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NBA Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 18th November by @DavAulak

New York Knicks @ Washington Wizards – Verizon Center at 00:00

It has been a long time, but there are reasons to be excited about being a New York Knicks fan these days, mainly thanks to Kristaps Porzingis who looks like a Superstar in the making. He is only in his second year, but looks very comfortable around some big names in the Knicks starting rotation and Porzingis was once again the main man in the win over the Detroit Pistons.

Playing on back to back days is tough, but the Knicks are not the only ones in that situation with the Washington Wizards also having played on Wednesday. While the Knicks were winning, the Wizards were going down to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and injuries as well as a new voice at Head Coach are just slowing down a team that were expected to improve after last season’s failure to reach the Play-offs.

John Wall will be played on a back to back for the first time, but Bradley Beal looks set to be absent again and the Knicks are certainly capable of winning here and getting back to 0.500. There have been a couple of Defensive adjustments that have helped the Knicks win two games in a row and they should have the edge on the glass which can be important in games to separate close teams.

Washington have struggled on the Defensive end of the court and have had problems defending the three point arc which has to be a concern for them. The bench play has also been important for the New York Knicks and I am surprised they are being given the points in this one despite being just 2-7-1 against the spread in the last ten against the Wizards.

The Knicks are on the road where they have been blown out in their last two at Boston and Toronto, but Washington are not one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference at this moment. The Wizards should get better but they have lost three in a row and I don’t think they should be asked to cover this many points against a team in decent form like they are facing on Thursday.

Handicap Betting Pick: New York Knicks +3 Points at 2.07 with 188Bet 

 

Handicap Betting

Kristaps Porzingis

 

Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets – Toyota Center at 01:00

I don’t think it is possible for me to know exactly how the Houston Rockets blew their chance to win at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. They missed so many open looks and James Harden struggled massively from the field, but I am going to back them on their back to back to cover against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Only going cold in the final six minutes prevented the Rockets from winning that game at Oklahoma City, but the Portland Trail Blazers have been having a really hard time Defensively. The Trail Blazers were blown out by the Chicago Bulls in their last game and have now allowed 105 points or more in five consecutive games.

One of the problems for the Trail Blazers has been their struggles when it comes to defending the three point arc and I can’t see Houston missing all their looks like they did on Wednesday. Portland have also been dominated on the glass and giving Houston second looks will only break down that three point Defense even more with the likes of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza all able to join Harden in being effective from that range on a more usual day from the field.

The Trail Blazers don’t have the same depth as Houston and while Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will have their moments, it might be tough to stay with the Rockets. Portland do have a 6-2 record against the spread in their last eight in Houston and have at least had a rest day between their last game and this one, but I think the Rockets will be focused to bounce back after blowing their game at the Thunder on Wednesday.

I think Houston are going to be able to score too many points for the Trail Blazers to stay with them as the Rockets have also been showing better signs Defensively. All of that should play in for a Houston win by around seven to ten points and I will back them to cover the points.

Handicap Betting Pick: Houston Rockets – 4.5 Points at 1.90 with Unibet

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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NBA Handicap Betting Previews – Friday 22nd April by @DavAulak

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks

Game 2 couldn’t have ended in closer fashion as Steven Adams’ put back game winner was ruled to have come after the buzzer. It felt like a pin had pricked the atmosphere in Oklahoma City as the Thunder lost their home court advantage in this First Round series against a banged up Dallas Mavericks team.

Things don’t look to be improving for Dallas on the injury front with Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams both banged up out of Game 2. JJ Barea continues to be questionable and it is a big test for the Mavericks to replicate what they did in Game 2 and hold onto home court over the next two games.

They will need Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to have the same kind of difficult shooting night as they had in Game 2 if the Mavericks are going to win this one. Billy Donovan has to expect both players to be better in this one and Oklahoma City know their chances of winning the NBA Finals depends on Durant and Westbrook being efficient with the ball and with their shooting.

Oklahoma City have not been a great road favourite to back, especially not a big road favourite as they are here. However Dallas are banged up and this is a team that is 5-9 against the spread when having two days rest between games and just 3-8 against the spread when coming off a win as the road underdog.

The Thunder have won convincingly once this season and another which was much closer, but I like them to win this one by double digits. I expect the Thunder to be focused and can’t see how a banged up Dallas team stay with them if Durant and Westbrook are better as I expect.

Handicap Betting Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder – 8.5 Points at 1.97 with Matchbook

 

Raptors Pacers

Raptors @ Pacers

 

Toronto Raptors @ Indiana Pacers

Some of the doubters were silenced as the Toronto Raptors recovered from their Game 1 setback by taking Game 2 to level this series. There is still work to be done for the Raptors as they try to recover home court advantage which was lost in Game 1 while Frank Vogel will try to make the adjustments to help the Indiana Pacers bounce back from their loss in the last game.

