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Thursday NBA Tip Sheet

Thursday NBA Tip Sheet

Thursday Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

Thursday night NBA action on TNT can be best described as missing the adrenaline rush that has typified the race to the playoffs in both conferences.

However, one-game that should catch both bettors’ and fans’ eyes is an 8:00 p.m. EDT tip-off between Chicago (29-45 straight up, 32-42 against the spread) and Cleveland (41-33 SU, 34-40 ATS).

While the Bulls are five games behind the No. 8 seeded Hawks, the Cavaliers have clinched a playoff birth with just over a half dozen games left on their schedule.

Cleveland will be coming back from a road contest against Charlotte. Heading into the second-game of back-to-back scenarios, the Cavs are an underachieving 7-12 SU and 9-10 ATS this season, are scoring 95.3 PPG and have allowed opponents to run-and-gun for 100.4 PPG allowed.

Chicago has reflected on its sour season by going 3-7 SU and ATS in its last 10. In their last seven defeats, the Bulls have been outscored 96.9 PPG to 108.7 PPG. Compounding the club’s problems is a 1-11 SU and 5-7 ATS slump in the last 12 games when on road trips.

Chicago has posted a treacherous 3-12 SU and 6-9 ATS performance in its last 15 versus teams with losing records. The three SU wins where manufactured at home versus Cleveland, Utah and Denver. In those three meetings, the Bulls where favored twice by no more than 4½-points.

The Cavaliers are far from fine tuned for play in the postseason. A 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS record in the last 10 has raised questions on how far Cleveland can advance come Apr. 19. At least the Cavs have taken easy wins away from teams playing with a record under .500, registering an 11-4 SU run.

This will be the sixth time that both teams have met on the hardwood this season. It was on Mar. 6 (their last meeting) that Chicago took a 107-96 win. The Bulls covered as 4 ½-point favorites, while a closing total of 197 ½ ended in the ‘over’.

Overall, Cleveland is 7-3 SU and ATS in the last 10 meetings. The home team has gone 12-4 ATS in the last 16 head-to-head meetings.

With Chicago’s Ben Wallace listed as ‘day-to-day’ with back spasms, the club has gone 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS. In a total of eight games that the rebounding center has missed this season, the Bulls are 4-4 SU and a grizzly 2-6 ATS.

If you’re looking for a total play to wager on, take note that Cleveland is 19-13 on the ‘over’ versus teams with a losing record. The Cavaliers are also an effective 25-18 on the ‘over’ when playing teams inside their own conference. has opened Cleveland as a 7½-point home favorite, with a total set at 196½.

Houston (49-25 SU, 41-31-2 ATS) at Portland (38-36 SU, 37-37 ATS)

The Rockets and Trail Blazers will square off at 10:30 p.m. EDT in the second game of a TNT double-header.

Portland might virtually be sealed off from the playoff picture, but all is not forgotten. An 11-8 ATS record at home versus teams with a winning record has resulted in a marginal profit for Blazer backers, and a 22-14 ‘under’ record at home could be classified as a trend worth noting.

The Rockets on the other hand are just trying to grapple with Dallas and Denver to retain the No. 6 seed in the West. Since coming off the 22-game winning streak, Houston has amassed a 3-5 SU record. The worst of this run has come from a 1-6-1 ATS slide in the last seven.

While the Rockets are a mortal 9-7 ATS with zero days of rest, the Blazers have helped cash tickets at the window with a 12-6 financial statement when heading into a back-to-back contest.

Scoring has been a problem for Portland, racking up a low 89.8 PPG (12 points lower then the league average during the same five-game period). On the flip side, the Blazers have buckled down on defense by allowing opponents to score just 91 PPG in the last five.

When Houston’s Tracy McGrady has stepped up to score 30 points or more, the team has gone 9-5 SU and an average 7-7 ATS.

Latest reports indicate that Portland’s Brandon Roy might miss up to two weeks of play which looks to be boarding on him missing the end of the season. With Roy out of the lineup for the last two games his Portland team has gone 0-2 SU and ATS.

The ‘under’ is 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings and is 9-4 in the last 13 contests in Portland.

Most books have opened the Blazers as five-point home underdogs with a total sitting at 183.

While Sacramento will travel to L.A. to meet up with the Clippers, a line and total are unavailable due to the amount of injuries listed on both squads. Stay abreast with the latest by clicking here for injury updates.

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Chicago (29-45, 32-42 ATS) at Cleveland (42-33, 35-40 ATS)

The Cavaliers come back home after last night’s quick trip to Charlotte, as they host a Bulls team on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention.

Cleveland held off the Bobcats 118-114, barely cashing as a three-point road chalk to halt an 0-4 ATS slide. The Cavs have won consecutive games after going 3-6 in their previous nine.

Chicago is coming off Tuesday’s 106-92 home loss to the Celtics, falling way short as a 7½-point favorite. The Bulls, who beat Milwaukee 114-111 at home on Saturday, are in the midst of a disturbing trend in which they have lost exactly two games after each of their last four victories, and they’re just 4-9 SU in their last 13, going 3-7 ATS in their last 10.

These division rivals have met twice this year, both within a four-day span a month ago. Cleveland won 95-86 as a 4½-point home chalk on March 2, with the Bulls getting revenge in a 107-96 win as a 4½-point home favorite four days later. The Cavs are still 7-3 ATS in the last 10 series clashes overall and 7-1 ATS in the last eight in Cleveland.

Additionally in this rivalry, the home team is 12-4 ATS in the last 16 meetings and the favorite has cashed in nine of the last 12 battles.

