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Friday's NBA Tip Sheet

Friday's NBA Tip Sheet

Friday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs 

New Orleans and the L.A. Lakers will be kicking off the NBA’s last weekend of regular season play with a 10:30 p.m. EDT tip-off inside the Staples Center. The battle in the Western Conference is one that seems to be a never ending story, but there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.

As a prelude to this weekend of heated action in the Association, let’s scope out Friday’s most intriguing matchup on the board.

The Main Event

New Orleans (55-23 SU, 48-28-3 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (53-25 SU, 44-32-1 ATS)

The Hornets are slowly adding space to their two-game lead in the West. Perched at the top of conference, New Orleans will have a remaining three games left on the schedule (after its dip into L.A.) before entering the playoffs in primetime real estate.

With the Hornets taking an easy 122-90 win over Minnesota on Wednesday (easily covering the 10½-point spread, while going ‘over’ the set 202 points), an 18-5 SU and 16-7 ATS record in their last 23 games has been a run to the roses. The Hornets have increased its total record to 7-4 on the ‘over’ in their last 11.

Just when the Lakers look to be hitting an amazing run, losses against teams with under .500 records becomes an obstacle in the their path. Take L.A.’s last eight defeats. Upon further examination five of those SU “L’s” came from teams with a losing record. L.A., for the most part, has been a solid opponent versus teams posting more defeats then victories this season, registering a 23-12 ATS record (13-5 ATS on the road and 10-7 ATS at home).

But the Lake Show won’t be facing an average to underachieving team. New Orleans is a No. 1 seeded team responsible for outscoring opponents 108.6 PPG to 96.2 PPG in its last 11 wins. While it hasn’t been the most profitable of trends, those 11 victories (not to be confused with the team’s last 11 overall) have resulted in a 6-4-1 record on the ‘over’.

L.A. will be heading into a back-to-back scenario on Friday, posting a money winning 11-5 ATS record off zero days of rest. The Lakers have been on an offensive tear of their own. In L.A.’s last five games (a stretch which has seen L.A. go 4-1 SU but 1-4 ATS), the team has shot 49.7 percent from the field, equating to 111.8 PPG.

With the Lakers pulling in important wins, their financial statement has been lost to many double-digit spreads. A 5-11 ATS slide in L.A.’s last 16 has sent backers packing. Five of those 16 ATS defeats have come when the Lake Show has been set as 10-point favorites or higher. In 14 games that L.A. has been set as double-digit favorites, an average 7-7 ATS record has been set in stone.

When the total has been set at 215 or more points (in nine of the last 25 games), the Lakers have gone 6-3 on the ‘over’. The Hornets are 10-5 on the ‘over’ in their last 15 when the total has been installed at 200 points or higher.

Continuing on totals, in the last 10 head-to-head meetings the ‘over’ is 8-2. New Orleans is 4-2 SU in its last six versus L.A.. The Hornets scored a 108-98 win over the Lakers on Mar. 14. Gamblers backing New Orleans made a mad dash to the window after the Hornets where catching two points on the spread.

The Lakers have opened as 3½-point favorites, with a total set at 212.

Of High Importance

Phoenix (53-26 SU, 38-38-3 ATS) at Houston (53-25 SU, 45-31-2 ATS)

It’s looking like the West just won’t submit to an early seal of the playoff deal. The Suns are firmly entrenched in the No. 6 seed, but a meeting with current No. 5 seed, Houston should entertain the masses at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

In the Suns last nine road trips, a 6-3 SU and 4-4-1 ATS record has given hope to backers and fans that this squad has the ability to overtake the Rockets.

Coming off the 22-game winning streak in mid March, Houston has since accounted for 7-5 SU and a 5-6-1 ATS record. The Rockets are a sketchy 1-4 SU and ATS versus teams playing with a winning record through the same 12-game stretch. And with Denver and Utah next up on the schedule (after the tussle against Phoenix), Houston is going to need to finish off strong.

In Phoenix’s last six wins, the offense has shot lights out for a 52.3 percent versus a not much different 49.5 percent in its last four defeats.

The Rockets are surely not the high powered offense that defines the Western Conference so well. However, Houston’s 91.9 PPG allowed has allowed itself the opportunity to catch a highly sought after seed. Reflecting the defensive play over offensive scoring is the Rockets’ low 33 percent rate of exceeding game totals of 195. And when looking at a total set above 215, Houston has gone on to produce a 10 percent success rate.

