NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Thursday's Best NBA Bet

Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz (pk, 196.5)


Tiger Woods isn’t the only star athlete with a storied history of sexual conquests.

Shaquille O’Neal, who is in Utah Thursday night, is in the middle of a tabloid war after Orlando-based model Vanessa Lopez told reporters that she was not only the center’s mistress but that O’Neal harassed and threatened her.

Lopez is suing O’Neal after text messages surfaced, allegedly from O’Neal to a friend, saying, “Shut Dat Bitch Up!”.

She told reporters she hasn’t felt safe since telling O’Neal that she may be pregnant back in September after the couple had been seeing each other for five years. According to TMZ.com, Shaq’s sisters, who stand 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8, made verbal threats towards Lopez, who has been connected to other NBA players.

This sticky mess is on the heels of another Shaq mistress coming forward and his wife, Va'Shaundya "Shaunie" O'Neal, filing for divorce in November. Add those troubles to O’Neal’s pedestrian numbers in his first year with Cleveland, scoring just under 11 points per and grabbing seven rebounds a game.

The Cavs close a four-game road trip against the Jazz, going 2-1 but covering the spread just once in those three games. O’Neal is scoring more than 11 points per game during this road trip, most recently totaling 13 points and six rebounds in a win over Golden State Monday.

A distracted Shaq, who has remained surprisingly silent about the situation, will be less than efficient, especially coming into his fourth game in seven days.

Pick: Jazz

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

NBA Doubleheader On TNT
By RICKY DIMON

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics (-7, 194.5)

Running of the Bulls


Chicago has won two straight games (2-0 ATS) and six of its last nine (8-1 ATS). The Bulls scored at least 100 points in five of those nine games and in three of their last four, including back-to-back drubbings of Minnesota (110-96) Saturday and Detroit (120-87) Monday.

What has been the secret behind Chicago’s recent explosion? Answer: three-point shooting.

The Bulls (16-20, 16-18-2 ATS) have dialed from long distance 51 times in their last three outings and have made 43.1 percent of those attempts. That is impressive stuff for a team that is still shooting a mere 33.4 percent from beyond the arc.

“The ball is moving a lot more,” guard Kirk Hinrich told the Chicago Tribune. “Usually when you do a good job moving the ball and sharing the ball, you get open threes. We're doing a good job of finding the open man and making the right play.”

Insult to injury

The Celtics (26-10, 16-20 ATS) were already reeling as they went into a Monday night home meeting with Atlanta. Kevin Garnett missed his sixth straight game after aggravating a knee injury on December 28 and Rasheed Wallace sat out with a sore left foot.

With Garnett and Wallace out of action, the end result was not a good one even though Boston led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter. The Hawks stormed back to win 102-96 and Celtics coach Doc Rivers was ejected for arguing a flagrant foul as his team watched its advantage disappear.

While Boston’s physical problems can only improve, the immediate future—and the picture for Thursday’s game against Chicago—is not terribly promising.

“Looks like a week, maybe,” Wallace told the Boston Globe, referring to his status. “Maybe less. It’s going to be day-to-day.”

Garnett, meanwhile, is expected to return within the next two weeks.

Trends

Boston traveled to New Jersey Wednesday, so it will have had less than 24 hours of rest when tipoff time arrives Thursday night. Rivers’ club is 4-3 (2-5 ATS) this season in the second game when they have to play on back-to-back days.

The Celtics are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against teams with losing SU records and they are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home contests.

The Bulls are 6-0 ATS in their last six games against Eastern Conference opponents and they are 4-0 ATS in their last four overall.

The over is 5-1 in Boston’s last six overall and 5-2-1 in Chicago’s last eight overall. The over is also 6-0 in Chicago’s last six trips to Boston and 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings overall.

Boston is 4-0 ATS in its last four against the Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz (pk, 196.5)

Let’s go streaking!


Both the Cavs and the Jazz have been playing solid basketball of late, but while Cleveland is on fire SU and far from dominant ATS, Utah is doing its damage against the spread.

Cleveland (30-10, 20-20 ATS) has won two in-a-row and 10 of its last 12 contests. The Cavs, however, were just 7-5 ATS in that 12-game span and they are 2-5 ATS in their last seven.

