Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:06 AM

Friday's Tip Sheet

Game of the Night: Rockets at Pelicans – 8:05 PM EST

New Orleans (26-21 SU, 24-22-1 ATS) has caught fire of late by winning six of its past seven games to move into the sixth position in the Western Conference. The Pelicans held off the Hornets on Wednesday, 101-96 as 2 ½-point road underdogs to improve to 8-2 in their last 10 games against Eastern Conference foes. New Orleans has covered in two of three opportunities as a home underdog with its only straight-up victory in this situation coming against Cleveland in late October.

The Rockets (34-12 SU, 23-22-1 ATS) own a four-game edge over the Spurs in the Southwest division as Houston is fresh off its fourth consecutive victory. Following a sweep of a three-game homestand against division leaders (Minnesota, Golden State, and Miami), Houston held off Dallas on Wednesday, 104-97 to barely cover as 6 ½-point favorites. The Rockets led by 18 points heading into the fourth quarter before the Mavericks rallied to make it interesting as Houston knocked down 21-of-51 attempts from three-point range.

Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Rockets have won seven of nine meetings with the Pelicans, including a 130-123 home victory in mid-December. New Orleans cashed as 13-point underdogs in the loss as Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore combined to score 53 points on 31-of-41 shooting. The Rockets have compiled a 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS mark against division opponents, while the Pelicans are 3-4 SU/ATS within the Southwest.

Four Times a Charm?

It’s been a rough month for the Cavaliers (27-19 SU, 12-33-1 ATS), who are 3-10 SU and 1-12 ATS since Christmas. In fact, Cleveland has failed to cover the number in nine consecutive games and only twice in the past 19 contests. The most recent defeat came on Tuesday at San Antonio, 114-102 as 2 ½-point favorites to suffer their fourth straight road loss. Cleveland returns home to host Indiana as the Cavaliers have lost all three meetings with the Pacers this season. In the last two losses to Indiana, Cleveland has fallen by a combined six points, while blowing a 22-point lead in a two-point setback on January 12.

The Pacers (26-22 SU, 27-21 ATS) are seeking their first season sweep of the Cavaliers since 2012-13, while trying to jump the Wizards for the fifth position in the Eastern Conference. Indiana returned home from its five-game road swing to rout Phoenix on Wednesday, but will play in its seventh different city in a 12-day span. The Pacers have finished UNDER the total in five consecutive road contests, while holding nine of the past 10 opponents to less than 101 points.

The Kidd Bowl

It’s been an underachieving season so far for Milwaukee (24-22 SU, 18-23-5 ATS), who was expected to compete with Cleveland for the Central division title. The Bucks are still in the playoff hunt in the East, but parted ways with head coach Jason Kidd earlier this week. Milwaukee hosts Brooklyn tonight, the first team Kidd coached before taking the Bucks job in 2014. The Bucks snapped a two-game skid by holding off the Suns on Monday, 109-105, but failed to cash as 5 ½-point favorites.

The Nets (18-30 SU, 30-18 ATS) couldn’t hold onto a double-digit lead in Tuesday’s 109-108 defeat at Oklahoma City, but Brooklyn managed to cover as 9 ½-point underdogs for its third straight ATS win. Brooklyn has cashed in six consecutive road games, while winning three of those contests outright. The Nets and Bucks have yet to meet this season, as Milwaukee swept the four-game series last season, but Brooklyn covered three times as an underdog.

Role Change

In two meetings last season, the Spurs were favored by 17 and 12 points over the 76ers. Fast-forward to this season, with Kawhi Leonard’s nagging quad injury and Philadelphia’s ascension from the basement of the Eastern Conference, the 76ers are receiving plenty of respect from the oddsmakers. San Antonio (32-18 SU, 27-21-2 ATS) is coming off a pair of impressive victories on a back-to-back set against Cleveland and Memphis, while seeking its 21st win at AT&T Center in 24 tries.

Philadelphia (23-21 SU, 25-18-1 ATS) seeks the season sweep of San Antonio after knocking off the Spurs earlier this month, 112-106 at Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers have won once in San Antonio in their last 20 tries, while dropping 13 consecutive visits to AT&T Center. Philadelphia has cashed tickets in eight of its past 10 trips to the court, including in Wednesday’s 115-101 home triumph over Chicago as rookie Ben Simmons compiled his 5th triple-double of the season.

Buzz Bounce-Back?

The Hornets (19-27 SU, 19-24-3 ATS) have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league this season as they sit five games behind the Bucks for the final spot in the East. Charlotte couldn’t get over the hump in Wednesday’s home setback to New Orleans, but that isn’t the worst thing in the world. The Hornets have won six consecutive games off a loss, while covering five times with the only non-cover coming in Monday’s victory over Sacramento as 10 ½-point favorites.

Charlotte welcomes in Atlanta (14-33 SU, 25-20-2 ATS), who is coming off a 15-point home defeat to Toronto on Wednesday. The Hawks look to improve on a 4-19 road mark, which includes a 109-91 setback at Charlotte back in October. Atlanta has dropped 10 of its past 11 contests away from Philips Arena, but have managed to cover as underdogs seven times in this stretch.

Trail Troubles

Portland (26-22 SU, 22-21-5 ATS) has been great at home recently by winning seven straight at Moda Center, including Wednesday’s 123-114 triumph over Minnesota as 3 ½-point favorites. However, the highway has been a tough place to pick up victories for the Blazers, who are currently riding a four-game road skid. The Blazers try to end that slump with a trip to Dallas, as Portland captured both matchups at American Airlines Center last season.

The Mavericks (16-32 SU, 24-23-1 ATS) have dropped four of their past five games, including a 117-108 defeat at Portland last Saturday. Dallas hasn’t been great at home of late as Rick Carlisle’s squad has compiled a 2-5 record in its past seven at the AAC, while scoring 98 points or less in regulation in four of the previous five games at home. The Mavs are 3-7 against teams from the Northwest division this season, with two of those wins at home against Oklahoma City and Denver.

Fast Break

-- The Jazz look to capitalize off Wednesday’s overtime victory at Detroit as Utah travels to Toronto. The Raptors have won three of their past four games, while owning a terrific 17-3 record at home. Toronto has won four consecutive matchups with Utah, including a 109-100 road triumph in November.

-- It’s not exactly MJ vs. Magic when the Bulls and Lakers lock horns at the United Center. The Lakers rallied past the Bulls in their last matchup at Staples Center in November, while L.A. is coming off an impressive 3-0 homestand. Chicago’s six-game ATS hot streak came to an end in Wednesday’s loss at Philadelphia, while the Bulls have compiled a horrific 1-8 home mark against Western Conference opponents.

-- The Clippers and Grizzlies meet for the final time this season as Memphis has captured two of the first three matchups. Los Angeles tries to snap a three-game skid, while the Grizzlies have won five of eight in spite of coming off a loss to San Antonio. All three meetings have eclipsed the OVER this season, while the Clippers and Grizzlies have hit the OVER in six straight hookups overall.

-- The Knicks finish off a seven-game road trip in Phoenix, as New York is coming off three straight defeats. New York is riding a nine-game OVER streak, while allowing at least 115 points seven times in this stretch. The Suns return home from a 1-3 road swing before hitting the highway again on Sunday in Houston. The Knicks dominated the Suns in their first meeting this season at Madison Square Garden, 120-107 as 4 ½-point favorites.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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