Betting News and Notes - Dec 17th

Betting News and Notes - Dec 17th

Orlando (17-8 SU, 18-7 ATS) at Dallas (16-9 SU, 11-14 ATS)

The Magic start a two-game Texas road trip in Dallas against the suddenly resurgent Mavericks.

After opening the season with a 16-4 mark, Orlando has dropped four of its last five (1-4 ATS), all against teams at or below .500. On Saturday, the Grizzlies traveled to Florida and stunned the Magic 123-119, winning outright as 11½-point underdogs.

Dallas seems to have corrected its problems, following up a 3-6 slide by winning four of its last five both SU and ATS. The Mavericks went to Houston on Saturday and scored a 96-83 win as a 3½-point underdog. Defense has led the surge for Dallas, which hasn’t allowed more than 92 points in any of its last four games (3-1 ATS).

Orlando hasn’t won in Dallas in more than a decade and is only 2-7 in the last nine matchups with the Mavericks, but 5-4 ATS. Even though they haven’t won inside the American Airlines Center, the Magic have gotten the cash in their last three visits.

The Magic are 5-2 in their last seven on the highway (6-1 ATS), including a 103-87 win in Charlotte on Friday as a five-point chalk. Going back to last season, Orlando is on a 20-6-2 ATS roll on the road. Overall, Stan Van Gundy’s squad is on a 25-9-2 ATS spurt.

The Mavericks are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight in front of the home fans.

The over is 11-3 in Dallas’ last 14 home games and 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings. However, the under is on current overall runs of 3-1 for Orlando and 4-0 for the Mavericks.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ORLANDO


Phoenix (17-7 SU, 10-14 ATS) at San Antonio (18-5 SU, 14-8-1 ATS)

The Suns visit San Antonio for the first time since falling to the Spurs in six games in last year’s controversial Western Conference playoff semifinal series.

Last May’s hard-fought series featured stitches for Suns’ guard Steve Nash and suspensions to the Spurs’ Robert Horry, as well as the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. San Antonio won the series in six (3-2-1 ATS), then won eight of its next nine to claim its fourth NBA title in the last nine years.

San Antonio is on runs of 8-3 SU against Phoenix in the playoffs and 7-3 SU in the regular season since the 2004-05 season. Also, the Spurs have cashed in 15 of their last 23 matchups with the Suns.

The straight-up winner is 8-1-1 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head meetings.

The Suns are coming off Saturday’s 101-98 upset loss at New Orleans as 6½-point road favorites, dropping to 1-3 in their last four (0-4 ATS). Also, Phoenix has followed up a four-game road winning streak (3-1 ATS) with consecutive defeats on the highway both SU and ATS.

Avery Johnson’s Spurs have won six of their last eight overall (7-1 ATS), including Saturday’s 102-91 rout of the Nuggets as six-point home favorites. San Antonio averages 13 more points per game at home than it allows (103-90), while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor at the AT&T Center.

The under is 5-1 in San Antonio’s last six overall and 3-1 in the Suns’ last four.

ATS ADVANTAGE: SAN ANTONIO and UNDER

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Marbury plans to play Monday when Knicks host Pacers
ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury returned to practice Sunday after missing a week while mourning the death of his father.

Marbury plans to play Monday when the Knicks host the Indiana Pacers. He had missed four straight games after briefly trying to return following the Dec. 2 death of his father, Donald.

Looking noticeably thinner, Marbury said he started working out again a few days ago. He has appeared in just two of the past seven games.

''Eventually I was going to have to get back into it,'' Marbury said. ''So I knew that I was going to have to start working out and getting myself back into it mentally and emotionally.''

Marbury acknowledged it was difficult going back to Madison Square Garden last Saturday night, where his father was watching the Knicks' loss to Phoenix on Dec. 2 when he began experiencing chest pains. Don Marbury was taken to a hospital and died before the game ended. Stephon Marbury was told of his father's death minutes after the final buzzer.

He missed the next game, then played in the next two after the funeral. The latter was at the Garden, and Marbury was not with the Knicks the next day for practice.

''It was kind of tough and just the whole ambiance of what happened and being back in the same position was tough,'' Marbury said.

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said he would decide Monday if Marbury would start, but noted his conditioning could be a problem.

''Physically he's got a ways to go,'' Thomas said. ''With a world-class athlete, you miss four or five days and it's almost like you've been off conditioning-wise for about two months.''