The Cavs have been solid at home of late, going 10-1 in their last 11 at Quicken Loans Arena, but just 6-5 ATS. Meanwhile, the Bulls have lost 10 of their last 11 road games (5-6 ATS), including the last six in a row (2-4 ATS).

Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its last five as an underdog. Meanwhile, Cleveland is mired in ATS funks of 1-4 on back-to-back nights, 3-5 as a chalk and 4-12 as a favorite of 5 to 10½ points. On the bright side, the Cavs have cashed in 18 of their last 26 divisional contests.

For Cleveland, the under is on streaks of 6-3 overall, 8-1 at home and 26-11 on Thursdays. However, for the Bulls, the over is on runs of 9-5-1 overall, 4-0-1 on the road, 5-2 on Thursdays and 8-3-1 in divisional play. Finally, the under is 6-1 in the last seven series meetings at Quicken Loans Arena.


Houston (49-25, 41-31-2 ATS) at Portland (38-37 SU and ATS)

The suddenly slumping Rockets look to get back on track when they resume their five-game Western Conference road trip with a game at the Rose Garden against the Blazers.

Houston has followed up its historic 22-game winning streak by losing five of its last eight, including Monday’s last-second 99-98 loss at Sacramento as a 2½-point road underdog. Two days earlier the Rockets started their trip with a 109-88 loss to the Spurs as a 6½-point ‘dog. Since cashing in 12 consecutive games during its long winning streak, Rick Adelman’s squad is just 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10.

Playing without star guard Brandon Roy (injury), Portland lost its third in a row last night in Los Angeles, falling 104-91, but barely cashing as a 13½-point road underdog. The Blazers have followed up a 6-3 run by going 1-4 in their last five, and they’ve also failed to cash in five of their last eight contests.

The Rockets have had Portland’s number this year, winning all three meetings (2-1 ATS) by margins of 89-80 and 95-83 at home, and 89-79 on the road. Going back to the end of last season, Houston is 4-0 against the Blazers, but the teams have split the cash. In fact, the underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight series clashes.

Despite their recent pointspread downturn, the Rockets are still on ATS streaks of 16-5-1 as a favorite, 4-1 as a road chalk, 4-1-1 against the Northwest Division, 22-8-3 on Thursdays and 13-5-1 when playing one day of rest.

Portland has been burning money at home lately, going 3-13 ATS in its last 16 as a host. It is also 1-4 ATS in its last four as an underdog and 0-4 ATS in its last four versus the Southwest Division. However, the Blazers have cashed in 21 of their last 29 as a home pup, and they’re 5-0 ATS in their last five when playing on back-to-back nights.

The under is 7-1 in the last eight series meetings overall (3-0 this year) and 9-4 in the last 13 clashes at the Rose Garden. Also, the under is on streaks of 6-0 for Portland overall, 4-2 for Portland at home, 42-19-1 for Portland against the Southwest Division, 6-2-1 for Portland on the second night of a back-to-back, 18-5 for Portland against winning teams, 6-2 for Houston as a favorite, 5-0 for Houston as a home favorite and 6-0 for Houston against the Northwest.


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I actually like Portland getting the points tonight at home. The Rockets haven't been consistent since their winning streak and I think they're starting to head into a small tailspin.

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Thursday's best NBA bets

Chicago at Cleveland -7 197

The last time these teams met, the Bulls put on a display that is rarely glimpsed in the Windy City: tough defense. Even though LeBron James scored 39 points in the game, the Bulls clamped down in the second half and held James to 3-of-12 shooting to take a 107-96 win and cover.

But tonight's game will be a different story. The Cavs’ played with out Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the previous loss and without that presence in the paint, the Bulls were able to double and triple team LeBron and disrupt his rhythm enough to cause him to miss shots. Ilgauskas’ absence also meant Joakim Noah was able to collect 20 rebounds in the game. That won’t happen tonight.  The Bulls will also most likely be without Drew Gooden, who is out with an abdominal strain.

The home team is 12-4 in the last 16 meetings between these teams and Chicago has not won on the road in more than a month.

Pick: Cavaliers

L.A. Clippers at Sacramento -11 200

This is just way too many points to lay on a team that is playing an opponent it has already lost to three times this season. Of course, you have to take into account that the Kings are at home, where they are 21-15 ATS this year. And you can’t ignore the absence of Clippers center Chris Kaman, who has scored 63 points and grabbed 44 rebounds in three games against the Kings this year.

But the oddsmakers were dead wrong about the Clippers last night when they dogged them in Seattle. L.A.  beat the Sonics by 18 as 5 ½-point underdogs and proved that they aren’t all about Kaman. Obviously, Sacramento is a much tougher place to play than Seattle, but the Clippers have plenty of guys who can play in the frontcourt and this game just doesn’t smell like a blowout.

Pick: Clippers

Houston at Portland +6 183

At one point this season, things looked promising in Portland, but a pallor has come over the Rose City. Not only is the team all but eliminated from playoff contention, but now their All-Star guard is out of the lineup with a pulled groin and could be out for weeks. Without Roy running the offense, this team is struggling badly. The backcourt of Steve Blake and Martell Webster has nine turnovers in the last two games and the Blazers are 0-2 since Roy was injured. This tandem will most likely be overmatched against almost every Western Conference opponent and it will be no different against the Rockets’ guards, Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston.

Pick: Rockets

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Diesel34 wrote:

I actually like Portland getting the points tonight at home. The Rockets haven't been consistent since their winning streak and I think they're starting to head into a small tailspin.

I think the Blazers have it tough tonight but I am always wrong about them anyway.  ;D

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