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Jan 29, 2019

Inside the Paint - Tuesday

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Golden State won its 11th straight game on Monday with a wire-to-wire 132-100 victory over Indiana as a seven-point road favorite. Bettors riding the ‘favorite-over’ combination had to sweat out the total late but the cigar eventually got lit.

Including that outcome, favorites went 4-1 straight up on Monday but underdogs managed to produce a 4-1 record against the spread. Atlanta (+6) was the only underdog to win outright as it ran past the L.A. Clippers 123-118 from the Staples Center. Memphis (+5) should’ve joined the Hawks in that group but it collapsed in the fourth quarter (35-15) and lost to Denver 95-92 at home.

We’ve got seven games on tap for Tuesday and below is my quick handicap.

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

Early Chalk

The visitor is favored in each of the first three game on Tuesday’s card and the odds are in the same neighborhood, ranging from 5 to 7 ½ points. While the three teams laying points are clearly the more talented trio, they haven’t fared well for bettors in these roles.

Washington at Cleveland: The Cavaliers own the worst record in the NBA and they also own the worst point differential at negative 11 points per game (102.4 to 113.4). While Cleveland is far from good, bettors should be aware that the Wizards are 2-5 both SU and ATS this season when listed as road favorites. One of those setbacks came to Cleveland, who ran past Washington 116-101 as a 7 ½-point home underdog on Dec. 8.  Including that win, the Cavaliers are just 4-16 SU and 8-12 ATS as home ‘dogs this season and lately they’ve been awful. Cleveland has dropped eight straight at home as an underdog and it only managed to cover two of those losses. Make a note that the Cavs are off a win and they’re just 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS after a victory this season.

Milwaukee at Detroit: The Bucks are a respectable 10-8 SU and 9-7-2 ATS when laying points on the road. One of the pushes came at Detroit on Dec. 17 as Milwaukee captured a 107-104 win as a three-point road favorite. Including that win, the Bucks have won three straight and five of the last six encounters against the Pistons. Unfortunately for Detroit, it hasn’t been able to pull many upsets off at home as it owns a 4-7 SU and 4-6-1 ATS mark as a home underdog.

Oklahoma City at Orlando: The Thunder started the season with a 7-2 record (6-3 ATS) as a road favorite but it has struggled recently. Oklahoma City is 4-7 both SU and ATS in its last 11 when laying points as a visitor and the point-spread didn’t matter in any of those games, which could have you leaning to Orlando on the money-line. The Magic have gone 8-8 SU and 9-6-1 ATS as a home ‘dog this season and they’ve won three of their last four in this role. Orlando is just 2-4 in its last six meetings against Oklahoma City but it has managed to produce a 5-1 ATS mark over that span.

Brooklyn Beware

Head coach Kenny Atkinson has done an incredible job with the Nets (27-24 SU, 29-22 ATS) this season and they have a legit shot to make the playoffs. What’s more impressive is that Brooklyn has pushed through key injuries but it’s latest setback to Spencer Dinwiddie (finger) is tough to overcome. They lack depth in the backcourt now and it showed in last night’s 112-104 loss at Boston.

The Nets (-7) are expected to rebound tonight at home versus Chicago (11-39 SU, 21-27-2 ATS) but this line seems a little short and bettors might back Brooklyn blindly because it’s won and covered five straight in this series.

The ‘stay away’ stat for me is Brooklyn’s record in back-to-back situations. This season, the Nets have gone 2-8 both SU and ATS on no rest. To be fair, nine of those results came on the road but those tendencies are hard to ignore.

Life after AD

New Orleans received inevitable news on Monday as All-Star Anthony Davis announced that he won’t sign an extension with the team and wants to be traded to a championship contending team. Davis is arguably a top 5 player in the league and he’s going off this season, averaging 29.3 PPG and 13.3 rebounds per game. I don’t get emotionally involved with players (betting will do that to you) but the Pelicans weren’t exactly a powerhouse with him and he’s been fragile at times in his career.

Davis has missed the last four games for New Orleans with a finger injury and the club has gone 1-3 without him. He’s missed nine games the entire season and the Pelicans have gone 2-7. The club is possibly starting at their eighth loss on Tuesday when they meet Houston, who is listed as a 10-point favorite over the Pelicans.

The Rockets have quickly turned their season around after a rough start. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but since the club stopped playing Carmelo Anthony on Nov. 8, they’ve gone 25-14 and sit in first place of the Southwest Division. What was surprising is that they opened the season 0-4 at the Toyota Center and yes, Carmelo played in all of those games. Since then, the team has gone 19-3 at home and more importantly 15-6-1 ATS.

James Harden has been on fire, posting 23 consecutive games of at least 30 points. In January, he’s averaging 44.1 PPG and has posted two 50-point games and a franchise-record 61 over the New York Knicks on Jan. 23. Will he finish the month with another monster effort?

These teams split the first two meetings this season with the visitor taking both games. New Orleans won 131-112 on Oct. 17 before Houston avenged that setback with a 108-104 win in the Big Easy on Dec. 29.

Houston has been perfect as a double-digit home favorite, going 4-0 both SU and ATS. The offense is averaging 132.5 PPG and that’s led to four easy ‘over’ tickets. The total on this game opened at 234 ½.

Late-Night from L.A.

The TNT double-header (10:35 p.m. ET) concludes with Philadelphia (32-18 SU, 23-27 ATS) meeting the Los Angeles Lakers (26-24 SU, 21-27-2 ATS) from the Staples Center.

The book is sort of out on the 76ers -- great at home (21-5) and inconsistent on the road (11-13). I say sort of because Philadelphia is starting to come around as a visitor. Since they acquired shooting guard Jimmy Butler from Minnesota in early November, the club has gone 10-7 SU and 8-9 ATS away from home but the recent results as a road favorite (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) show much improvement. 

Butler (wrist) has missed the last three games with Philadelphia but he’s expected to go tonight as so is Joel Embiid and Wilson Chandler. The short-handed squad was run by Denver 126-110 on the road Saturday but was on a roll before the setback. They had gone 9-3 in January and that included quality wins over the Pacers, Rockets and Spurs.

While a win over Los Angeles without LeBron might not get attention, Philadelphia does visit Golden State on Thursday. The 76ers opened as six-point favorites over the Lakers and the number has quickly been pushed up to 7 at most shops.

The only buzz surrounding the Lakers these days has been on the rumors about the aforementioned Anthony Davis joining the Lakers, the possible firing of head coach Luke Walton and when LeBron James will return.

James (groin) is expected to be ‘out’ tonight but the latest reports say he’s projected to return on Thursday versus the Clippers. Los Angeles just snapped a three-game losing skid on Sunday with a 116-102 home win over Phoenix but the club is 6-10 overall since James went down with the injury.

During that span, they’ve only beaten one playoff team (Oklahoma City) and it has struggled to a 4-6 record at the Staples Center. While that record seems justified, the oddsmakers had them favored in seven of those games (4-3). As an underdog during this stretch, the Lakers have gone 0-3 both SU and ATS with losses to quality opponents (Clippers, Thunder, Warriors).

Last season, the pair split their regular season meetings with the visitor winning both games. Philadelphia has won each of its last two trips to the Staples Center and the offense (115, 118) came to play in those games.

These teams will meet again quickly on Feb. 10 from Philadelphia.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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