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Saturday's NBA Tip Sheet

Saturday's NBA Tip Sheet

Boston (62-16, 48-28-2 ATS) at Atlanta (36-42, 36-41-1)

The Hawks continue their postseason push when they host the mighty Celtics, needing a victory to stay two games ahead of the Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta bounced back from Tuesday’s costly 112-98 loss at Indiana with last night’s 116-104 rout at New York, easily covering as a 6½-point road chalk. The Hawks, who haven’t reached the playoffs since 1999, are 11-4 in their last 15 games (9-6 ATS), including 6-1 at home (4-3 ATS). Both Atlanta and Indiana have three games to play, but the Pacers hold the tiebreaker edge.

Boston, which long ago clinched the Atlantic Division and the top seed in the Eastern Conference, blasted the Bucks 102-86 last night, barely covering as a 15-point home chalk. The Celtics are 8-1 in their last nine games (7-2 ATS), with the only loss being Wednesday’s 109-95 defeat at Washington.

The Celtics have handled the Hawks twice this season, both times in Boston, winning 106-83 as a 9½-point favorite and 98-88, falling just shy as an 11½-point chalk. The home team is 4-0 in the last four meetings (3-1 ATS). Also, the underdog has cashed in six of the past nine clashes.

Boston sports a bunch of positive ATS trends, including 15-5 overall, 46-19-1 on the road, 20-7 on Saturdays, 8-3 against the Eastern Conference and 27-10-1 when playing on back-to-back nights (12-5-1 ATS on back-to-backs this year). The lone negative: The C’s are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 against the Southeast Division.

Atlanta is 4-0 ATS in its last four on back-to-back nights, but just 3-6 ATS in its last nine as an underdog.

The over is 4-1 in the last five series meetings in Atlanta, 11-4 in the Hawks’ last 15 overall, 5-0 in the Hawks’ last five at home and 7-3 in the Hawks’ last 10 when playing on no rest. However, the under is 2-0 in the two head-to-head battles this season and 5-2 in Boston’s last seven overall.


Denver (48-31, 43-36 ATS) at Utah (52-27, 44-35 ATS)

The Nuggets try to inch closer to a playoff berth when they invade EnergySolutions Arena, where the Jazz have lost just four times in 39 games all season.

Denver scored a huge 114-105 win at Golden State as a four-point road underdog on Thursday, pulling a game ahead of the Warriors for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Both teams have three games to play.

The Nuggets have followed up a 1-3 SU and a 1-4 ATS slump by winning and cashing in each of the last two contests. Going back to March 12, Denver is 11-5 SU and ATS, but just 5-4 (6-3 ATS) on the road during this stretch.

Utah saw its four-game winning streak go by the wayside with Thursday’s 97-94 loss at Dallas. However, the playoff-bound Jazz cashed as a six-point underdog, improving to 7-1 ATS in their last eight, including five consecutive spread-covers.

Denver won the first meeting between these teams this year 120-109 as a three-point home chalk, but Utah has come back to take the last two, prevailing 118-115 in overtime as a two-point road underdog and 132-105 as a six-point home favorite. The Jazz are 8-2 SU and ATS in the last 10 head-to-head tussles (4-1 SU and ATS at home), with the winner cashing in each of those contests. Finally, the favorite has gotten the money in 10 of the last 14 meetings.

Not only are the Jazz 35-4 at home, they’re 27-12 ATS, including 5-0 ATS In the last five. Going back to last season, Jerry Sloan’s squad is 35-16-1 ATS on its home floor (all as a favorite). On the downside, Utah is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 on Saturday.

The Nuggets are on ATS streaks of 6-2 on the road, 8-3 after a spread-cover and 9-3 when playing on one day of rest. However, they’ve failed to cash in four straight Saturday outings and they’re 16-35-1 ATS in their last 52 as an underdog of five to 10½ points (4-10 ATS in that role this season).

Denver has followed up a 24-8 “over” streak by staying under the number in its last two, both on the road. In fact, the under is 4-2 in its last six on the highway. Also, Utah has stayed under the total in three straight games after going over in the previous five. However, the over is still 38-15 in Denver’s last 53 divisional battles, 6-0 overall in the last six clashes between these rivals and 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Salt Lake City.


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Re: Saturday's NBA Tip Sheet

Saturday's best NBA bets

Denver vs. Utah

Not only have all three meetings played over the total this year with these two teams, but the final three meetings last year did also. In response, oddsmakers have set a lofty total for this game, which might just provide a great opportunity to grab the under.

The Jazz’s last three games have played under in what were some of their most impressive defensive performances of the season. They held San Antonio to just 64 points and New Orleans to just 66 points on the road during the stretch and are now averaging just 82.8 points against over their last five.

Denver is in a dog fight for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so it has to play at least a little ‘D’ tonight. The Nuggets’ last two games have also gone under.

Clippers vs. Golden State

The Warriors are one of the teams you should grab for their final few games, writes Ryan Stetson. They trail the Nuggets by one game in the West for the final playoff spot and if you can’t beat the Clippers, you probably don’t deserve to be in the postseason.

The Clips have lost and failed to cover in four straight games and they have a long injury list that most recently includes Quinton Ross and Corey Maggette. Both players are day to day with nagging injuries and at 23-56, there’s no need for them to force anything.

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