Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Inside the Paint - Tuesday

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

The second-half of the season is in full swing and we’ve had 41 games played since last Thursday. After watching underdogs dominate the betting counter with a 19-11 (63%) record against the spread in the first 30 contests, the favorites struck back Monday with a 7-4 mark versus the number.

Favorites went 9-2 straight up last night and they’re 27-14 over the last five days. While a couple ‘chalk’ winners on the hardwood got squeezed with the spread, notable heavy-bet favorites in the Warriors and Bucks cashed tickets on the road.

Milwaukee (46-14) owns the best record in the league and has started the second-half 3-0 but four straight road games against Western Conference teams are on deck. Portland and Detroit have also jumped out of the chute with a 3-0 mark since the break.

Looking to fade teams? Miami was one of the lone favorites to fall last night, collapsing to the Suns 124-121 at home. The Heat have gone 0-3 (1-2 ATS) since the break and they have the Warriors at home and Rockets on the road on deck. Good Luck!

San Antonio (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) and Dallas (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) are also winless in the second-half and while the Spurs were embarrassed in New York, they played a tough game in Toronto. As for Dallas, the ‘silent tank’ is on and the team is now 1-6 both SU and ATS in its last seven games and the one win came at home in a game where Portland fell apart.

The 'under' went 7-4 last night, couple lucky tickets in there too. Bettors on the 'over' in either the Golden State-Charlotte or L.A. Lakers-New Orleans matchups can't be too happy this morning. Since the break, the 'over' is 22-19.

Tuesday’s slate only has three games on tap and based on the current form, trends and situations, the favorites appear to be the leans – at least on paper.

Let’s break them down!

Orlando (27-32 SU, 32-26-1 ATS) at New York (11-47 SU, 25-31-2 ATS)

It’s rare to see Orlando listed as a road favorite, just four times this season and the club has lived up to the expectations of the oddsmakers by going 3-1 both SU and ATS. The ‘under’ has gone 3-1 in those games. The Magic have gone 1-1 since the All-Star break, and the loss was surprising as they fell to Chicago 110-109 last Friday as an eight-point home favorite. The club rebounded with a nice win over Toronto (113-98) on Sunday and that win pushed them to 8-2 both SU and ATS in its last 10 games. The defense has stepped up recently and bettors should note that Orlando is 13-3 this season when holding opponents under the century mark.

The Knicks are coming off a 130-118 win over San Antonio as a nine-point home underdog on Sunday but that result and offensive production was clearly an aberration. The team hasn’t won back-to-back games since November and they haven’t had much success against this opponent. The Magic have won and covered three straight and five of their last six encounters against the Knicks, which includes two victories this season. Both of those results came in November and the Magic won by 14 points (131-117) at home and 26 points (115-89) from Madison Square Garden. The pair will meet for the fourth and final time on Apr. 3 from Orlando.

Boston (37-21 SU, 29-28-1 ATS) at Toronto (43-16 SU, 25-33-1 ATS)

Eastern Conference contenders collide on Tuesday and the oddsmakers sent Toronto out as a four-point home favorite over Boston. As underdogs this season, the Celtics have gone 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS. They did earn a cover against the Bucks last week but the point-spread hasn’t mattered much, which could have you leaning Celtics on the money-line (+155).

Laying the points with Toronto hasn’t been a good investment lately, losers at the betting counter in their last five games. And even though their 24-4 record at home is one of the best records in the league, a 13-16 ATS mark has you in the red. This isn’t that large of a number and it should be noted that the Raptors are 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS when laying less than five points at home this season.

As mentioned above, the Celtics opened the second-half with a tough 98-97 loss at Milwaukee last Thursday and they followed up that decision with an embarrassing 126-116 setback at Chicago as heavy 10-point road underdogs. Losing to Toronto on Tuesday would be the fourth time this season that Boston has lost three consecutive games. To put things in perspective, Boston only had two losing streaks of three-plus games in the 2017-18 campaign.

Toronto entered the All-Star break with a six-game winning streak and it extended the run to seven last Friday as they defeated former teammate DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs 120-117 at home. The Raptors were fortunate to grab that win but they got caught napping in an afternoon matinee loss at home on Sunday to Orlando, 113-98. The Raptors rested All-Star Kawhi Leonard against the Magic and they now sit at 13-4 without him in the lineup this season.

Boston holds a 2-1 edge over Toronto this season and the home team has won and covered all three meetings. The Celtics won the most recent encounter on Jan. 16 as they earned a 117-108 win as 2 ½-point home favorites. The first game from Scotiabank Arena between the pair took place in the first week of the season (Oct. 10) and Toronto cruised to a 113-101 win as a three-point favorite.

Including that setback, Boston has dropped seven straight and 11 of its last 12 trips to Canada. The Celtics have gone 3-9 ATS during this span with their last win coming in April of 2015 when Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk rallied the club to the rare road victory.

TNT will provide national coverage of this game at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Oklahoma City (37-20 SU, 33-24 ATS) at Denver (39-18 SU, 30-27 ATS)

The late-night TNT (10:35 p.m. ET) is a solid matchup in the Western Conference as Oklahoma City and Denver tangle from the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have won and covered the first two meetings against the Thunder this season and the oddsmakers have finally given them their due, making them favorites (-3) for the first time in this season series.

Including the two results this season, Denver has won four straight and six of the last seven games against OKC and it’s gone 7-0 ATS during this span. The Thunder have come up short on their last three trips to the Pepsi Center and it could easily be four if it wasn’t for Russell Westbook’s record-setting night back in April of 2017.


Fast forward to Tuesday and this is a nice test for both clubs. The Nuggets started the second-half with back-to-back wins and covers over the Mavericks and Clippers behind a defense that only allowed 100 PPG. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is 1-1 since returning from the break with a wild 148-17 overtime win at home over Utah last Friday before losing 119-116 the next night at the same venue to Sacramento.

Many pundits expected Denver to drop off this season and I’m not sure how deep of a playoff run the club will make but you can’t dismiss their record versus winning teams (18-11) and their performance in games decided by three points or less, which is a league-best 10-2 overall.

It's fair to say that OKC has more big-game experience and after starting the season 0-3 in games when listed as an underdog, Billy Donovan's team has produced an eye-opening 8-2 record in its last 10 when catching points. 

The total on this game opened 237, which seems a tad high based on the recent history between the pair. The ‘under’ is on a 6-2 run in this series and that includes a 2-0 record this season. Denver has watched the ‘over’ go 17-12 at home but OKC has been a solid ‘under’ lean (17-12) as a visitor.

The clubs will meet for the last time this season on Mar. 29 from Oklahoma City.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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