Both teams will be coming off one-day worth of rest, with the Suns logging in a 26-28-1 ATS record and the Rockets cashing in on a 26-18-2 ATS performance.

Phoenix has cashed in on the road versus teams with a losing record this season with a 12-7 ATS record.

Most books have opened the early line in favor of Houston by one-point. A total of 204 has been exposed to the public.

Indiana (34-44 SU, 37-40-1 ATS) at Philadelphia (40-38 SU, 43-23-3 ATS)

While Atlanta will look to defeat New York on Friday to continue its fight to retain the final No. 8 seed in the East, Indiana is hoping that a win in Philly can turn the tide of its battle for the final seed.

A 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS run in their last six has the Pacers racing to finish off its schedule against Charlotte, Washington and New York in positive fashion. Indiana is coming off a huge win over the Hawks (112-98). While the Pacers’ story to grab a playoff trip is hot off the press, bettors might be more motivated to learn that this group is currently hitting the ‘under’ in five straight games. Four of the contests had totals installed at 200 points or above.

The 76ers have gone 14-5 in their last 19. Philadelphia has shot 50 percent or better from the field five times in their last 10, but is averaging a lower 46.6 percent in the last 10 (mostly in part to two games where the team shot below 40 percent). Which ever way you dice it, the Sixers have racked up 104.2 PPG in their last six wins (only two of those victories where against teams with a record above .500).

The Pacers do hold a 6-4 SU edge over the 76ers in their last 10 head-to-head meetings. Indiana’s last ‘W’ was back in January when Kareem Rush and Mike Dunleavy combined to score 49 points. The final was 110-103, giving the Pacers a SU and ATS win (Indiana closed as a 3½-point favorite).

Before you head to the windows to print out some winning tickets be well aware that Philly is 19-19-2 ATS when coming off one-day of rest, while Indiana is 7-9 ATS when coming off two days of rest. has set the Pacers as 5½-point underdogs, with a total sitting at 210.

Bonus Ball

Atlanta (36-42 SU, 36-41-1 ATS) at New York (23-56 SU, 37-41-1 ATS)

-- The Hawks are 3-0 SU and 1-2 ATS in the last three head-to-head meetings with New York. The ‘over’ went 2-1, with every total hanging above 200 points.

-- While the Knicks are 3-5 SU (three wins in a row) in their last eight, a 7-1 ATS money cashing run during the same stretch is something to pay close attention to (New York was favored only once during the run).

-- On top of the ATS banking by New York, the ‘over’ has gone 9-3 in the last 12.

-- The Knicks have been consistent in one statistical category all season long; turnover. On the season, New York is coughing the ball up for 13.8 turnovers per game. In the Knickerbockers last five, an average of 14 turnovers per game has been tallied.

-- The Hawks are sitting inside the playoff bubble at the No. 8 spot but with the Pacers barking at their heels, the final four games will be detrimental for the future. Atlanta must prepare itself for Boston, Orlando and finally Miami on the schedule, making this contest with New York a major look ahead contest.

-- The Knicks are 4-1 ATS in their last five head-to-head matchups.

-- The Hawks are 2-6 ATS in their last eight meetings in New York, while the ‘over’ has cashed in 10 times in the last 14 head-to-heads.

-- has installed New York as 4½-point home ‘dogs, with a total set at 208

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Re: Friday's NBA Tip Sheet

Phoenix (53-26, 38-38-3 ATS) at Houston (53-25, 45-31-2 ATS)

Two of the Western Conference’s top teams look to pad their playoff credentials when the Suns travel to the Toyota Center to take on the Rockets.

Phoenix is coming off Wednesday’s 96-79 rout of San Antonio as a seven-point road underdog, winning and covering on the road for the second straight night after Tuesday’s 127-113 victory at Memphis laying 12½ points. The Suns are 6-2 SU in their last eight starts (5-3 ATS), including 4-1 SU on the highway.

Houston pounded Seattle 103-80 Wednesday night as a 13½-point home chalk for its fourth consecutive SU and ATS win. The Rockets are also 7-3 in their last 10, though they are just 5-4-1 ATS in that span.

Phoenix is on a 14-3 ATS tear against the Rockets and is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 trips to the Toyota Center. This year, the Suns have won and covered two of the three meetings, including a 122-113 home win giving 6½ points on March 22. The Suns also won 115-105 at Houston in November as a 5½-point favorite. Finally, the chalk has cashed in seven of the last nine head-to-head battles.