You may have thought the Pacers would be happy with their split from the first two games, but there was a feeling they missed an opportunity to go 2-0 up in the series. They have to stop feeling sorry for themselves as they are still to take the best shot that the Toronto Raptors can offer with DeMar DeRozan struggling in the first two games.

Paul George has been the star of the show for Indiana, but the big concern may be the injuries to the front court. That is because Jonas Valanciunas has been dominant on the boards for the Raptors and Indiana may have to play small ball in this one with Ian Mahinimi likely to sit in Game 3.

However I do have to respect the fact that the Pacers are 13-8 against the spread when hosting a team with a winning record this season. They are also 17-9 against the spread when trying to revenge a road loss and 11-3 against the spread when playing with two days rest.

I have to say my concern is that the Pacers have not been at their best as a small underdog at home, but I think the home team can be backed in this one. The Pacers have been a little more loose with the way they have played and getting some scoring support for George will give them every chance to move 2-1 up in the First Round series.

Handicap Betting Pick: Indiana Pacers + 1.5 Points at 1.98 with 188BET

 

Golden State Warriors @ Houston Rockets

Steph Curry missed Game 2 with a tender ankle, although the good news for the Golden State Warriors is there is no significant damage there. There is plenty of depth the Warriors have in their roster which means they can likely win this series without their best player, especially after beating Houston in the regular season without Curry and also in Game 2.

There seems to be plenty of money coming in for the Golden State Warriors with this spread very appealing to most, but the spread has shrunk which suggests the sharp money is on the Houston Rockets.

It is hard to follow that though with the Rockets on the brink of being broken apart in the off-season and a new Head Coach likely to be brought in. While they played better in Game 2, the Rockets still ended up comfortably losing that game even with a better performance from James Harden.

Holding onto home court is imperative if the Rockets are going to win this series and Houston are 4-3 against the spread as the home underdog of 6 points or fewer. However they are facing the defending Champions who are playing with plenty of confidence and looking to get Curry additional rest by winning this First Round series as quickly as possible.

The Warriors are also 7-2 against the spread as the road favourite of 6 points or fewer, and they are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games in Houston. I hate when all the casual fans seem to be backing one team, but it is hard to get past this spread as I think the Warriors are the more cohesive unit and Houston might not have enough depth to stay with them.

Handicap Betting Pick: Golden State Warriors – 5 Points at 1.97 with Matchbook

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @DavAulak

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NBA Handicap Betting Previews – Fri 8th Jan by @DavAulak

Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls

The Boston Celtics blew a big lead to fall to a defeat on Wednesday, but they can’t be underestimated as the road underdog here in Chicago.

I have to respect the performances the Celtics have put together on a back to back this season, especially as the underdog in the second game, while they are also thrived as a road underdog of six points or fewer with a 19-11 record against the spread in that spot over the last couple of seasons.

In the past I have made the point about backing Chicago as a home favourite and not always being comfortable in that spot. However, the Bulls look healthier and should be fresher on the court, while the three point struggles of Boston can’t be swept under the carpet in a game where both teams will feel their Defensive play can give them the advantage.

Chicago have definitely begun to improve on that side of the court and having Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler in the back court should give them another advantage. The Bulls are 7-3-1 against the spread in their last eleven home games against Boston and I think they can cover against a team that took a devastating body blow just last night.

Handicap Betting Pick: Chicago Bulls -5 Points at 1.94 with Matchbook

 

Rose

Derrick Rose

Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets

The Utah Jazz were taking another blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday while the Houston Rockets were resting, but I still believe this might be too many points being given to the road underdog.

It has only been a few days since the Rockets won a road game in Utah, but the Jazz will be kicking themselves having dominated the first half and leading by 10 points at the break. Even the back to back might not be a concern considering Utah are 4-2 against the spread in that spot and the starters did get their rest having been blown out by San Antonio.

The secondary point also remains that the Houston Rockets continue to struggle for consistency this season while having a Defense that has been porous. Houston are 0-3 against the spread when favoured by between 6.5 and 9 points at home this season while they are 1-5 against the spread when having at least two days rest between games.

Houston will give Utah a chance to stay with them in this one and I just feel the points represent the fact the Rockets are rested while the road team played on Wednesday. However the trends have seen that not to be a problem when it comes to covering for the Jazz and they can end their run of blowout losses in Houston by keeping this one much closer.

Handicap Betting Pick: Utah Jazz + 9 Points at 1.97 with Matchbook

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @DavAulak

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