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NBA News and Notes Tuesday 12/25

NBA News and Notes Tuesday 12/25

NBA Holiday preview
By Josh Jacobs

This is what the Holidays are all about; a day off of work (hopefully for those reading), plenty of food, the family and of course a five-game NBA card to work with.

While the rest of the league takes an extended break on Christmas Day, the Lakers and Celtics will fill much of the void at 5:00 p.m. EST. The two top teams (ok, Cleveland and Orlando get the respect they deserve as well) in the league will meet for the first time since the NBA Finals scuffle last season.

Boston (27-2 straight up, 17-12 against the spread) has maintained the swagger in '08 after ending a 22-year void by taking the NBA Championship. Nineteen straight wins, a 13-5 ATS climb in their last 17 and working for a point margin of plus-10.7 PPG have helped mold the Celtics into the powerhouse of the NBA (again).

Coming off a three-game home stand, Boston will now make the first trek of the season out West in a four-game stint. While shooting an impressive 47.7 percent from the floor and scoring 100.2 PPG on the road, the Celtics rank among the best defensive units in the league. This is a core of players allowing 91.4 PPG overall.
But the fact of the matter is that both offense and defense have complimented each other like a well oiled machine. Boston has scored an off the charts 106.4 PPG (for an East Coast squad) in the last five games thanks in large part to nailing 53.5 percent of its field goal shots. Maybe the 6-3-1 record on the ‘over’ in the last 10 should be an angle to key on in regards to the offensive explosion.

The biggest news coming out of “Laker Land” (23-5 SU, 12-16 ATS) isn’t the 2-2 record in the last four games. What concerns most is the 10 straight ATS losses and eight as double-digit favorites (the Lakers snapped that streak on Tuesday, beating New Orleans, 100-87. Backers are asking themselves when will the negative ATS trend shift direction, or at least sustain some sort of financial run?

Only time will tell but some theories to conjure up include a defense allowing 101.3 PPG during the financial crises (in those 10 games). The ‘over’ has gone 5-4 in the last nine with the lapse on ‘D’ but 106.4 PPG scored on offense sure hasn’t persuaded books to installing totals under 202.5 points through the ATS slide (lowest total in the last 10).

Then we have to deal with a 4-10 ATS disaster when L.A. is coming off one-day of rest. Sure, the Lakers have wrangled up an 11-3 SU record in this spot, scoring 108.3 PPG. But again, L.A. has fallen victim to a soft defensive effort by allowing opponents to score 101.6 PPG. The total has been the play here as well with the ‘over’ going 9-5 off the same one-day of rest.

Looking inside the stats department serves as a facade for the Lakers’ poor defensive effort. Stealing the ball 9.4 times per game (tops in the league) and working for 5.4 blocks per game indicates the high octane, West Coast pace. A point difference of plus-9.3 seems like the right number for betting purposes but then again, books have set the Lakers as double-digit favorites 15 times this season. That’s a hard number to swallow, especially with the failure to cover in this spot.

The Celtics have been on fire in the last eight head-to-head meetings against L.A. as a perfect 8-0 ATS record indicates. Boston was able to cover every contest in last year’s NBA Finals, with books installing them as favorites twice and underdogs five times.

Boston’s forward, Glen Davis (concussion and cervical strain) continues to miss games after being involved in an auto accident on Sunday. His status remains day-to-day. David has logged in 16.4 minutes of action per game, scoring only 3.6 PPG while pulling down three RPG.

On the other side of the court, L.A.’s Jordan Farmer (torn meniscus) is expected to miss up to eight weeks with a knee injury. Farmer was averaging 7.9 PPG this season.

ABC will be providing coverage in its back-to-back NBA special.

New Orleans at Orlando – 12:00 p.m. EST on ESPN

The Magic (22-6 SU, 18-9-1 ATS) are a holy 12-3 at home this year. While Orlando has been successful with a 9-3-1 ATS record on the road, a home stand represented by a 9-6 ATS stint hasn’t been all that bad. In fact the Magic are 5-1 ATS in their last six home contests. And since we mentioned defense to explain Boston’s continued success, how’s about Orlando holding the opposition to 90.8 PPG in the last five games? The Magic are 22-4 SU since dropping its first two games of the season, have covered eight straight and are 12-2 ATS in the last 14.