The Suns are 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 starts overall and are on additional positive ATS runs of 9-2-1 as a favorite overall, 7-1-1 as a road chalk, 5-1 against the Southwest Division and 10-2-1 against the West, but they are 1-4 ATS in their last five when coming off a spread-cover.

The Rockets also carry several positive pointspread trends, including 36-16-1 overall, 14-4-1 at the Toyota Center, 6-0 as a ‘dog of less than five points, 4-0 against the West, 21-5-1 after a SU win and 23-8 after a spread-cover. On the negative side, Houston is 10-25-1 ATS in its last 36 as a home pup and 7-19 in its last 26 as a home ‘dog of less than five points.

For Houston, the under is on runs of 5-2 at home, 5-1 as an underdog and 6-2 after a spread-cover, but the over is 5-1 in its last six against the Pacific Division. For Phoenix, the under is 7-3 in its last 10 as a favorite, 5-1 in its last six as a road chalk and 4-1 in its last five on Friday. However, the over is 7-3 in the Suns’ last 10 against the Southwest Division and 9-4 in their last 13 when playing on one day of rest.


New Orleans (55-23, 48-28-2 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (54-25, 45-32-1 ATS)

The Hornets, looking to strengthen their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, travel to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers, who are currently second in the conference standings, 1½ games back of New Orleans.

New Orleans drubbed Minnesota 122-90 Wednesday as a 10½-point road chalk, a night after a dismal offensive performance in a 77-66 home loss to Utah giving 5½ points. The Hornets, who have alternated ATS wins and losses in their last five starts, are 11-2 SU in their last 13 outings, going 9-3-1 ATS in that span.

Los Angeles, which stumbled in a 112-103 road loss to Portland laying 8½ points Tuesday, bounced back in a big way last night against the Clippers, cruising 106-78 as a 15½-point favorite. Despite easily cashing on Thursday, the Lakers are still just 2-6 ATS in their last eight outings (5-3 SU.

New Orleans has won two of three meetings against L.A. this season, including a 108-98 home victory last month as a two-point pup. In the last 10 games in this series, the two teams have evenly split the wins and the cash, with the straight-up winner going a perfect 10-0 ATS. Finally, the underdog is on a 6-0 ATS run in this rivalry.

The Hornets are on an 8-1 ATS run as a road pup of less than five points, and they are on additional ATS streaks of 36-16-1 overall, 5-1-1 on the highway, 5-1 against the West, 20-6 against the Pacific Division and 19-8 as a ‘dog of any price.

The Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, but the ATS trends are all negative from there, including 3-7 as a chalk of less than five, 2-6 as a favorite of any price, 1-7-1 against the Southwest Division and an alarming 0-6 at home.

For New Orleans, the over is on streaks of 9-2 against winning teams, 7-2 on the highway, 8-2-1 on Fridays and 6-0 as a road pup. For Los Angeles, the over is 19-7 in its last 26 on Friday, 5-2 in its last seven against winning teams and 5-2 in its last seven against the Southwest Division. Finally, the over is 9-2 in the last 11 series meetings overall, including 5-0 in the last five battles at Staples Center.


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Re: Friday's NBA Tip Sheet

Friday's best NBA bets

New Orleans vs. Lakers

Amidst the intensity of the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference - or perhaps because of it - Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant have emerged as the two leading candidates to be named NBA MVP.Their final head-to-head meeting should go a long way toward deciding both.

Paul's New Orleans Hornets can put a stranglehold on the West's No. 1 seed on Friday when they visit Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, who may be able to call themselves Pacific Division champions with a win.The Hornets (55-23) have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Lakers (54-25) for the top spot in the tightly packed West, and can guarantee themselves home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a win on Friday.

The Lakers, meanwhile, can wrap up their first Pacific Division title since 2003-04 - when Shaquille O'Neal was their center - with a win and a Phoenix loss.

Pick: Lakers

Phoenix vs. Houston

It appears McGrady will be available Friday as the Rockets try to avoid losing their season series with the Suns for what could be a pivotal tiebreaker in the playoff standings. McGrady sat out Houston's game against Seattle on Wednesday, but the Rockets still managed to cover for the fourth straight game with a win over Seattle.

While the Suns (53-26) are battling the Los Angeles Lakers for the Pacific Division lead, Houston (53-25) is a half-game ahead of Phoenix in the West with both teams still having a shot at the conference's No. 1 seed. It's very possible the tiebreaker between the teams could be the difference in that race, or even determine seeding if they meet in the first round.The Suns have won two of the first three meetings this season.

Pick: Houston

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