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Monday's NBA matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks

The Jazz have been particularly dominant against the Hawks in recent years. They've won nine in a row in the series - including four in Atlanta - by an average of 14.4 points.

Milwaukee at Cleveland

Despite their previous win in Cleveland, the Milwaukee Bucks are just 2-11 on the road, where they've lost five straight.

Minnesota at Miami

The Timberwolves have dropped four of their last five meetings with Miami.

Indiana at New York

This is the first meeting of 2007-08 between these teams. Indiana took two of three games in the series last season including a 109-95 victory Nov. 4, 2006, in its last visit to Madison Square Garden.

Golden State at Memphis

Golden State has won its last three games against the Grizzlies, while averaging 118.7 points in those high-scoring affairs, which included a 116-104 victory on April 6 in its last visit to Memphis.

Orlando at Dallas

The Mavericks have won nine straight in Dallas against the Magic, who haven't won at Dallas since a 100-90 victory on Dec. 11, 1997.

Phoenix at San Antonio

The clubs square off for the first time since last season's Western Conference semifinals matchup. The Spurs are 8-3 against the Suns in the postseason and 7-3 against them in the regular season since 2004-05.

New Orleans at Portland

The home team has won the last five meetings in the series, including three Blazers victories at the Rose Garden and a 113-93 Hornets win at New Orleans on Nov. 2.

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NBA Today - December 17
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Monday, Dec. 17

Phoenix at San Antonio (8:30 p.m. EST). The Suns look to hand the Spurs their first home loss this season.

STARS Sunday

-Kobe Bryant, Lakers, scored 32 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Los Angeles Clippers 113-92.

-Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers, had 26 points and matched a career high with 11 assists in Portland's 116-105 win over Denver.

-Tayshaun Prince, Pistons, scored 23 points to help Detroit rout Golden State 109-87.

BATTLE OF L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers upended the Los Angeles Clippers 113-92 in their first meeting this season on Sunday to improve to 24-9 against their Staples Center co-tenants since the building opened in 1999. The teams split each of the previous three season series 2-2.

STREAKING

Paul Pierce scored 18 points to help Boston extend its winning streak to nine games by defeating Toronto 90-77 on Sunday. The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (20-2) matched their longest winning streak since March 16-31, 1993. Boston's only other 20-2 start came en route to the 1963-64 NBA championship. The Celtics won their second straight game without guard Ray Allen (sore right ankle). ... Portland downed Denver 116-105 on Sunday to win its seventh straight overall and third straight on the road, where they had lost their first nine games of the season.

SNAPPED

Portland topped Denver 116-105 on Sunday, snapping the Nuggets' nine-game home winning streak in the series. Denver had won 15 of the past 17 meetings with the Blazers at home going back to the 1999-2000 season. ... Toronto was beaten by Boston 90-77 to lose for the first time in five games. The Raptors' 77 points were a season-low. Toronto's previous low was 84, set in a Dec. 7 loss at Boston.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Allen Iverson had 38 points in Denver's 116-105 loss to Portland on Sunday. The Nuggets have lost two straight after a three-game winning streak. ... Corey Maggette scored 27 points and Chris Kaman had 18 points and 16 rebounds to record his ninth straight double-double and 19th overall this season but the Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 113-92.

SPEAKING

''All we've been hearing is about his great hops, and then he doesn't take the dunk. We've still got no evidence that he can dunk. When I was a rookie, I would have dunked that ball, but I'm old now.'' - Detroit's Chauncey Billups, on teammate Arron Afflalo's decision to pass up an easy dunk and dish to Jason Maxiell, who missed the dunk, in Detroit's 109-87 win over Golden State on Sunday.

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Monday's NCAAB Top 25 matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Albany at No. 7 Duke

The Blue Devils face Albany (5-4) for the first time. The Albany Great Danes will face their first ranked team of the season. They have lost their last eight games versus Top 25 teams.

IUPU-Fort Wayne at No. 13 Marquette

Marquette won its only meeting with Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne, 91-57 on Jan. 2, 2005.

Northern Colorado at No. 23 Gonzaga

Gonzaga beat the Bears 87-60 on Feb. 28, 2005. This will be the first time Northern Colorado will face a Top 25 team since its last meeting with Gonzaga.