New Orleans (16-8 SU, 10-12-2 ATS) is 11-3 in the last 14 and is 5-3-1 ATS in the last nine. But here’s the key; the Hornets have rewarded total players with six straight ‘under’ games in large part to scoring 92.2 PPG (shooting 42.8 percent from the wood) and allowing a successful 88.4 PPG.

The Magic are 4-0-1 ATS in five games coming off two days of rest. The underdog is a convincing 8-0-1 ATS in the last nine head-to-head meetings.

San Antonio at Phoenix – 2:30 p.m. EST on ABC

As we continue to march through this Christmas Day special, San Antonio (18-10 SU, 13-14-1 ATS) and Phoenix (16-11 SU, 11-15 ATS) will find themselves scrapping in a Western Conference showdown.

The Spurs are just another team settling down into their usual role as a dominant force in their conference. San Antonio is 16-5 SU in its last 21, are 9-1 SU in its last 10 home games but continue to struggle in the ATS department (2-5-1 ATS in the last eight). The biggest worry is that the Spurs are a combined 5-6 ATS against opponents playing with a winning record (2-3 ATS on the road). As an underdog, San Antonio is an even 4-4 ATS this season.    

While Phoenix has been unpredictable, chalking up a 5-6 record in the last 11, the ability to make money in fade mode has been profitable. The Suns have failed to cover eight of their last 11 games. On top of the ATS problem, the defense (102.9 PPG allowed) has helped contribute to the ‘over’ registering a 10-2 record in the last 12. Up until Dec. 12, Phoenix secured the ‘over’ in nine straight games. A deplorable 3-6 ATS record at home versus teams with a winning record should be heeded.

The ‘dog is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine head-to-head meetings.

Dallas at Portland - 10:30 p.m. EST on TNT

Although only 2-2 in its last four, Dallas (16-11 SU, 12-15 ATS) has stretched its winning ways to 14 victories in the last 18. The Mavericks are struggling to score 96.2 PPG in their last five, leading to a 1-6 record on the ‘under’ in the last seven. Backers have suffered terrible ticket deaths as the club is 3-11 ATS at home (2-6 ATS versus teams with a losing record and 1-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record at home). In two losses against New Jersey and San Antonio (on Dec. 19 and Dec. 9), San Antonio gave up a total of 254 points (127 PPG).

The Trail Blazers (18-11 SU, 13-15 ATS) have struggled in their last seven with a 3-4 SU mark. Making matters worse is the team’s 3-8 ATS free fall in the last 11. Returning home after losing to Denver on Monday (97-89), Portland will look to bounce back on the defensive end, giving up 102 PPG in the last five. When the Blazers have given up 100 points or more, a 1-6 ATS record has emerged from the depths. The trend to take away here is a 6-1 record on the ‘over’ when the defense decides to allow opponent to rack up triple-digit figures.

Portland’s shooting guard, Brandon Roy has been explosive this season and is scoring 26.2 PPG with 4.9 APG in December. Last Thursday witnessed Roy hooping it up for 52 points, shooting 14-for-27 from the field.

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San Antonio (18-10, 13-14-1 ATS) at Phoenix (16-11, 11-16 ATS)

The streaking Spurs go for their fourth consecutive win when they travel to the Valley of the Sun for a Christmas Day battle with longtime nemesis Phoenix at US Airways Arena.

San Antonio capped a perfect three-game homestand with Tuesday’s 99-93 victory over the Timberwolves, falling way short as a 12-point favorite. Not only have the Spurs won three in a row, but they’ve won 16 of their last 21 games (12-8-1 ATS) since starting the season 2-5. However, Gregg Popovich’s squad has followed up a 5-1 SU and ATS run on the road by losing its last two on the highway both SU and ATS.

