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Friday Tips
Blazers at Celtics - 7:35 PM EST

Portland: 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS
Boston: 4-5 SU, 6-3 ATS

The Northwest Division is loaded right now with Oklahoma City and Minnesota coming up out of the gate strong. Portland shouldn't be discounted in this discussion, as the Blazers travel east looking for their fifth consecutive win. The Blazers finished up a two-game homestand with victories over the Pistons and Suns, while edging Phoenix, 90-89 on Wednesday as seven-point favorites. Portland's defense has stepped up of late, allowing 91 points or less three times during this hot streak.

The Celtics began the season with an 0-4 start, but Boston has heated up of late with a 4-1 mark the last five games. In fact, Boston saw its four-game winning streak halted by Charlotte on Wednesday night, while the C's failed to cover for the first time in six games. At home, the Celtics have scored at least 100 points just once in four tries, while wrapping up a three-game homestand before hitting the road for three starting Saturday in Minnesota.

Mavericks at Heat - 7:35 PM EST

Dallas: 5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS
Miami: 5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS

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The rematch of both the 2006 and 2011 NBA Finals takes place in Miami as each of these squads have jumped out to a fast start. The Mavericks have dominated in the favorite role (5-0 SU/ATS), but own an 0-3 SU/ATS record as an underdog, with all three losses coming by at least eight points. In all three road defeats as a 'dog, Dallas has given up at least 107 points each time, while winning just once in four tries on the highway (at Milwaukee as a favorite).

The Heat's offense has busted the 100-point mark in all eight games this season, resulting in six 'overs.' Miami bounced back from a shocking home loss to Boston, as the Heat blew out the Bucks, 118-95 on Tuesday night as 13 ½-point favorites. The Heat hasn't covered consecutive games this season, posting a 1-3 ATS record off a victory. Since losing in the 2011 NBA Finals, Miami has beaten Dallas four consecutive times, as each meeting has eclipsed the 'over.'

Wolves at Nuggets - 8:05 PM EST

Minnesota: 6-3 SU, 7-2 ATS
Denver: 3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS

The Wolves are one of the most profitable teams in the league by covering seven of their first nine contests, including Wednesday's home blowout of the Cavaliers. Minnesota is a perfect 4-0 ATS away from the Target Center this season, as the two road losses came by a combined three points. Last season, the Wolves were just one of three teams to win in the regular season at the Pepsi Center, but Minnesota has put together a 2-11 SU and 10-3 ATS record the last 13 visits to Denver.

The Nuggets stumbled to an 0-3 start, but Brian Shaw's team has won three of their last four to pull within one game of the .500 mark. The latest victory came over the Lakers on Wednesday, a 111-99 triumph as 9 ½-point favorites, the first cover at the Pepsi Center in four attempts this season. After the offense struggled to put up points early in the season, the Nuggets have eclipsed the 100-point mark in four straight contests.

Nets at Suns - 9:05 PM EST

Brooklyn: 2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS
Phoenix: 5-3 SU, 7-0-1 ATS

These two teams are going in opposite directions from a pointspread standpoint, as Brooklyn continues its Western road swing in Phoenix. The Nets have been dreadful on the highway this season, posting an 0-4 SU/ATS record, with all four losses in the favorite role. The latest setback came at struggling Sacramento on Wednesday, as the Kings chased out the Nets, 107-86, the second 21-point road loss for Brooklyn.

The Suns have covered all but one game, including as seven-point 'dogs at Portland in a 90-89 defeat on Wednesday. Phoenix owns a perfect 4-0 record at home this season, while going 3-1 to the 'under.' The Suns have shined in the underdog role with a perfect 6-0 ATS mark, but four of those covers have come as a 'dog of seven points or more. The Nets swept the season series from the Suns last season, but Phoenix cashed as six-point 'dogs in a two-point home defeat.

Grizzlies at Lakers - 10:35 PM EST

Memphis: 3-5 SU, 1-7 ATS
Los Angeles: 4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS

The Grizzlies played in the Western Conference Finals last season, but Memphis has struggled to find its footing through the first two weeks. In eight games, Memphis has covered just once, while losing all three games away from FedEx Forum. The last three losses for the Grizzlies have come by 15 points or more, including a home defeat to the Raptors on Wednesday. Memphis begins a four-game road trip through California, which includes a back-to-back set with the Kings and Clippers starting Sunday.

The Lakers haven't won consecutive games this season, while three of their four victories have come at Staples Center. As a home 'dog, the Lakers are profiting nicely at 3-1 ATS, including outright wins over the Clippers and Hornets. Los Angeles is coming off consecutive 'overs,' as this is the third time the Lakers have hit back-to-back 'overs' this season. However, the Lakers finished 'under' the total in the following game the first two times around by at least 20 points.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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