March 17, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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The Monday NBA card will get most of the focus among bettors with no college basketball to wager on until Tuesday. The Knicks close out their West Coast swing in Utah, while the Nuggets travel to Chicago. We'll start in Beantown as the Heat looks to extend its winning streak to 23.
Heat at Celtics - 8:05 PM EST
Miami picked up its 22nd consecutive victory by holding off Toronto on Sunday afternoon, 108-91 to cash as 7 ½-point favorites. The Heat outscored the Raptors, 32-18 in the final quarter to grab their third win on this five-game road trip. Now, the task doesn't ease up with a visit to Boston, as the Heat lost in their last meeting at TD Garden.
The Celtics played their first game without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo on January 27, as Boston squeezed past Miami in two overtimes, 100-98 to cover outright as 3 ½-point home underdogs. The Heat split the following two games at Brooklyn and Indiana, but has now run off 22 wins in a row, including 10 straight on the highway (9-1 ATS). Amazingly, the Heat has allowed more than 94 points just once on the road during this hot streak, resulting in seven 'unders.'
Boston will likely be without forward Kevin Garnett, who is suffering from an abductor strain that kept him out of Saturday's home victory over Charlotte. The C's have won 11 straight games at TD Garden, a streak that began with the double-OT triumph over the Heat six weeks ago. In fact, Doc Rivers' team has turned into a money-machine at home in this stretch by posting a 10-1 ATS record, while the lone non-cover came by a half-point.
Nuggets at Bulls - 8:05 PM EST
Chicago returns home following a 1-2 SU/ATS road trip, as the Bulls closed things out with a 113-95 rout of Golden State as four-point 'dogs. The Nuggets invade the Windy City fresh off their 11th straight victory after knocking off the Grizzlies at home on Friday. Denver seeks the season sweep of Chicago, while trying to build some consistency away from the Pepsi Center.
Since losing at Washington in late February, the Nuggets have run off four consecutive away victories to improve to 15-19 on the highway. The last time the Nuggets faced the Bulls, Denver routed Chicago, 128-96 on February 7 to cash as six-point favorites, while picking up their third straight win in the series. George Karl's team hopes not to be in a look-ahead spot with a trip to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, as the Nuggets are just 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS the last five road games against Eastern Conference foes.
The Bulls have had major issues covering numbers at home this season, putting together a 3-6 ATS the past nine at the United Center. Tom Thibodeau's club has won back-to-back games just once since the start of February, while posting a 1-7 SU and 3-5 ATS record in this stretch. After Chicago passes the 100-point mark, the Bulls are just 1-8 the last nine games the following contest dating back to December 22.
Knicks at Jazz - 10:35 PM EST
New York concludes a disastrous five-game road trip in which Carmelo Anthony re-injured his knee and the Knicks haven't found the victory column. The swing ends in Salt Lake City as New York tries not to lose its lead atop the Atlantic Division, as both Anthony and Tyson Chandler will not suit up.
The Jazz have won five straight home games against the Knicks, but New York has cashed in each of its last seven visits to Utah. Tyrone Corbin's club is playing with revenge after getting blown out at Madison Square Garden, 113-84 on March 9, the eighth defeat in the last nine visits to Manhattan. Utah is going for its second straight victory overall after beating Memphis on Saturday, 90-84, while seeking consecutive wins for the first time in a month.
The Knicks are coming off their fourth straight road loss after falling to the Clippers on Sunday, while each time New York failed to cover. Mike Woodson's team is just 4-9 this season against Western Conference opponents away from the Garden, while the last cover came at Phoenix in late December.
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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