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Orange guard Devendorf to miss rest of season with ACL tear
Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Junior guard Eric Devendorf, the second-leading scorer for the Syracuse Orange, will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

An MRI on Sunday revealed the injury, according to Pete Moore, director of athletic communications.

Devendorf was hurt the first minute of the second half of Syracuse's 125-75 victory Saturday night over ETSU. He had just led a fast break and passed the ball to Paul Harris for a layup when he fell awkwardly near the Syracuse bench.

Devendorf winced in pain and was in tears as he was carried to the locker room. He never returned.

The university is investigating a medical redshirt for Devendorf, a solid penetrator and long-range threat who already has surpassed 1,000 points in his career at Syracuse.

Before he was hurt, Devendorf had scored 19 points and equaled his career high with five 3-pointers. He was averaging 17 points a game.

"We can't afford to lose a guy like Eric," head coach Jim Boeheim said after the lopsided victory. "He's a tremendous player. There's nothing you can do. You just make up for it the best you can. We'll play the other guys that are healthy.

"It's a great opportunity for our young guys," said Boeheim, who has five freshmen on his roster. "They're going to have to step up."

The loss of Devendorf, a former McDonald's All-American and a preseason All-Big East guard, leaves Boeheim without three guards that played last year.

Andy Rautins suffered a torn ACL during the summer playing for Team Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship and won't play again until next year. And Josh Wright, the lone senior on the team, might be staring at the end of his Syracuse career. Wright has only logged 19 total minutes in the four games he has played in and did not show for six other games, including Saturday night.

"Josh Wright did not come to practice this week, so I assume he's not going to play basketball any more this year," Boeheim said.

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Utah Jazz vs. Atlanta Hawks

- The Utah Jazz and the Atlanta Hawks will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at Philips Arena.

Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 96-75 win over the Seattle SuperSonics on Saturday night.

The Jazz cashed in as 13-point home favorites as the teams played under the 211.5-point total set by oddsmakers.

Joe Johnson dropped 31 points and added six assists to lead the Hawks past the Charlotte Bobcats 93-84 on Saturday night.

The Hawks couldn't cash as 10.5-point favorites as the game played just under the 180-point total set by oddsmakers.

Team records:
Utah: 14-11 SU, 12-13 ATS
Atlanta: 11-12 SU, 11-12 ATS

Utah most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Charlotte are 4-2
After playing Seattle are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Miami are 3-7
After playing Charlotte are 3-7
After a win are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Atlanta
Utah is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Atlanta
Utah is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Atlanta
Utah is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Atlanta
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Atlanta's last 14 games
The total has gone OVER in 10 of Atlanta's last 13 games when playing at home against Utah
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta's last 8 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta's last 8 games when playing Utah

Next up:
Utah at Charlotte, Wednesday, December 19
Atlanta home to Miami, Wednesday, December 19

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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

- The Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet on the court at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday in a battle of division rivals.

Michael Redd dropped 32 points, dished out nine assists, and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Bucks to a 95-92 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

The Bucks failed to cover as 8.5-point favorites as the game played under the 194-point total posted by sportsbooks.

LeBron James had 21 points, six boards, and six assists in the Cavaliers' 92-86 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

The Sixers won as 8-point road underdogs as the teams played under the 191.5-point total listed by books.

Current streak:
Cleveland has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Milwaukee: 10-13 SU, 9-13-1 ATS
Cleveland: 10-14 SU, 10-14 ATS

Milwaukee most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Sacramento are 2-8
After playing Minnesota are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

Cleveland most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing New York are 7-3
After playing Philadelphia are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Milwaukee's last 12 games when playing Cleveland
Milwaukee is 3-5-1 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
Milwaukee is 3-9 SU in its last 12 games
Cleveland is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against Milwaukee
Cleveland is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing Milwaukee
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Cleveland's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Cleveland's last 6 games at home

Next up:
Milwaukee home to Sacramento, Wednesday, December 19
Cleveland at New York, Wednesday, December 19

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Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat

- The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Miami Heat will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Craig Smith led the Timberwolves with 30 points and 10 rebounds in their 95-92 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

The Bucks failed to cover as 8.5-point favorites as the game played under the 194-point total posted by sportsbooks.

Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem were the high scorers for the Heat with 24 points in their 106-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

The Pacers upset the Heat as 6-point road underdogs as the teams played over the 207.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Minnesota has lost 4 straight games.
Miami has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Minnesota: 3-19 SU, 10-12 ATS
Miami: 6-17 SU, 12-11 ATS

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Golden State are 4-6
After playing Milwaukee are 6-4
After a loss are 2-8

Miami most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Atlanta are 5-5
After playing Indiana are 4-6
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Minnesota's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 5 games on the road
Minnesota is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
Minnesota is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Miami is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games when playing at home against Minnesota
Miami is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Miami is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Miami is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Minnesota

Next up:
Minnesota home to Golden State, Wednesday, December 19
Miami at Atlanta, Wednesday, December 19

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Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

- The Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at Madison Square Garden.

Jamaal Tinsley scored 26 points to lead the Pacers to a 106-103 victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

The Pacers upset the Heat as 6-point road underdogs as the teams played over the 207.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

Jamal Crawford dropped 32 points and added seven rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 94-86 win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.

The Knicks upset the Nets as 3.5-point home underdogs as the game played under the 187.5-point total posted by oddsmakers.

Team records:
Indiana: 12-12 SU, 13-11 ATS
New York: 7-16 SU, 10-13 ATS

Indiana most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Philadelphia are 4-6
After playing Miami are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

New York most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Cleveland are 1-9
After playing New Jersey are 3-7
After a win are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Indiana's last 6 games
Indiana is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Indiana is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Indiana's last 8 games when playing New York
The total has gone OVER in 6 of New York's last 8 games when playing Indiana
The total has gone OVER in 8 of New York's last 11 games when playing at home against Indiana
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of New York's last 10 games at home
New York is 8-15 SU in its last 23 games when playing Indiana

Next up:
Indiana home to Philadelphia, Wednesday, December 19
New York home to Cleveland, Wednesday, December 19

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Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies

- The Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at FedExForum.

The Warriors lost to Detroit 109-87 as a 6-point underdog last time out. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under total (208).

Matt Barnes led the Warriors with 15 points and Stephen Jackson had 13 points in the loss.

Rudy Gay scored 32 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Grizzlies upset the Orlando Magic 123-119 on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies won as 12.5-point road underdogs as the teams played well over the 209-point total set by books.

Team records:
Golden State: 13-11 SU, 11-13 ATS
Memphis: 7-16 SU, 12-11 ATS

Golden State most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Minnesota are 3-7
After playing Detroit are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

Memphis most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing San Antonio are 5-5
After playing Orlando are 4-6
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games when playing Memphis
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games when playing on the road against Memphis
Golden State is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games
Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Memphis
Memphis is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Golden State
Memphis is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Golden State
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Memphis's last 5 games when playing Golden State
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Memphis's last 5 games when playing at home against Golden State

Next up:
Golden State at Minnesota, Wednesday, December 19
Memphis home to San Antonio, Wednesday, December 19

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Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks

- The Orlando Magic and the Dallas Mavericks will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at American Airlines Center.

Dwight Howard had 31 points and 20 rebounds for the Magic in their 123-119 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies won as 12.5-point road underdogs as the teams played well over the 209-point total set by books.

Josh Howard netted 23 points as the Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Mavericks upset the Rockets as 3.5-point road underdogs as the teams played under the 189-point total set by books.

Current streak:
Dallas has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Orlando: 17-8 SU, 18-7 ATS
Dallas: 16-9 SU, 11-14 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Houston are 5-5
After playing Memphis are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Phoenix are 6-4
After playing Houston are 7-3
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Orlando's last 5 games when playing Dallas
Orlando is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 games on the road
Orlando is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Dallas
Orlando is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Dallas's last 5 games when playing Orlando
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Orlando
Dallas is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games

Next up:
Orlando at Houston, Wednesday, December 19
Dallas home to Phoenix, Wednesday, December 19

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Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs

- The fans at AT&T Center will be treated to a game between the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs when they take their seats on Monday.

Leandro Barbosa paced the Suns with 19 points in their 101-98 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.

The Hornets upset the Suns as 6.5-point home underdogs as the teams played under the 210-point total set by oddsmakers.

Fabricio Oberto and Michael Finley had 21 points apiece to lead the Spurs to a 102-91 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

The Spurs cashed in as 6-point home favorites as the teams played under the 201-point total listed by oddsmakers.