Utah (21-17, 22-16 ATS) is also riding a two-game winning streak, but the team has still won just three of its last seven games. Consistency for the Jazz has come ATS, at least over the past week. They are 4-0 ATS in their last four and in only one of those games did they cover by fewer than 10 points.

Different recipes

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has been constantly tweaking his lineup and his playing-time distribution throughout the season.

After a win over Miami Monday night, Sloan said the rotation will soon become more clear-cut, with Andrei Kirilenko (11.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) seeing more action.

“We've got to get him more time because he's a guy that can make plays and pass the ball to somebody for an easy basket,” Sloan told the Salt Lake Tribune.

The Cavs, on the other hand, are simply going with what’s been working: LeBron James.

Named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Monday, James averaged 33.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in 39.1 minutes per game last week.

Keeping up his torrid pace, James added 37 points and 11 assists in a 117-114 victory at Golden State Monday.

Infirmary report

Cleveland is relatively injury-free, but the team will be missing Jamario Moon Thursday. Moon (5.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) has been sidelined for four games with an abdominal strain and is expected to be out three more weeks.

For Utah, both C.J. Miles (9.0 ppg) and Ronnie Price (4.3 ppg) sat out Monday. Miles is listed as questionable due to an illness and Price is also questionable with a shoulder injury.

Trends

The Cavs are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against teams with winning home records. They are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 contests against teams with winning SU records.

Something will have to give, however, because the Jazz are 5-1 ATS in their last six home outings against teams with winning road records. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning SU records and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against Eastern Conference opposition.

The Cavs are 4-0 ATS in their last four trips to Utah and they are an overwhelming 10-1 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings between the two teams.

Neither Cleveland (17-21-2 O/U) nor Utah (21-16-1 O/U) has been especially appealing over/under plays so far this season.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Inside the Paint - Thursday
By Chris David

Pro hoops heat up the hardwood Thursday with its weekly double-header on TNT, which starts at 8:05 p.m. EST. Chicago and Boston tip off the early action from TD Garden before Cleveland and Utah collide in Salt Lake City in the late-night battle.

Let’s take a closer look at each contest.

Chicago (16-20 SU, 16-18 ATS) at Boston (26 SU, 16-20 ATS)

The Celtics have been installed as seven-point favorites against the Bulls and that should tell you a lot, especially when you look at the past history. Boston has faced Chicago twice this season and the team has come away with a pair of easy double-digit victories (28, 26). Doc Rivers’ team was laying 9 ½ and 11 ½-points in those contests, but they were also healthy too, which is why the number has dropped.

Boston will be without forward Kevin Garnett (knee) and Rasheed Wallace (foot) is listed as ‘questionable’ for Thursday. It’s amazing how much KG changes the dynamic on the court and total players should make a note. The Celtics have seen the ‘over’ go 5-1 in the six games that KG missed this season. And, when Boston defeated 4-3 Chicago in the first round of last year’s playoffs, Garnett didn’t play in the opening series either. Don’t run to the counter quickly, but the ‘over’ went 6-1 over the series. The total for this matchup is hovering between 194 and 195 points.

Despite owning a losing record, the Bulls are sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Chicago enters this game with some steam after beating Minnesota (110-96) and Detroit (120-87), but make a note that both victories came at home. Gamblers should make another note that 13 of the Bulls’ 16 victories have come at United Center this year.

With that being said, Chicago owns a 3-13 SU and 6-10 ATS mark on the road this year. Eight of the 13 losses have come by double digits away from home, which includes one of the aforementioned losses to Boston earlier this season. Despite the rough stretch, the team is 1-2 SU and 3-0 ATS in the last three road tilts and the losses were only by five and three points.

Boston hasn’t been on top of its “A” game lately and it’s showed with losses in two of its last three. It could easily be three of four but Rajon Rondo helped the club pull out a miracle overtime victory at Miami (112-106) last week. Two of the losses came against the Hawks, including a 102-96 setback at home on Monday.

That encounter was the second game in two nights for Boston and we mention that because the Celtics face the Nets on the road Wednesday. So far this season season, Doc’s club has gone 4-3 SU and 2-5 ATS when playing on zero days rest.

