Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

Inside the Paint - Tuesday

The NBA slows down the pace on Tuesday with four games and the oddsmakers are expecting three of the contests to be competitive. Favorites posted a 7-1 straight up record last night and the chalk managed to produce profits at the betting counter too with a 5-1-2 mark against the spread. Based on our closing the numbers, the Bucks (-3) and Rockets (-5) both pushed in their victories over the Pistons and Jazz respectively. The lone underdog occurred in the late-night tip as the Trail Blazers (+1 ½) nipped the struggling Clippers 131-127 at the Staples Center. The ‘over/under’ went 4-4 on Monday.

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

Cleveland (7-23 SU, 14-16 ATS) at Indiana (20-10 SU, 15-14-1 ATS)

Monday’s card saw a pair of double-digit favorites win and cover easily in the Thunder and Warriors. Indiana (-12 ½) will try to keep the ‘chalk’ express rolling on a Tuesday. I was told a long time ago to never be afraid to lay a heavy amount of points, in football or basketball, if the team you’re backing plays defense. Indiana certainly fits that criteria as it leads the league in scoring defense, allowing 101.2 points per game. That production has led to a 20-10 ‘under’ mark and they enter this matchup with 10 straight winning tickets to the low side.

Indiana also brings a seven-game winning streak (6-1 ATS) into this game against the Cavaliers. The Pacers have been double-digit favorites twice this season and they’re 2-0 but they haven’t covered in either win. Most recently, they got squeezed this past Sunday in their 110-99 win over the Knicks as 12-point favorites.

Cleveland isn’t a good team and if you’re backing them tonight, then you better hope for a stellar shooting night and I wish you luck with that against the Pacers. In the seven wins for the Cavaliers, they’re averaging 116.7 PPG. Outside of fading the public, the only other handicap you can make against the Pacers is a look-ahead spot as Indiana travels to Toronto on Wednesday.

These teams met in late October from Quicken Loans Arena and the Pacers ran past the Cavaliers 119-107 as seven-point road favorites.

L.A. Lakers (18-12 SU, 12-17-1 ATS) at Brooklyn (13-18 SU, 16-15 ATS)

This is a great matchup and even though the Nets probably won’t make the playoffs, the Barclays Center will be buzzing on Tuesday and it should be. Brooklyn has won five straight games, covered six in a row and it’s a young fun group to watch and they’re a tough out when the 3-pointers are dropping. Lately, the Nets can’t miss from anywhere and the team is averaging 121 PPG in their last six and that’s led to a 4-2 ‘over’ mark. They’re coming off a 144-127 wire-to-wire win over Atlanta on Sunday afternoon as seven-point favorites.

For this game, the Nets are underdogs to the Lakers (-2 ½) and Los Angeles will be looking to finish off its four-game road trip with a split after dropping two of their first three. The Lakers couldn’t keep up with the Wizards on Sunday as they got run 128-110 in D.C. while playing on no rest. Including the loss to Washington, the Lakers have gone 6-4 versus the Eastern Conference this season and they’ve burned backers at the betting counter (3-7 ATS). 

Since starting the season 2-4, the Lakers have gone 16-8 and the key to that success has been rebounding off losses. During this span, Los Angeles has gone 6-1 after a setback. Even though we have plenty of different faces on the court tonight, the Lakers have had their way with the Nets recently, winning five of the last six meetings and they’ve gone 5-1 ATS during this span.

Washington (12-18 SU, 12-18 ATS) at Atlanta (6-23 SU, 11-18 ATS)

The Wizards opened as 4 ½-point road favorites and the relay money has pushed the number down to 3 ½. These teams just met a couple weeks ago and Washington (-3 ½) captured a 131-117 road win over Atlanta from State Farm Arena.

Despite being the more talented team, it’s hard to make a case for a Wizards team that has struggled on the road (4-12 SU, 4-12 ATS) this season.  If you’re looking to back the Hawks tonight, I would suggest a money-line play (+140) knowing that Atlanta has gone 4-8 both SU and ATS as a home underdog and the point-spread hasn’t matter in any of those contests.

If you’re undecided on either side, the ‘over’ could be worth a look. It’s a high total (236) but Washington (19-11) and Atlanta (17-12) have both leaned to the ‘over’ this season and they just played to a shootout.

Dallas (15-12 SU, 17-11 ATS) at Denver (20-9 SU, 18-11 ATS)

Bettors could be scratching their heads on this game as two of their ATS darlings will square off from the Pepsi Center in the last game on the board Tuesday. At first glance, I thought the line on Denver (-5) was way too short especially when you look at the home-away numbers for the Nuggets (12-3 SU, 11-4 ATS) and Mavericks (2-10 SU, 5-7 ATS). Actually, it looks like a no-brainer to back Denver and anytime you think it’s too easy, we all know that it never is.

The Nuggets just completed a season sweep of Toronto on Sunday with a 95-86 win at home and they were three-point favorites in that game against a Raptors squad that didn’t have Kyle Lowry in the lineup. Two days later, the Nuggets are only giving an extra two points to a Dallas team that has only two road wins. Perhaps now you see what I’m getting at.

Including that win, Denver has won and covered six straight at home and what may surprise you is that the club is winning with defense (102.9 PPG) this season. The Mavericks limp into this game off back-to-back losses and they haven’t covered in three straight games. Dallas was on a great run (11-3 ATS) prior to this skid but a lot of the profits came at home. The Mavs haven’t lost three straight games since they were mired in a six-game skid that ended in early November.

The home team went 4-0 in the four meetings between the pair last season but the Mavericks covered in both of their wins and the two losses in Denver, which came by a combined five points (105-102, 91-89). It appears the oddsmakers are putting some stock into those tendencies for this year’s first encounter.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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