December 20, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
Bobcats at Pistons - 7:35 PM EST
Charlotte: 12-14 SU, 16-9-1 ATS
Detroit: 13-14 SU, 13-13-1 ATS
In spite of both these teams sitting below the .500 mark, the Bobcats and Pistons have turned into two of the biggest surprises in the Eastern Conference this season. Charlotte pulled off a sweep of a back-to-back set against Sacramento and Toronto earlier this week, including a buzzer-beating victory over the Raptors as seven-point underdogs. The Bobcats have been the most impressive road 'dog in the league so far, posting a 9-1-1 ATS record in this role.
The Pistons return to the Palace of Auburn Hills after impressive road wins over the Pacers and Celtics. Detroit overcame an early 21-point deficit to shock Boston on Wednesday, 107-106, as Brandon Jennings filled the scoresheet with 28 points and 14 assists for the Pistons. The streak of 'overs' has reached seven in a row overall for Detroit, including six straight 'overs' at the Palace. The Pistons have stumbled of late at home from an ATS standpoint, covering just two of their last seven in Auburn Hills.
Rockets at Pacers - 8:05 PM EST
Houston: 17-9 SU, 14-11-1 ATS
Indiana: 20-5 SU, 17-8 ATS
For the first time this season, the Pacers are riding a losing streak, albeit two games. Indiana blew a 15-point lead in Wednesday's hotly-contested setback at Miami, but the Pacers did cash as four-point underdogs. The Pacers lost their first home game on Monday to the Pistons, as Indiana tries to improve on its 11-1 record at Bankers' Life Fieldhouse this season. Indiana has failed to break the 100-point mark in its last five games, but the Pacers have somehow finished 'over' the total four times in this span.
The Rockets have alternated wins and losses in each of their past five trips to the court, coming off Wednesday's 109-94 thumping of the Bulls. Houston owns a 3-5 ATS record in December, while posting a 3-3 ATS mark this season in the role of a road underdog. In 12 away games for Kevin McHale's club, the Rockets have finished 'over' the total nine times, while allowing at least 100 points ten times away from the Toyota Center.
Raptors at Mavericks - 8:35 PM EST
Toronto: 9-14 SU, 10-13 ATS
Dallas: 15-10 SU, 14-11 ATS
The Raptors squandered a 13-point lead in Wednesday's overtime setback to the Bobcats, as Toronto fell to 3-2 SU/ATS since the trade of Rudy Gay to Sacramento. Two of those wins came on the road against the Lakers and Bulls as an underdog, as Toronto will receive points again on Friday at Dallas. Toronto has done a solid job as an away 'dog recently, cashing in five of the last seven in this situation, as the Raps begin a brutal four-game road trip that continues to Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
The Mavericks finish their three-game homestand after picking up double-digit victories over the Bucks and Grizzlies. Dallas has won four of its past five contests at the American Airlines Center, while cashing in five of its last six trips to the court overall. Rick Carlisle's club owns the Raptors at home of late, capturing four of the last five home matchups, with the lone loss coming in December 2010 when Dirk Nowitzki missed the game due to injury.
Suns at Nuggets - 9:05 PM EST
Phoenix: 14-10 SU, 17-6-1 ATS
Denver: 14-10 SU, 12-12 ATS
The Suns saw their five-game winning streak disappear in Wednesday's home setback to the Spurs as short 'dogs. Phoenix heads to the Pepsi Center to take on Denver for the second time this season. In the first meeting, the Suns burned the Nuggets, 114-103 as 1 ½-point home favorites in early November, as twins Markieff and Marcus Morris combined for 39 points and 18 rebounds off the bench. The Suns have dominated as a road 'dog by posting a 9-2 ATS record in this role, including outright wins over the Pelicans, Rockets, and Lakers.
Ty Lawson is listed as questionable for tonight's contest with flu-like symptoms, as the Denver point guard put up a game-high 29 points in the November defeat at Phoenix. The Nuggets conclude a rocky four-game homestand, which includes division losses to the Jazz and Thunder, while falling on Tuesday in a 105-93 defeat to Oklahoma City. The normally uptempo Nuggets are trending towards the 'under' of late, putting up five consecutive 'unders.'
Wolves at Lakers - 10:35 PM EST
Minnesota: 13-13 SU, 14-12 ATS
Los Angeles: 12-13 SU, 14-10-1 ATS
This season for the Lakers has been ravaged by injuries, starting with Kobe Bryant recovering from a torn Achilles tendon at the end of last season. Bryant returned earlier this month for six games, but the former MVP suffered a knee injury in Tuesday's victory at Memphis, sidelining him for at least six weeks. The Lakers posted a 2-4 SU/ATS record with Bryant in the lineup, but held their own without Bryant as a home underdog, going 5-2-1 ATS. Los Angeles is playing with revenge tonight after getting run out by Minnesota last month in a 113-90 home blowout, as the Wolves dropped 47 points in the opening quarter.
Minnesota is coming off probably its most impressive victory of the season, silencing a red-hot Portland squad in Wednesday's 120-109 triumph. The Wolves scored 69 points in the first half, while leading the Blazers by 32 at one point to pick up just their second division win in five tries. After winning two of their first three road games, Rick Adelman's club has dropped eight of their past 11 away from the Target Center. Minnesota has struggled recently off a home victory, going 0-4 SU/ATS the last four times in this situation, while allowing at least 100 points in each of those defeats.
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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