed less than 100 points in regulation in seven of the last eight road contests.
The Pacers snapped a three-game skid with a 98-79 dispatching of the Pistons on Wednesday, cashing as 8 ½-point home favorites. Frank Vogel's club has won 12 straight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, while giving up 95 points or less in each of those victories (9-2-1 to the 'under'). Indiana plays eight of the next nine games at home, which includes a back-to-back-to-back set starting Monday with a make-up game against Chicago.
Bulls at Nets - 7:35 PM EST
Chicago is quietly moving up the Eastern Conference standings with a successful 12-4 run in January. The Bulls passed the Pacers for the top spot in the Central Division at 28-17, while winning six of the last seven games away from the United Center. Carlos Boozer sat out Wednesday's rout of Milwaukee with a hamstring injury, as six Bulls scored in double-figures in their second victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center this season.
The Nets have hit the skids recently by dropping three of their last four games, as each defeat has come by at least 13 points. In three losses to the Heat this season, Brooklyn was limited to 89 points or less each time, while allowing at least 100 points for the third time in four contests overall. In spite of the setback to Miami, P.J. Carlisemo's club has won eight of the last nine games at Barclays Center (5-3-1 ATS).
In the last meeting between the Bulls and Nets in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau's team held on for an 83-82 victory in mid-December. Brooklyn cashed as 4 ½-point underdogs, but the Nets shot just 38% from the field in the defeat. The Nets have lost five of the last six matchups with the Bulls dating back to March 2011, as Chicago makes its first visit to the Barclays Center.
Bucks at Knicks - 7:35 PM EST
The top three teams in the Central Division are all surging at the right time, which includes Milwaukee. The Bucks were tripped up the Bulls on Wednesday, but Jim Boylan's club is rolling through an 8-4 stretch since the removal of Scott Skiles as head coach on January 6. Milwaukee travels to the Big Apple tonight looking to avenge a home blowout loss to the Knicks in November.
New York shots lights out in a 102-88 triumph in Milwaukee as 2 ½-point favorites on November 15, as Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 29 points. The Knicks outscored the Bucks by 21 points in the middle two quarters, while taking their third straight victory against Milwaukee in the series. Mike Woodson's team started the season winning their first 10 home games, but the Knicks are just 6-6 SU and 4-8 ATS the last 12 contests at the Garden.
Milwaukee is the hottest 'over' team at the moment by cashing in six straight games, while allowing at least 102 points five times in this stretch. Except for that 88-point effort against Chicago on Wednesday, the Bucks' offense has passed the 108-point mark five times in the last six, including three times on the road. The Bucks have captured five of the last seven games on the highway, while one of those losses came when Milwaukee squandered a 20-point third quarter lead at Cleveland last Friday.
Blazers at Jazz - 9:05 PM EST
Amazingly, it took until February for these two Northwest Division rivals to meet for the first time this season. Portland and Utah will see each other twice over the next two days, with a matchup at the Rose Garden on Saturday night. The first leg of this home-and-home takes place in Salt Lake City tonight, as the Jazz looks to cover one time on this three-game homestand.
After dropping a 45-point decision to the Rockets on Monday night, the Jazz rallied to top the Hornets, 104-99 on Wednesday, but failed to cash as eight-point favorites. Tyrone Corbin's squad finished January with a strong 10-4 SU record, but stumbled to an 8-6 ATS mark after three straight home ATS defeats. Utah took care of Portland last season by sweeping the four-game series, but three of those wins took place in April when the Blazers were long gone from playoff conversation.
Portland put together is most impressive effort on the season on Tuesday night by rallying from a 22-point deficit to stun Dallas at the buzzer, 106-104. LaMarcus Aldridge tied the game with his first three-pointer of the season, then won the game with a jumper at the horn, but the Mavs cashed as three-point 'dogs. Portland has cashed five of the last seven games away from the Rose Garden, but has lost three consecutive road games straight-up.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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