Monday's NBA Tip Sheet

Monday's NBA Tip Sheet

Warriors cling to playoff hopes
By Brian Edwards

Golden State has only one scenario in which it can garner the eighth and final slot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Warriors have to win their two remaining games and hope that Memphis can upset Denver on Wednesday in the Mile High City.

The first step for Don Nelson’s team is to win tonight at Phoenix. Most sports books are listing the Suns as 5½-point favorites with a total of 232½. Golden St. is plus 210 (risk $100 to win $210) on the money line.

The Warriors are off 122-116 win over the Clippers, but they failed to cover the spread as 16½-point home favorites. The 238 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 216-point total. Stephen Jackson scored 28 points and Baron Davis added 25 points and nine assists.

Golden State (48-32 straight up, 34-46 against the spread) has failed to cover the number in four consecutive games and six of its last seven. On the road this season, the Warriors are 21-19 SU and 20-20 ATS. They are 10-14 ATS as road ‘dogs.

Phoenix (53-37, 38-39 ATS) returns home in this spot after winning two of three games of a recent road trip. The Suns prevailed in Memphis (127-113) and San Antonio (96-79) before losing a 101-90 decision Friday at Houston. Amare Stoudemire had 37 points and 11 rebounds, while Shaquille O’Neal added 16 points and 11 boards in the loss to the Rockets.

Mike D’Antonio’s squad has lost in three of its last four head-to-head meetings against Golden St, but the Suns won the last encounter by a 123-115 count as 7 ½-point home ‘chalk.’

Phoenix has been on fire at home recently, cashing tickets in seven of its last eight outings. For the season, the Suns are 28-11 SU and 18-20 ATS at home. They have watched the ‘over’ go 24-15 at US Airways Center.

The ‘under’ is on a 13-6 run for Golden St. Even better, the ‘under’ is on a 7-1 surge in the Warriors’ last eight road assignments.

The ‘over’ has hit in five consecutive Suns-Warriors meetings with the totals ranging anywhere from 224½-237.

Another team just barely clinging to life is Indiana, which needs to win its final two games and hope the Hawks lose their last two to get the final playoff spot in the East. The Pacers didn’t help their cause Saturday night when they lost at home to Charlotte, 107-103, as eight-point favorites.

Indiana (35-45 SU, 38-41 ATS) returns to the hardwood tonight at Washington. There was no overnight line due to the uncertain status of Caron Butler, who is listed as “questionable” with a sore right knee.

The Pacers have won two of three head-to-head meetings against the Wizards this year, but both victories came at home. Washington beat Indiana 103-90 as a six-point home favorite way back on Nov. 17.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Atlanta hasn’t made the playoffs since the strike-shortened 1998-1999 campaign, when the Hawks beat the Pistons in a five-game series before getting swept by the Knicks. With a win either Tuesday at home against Orlando or Wednesday at Miami, Mike Woodson’s team can end that run of futility.

--Speaking of the Heat, they have seen the ‘under’ go 8-1 in their last nine games. Miami is a monster 18-point ‘dog tonight at Toronto.

--Cleveland can clinch home court in the first round of the playoffs with a home win tonight over Philadelphia.

--Quote of the Week: “I’m still the baddest 36-year-old ever created.” – Shaquille O’Neal, after leading the Suns to a win at San Antonio.

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Re: Monday's NBA Tip Sheet

Houston (54-26, 46-32-2 ATS) at Utah (53-27, 45-35 ATS)

In a likely preview of a first-round Western Conference playoff series for the second straight year, the Rockets visit the Jazz inside EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

Houston appears locked into the No. 5 spot in the playoffs while Utah will likely end up with the fourth spot. These two played a memorable seven-game first-round series last year (Utah won 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS) with the home team winning every game except Game 7, when the Jazz went to Houston and prevailed 97-89 as 5½-point ‘dogs.

The road team has won and covered both meetings between these teams this season. The Jazz are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall, including 5-1 ATS in the last six in Salt Lake, and the straight-up winner has cashed in nine of the last 10 series clashes.

Rick Adelman’s Rockets come into this one off Sunday’s 111-94 loss at Denver, falling well short as 6½-point pups and ending a five-game SU and ATS winning streak. Despite that setback, Houston is 37-17-1 ATS in its last 55 games overall and 16-7 ATS in its last 22 on the highway.

Utah has won eight of its last 10 SU and ATS, including Saturday’s 124-97 blowout of Denver as a six-point favorite. Jerry Sloan’s squad is on ATS runs of 6-0 overall, 10-1 against Southwest Division opponents, 21-7 against the Western Conference and 36-15-1 at home.

The under is 4-1 in the last five series clashes in Utah, 4-0 in Utah’s last four overall, 9-1-1 in Utah’s last 11 against the Southwest Division, 4-1 in the Rockets’ last five overall, 9-1 for the Rockets against the Northwest Division and 15-7 for the Rockets on back-to-back nights.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UTAH and UNDER


Golden State (48-32, 34-46 ATS) at Phoenix (53-27, 38-39-3 ATS)

No longer in control of their own playoff destiny, the Warriors are still in a must-win situation when they visit the Suns inside US Airways Center.

Golden State must win tonight and on Wednesday at home against the Sonics and hope the Nuggets fall to the Grizzlies on Wednesday to earn a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. A Denver win Wednesday renders the Warriors’ game that night against the Sonics meaningless.

Don Nelson’s Warriors just haven’t had the late-season magic of a year ago, as they’ve lost five of their last nine (3-6 ATS). They did beat the Clippers 122-116 at home Saturday but came up well short as 16-point favorites.

Phoenix has won six of its last nine (5-4 ATS) and seems destined for the No. 6 spot in the playoffs and a likely first-round matchup with the Spurs. The Suns have been off since Friday’s 101-90 road loss in Houston, failing as a three-point road chalk.

The home team has won six straight series matchups and eight of the last nine, with the Suns 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings with the Warriors in the desert. These two squared off in Phoenix a month ago with the Suns scoring a 123-115 victory and narrowly covering as 7½-point favorites. Finally, the straight-up winner is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 series clashes.

Golden State is in ATS ruts of 9-30 following a SU victory, 2-9 against Pacific Division foes and 1-4 as an underdog. On the flip side, Mike D’Antoni’s Suns are on ATS runs of 10-3-1 against the Western Conference, 7-1 at home and 9-3-1 as a favorite.

The over is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings between this division rivals, 39-12 in the Warriors’ last 51 Monday tip-offs and 10-4 in the Suns’ last 14 as a home favorite. However, the under is on streaks of 4-1 for the Suns overall, 8-3 for the Suns as a favorite and 7-1 for Golden State on the highway.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PHOENIX

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