The Celtics have gone 11-5 SU and 8-7-1 ATS at home this year.

Cleveland (30-10 SU, 20-20 ATS) at Utah (21-17 SU, 22-16 ATS)

Oddsmakers at most offshore outfits opened this game up as a pick ‘em and it seems fair considering how good the Cavaliers and Jazz have been playing. Cleveland was quickly moved to a short one-point favorite and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that number rise.

This will be the fourth game of a five-game road trip for Cleveland, which has watched the team produce a 2-1 record (1-2 ATS) in the first three tilts. After losing at Denver (97-99) last Friday, the team has bounced back with wins at Portland (106-94) and Golden State (117-114). The ‘over’ has gone 2-1 during this stretch.

Mike Brown’s team has been a nice wager on the road this year, compiling a 16-7 SU and 14-9 ATS mark. The ‘under’ has gone 11-10-2 over this span.

Utah has always been a tough out at home and that’s sort of been the case again this year. Jerry Sloan and company have gone 14-6 SU and 13-7 ATS and you could be scratching your head when you look at the six setbacks. Losses to the Rockets, Hornets, Nuggets and even the Thunder are acceptable, but defeats to the Kings and Grizzlies show signs of weaknesses.

Lately the Jazz have been golden for gamblers, going 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games. All three of the wins were by double digits and two came at home against quality teams in Memphis (117-94) and Miami (118-89). They averaged 115.3 PPG in the victories too, which helped the ‘over’ go 3-1.

Cleveland has won four straight against Utah, including a 107-103 meeting on Nov. 14 at home. The Cavs failed to cover as 13-point favorites and the combined 210 points easily jumped ‘over’ the closing number of 190. What’s equally impressive for the Jazz is that they were without the duties of All-Star point guard Deron Williams and still only lost by four.

The Cavs have faired well against the Western Conference this season, going 13-4 SU and 9-8 ATS. Utah hasn't been too shabby against the East (11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS), but the five losses came against the Celtics, Magic, Hawks, Magic and Heat, who are easily the top five teams in that conference.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Cleveland (30-10, 20-20 ATS) at Utah (21-7, 22-16 ATS)

Cleveland tries to sweep the season series from the Jazz for the second straight year and knock them off for the fifth straight time when they resume a five-game road trip at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Cavaliers opened their trip with a two-point loss at Denver as a four-point underdog, then knocked off the Blazers (106-94) and Warriors (117-114) on Sunday and Monday. While Cleveland covered as a five-point favorite at Portland, but came up short as 5½-point chalk at Golden State, falling to 2-5 ATS the last seven games (1-3 ATS on the road). The Cavs have won 15 of their last 18 games, going 9-2 SU on the highway (7-4 ATS).

Utah has posted consecutive blowout victories over Dallas (111-93 as a 5½-point road underdog Saturday) and the Heat (118-89 as a seven-point home chalk Monday), and it has matched its season high with a 4-0 ATS run. The Jazz are still just 7-8 in their last 15 contests, but 9-6 ATS.

Cleveland has won four straight games against the Jazz, including a 107-103 home win on Nov. 14. However, the Cavs failed to cash as a 13-point favorite in that contest, ending their 10-0 ATS run against Utah. Still, LeBron and Co. have cashed in six straight trips to Salt Lake City, and the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven.

The Cavs are on pointspread tears of 5-2 versus Western Conference teams, 12-5 against the Northwest Division, 13-5 against winning teams and 5-2 when going on two days’ rest. However, they’re 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall and have failed to cash in five straight games after an outright victory.

Utah is on ATS tears of 4-0 overall, 10-3 at home, 10-4 against winning teams and 8-2 versus the Eastern Conference, 4-1 against Central Division opponents and 6-0 on Thursday.

The under is on runs of 6-2 for Cleveland after a victory, 7-3 for Cleveland when playing on two days of rest and 7-3 for Utah on Thursday. Conversely, the over is on stretches of 6-1 for the Cavs on Thursday, 3-1-1 for the Cavs against the Northwest Division and 6-1 for the Jazz against winning teams. Also. the over has hit in four of the last five meetings between these clubs, and the last four in a row at EnergySolutions Arena have hurdled the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEVELAND and OVER

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics

The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at TD Garden.

