Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Inside the Paint - Thursday

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Dogs Strike Back

After watching the favorites go 11-3 straight up and 9-5 against the spread on Monday and Tuesday, the underdogs stormed back Wednesday with a 6-5 SU and 9-1-1 ATS mark. The Heat led the charge with a stunning 126-125 win over Golden State as a 9 ½-point home underdog. While Miami was certainly the right side as it led throughout the game, any bettors taking them on the money-line at 4/1 (Bet $100 to win $400) have watched the below clip a few times.

The Heat weren’t the only team snapping their losing skid last night. The Spurs got on track with a 105-93 win over Detroit as a 4 ½-point home favorite and San Antonio was the only ‘chalk’ to cash on Wednesday.

We did see all three late-night favorites win outright last night but the underdogs saved face against the spread and that’s been a common theme lately. Since we returned from the All-Star break last Thursday, favorites have gone 34-21 SU while underdogs are 33-21-1 ATS. The totals market has leaned slightly to the ‘over’ (28-27) during this span and that includes a 6-5 lean to the high side last night.

Back-to-Back Spots

Six teams will be playing on no rest Wednesday and I’ve listed their production (SU, ATS, O/U) when facing back-to-back spots along with trends to watch as well.

Minnesota (2-6 SU, 5-3 ATS, 4-4 O/U) at Indiana (8-3 SU, 8-3 ATS, 4-7 O/U): Both clubs coming off losses last night as the Timberwolves collapsed late at Atlanta in overtime while Indiana also came up short in a 110-101 loss at Dallas. The Timberwolves have covered four straight games on no rest despite going 1-3 straight up. The Pacers have been a great look in back-to-back spots and even better at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, going 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS on no rest. Minnesota has won and covered three of the last four meetings in this series, including a 101-91 win as a two-point home favorite on Oct. 22, 2018.

Golden State (6-2 SU, 2-5-1 ATS, 5-3 O/U) at Orlando: The Warriors got caught napping in Miami last night and are now listed as road favorites (-6) in this spot. Golden State is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games on no rest despite going 4-2 straight up. The Warriors are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games and could easily be 0-8 if the Hornets show up for the second-half of their encounter this past Monday. Orlando played down to its competition again on Tuesday as it lost to the Knicks 108-103 as 7 ½-point road favorites. However, the Magic are 3-0 both SU and ATS in its last three as an underdog which includes last Sunday's win at Toronto. 

Miami (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U) at Houston (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U): The Heat haven’t faced many back-to-back sets this season and only two in February, both decisions were losses and the ‘under’ cashed in each contest as well. Houston has won and covered three of its last four games on no rest, all three wins came by double digits. Coincidentally, the lone loss came to the Heat as the Rockets dropped a 101-99 setback as three-point road favorites on Dec. 20. Oddsmakers expecting Houston (-9) to get revenge here but bettors could be hesitant to lay the points knowing the Rockets are 2-6 ATS in their last eight at the Toyota Center.

Utah (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS, 7-3 O/U) at Denver: The Jazz have been hit or miss on no rest this season but they have won three of their last four games. The ‘over’ has cashed in the past four contests.

Break up the Knicks!?

New York (13-48 SU, 26-34 ATS) will host Cleveland (14-47 SU, 27-33 ATS) tonight as a short home favorite (-3). The Knicks will be looking to win their third straight game on Wednesday after stunning the Spurs on Sunday and Magic on Tuesday from Madison Square Garden as underdogs. Going from hunter to hunted is never easy in any sport and New York hasn’t been a favorite since December. Overall, the Knicks are 3-5 both SU and ATS as a ‘chalk’ and they’ve lost their last four games in this role. New York’s longest winning streak this season was three games, which ended on Nov. 28. For what it’s worth, the Cavaliers are 2-0 both SU and ATS versus the Knicks this season, both wins coming in Cleveland.

