NBA Handicap Betting Previews – Tuesday 19th April by @DavAulak

Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors – Game 2

There have been plenty of doubters of the Toronto Raptors through the course of this season despite that team finishing with the Number 2 Seed in the Eastern Conference. Those voices would have been loudly declaring ‘I told you so’ on Saturday afternoon as Toronto lost their home court advantage to the Indiana Pacers following being swept out of the Play Offs in the First Round by Washington last season.

Last season saw the Raptors lose Game 1 and Game 2 at home before being dismissed in the nation’s capital and the pressure is on the home team to avoid falling into a 0-2 hole again.

It was a bad Game 1 for Toronto as they struggled to shoot from the field and had far too many turnovers. Both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan couldn’t really affect the game in the way they have for much of the regular season, while the Raptors Defensive unit couldn’t slow down Paul George who had a huge second half.

The momentum might be with Indiana now who have won seven of their last eight games, although the one loss in that time did come here in the regular season. The zig-zag theory might not be as relevant as it used to be, but I think the Raptors will be much better in Game 2 as the Pacers perhaps take a breath having stolen home court. I will back Toronto for a second time in this First Round series and look for them to level the series before heading on the road.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Toronto Raptors -7 Points @ 1.93 with Pinnacle Sports

 

Paul George

Paul George

Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Game 2

I thought the Oklahoma City Thunder were being asked to cover too many points in Game 1 but they blew away the Dallas Mavericks. The latter were perhaps a surprising Play Off team for many and they will have to be a lot better if they are going to make this a competitive series although another injury to JJ Barea is a blow.

It was the Thunder who imposed their game on the first one of this series and they will be looking to do the same again while again a double digit favourite. However it is up to Dallas to try and control the boards and to slow things down if they are going to get back into this one and I do think Rick Carlisle is smart enough to make the right adjustments for his team.

The spread doesn’t really appeal to me in this one, but I have been looking at the total points market. The adjustments made by Carlisle are going to try and slow down the possessions each team has and that has shown up in Dallas games following blow out losses.

The under total points is 4-1 off a road blow out loss of 20 points or more and I think the Mavericks will look to lock down on that side of things. That should also make things closer on the scoreboard than Game 1, although Oklahoma City are capable of getting out and scoring points in quick bunches.

In saying that, the under is 2-0 in the last two games between these teams in Oklahoma City and I will look for this to be a third straight time that occurs.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Under 200 Total Points @ 2.01 with Matchbook

 

Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors – Game 2

There is plenty of disharmony inside the Houston Rockets locker room and I do wonder how much belief they have to turn this First Round series around. Being blown out by the Golden State Warriors is something many teams have experienced in the last couple of seasons, but the Rockets need to show they have plenty of character if they are going to get back into this series.

Once again they will head into the Oracle Arena as the double digit underdogs, but I think there might be a reason to back the underdog this time around. First there is the question mark surrounding Steph Curry who was a little banged up after Game 1, although the likely MVP of the season has stated he will be suited up for Game 2.

However that might mean Curry is a little limited in terms of minutes he can play and getting off his shots in the manner expected. You also have to think James Harden and Dwight Howard are going to have a bigger impact in Game 2 than they did in Game 1 and this is a lot of points for the Rockets to be receiving considering they are 7-3 against the spread this season off a double digit loss on the road.

Of course going against the Golden State Warriors is never easy, especially in their home Arena, but the home team are ‘only’ 7-6 against the spread when favoured by 12.5 points or more at home this season. With Curry perhaps a little banged up, I will look for the Rockets to make this a much more competitive game than we saw on Saturday.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Houston Rockets +13 Points @ 2.05 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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NBA Handicap Betting Preview – Thursday 14th April by @DavAulak

Utah Jazz @ LA Lakers – Staples Centre at 03:30

It is surely going to be the most emotional game at the Staples Center for the LA Lakers in recent seasons as Kobe Bryant says goodbye to the NBA. Tickets are going for crazy prices for a team that is not in Play Off contention, but that just goes to show what the Black Mamba has done for this franchise as everyone wants to see him play one final time.

They should get to see plenty of Bryant too as Byron Scott has admitted he will give him the most minutes he has all season. With the Lakers players likely deferring to Bryant whenever they can, there is potential for one final huge game for Bryant on the stats sheet.

 

Byron Scott & Kobe Bryant

Byron Scott & Kobe Bryant

The Utah Jazz have to avoid all of the emotions in the building as they try to win and hope the Houston Rockets lose if they are to make the Play Offs. I am picking the Jazz to spoil the party but my big concern is that they will know their Play Off fate when this game tips off and a Houston win could potentially deflate the atmosphere in their own locker room.

On the face of it the Utah Jazz should be too good for the Lakers who have lost six straight games and none by fewer than seven points. Utah haven’t exactly been in great nick themselves though, but they have covered the number the last four times they have played the Lakers. That includes three straight blow out wins in this Center and I will back the Jazz to win although not ruining the party atmosphere for Kobe as he says goodbye.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Utah Jazz -6 Points @ 2.00 with Matchbook

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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NBA Handicap Betting Previews – Wednesday 13th April by @DavAulak

New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 00:05

The New York Knicks have had another difficult season which has ended with the team being far from a Play Off calibre one. Rumours surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s future continue to dominate the back pages, while the lack of a First Round Draft Pick means Free Agency will be key for them.

Before all that, the Knicks need to hire a permanent Head Coach as Kurt Rambis continues to lead them on an interim basis following the firing of Derek Fisher. This off-season is going to be a big one for Phil Jackson to show the Knicks fans he is going to get this right in New York and the next Head Coach appointment is key to that.

The Knicks have continued to play hard and may be getting too many points against the Indiana Pacers who confirmed their Play Off spot last time out. That could easily see this young team just exhale following the pressure to get into the top eight in the Eastern Conference and that will make it tough for the Pacers to win this one by double digits as they are being asked to.

I do think Indiana will likely win the game as they look to finish with the Number 7 Seed in the East, but New York’s two defeats to them have come by a combined eight points this season. Only two of their last eleven games have seen the Knicks lose by more than nine points and I am going to back them to give it their all for their final game of the season and stay within this number.

Handicap Betting Pick: New York Knicks +9.5 Points at 1.91 with Pinnacle Sports

 

Brandon Jennings

 

Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons – The Palace of Auburn Hills at 00:35

Both the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons will be playing in the post-season beginning this weekend, but they still have some Seedings to sort out in the final two days of the regular season. The Heat are hoping to finish as high as Number 3 in the Eastern Conference, while Stan Van Gundy has made it clear he wants to finish Number 7 with the Pistons to underline a strong season.

That should mean a competitive game on Tuesday, but I think the well rested Detroit Pistons can get the job done and cover a small spread. They have been very strong at doing that at home this season and Detroit have won three in a row at home against the Miami Heat.

Both teams have shown some solid form to close the season, but I think it is hard to ignore the fact that Miami have been struggling on the road. That makes earning a home series in the First Round vital for them and perhaps the Heat are looking ahead to the game at Boston tomorrow night which could determine who hosts that potential First Round series between those teams.

Miami might be the team that can give Cleveland the most issues in the Eastern Conference, but I think it is going to be a tough task for them at Detroit. The Pistons are 7-2 against the spread when favoured by 3 points or fewer at home this season and I will back them to cover and keep the pressure on Indiana for the Number 7 Seed in the East.

Handicap Betting Pick: Detroit Pistons -2.5 Points at 2.01 with Matchbook

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

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