The Spurs have scored at least 94 points in their last 13 wins, but they’re averaging just 80.6 ppg in their last eight defeats.

Phoenix has been idle since Saturday’s 108-101 home win over the Nuggets, covering as a 5½-point home favorite. The Suns are 5-2 SU in their last seven games, with all five wins coming at home, but they’re just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 overall. Phoenix has had its offense clicking during its 5-2 stretch, averaging 113 ppg.

San Antonio eliminated the Suns in six games in an opening-round playoff series last fall, but the Suns got a measure of revenge back in the first week of this season, winning 103-98 on the road in a pick-em contest. The underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine series battles, Phoenix is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight and the SU winner is 8-1-1 ATS in the past 10 clashes.

The Spurs are on ATS streaks of 11-5 against the Western Conference, 7-1-1 when playing on one day of rest and 4-0 against the Pacific Division. On the flip side, in addition to its current 3-8 ATS rut, the Suns are mired in pointspread funks of 2-5 at home, 4-9 against the Western Conference, 0-5 when facing Southwest Division foes and 1-6-1 when coming off three days or more of rest.

San Antonio is on “under” streaks of 26-10-1 overall, 12-5 on the road, 19-9-1 against the Western Conference, 11-1 versus the Pacific Division, 13-6 on Thursdays and 15-6 when playing on one day of rest. Conversely, Phoenix carries “over” trends of 10-2 overall, 5-2 at home, 5-1 against the Southwest Division, 5-1 on Thursdays and 5-2 when playing on three or more days’ rest. Lastly, the under is 5-1 in the last six head-to-head clashes in Phoenix.


New Orleans (16-8, 10-12-2 ATS) at Orlando (22-6, 18-9-1 ATS)

The Magic look to keep pace with red-hot Boston and Cleveland in the Eastern Conference race when they host the Hornets at Amway Arena.

Orlando carries a five-game SU and an eight-game ATS winning streak into this contest, most recently knocking off the Warriors 113-81 as a 12-point chalk Monday night. Orlando is 22-4 since beginning the season with consecutive losses, it is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 overall, and Stan Van Gundy’s squad has scored at least 103 points in six of its last seven games.

Orlando has won seven straight home games (5-2 ATS) and is 12-3 (9-6 ATS) for the season at Amway Arena. Meanwhile the Hornets are 7-4 SU and 5-5-1 ATS on the highway.

Like the Magic, New Orleans is also rolling, having won four of its last five, seven of nine and 11 of its last 14, while going 8-5-1 ATS during this stretch. However, on Tuesday, the Hornets completed a three-game homestand with a 100-87 loss to the Lakers as a 2½-point chalk. New Orleans has gone six straight games without scoring 100 points (averaging 91.3 ppg), but Byron Scott’s team had held eight straight opponents under triple digits before the loss to Los Angeles, and they’re still giving up just 89.9 ppg during this nine-game stretch.

These squads have split their two-game season series each of the last three years, with the visitor pulling off mild upsets in each clash in 2007-08. In fact, the ‘dog is on an 8-0-1 ATS roll in this rivalry and the visitor is 19-7-1 ATS in the last 27 meetings, with the Hornets going 5-0-1 ATS in their last six trips to Orlando.

New Orleans is 15-7-2 ATS in its last 24 games against Southeast Division foes, but the Hornets have failed to cash in 11 of their last 14 Thursday contests. Meanwhile, in addition to ATS runs of 12-2 overall and 5-1 at home, Orlando is on pointspread streaks of 8-0 against the Western Conference, 5-0 versus winning teams and 5-0-1 when playing on two days’ rest.

For the Magic, the under is on streaks of 4-1 overall, 4-1 at home, 4-1 against the Western Conference, 4-0 against winning teams, 6-0 on Thursdays and 8-1 when playing on two days’ rest. New Orleans has topped the total in eight of its last 10 on Thursday, but otherwise the Hornets are on “under” stretches of 6-0 overall, 4-0 on the road, 5-1 against the Southeast Division and 16-5 when playing on one day of rest.

Finally, the under is 8-1 in the last nine meetings between these squads (4-0 last four).


