Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

Inside the Paint - Tuesday

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(Straight Up – SU, Against the Spread – ATS)

Chicago (5-19 SU, 11-13 ATS) at Indiana (13-10 SU, 10-12-1 ATS)

Indiana squeaked out a 107-105 win at Chicago on Nov. 2 but failed to cover as a seven-point road favorite and that’s been a common theme in this series. Going back to last season, the Pacers are 4-1 between the pair but the Bulls have gone 3-2 ATS. For the rematch, Indiana opened as a nine-point favorite and that number should be higher but the absence of Victor Oladipo (knee) is worth at least 2 points. He’s missed the last seven games for Indiana and the team has gone 3-4 without him.

The Pacers will be playing their first game at home after finishing a four-game West Coast road trip that saw them go 2-2. Indiana started with a pair of wins before dropping two in a row to the Lakers (104-96) and Kings (111-110). 

Chicago enters this matchup on a six-game losing streak it has been hit or miss during this run, losing three games by single digits and three by 10-plus points and that includes a 121-105 loss to Houston on Saturday. The club just fired head coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday and I’m not sure if that change will help considering it lacks experience and depth. The Bulls have the third worst point differential (9.6) in the league and its only road wins (2-10 SU, 4-8 ATS) came against the Knicks and Hawks.

Indiana isn’t exactly super at home (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) but it’s been a bully against sub .500 teams (11-3). Laying a big number on a team without its best player isn’t a great approach but I’d probably lean that way knowing the Pacers have the best scoring defense (102.7 PPG) in the league.

Orlando (11-12 SU, 14-9 ATS) at Miami (9-13 SU, 10-12 ATS)

Tight game expected in South Florida with the Heat (-2) listed as a short home favorite over the Magic and it’s hard to make a case for either team. Miami is coming off back-to-back home wins over the Pelicans and Jazz but it hasn’t won three in a row all season. Do you trust the Heat to get over the hump before they begin a six-game road trip? Miami hasn’t been good at home (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS) this season and it’s been horrible in the division (1-6).

Orlando is far from a world beater but it’s been a profitable team to back and even though this is their sixth straight road game, they returned from the West Coast on Saturday with a 2-3 record. More importantly, they went 4-1 ATS and they were only embarrassed in one game which was a 112-87 decision at Denver. Including those results, the Magic have gone 5-6 SU and 8-3 ATS on the road.

The past two meetings between the pair were decided by a combined five points and that includes Orlando’s 104-101 opening night win over Miami as a 2 ½-point underdog. With the line being in the same neighborhood on Tuesday, you can see that the oddsmakers have adjusted their ratings up on Orlando and down on Miami.

Portland (13-10 SU, 11-12 ATS) at Dallas (11-10 SU, 14-7 ATS)

Another short number here with Dallas listed as a two-point home favorite and it almost looks like a trap. Bettors not following the NBA on a daily basis are probably surprised that Portland is catching points in this spot but you could argue that the number should be higher. The Trail Blazers have burned bettors with seven straight losses against the spread and it’s only 2-5 SU during this span. Meanwhile, Dallas has been one of the pleasant surprise stories of the season and it enters this game with an 8-2 record both SU and ATS over its last 10 games. Plus, the Mavericks have gone 9-2 both SU and ATS at home this season. The club stumbled out of the block when listed as a favorite but it has covered three straight games in that role and sits at 5-3 both SU and ATS overall. As an underdog, Portland is 3-5 overall but it has dropped four straight and those losses came by an average of 24 PPG. Last season, Portland won and covered two of the three meetings against Dallas and that included a split in the Lone Star State.

Sacramento (11-11 SU, 13-8-1 ATS) at Phoenix (4-19 SU, 8-15 ATS)

It’s rare to see the Kings as road favorites (-6), this being just the second time this season. In the first spot, Sacramento blasted Atlanta 146-115 on Nov. 1 as a 2 ½-point road favorite. Knowing Suns guard Devin Booker (hamstring) is listed as ‘doubtful’ for this game, it’s hard to imagine Phoenix keeping up with this Sacramento team that is full of confidence.

The Kings are the third fastest team in the league with 92 shots per game and even though they don’t hoist as much from distance, they’re shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point land and that’s ranked second in the league. The Suns are ranked 25th from beyond the arc and without Booker, that number certainly declines. Phoenix only has four wins but three of them came at home (3-8 SU) and they did manage to cover a couple of the losses (5-6 ATS).

Something has to give with the total (226) on this game knowing the Kings are 10-1 to the ‘over’ on the road but the Suns are 8-3 to the ‘under’ at home. Sacramento is averaging 118.9 PPG away from home and they’re close to 40 percent from downtown on the road as well. The Suns have struggled offensively (103 PPG) all season and missing Booker will likely play a factor.

San Antonio (11-12 SU, 11-12 ATS) at Utah (11-13 SU, 11-13 ATS)

Utah opened as a 5 ½-point favorite at [...] and the number was pushed up to 7 as of Tuesday morning. Knowing the Jazz have been awful at home (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) and it will be playing its first game at home after a three-game East Coast road trip, can you justify backing them tonight? The Jazz went 2-1 both SU and ATS in the recent journey and while the loss to Miami (102-100) was tough, they needed to rally past the Nets before blowing out the Hornets.  

While you could be hesitant to lean to the Jazz at home, do you feel confident backing a San Antonio squad that has gone 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS away from home? And, two of those road wins came against the Hawks and Suns. Winning on the road for the Spurs used to be a staple for the franchise but they were poor last season (14-27) and that trend has carried over to this year. The main issue for the Spurs (112.3 PPG) has been defense and their numbers have been worse on the road (116.2 PPG).

The Jazz have certainly been a disappointment this season but their schedule has watched them play 19 of 24 games against teams above .500 and they’re 7-12 in those spots. Against losing clubs, which the Spurs are, they’re 4-1. In case you forgot, Utah started last season 17-24 before closing the second-half of the season 31-10 record and I would expect another run in the coming months.

The Jazz won three of the four encounters against the Spurs last season and they’ve taken the last three games played at Vivint Smart Home Arena but two of the wins came by four points or less. The ‘over’ has gone 8-2 in the last 10 games of this series but none of those totals were above 200 and Tuesday’s opener was 214 ½. Utah (15-9) and San Antonio (14-8) have both solid ‘over’ leans this season, especially the Jazz at home (7-1).

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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