Luol Deng scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds, as the Bulls ran past the Pistons 120-87 on Monday night.

Chicago covered as 6-point home favorites, while the game played OVER the 194-point total set by oddsmakers.

The Celtics jumped out to an early lead as they cruised past the Nets 111-87 on Wednesday. The Celtics covered the 8-point spread, and the combined score made it OVER the posted total of 189.

Paul Pierce led the way with 24 points and six rebounds, while Rajon Rondo had 11 points with 14 assists in that win.

Current streak:
Chicago has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 16-20 SU, 16-18-2 ATS
Boston: 27-10 SU, 17-20 ATS

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Washington are 5-5
After playing Detroit are 3-7
After a win are 5-5

Boston most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Dallas are 5-5
After playing New Jersey are 9-1
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston
Chicago is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games when playing Boston
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games when playing at home against Chicago
Boston is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing at home against Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 6 games when playing Chicago
Boston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Chicago

Next up:
Chicago home to Washington, Friday, January 15
Boston home to Dallas, Monday, January 18


Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Utah Jazz

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Utah Jazz will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at EnergySolutions Arena.

LeBron James had 37 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, and four blocks to lift the Cavaliers past the Warriors 117-114 on Monday night.

Cleveland couldn't cover as 6-point road favorites, while the game played OVER the 212.5-point total listed by oddsmakers.

Carlos Boozer went for 25 points and 11 rebounds, as the Jazz slammed the Heat 118-89 on Monday night.

Utah covered as 7.5-point home favorites, while the game played OVER the 196.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Cleveland has won 2 straight games.
Utah has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Cleveland: 30-10 SU, 20-20 ATS
Utah: 21-17 SU, 22-16 ATS

Cleveland most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing LA Clippers are 4-6
After playing Golden State are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

Utah most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-7
Before playing Milwaukee are 4-6
After playing Miami are 3-7
After a win are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
Cleveland is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Utah
Cleveland is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Utah
Cleveland is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Cleveland is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah's last 6 games when playing at home against Cleveland
Utah is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Utah's last 5 games when playing Cleveland
Utah is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games at home

Next up:
Cleveland at LA Clippers, Saturday, January 16
Utah home to Milwaukee, Saturday, January 16

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

NBA RoundUp For 1/14
By Dan Bebe

Bulls @ Celtics - Boston by 7 with a total of 194.5. Boston comes home off a 24-point throttling of the New Jersey Nets on the road, but the issue, once again, is whether Boston can sustain the effort for all 48-minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. Surely that's why this line looks so succulent for Celtics-backers, only laying a measly 7 points to the Bulls. I think the best information we can use when handicapping this game is a peek at the previous match-ups, and the results are really something. Boston absolutely KILLED Chicago in both games thus far this season, interesting given the epic nature of their playoff series last year. Of course, both games this season have featured an intimidating defender by the name of Kevin Garnett, and his absence makes this match-up feel an awful lot like the playoff games from last year (which, as you may recall, featured 5 of 7 games decided by 3 points or less, and neither team was on a back-to-back). I love Chicago in this spot, especially with the game on TNT and the Bulls on double-revenge this year. For what it's worth, the Bulls have done quite poorly avenging home losses, but this is really a "new" Bulls club since late December. They've covered 8 of 9 spreads since bottoming out, and have covered 11 of 14 since a huge loss on December 12th to these very same Celtics. I think we see a Chicago team that's looking to show an old Celtics club that they're ready to play 'em like it's the '09 Playoffs. Boston is just 6-10 ATS at home, so they don't tend to cover these hefty home spreads, and this one would be up around 9 if not for the fatigue issue. And I don't call it an "issue" for no reason - the Celtics are 2-5 ATS on the second night of a back-to-back, so another spot where perhaps they get out to a lead and get backdoored when the legs slow, or have to muster some strength late. The obvious concern here is that Boston might just have Chicago's number, but I don't believe that holds true without KG. He hasn't "led the charge" in the games against the Bulls, but a balanced attack, supplemented with suffocating defense (Chicago shot 41 and 33% in the two games) have been the key. I think the Bulls (50%+ in 3 of their last 4 games) put together a much better offensive effort, and I lean their direction - I also like an Over, since this one has about a 50% chance of going to OT (haha!).