Boston (27-2, 17-12 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (24-5, 12-17 ATS)

The highlight of the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule is this rematch of last year’s NBA Finals, with the Lakers looking to halt the Celtics’ club-record 19-game winning streak in the first of two regular-season meetings between these storied rivals.

Boston rolled to its 19th consecutive victory Tuesday, blasting the 76ers 110-91 as a 13-point home favorite to cap a perfect three-game homestand. The Celtics, who are off to the best start in NBA history for a team with just two losses, have scored in triple digits 13 times during the winning streak, and they’re 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games.

Los Angeles concluded a tough four-game, five-day road trip with Tuesday’s 100-87 upset victory at New Orleans as a 2½-point underdog. That snapped a 10-game ATS slide for the Lakers, who are just 2-2 SU (1-3 ATS) in their last four after starting the season 22-3.

The Celtics knocked off the Lakers in six games back in June en route to their 17th NBA championship. Boston covered in all six games, and also went 2-0 SU and ATS versus L.A. in the regular season, including a 110-91 rout as a three-point road underdog at the Staples Center.

Since suffering a 95-79 loss at Indiana in its first road game back on Nov. 1, Boston has won 10 in a row on the highway (6-4 ATS). Today, the Celtics face a Lakers team that’s 14-1 on its home floor, but only 6-9 ATS, including five straight non-covers at home, all as a favorite.

In addition to its ATS slumps of 1-10 overall and 0-5 at home, Los Angeles is stuck in pointspread slumps of 4-17 against the Eastern Conference, 3-8 versus the Atlantic Division and 0-8 when playing on one day of rest.

Boston is riding a host of positive ATS streaks, including 13-5 overall, 35-17 against the Western Conference, 8-1 versus the Pacific Division, 4-0 on Thursdays, 9-2 when playing on one day of rest and 15-5 against teams with a winning record.

The under is on runs of 13-6 for Boston on the road, 6-2 for Boston on Thursdays, 5-1-1 for Boston against the Western Conference and 13-3 for Los Angeles on Thursdays. Otherwise, though, the Lakers are on “over” stretches of 11-6 overall, 11-3 at home, 10-3 against the Eastern Conference and 6-0 when facing the Atlantic Division. Also, the over is 3-1 in the last four regular-season battles between these teams (2-0 at Staples Center).


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Tips and Trends

New Orleans is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
New Orleans is 6-11-1 ATS in its last 18 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Orlando's last 9 games when playing New Orleans
Orlando is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against New Orleans

San Antonio is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Phoenix
San Antonio is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Phoenix
Phoenix is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games at home
Phoenix is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home

Boston is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games on the road
Boston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
LA Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games when playing at home against Boston
LA Lakers are 6-3 SU in their last 9 games when playing at home against Boston

Washington is 1-8 SU in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
The total has gone UNDER in 16 of Washington's last 23 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
Cleveland is 15-1 SU in its last 16 games
Cleveland is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Washington

Dallas is 14-4 SU in its last 18 games
Dallas is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
Portland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Dallas
Portland is 2-15 SU in its last 17 games when playing Dallas

New Orleans at Orlando
New Orleans: 8-1 Under off BB Unders
Orlando: 12-4 ATS vs. Western Conference

San Antonio at Phoenix
San Antonio: 4-14 ATS as road underdog of 3pts or less
Phoenix: 46-30 Over off a home win

Boston at LA Lakers
Boston: 18-7 ATS as an underdog
LA Lakers: 2-11 A TS in December

Washington at Cleveland
Washington: 52-32 Over after scoring 80 points or less
Cleveland: 19-4 ATS as favorite

Dallas at Portland
Dallas: 8-1 ATS Away after playing as favorite
Portland: 3-13 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points

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Hot Teams
-- Magic won, covered nine of last ten games.
-- Suns won five of their last seven games. Spurs won three in row, eight of last ten games.
-- Lakers won six of last eight games, are 1-10-1 vs spread in last dozen games. Celtics won their last 19 games, are 5-1-1 vs spread in last seven.
-- Cavaliers are 15-1 in their last 16 games (14-2 vs spread).
-- Mavericks won 14 of their last 18 games. Portland won three of their last four games.

