Inside the Paint – Saturday

The NBA takes a step back to “March Madness” on Saturday with just five games on the card. Bettors following the Association last night watched the favorites produce some eye-opening results as the ‘chalk’ went 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS while the ‘under’ went 7-3.

Odds per [...]
(Straight Up – SU, Against the Spread – ATS)

San Antonio (37-28 SU, 33-30-2 ATS) at Oklahoma City (38-29 SU, 25-40-2 ATS)
Opening Odds: Thunder -4 ½, Total 210 ½  

This week’s ABC showcase is a very tough matchup to handicap because you can make cases to fade both clubs in this spot rather than back them. San Antonio currently holds the fifth seed in the Western Conference due to a tiebreakers but a home win tonight would have Oklahoma City jump into that position.

Many pundits expected the Spurs to clinch the No. 3 spot in the West but they’ve been in terrible form lately. San Antonio has gone 3-9 SU and 5-7 ATS in its last 12 games, which includes a 110-107 loss at Golden State as an 11-point underdog. The Spurs haven’t figured out a way to finish and five of the previous seven losses have come by five points or less.

The difference in this year’s San Antonio squad has been its play on the road. The club has gone 14-20 SU and 16-17-1 ATS, which includes Thursday’s loss to the Warriors.

After this game, the Spurs finish off this road trip with another tough task at Houston on Monday so the sense of urgency should be very high for this winnable game.

Another glaring trend that could have you hesitant to back San Antonio is its record against winning teams (13-22). The Spurs have the most wins (24-6) in the Western Conference against losing clubs.

Even though the Thunder are a short favorite and they’ve gone 22-11 at home, they’ve burned bettors with a 13-19-1 ATS mark.

Oklahoma City has been in better form than San Antonio lately, going 7-5 in its last 12 games but four of the five losses came against playoff teams while all seven of the wins were against clubs below .500.

Sticking with that trend could have you leaning San Antonio tonight and taking the points has been the sound investment lately in this series with the underdog going 4-0 ATS in the last four encounters.  Also, the last three meetings in this series have been decided by five points or less.

In their first two matchups this season, San Antonio captured a 104-101 home win on Nov. 17 while OKC returned the favor with a 90-87 win on Dec. 3. The teams will meet for the fourth and final time of the season on Mar. 29 from San Antonio.

Total bettors could be scratching their heads on this game. The ‘under’ has gone 3-1 in the last four in this series yet we’re staring at a higher total for this matchup. San Antonio has been a strong ‘under’ bet (21-13) away from home this season and Oklahoma City has also leaned to the ‘under’ (18-15) at home.

Spurs center Pau Gasol (shoulder) sat out Thursday’s game at Golden State and is listed as ‘questionable’ for tonight.

Zero Days Rest

Four teams will be playing on no rest Saturday and listed below are their records when facing back-to-back spots this season and notable trends as well. Three of the four will be on the road with the exception of the Clippers, who are hosting the Magic and they're also facing two games in two days.

Memphis (3-10 SU, 7-6 ATS, 8-4-1 O/U) at Dallas: The Grizzlies have lost five straight on zero days rest and the offense has been held to 96.6 points per game during this span.

Orlando (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS, 5-6 O/U) at L.A. Clippers: The Magic have gone 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four back-to-back spots but make a note that the three wins came at home.

L.A. Clippers (2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS, 4-5- O/U) vs. Orlando: Eight of the 10 were played away from home and the Clippers haven’t won (0-2) at home on no rest this season.

Washington (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS, 5-4-1 O/U) at Miami: The Wizards are just 1-4 both SU and ATS in their last five on no rest and the defense (113.9 PPG) has been very suspect during this skid.

Fearless Predictions

This feature has gone 8-5 (61%) since the All-Star break and I’m only putting out one selection on Saturday because nothing major sticks out. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

L.A. Clippers (-11 ½) over Orlando

Even though the ATS numbers and B2B trends point to Orlando in this matchup as a double-digit underdog, I’m going with my eyes and backing the more talented team at home. The Clippers have been great against teams below .500 this season (23-6) and they’ve scored 123, 128, 128 in their last three against losing clubs. The Magic have been decimated by injuries and they might have trouble breaking the century mark. Twenty of the 35 wins this season by the Clippers have come by double digits and I’m expecting another blowout at home tonight.

Slight Leans
Suns +12, Over 219 ½ Suns-Hornets
Miami -4 ½, Miami Team Total Over (105 ½)
San Antonio Money Line (+160)

Chris David can be reached at