Cavaliers @ Jazz - A Pick in Utah with a total of 196.5. Very weird spread here, if you ask me. I realize sometimes we may overthink things, and create a trap where perhaps there isn't one, but this feels like a Cavs-related trap right off the bat. You just know the Jazz are going to be amped up to play one of the top 3 highest-profile teams in the NBA (and arguably the biggest draw in Lebron James) on TNT Thursday in the late game! There is also just zero chance the Cavs are only 3 points the Jazz's superior on a neutral court. In any case, breaking this one down, Cleveland comes to down off a narrow win in Golden State, but a win nonetheless, to cap a back-to-back sweep in Portland, then Oakland - that, after a heartbreaking loss in Denver to start the road trip. Utah, meanwhile, continues a short homestand off an easy win over the Heat, so they too should be fairly well-rested. Really, this has the potential to be a good game, barring the Cavs decide to ratchet their intensity up to Christmas Day level and just destroy the Jazz. It's not going to be easy for either team, that's for damn sure. Utah lost by just 4 points in Cleveland earlier this season, so they can certainly compete with the Cavs, and that game ended up being played at the Jazz's tempo, sailing Over the posted total of 190.5 by almost 20 points. No surprise that this line is 6 points higher, which seems fair. I don't have a strong feeling on the total, though both of these teams have been pretty keyed in, offensively. Still, the TNT cameras might cause some real hard-nose defense, and I just don't have a feeling on this total. I do, however, think that we'll get a big-time game from the spread perspective, and I have to give the Jazz the very slight edge in a spot where I don't think folks will give them the time of day.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Banking On Home Court
By SportsPic

In one of only two scheduled for the NBA Thursday the Chicago Bulls (16-20, 16-18-2 ATS) visit the Boston Celtics (27-10, 17-20 ATS). Bulls were last seen doing a number on Detroit defeating miss-firing Pistons 120-87 and enter a money making 8-1 against-the-spread the past nine on the hardwood. Bulls have not been successful on the highway this season winning just once the past eleven away from the windy city and only three times all season. (3-13 SU, 6-10 ATS). As for Boston, they got off to a poor start this week losing for the third time to the Hawks but rebounded with a convincing 111-87 win over Nets last night. Boston has won both meetings this season, winning 118-90 as 11.5-point home favorites back in October and 106-80 in Chicago last month laying 9.5 points. Boston 11-5 (6-10 ATS) at TD Banknorth Gardens have been pegged 7 point favorites for the third meeting.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Tips and Trends

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics


Bulls: Chicago has won 6 of their past 9 games SU as they attempt to get back to .500 this season. The Bulls are 16-20 SU this season, with 2 of those losses coming from the Celtics. Chicago has lost both games to Boston by at least 25 PTS. Those 2 debacles this year pale in comparison to the epic 7 game playoff series last year won by Boston. Proof of more Bulls struggles this year is in their road record. Chicago is 3-13 SU and 6-10 ATS on the road this season. The Bulls are also 4-7 ATS as a single digit underdog this year. Despite their season long struggles, the Bulls have won 8 of their past 9 games ATS. PG Derrick Rose leads the Bulls with 18.6 PPG and 6 APG. 3 other Bulls average more than 11 PPG, including C Joakim Noah. Noah is averaging a double double this season, with 11 PPG and the 2nd highest rebounding average in the NBA at 12.2 RPG. Chicago has scored season highs in PTS in 3 of their past 4 games.

Bulls are 6-0 ATS last 6 vs. Eastern Conference.
Over is 5-1 last 6 vs. a team with a winning SU record.

Key Injuries - F Taj Gibson (foot) is questionable. 

PROJECTED SCORE: 96 (Side of the Day)


Celtics (-7, O/U 194.5): Boston enters tonight with the 3rd best record in the entire NBA at 27-10 SU. The Celtics are 11-5 SU and 6-10 ATS this season at home. Of their 16 home games this year, only 3 games have featured a lower point spread than tonight. Boston is 4-3 SU and 2-5 ATS on the back end of consecutive games without a day off. Tonight will be the 6th game in 9 days for a roster that is already injured and thin. Forwards Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace are currently out, leaving the Celtics with little size. When healthy, all 5 starters average double digits in PTS this season. PG Rajon Rondo is enjoying a breakout season, averaging 14 PPG with 9.6 APG this year. Rondo has had double digit totals in both points and assists in 3 of his past 4 games. Defensively, the Celtics allow less than than 94 PPG, which is the 2nd lowest total in the NBA. 