Cold Teams

-- Nets are 1-5 vs spread in game following their last six wins.
-- Wizards lost their last seven games (0-7 vs spread).

-- Nets' last four games went over the total; four of last five Orlando tilts stayed under.
-- 10 of last 12 Phoenix games went over the total.
-- Last three Boston games all went over the total.
-- Three of last four Washington games stayed under the total.
-- Six of last seven Dallas games stayed under the total.

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What bettors need to know: Celtics vs. Lakers

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers

Recent history

This will the first time the two teams have met since Game 6 of the NBA Finals in which Boston decimated the Lakers, 131-92. The Celtics went 6-0 ATS (against the spread) on the way to their 17th NBA title.

Boston also swept the regular season series both straight up and against the spread.


Glen Davis (concussion, back strain) is day-to-day for the Celtics following a car accident en route to Sunday's contest versus New York. The Lakers will be without guard Jordan Farmar (torn meniscus) who may require surgery on his left knee.

Why you should go easy on the eggnog

Kevin Garnett and Co. enters the game with the top record in the league at 26-2 SU (straight up) (16-12 ATS) and the Celtics are currently riding a 19-game winning streak. The Lakers enter this much-anticipated contest with a 22-5 record (11-16 SU) and are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games.

While Boston has been stifling opposing teams defensively (allowing 91.4 points per game), the Lakers have been scoring at the league's highest clip, averaging 107.3 points per contest.

Stocking stuffers

The Celtics are 16-1 on the road. Los Angeles is 14-1 at home. But while the Lakers are 6-9 ATS at home, the Celtics are 6-5 ATS on the road.

Since starting their 19-game winning streak on Nov. 15, the Celtics have gone 13-6 ATS and are 3-4 ATS on the road in that time. Three of those losses came against teams below .500.

The Lakers, on the other hand, have lost 10 of their last 11 games ATS and have not posted consecutive ATS wins since Nov. 20-21 with double-digit victories over Phoenix and Denver.

Who, what, and why to watch

A large part of Boston's success is the improved play of Rajon Rando. In December, the slash-and-burn point guard is averaging 14.6 points and 8.6 assists. He recorded his first career triple-double Dec. 3 (16 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high 17 assists). Defensively, he is averaging 2.7 steals per game this month and overall is averaging 2.39 steals on the season.

With Farmar out, 34-year old Derek Fisher will be forced to keep up with the speedy Rando for the majority of the game. The Lakers have been slow rotating to the basketball and have been less than effective defending against screens.

Since double-teaming any one player on the Celtics is almost impossible, Los Angeles needs to pick up the pace defensively, especially when it comes to Rando. That may be a tough task considering the Lakers are the 16th-ranked defensive unit in the league and are allowing 102.8 points in the month of December (6-5 OU in that span).   

Kobe Bryant kept the Lakers from their third-straight loss with his 36-point effort against the Grizzlies on Monday night. But when Bryant attempts more than 20 shots per game this season, the Lakers are 8-5 SU (2-11 ATS). In the last seven games in which Bryant took 20-plus shots, Los Angeles is 0-7 ATS. 

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What bettors need to know: Spurs at Suns

San Antonio at Phoenix

Recent history

This will be the second meeting between the two teams. As an even favorite, Phoenix claimed a 103-98 victory in the season-opener on Oct. 29.

In the first round of the Western Conference playoffs last season, San Antonio won the series in five games, going 2-2-1 ATS (against the spread). In the regular season, Phoenix boasted a 3-1 ATS record against the Spurs.


San Antonio center Fabricio Oberto has missed four straight games with foot and back injuries and is questionable. Phoenix has no injuries to report.

Why you should go easy on the eggnog

San Antonio (18-10 SU, 13-13-1 ATS) struggled to start the season without Manu Ginobili, going 6-6 (5-7 ATS). Since he returned Nov. 24, the Spurs have won 12-of 14 games (8-5-1 ATS).