TNT Action

Philadelphia (39-22 SU, 28-33 ATS) at Oklahoma City (38-22 SU, 33-27 ATS)

This game loses a little luster as the 76ers still won’t have All-Star Joel Embiid (knee) available and his mini-rivalry with Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook always provides added entertainment. NBA expert Tony Mejia offered up his thoughts on the televised non-conference matchup, which begins at 8:05 p.m. ET.

He said, “The 76ers are likely going to employ a small-ball approach with Joel Embiid and the newly acquired Boban Marjanovic sidelined. It will be interesting to see if the lack of a back-to-the-basket threat limits Steven Adams’ effectiveness for the Thunder, but the rebounding prowess of Russell Westbrook and Paul George make the Thunder a dangerous team to try and play position-less basketball against. Embiid had 31 points in Philly’s 117-115 loss when these teams played on Jan. 19. Tobias Harris was still with the Clippers when these teams met in Philly, but he’ll be critical in attempting to put a halt to the 19-game losing streak the 76ers are on against Oklahoma City.”

“The 76ers have dropped nine straight at Chesapeake Energy Arena and will need Harris and J.J. Redick to shoot the ball well from beyond the arc in order to have the firepower to hang around here. Rookie Jonah Bolden, veteran Amir Johnson and center Justin Patton, who has gotten in just one game his entire career, will attempt to hold their own against Adams and Nerlens Noel, who have been an extremely effective combination. Markieff Morris should also see time and could be the x-factor since he might be in line for more minutes with Philly lacking a traditional center. At home, not having to deal with Embid or Marjanovic certainly favors OKC and a faster pace given the lack of resistance inside. Although Embiid gets to the free-throw line at a high rate to aid ‘overs,’ his defense is a major factor that the 76ers are having a tough time replicating. Portland scored 130 points without him in the mix on Saturday night.”

The Thunder have gone 14-5 ATS during their 19-game winning streak over the 76ers and they’re laying 7 ½-points in this matchup. Philadelphia has alternated wins and losses in their last six games as underdogs and the team is 7-9 both SU and ATS this season when catching points. Make a note that the point-spread hasn’t mattered in any of those 16 contests so if you’re leaning Philadelphia, perhaps a money-line play at 5/2 odds could intrigue you.

This game has the highest total on the board at 239. OKC has watched the ‘over’ go 18-11 at home this season. Both teams have watched the ‘under’ go 2-1 in their games since the All-Star break.

Utah (34-26 SU, 31-27 ATS) at Denver (42-18 SU, 33-27 ATS)

The Nuggets come into this game with a five-game winning streak and three of those wins have occurred after the All-Star break. Denver has gone 3-0 ATS in those victories and that includes an impressive 121-112 victory over the Thunder on Tuesday.

For this matchup, the Nuggets opened as five-point home favorites and the number has been pushed up to -7 as of Thursday morning. Denver has been a tough out at the Pepsi Center this season, owning a league-best 27-4 record. More importantly, the Nuggets have gone 22-9 ATS for bettors. They’ve won 19 of their last 20 in Colorado and that includes a run of nine straight wins. During the current home winning streak, the club is 8-1 ATS.

As noted above, the Jazz are playing with no rest and their numbers are pedestrian in back-to-back spots. Utah has gone 2-1 both SU and ATS since the break and the lone loss was a heartbreaker, a 148-147 setback at Oklahoma City in overtime.

The Jazz haven’t been that strong on the road (14-16) this season but they’ve managed to churn out slight profits at the betting counter (15-13-1 ATS). In their last six games as visitors, they’re 2-4 SU and 4-2 ATS.

The pair split the first two meetings this season and the home team won and covered both contests. These teams are only schedule to play three times so this encounter will be the last matchup between them. Denver stopped Utah 103-88 on Nov. 3 as a 4 ½-point favorite from the Pepsi Center. Including that win, the Nuggets have won and covered five straight at home against the Jazz. The ‘under’ has cashed in all five of those games.

TNT will provide national coverage of this game at 10:35 p.m. ET.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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