Victims of circumstance: NBA weekend spots

Victims of circumstance: NBA weekend spots

Victims of circumstance: NBA weekend spots

Here’s one spot play that I always look for. You get a team returning home for a single game following a long road trip. Then, they go back on the road for a single game and return home again for a longer homestand.

I know it sounds complicated, but follow the bouncing ball.

That single road game in the middle of their home games is a major flat spot. These teams tend to come out with bad efforts. We don’t find this spot on a daily or weekly basis. It's a rare occurrence.

The New York Knicks find themselves in this exact spot when they travel to Washington to take on the Wizards Friday.

Mike D’Antoni’s squad was on the road for a four-game trip, losing at Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston before winning the finale at New Orleans Sunday. They returned home for a single game against these same Wizards, winning and covering in a wild 128-122 shootout.

Now the Knicks must head to DC for the back end of this home-and home series before returning to Madison Square Garden for their next four games. The only problem for bettors in this ballgame is the Wizards themselves, opening as 1.5 point favorites against New York. The Wizards have been favored on nine different occasions so far this season. They’ve lost eight of those games straight up.

Saturday, January 17

No team in the NBA has played a tougher schedule in January than the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clips have faced Phoenix twice, Detroit, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans and Atlanta. That’s seven straight games against teams that are all at least five games over .500. And every one of those teams are playoff bound.

To make matters even worse, Los Angeles went through that entire stretch short-handed. Starting center Chris Kaman, starting power forward Zach Randolph and starting point guard Baron Davis missed every game. Backup point guard Jason Hart missed four games and managed only 31 minutes in the three games that he was healthy for. Rookie point guard Mike Taylor was out as well. Swingman Ricky Davis has missed time with a sore knee and an NBA mandated suspension.

The Clippers lost all seven games against elite level foes here in January, but I can’t think of many teams that could have beaten those squads with half of their roster unable to suit up.

Even during that particularly ugly stretch the Clippers were moneymakers, covering the spread four times in seven tries. And, Saturday night, they’ll finally get to face a sub .500 squad at home when Milwaukee comes to the STAPLES Center.

Best of all, the Bucks will be playing on the second night of back-to-backs on the road after facing the Kings on Friday. This is a standard fade spot for any mediocre team coming off a straight up victory. It's a classic buy low scheduling spot for L.A., a team that's primed to get back in the win column.

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