Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Inside the Paint - Saturday

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The NBA favorites kept trucking along Friday with a 6-1 mark but the point-spread mattered as underdogs went 4-3 against the spread. Including those results, the ‘chalk’ has gone 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS the past two nights. The big winner lately has been the ‘under’ as the low side has gone 10-2-1 in the last two days.

Saturday’s slate has eight games on tap and below is my quick handicap.

Closing Time

Boston (43-29 SU, 34-36-2 ATS) at Charlotte (32-29 SU, 31-38-2 ATS)

The Celtics will be headed to the playoffs but they’re hoping to jump Indiana for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Hornets are looking to snag the eighth and final spot in the East but they have plenty of work to do. Boston (-3) opened as a short road favorite and it’s won and covered both games at home against Charlotte this season but they dropped a 117-112 road loss to the Hornets on Nov. 19. The Celtics come into this game off back-to-back losses and it’s burned bettors with a 1-4 ATS mark in their last five games. However, Boston has won four of its last six games as a road favorite. The Hornets haven’t been great home underdogs (2-5 SU, 2-4-1 ATS) and they’ve lost their last four contests in that role. Charlotte has five wins since the All-Star break and only one came against a playoff team (Nets). Even though the form of Boston hasn’t been great, it has racked up four consecutive wins against losing clubs.  

Miami (35-37 SU, 39-33 ATS) at Washington (30-43 SU, 35-38 ATS)

The Heat currently sit in the eighth spot of the East but a loss in D.C. tonight would put them in a tie with Orlando. Miami is listed as a short underdog (+1 ½) and it will be playing on no rest after getting run at Milwaukee last night. The Heat have gone 5-5 SU and 6-4 ATS in back-to-back spots and they’ve been better away from home (5-3). These teams have played to three shootouts this season, with Miami taking two of those meetings and that includes a 113-112 at Washington on Oct. 18. The ‘over’ has gone 3-0 and the high side is on a 5-0 run in this series.

Heavy Chalk

The final quarter of the regular season has become very tough to handicap at times just because the lineups are always up in the air and often unpredictable. Philadelphia (-8), Utah (-10) and Golden State (-14) are all laying big prices tonight and the 76ers and Jazz are doing so on the road versus the Hawks and Bulls respectively.

Among that pair, I’d expect Utah to be ready in Chicago after it dropped a 117-114 decision to Atlanta on Thursday. This is the final game of a four-game road trip for the Jazz and the club has a legit chance to push all the way up to the fourth seed in the Western Conference based on its upcoming schedule.

The 76ers were upset by the Hawks 123-121 on Jan. 11 at home and payback should be on their mind. Atlanta is a fun team to watch, especially when it’s connecting from distance, but it still has the worst defense in the league and it turns the ball over way too much. Atlanta has won three of its last four at home and the offense posted 128, 132 and 117 in the wins. 

Golden State just covered as a double-digit favorite on Thursday in a 112-89 win over Indiana and it would be surprising to see them lose at Oracle Arena tonight. However, they just dropped two games in this role (Rockets, Suns) and they’ve overall record as double-digit home favorites is a solid 16-2, but they've been hit or miss for bettors (9-9 ATS).

Looking at our Parlay Calculator, you could get 3/5 odds (Bet $100 to win $60) on the 'chalk' trio if you rolled them into a money-line parlay – 76ers (-340), Jazz (-600), Warriors (-1600). Or you can play the ‘dogs and get back close to a 200/1 return with three outright upsets.

Playoff Power

Only one game on Saturday has two playoff teams squaring off and it’s a non-conference tilt from the Moda Center with Detroit (37-34 SU, 36-33-2 ATS) visiting Portland (44-27 SU, 40-31 ATS). The Pistons dropped a 100-87 decision at this venue last season but had won and covered five straight games against the Trail Blazers prior to that setback. This is the first meeting between the pair this season and they’ll square off again next Saturday from Michigan.

The Pistons enter this game on a 3-1 run and with road games at Golden State and Denver on deck, the sense of urgency should be he high for this matchup. Portland is certainly no slouch and it has gone 5-1 in its last six games and three of those wins came at home. The Blazers have feasted on the Eastern Conference at home this season, going 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS. Meanwhile, Detroit has gone 5-6 on the road versus the West and only one win came against a playoff team (Clippers). They have been competitive with a 7-3-1 ATS mark and total bettors should note that the ‘under’ has gone 8-2-1 in those games.

Meaningless Matchups

There are two ‘roll the ball out’ games on Saturday between non-playoff clubs and while I would normally lean to the ‘over’ in those contests, the lack of scoring depth for these teams is evident.

Minnesota at Memphis: This will be the fourth and final encounter between the pair and Memphis has gone 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS in the first three meetings while the ‘under’ has gone 2-1. The Grizzlies are playing on no rest and they’ve struggled to a 2-8 SU and 3-7 ATS mark in those spots. Minnesota has dropped five straight games both SU and ATS entering this matchup and the offense (104.4 PPG) has been inconsistent, which has led to a 4-1 ‘under’ mark. The Grizzlies could be without point guard Mike Conley, who is listed as 'questionable.'

Phoenix at Sacramento: Another season series wrapping up here and the Kings (-10) are laying a big price in this Pacific Division matchup. Sacramento has gone 2-1 both SU and ATS versus Phoenix this season, scoring 122 and 117 in the wins. The Kings are still pushing the pace and scoring lately but the Suns have been held to 102 points or less in four of their last five games. The loss of Kelly Oubre (thumb) certainly won’t help Phoenix in the offensive department. The line is high but make a note that the Kings have gone 12-2 SU and 10-4 ATS as home favorites this season while the ‘under’ has gone 10-3-1.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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