Phoenix (16-11 SU, 11-15 ATS) is also trying to gain traction in the competitive Western Conference. The Suns have gone 5-6 in their last 11 games, including 3-8 ATS.

Stocking stuffers

The Spurs have struggled somewhat on the road going 7-5 SU (straight up) and 6-6 ATS this season. While San Antonio played Tuesday night against Minnesota, the Suns benefited from having the night off.

Who, what, and why to watch

Since the acquisition of Jason Richardson from Charlotte, the Suns achieved their primary goal of scoring more points, scoring 100-plus points in four straight games. But Phoenix has gone 1-2 over/under since Richardson (18.8 points per game as a member of the Suns) first donned a Suns uniform on Dec. 12.

This will be Shaquille O'Neal's 11th Christmas Day game in his career. O'Neal has averaged 23.6 points per game and 13.5 rebounds on Christmas Day. In his last five Christmas appearances, O'Neal's teams have gone 1-4 ATS.

O'Neal (16.1 points and 8.5 rebounds this season) is only five missed free throws away from his 5,000th career missed charity shot, which really isn't the most appreciated of NBA milestones (only Wilt Chamberlain has more with 5,805).     

The Spurs have a knack for giving Phoenix fits in big games. It's why the Suns pulled the trigger on the O'Neal trade last season in a better effort to keep Tim Duncan from abusing Phoenix in the paint.

Since the February addition of O'Neal to the Suns, the Spurs struggled in two regular season matchups, going 0-2 SU and ATS.

Duncan scored 32 points for the Spurs in the season opener, but was out-rebounded by O'Neal to the tune of 13-6. The injury to Oberto hurtd the depth of San Antonio when it comes to limiting fouls against the bulky center, especially considering that the less-than-formidable duo of Kurt Thomas and Matt Bonner may be in charge of those duties. 

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 12/25

NBA Research
By Indiancowboy

San Antonio vs. Phoenix

Phoenix beat this team by 5 points on the road earlier this year in what was a game the Spurs played banged up but the Suns still won. These two teams have changed a bit since then including Richardson and Dudley coming on board for Phoenix and SA getting healthier with Manu and Parker back. Phoenix looked solid against Denver at home but this is a game that SA could very well win outright as don't put it past them to do just that to get a little revenge as Parker and Manu have helped defeat most teams that beat them when they were injured. But, the Spurs have looked weak on the road against potential playoff teams such as the Spurs and Magic losing by DD in both games.

Boston vs. Lakers

I wouldn't touch this game with a ten foot pole. After all, whave you have is what is likely to be the most wagered game of the day. The lines are likely very sharp on this game which make it difficult to find any value. One would think after the 39 point slugging the Lakers took in last year's Game 6 loss they would be fired up for this game. But, never put it past Boston as this team is likely to go down early and come back like they did against the Hawks. It's not every day you get to see two teams who combine for a 48-7 record so far face off against each other.

Washington vs. Cleveland

I'm getting tired of seeing these two teams play in what seems like to be every holiday. I am sick and tired of seeing Washington Wizards games on holidays or as a featured game of some kind. Remember the debacle in which the Magic destroyed the Wizards recently as I believe it was Thanksgiving? Of course the lean would be on Cleveland as they are 22-6 ATS while Washington has lost 6 straight covers.

Dallas vs. Portland

The line is not out for this game and that is in part because I write this analysis as the Denver vs. Portland home and home is occuring right now. Dallas hasn't played since the 21st as they defeated the Wizards easily on the road in their last game and Portland is playing currently on the 23rd on their home and home as they are up by DD in the 2nd quarter against Denver currently. It should be interesting to see the line but I favor Portland cosidering they have played very well at home thus far as they are 9-2 at home pending their win tonight which would make them 10-2 SU. Having said that, this team is just 2-9 ATS roughly of their last 11 so be careful with this game, but at home, they have been sound straight up and I assume this line would be around +/- 3 type spread - after all, even the Suns spread was around a -4/-4.5 or so.

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