Team records:
Phoenix: 17-7 SU, 10-14 ATS
San Antonio: 18-5 SU, 14-8-1 ATS

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Dallas are 6-4
After playing New Orleans are 7-3
After a loss are 7-3

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Monday are 8-2
Before playing Memphis are 5-5
After playing Denver are 9-1
After a win are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Phoenix is 14-5 SU in its last 19 games
Phoenix is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Phoenix's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Phoenix's last 6 games when playing on the road against San Antonio
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
San Antonio is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
San Antonio is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Phoenix
San Antonio is 20-5 SU in its last 25 games

Next up:
Phoenix at Dallas, Wednesday, December 19
San Antonio at Memphis, Wednesday, December 19

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New Orleans Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

- The New Orleans Hornets and the Portland Trail Blazers will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at Rose Garden.

Chris Paul scored 21 points and dished out 10 assists to lead the Hornets to a 101-98 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

The Hornets upset the Suns as 6.5-point home underdogs as the teams played under the 210-point total set by oddsmakers.

The Blazers defeated Denver 116-105 as a 9-point underdog last time out. The combined score went OVER the posted over/under total (205.5).

Brandon Roy scored 26 points and handed out 11 assists for Portland, while Channing Frye added 20 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Current streak:
Portland has won 7 straight games.

Team records:
New Orleans: 15-9 SU, 12-11-1 ATS
Portland: 12-12 SU, 14-10 ATS

New Orleans most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Seattle are 6-4
After playing Phoenix are 3-7
After a win are 6-4

Portland most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Toronto are 7-3
After playing Denver are 4-6
After a win are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Orleans's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Orleans's last 6 games on the road
New Orleans is 17-5-1 ATS in its last 23 games on the road
New Orleans is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games on the road
Portland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Portland is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against New Orleans
Portland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against New Orleans
Portland is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
New Orleans at Seattle, Wednesday, December 19
Portland home to Toronto, Wednesday, December 19

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Dec 17th

Wilks to fill Daniels' roster spot

The Washington Wizards will fill the roster spot of injured Antonio Daniels with Mike Wilks, whom Denver released last month, according to a league source.

The Nuggets cut the five-year veteran after eight games during which he averaged 3.0 points and 0.8 assists.

Wilks will not receive a guaranteed contract because the Wizards (13-10) don't want to surpass the luxury tax trigger of $67.86 million, the point at the end of the season when teams over the trigger must pay a dollar-for-dollar extra tax. His future with the team upon Daniels' return is uncertain.

Daniels replaced Gilbert Arenas in the starting lineup after the three-time All-Star underwent knee surgery Nov. 21. In the 14 games he started in place of Arenas, Washington went 9-5 and Daniels averaged 11.0 points, 6.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds.

Daniels is the third starter to go down this season. The Wizards likely lost center Etan Thomas for the season following heart surgery, and Arenas will be sidelined for at least the next two months.

Until the Wizards decided to add Wilks, they considered using a rotation of eight players, with the majority of bench minutes going to Roger Mason, Andray Blatche and Darius Songaila. Chances are this won't change much.

Washington coach Eddie Jordan inserted rookie Nick Young in the lineup to start at guard alongside DeShawn Stevenson, one of a number of players who recently has stepped up his play. In victories over Miami and Sacramento, Stevenson had 26 and 19 points to lead the Wizards in scoring in back-to-back games for the first time.

Stevenson has turned into a lethal shooter from 3-point range in recent games. He followed up a career-high six 3-pointers against Miami with a 5-for-8 showing from downtown in the team's 92-79 win over the Kings.

Stevenson said the Wizards were OK with an eight-man rotation. Although he understood adding another player at least would make practicing easier — the Wizards dressed just nine players against Sacramento — he said the team could manage until Daniels' return.

"I don't think so," Stevenson said when asked whether the team needed to add a player.

"I think this situation gets people to play even more," Stevenson added. "Nick can flat-out score the ball, and he's only going to get better with more reps. We want him and Andray to keep playing and getting better.

"It [stinks] that we have just eight people to play, but we only play eight people anyway," Stevenson said. "I think we're just rolling right now. We understand what we've got, and we understand that we have to go out and fight. People are going to count us out, but if we go out and fight we'll be all right."

Antawn Jamison said the Wizards can survive this period as long as Daniels returns when the team said he will.

"As long as it's just a week or two without AD, we'll be fine," Jamison said. "Coach is letting guys pace themselves in practice; guys have done a phenomenal job of staying in shape. We only play an eight-man rotation anyway, and we've got eight or nine. We just have to continue to work together. We believe as a team we have enough to be competitive and win our fair share of games."

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