Celtics are 3-8 ATS last 11 games as a home favorite.
Over is 22-7-1 last 30 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.

Key Injuries - F Kevin Garnett (knee) is out.
F Rasheed Wallace (foot) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 98


Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz

Cavaliers (-1, O/U 196): Cleveland has the 2nd best record in the NBA at 30-10 heading into Utah tonight. Cleveland has scored at least 106 PTS in 3 of their past 4 games, with F Lebron James leading the way. James is averaging 38 PPG in his past 3 games, scoring at least 35 PTS each time. James is 2nd in the NBA in scoring with 29.4 PPG. PG Mo Williams is the only other Cavalier that is averaging more than 11 PPG. Cleveland is 3rd in the league in point differential per game at +6.8. A major reason for the Cavaliers success this season is their rebounding. Cleveland has outrebounded their opponent in 14 consecutive games. Defensively, the Cavaliers are holding opponents to an NBA low 43.4% shooting percentage. Cleveland is 16-7 SU and 14-9 ATS on the road this year. The Cavs are also 8-8 ATS this season as a single digit favorite. Cleveland has beaten the Jazz SU in their last 4 matchups.

Cavs are 5-1 ATS last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Under is 5-0-1 last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

Key Injuries - F Jamario Moon (abdominal) is out.
F Leon Powe (knee) is out.

PROJECTED SCORE: 103 (OVER - Total of the Day)


Jazz: Utah comes into tonight off arguably their 2 best games of the season, demolishing both the Mavericks and the Heat. The Jazz are 21-17 SU on the season, with an ATS record of 22-16. Utah has won 4 consecutive games ATS heading into tonight. The Jazz are 14-6 SU and 13-7 ATS at home this season. Utah thrives in the home underdog role, going 2-0 SU and ATS as home underdogs this year. Utah played the Cavaliers tough earlier this season, losing by 4 PTS on the road as 14 point underdogs. This Jazz offense is based on their inside play and assists. Utah averages more than 46 PPG in the paint, ranking them in the the top 3 in the NBA. All 5 starters average double digits in PTS, with PG Deron Williams leading the way. Williams averages 19.7 PPG with nearly 10 APG. Utah leads the NBA in assists with nearly 26 APG. Utah has yet to win a game SU this season with less than 23 assists in a game. 

Jazz are 6-1 ATS last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.

Over is 6-1 last 7 vs. a team with a winning SU record.
 
Key Injuries - G Ronnie Price (shoulder) is questionable.
F C.J. Miles (illness) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 100

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Eastern Powers Betting Focus for Thursday
By Doug Upstone

The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have been spending a considerable time on the road of late and one team gladly returns home while the other has to continue the journey.

The Celtics (27-10, 17-20 ATS) have played seven of their last nine games on the road, winning and covering just three times. This has quelled their fantastic road record that still stands at sturdy 16-5 (11-10 ATS). Boston has played the majority of their games this season on the road, which means the second half of the season will lead to staying at home, which will be a big benefit according to coach Doc Rivers.

"We've been on the road forever. But we've played pretty well on the road this year, so with the schedule we've had, that's a good thing, - Rivers said.

"The second half of the year we'll have far more practice time, and I think that'll make us a better team."

They will welcome the opportunity to host Chicago (16-20, 16-18-2 ATS), though they are just 3-8 ATS at home of late. The Celtics have been battling injuries again, with Kevin Garnett out and Ray Allen missing time. The subject of age has arisen again for this veteran team and they are dismissive of such talk.

"We don't worry about what people say," Allen said. "We do what we're capable of doing. It's not really for other people to discuss us. We're not worried about that. We've got to go out and do our job every single day. We've been doing it for a long time, so we have great experience." Allen and Boston has covered 15 of previous 22 Thursday assignments and faces a Bulls team really struggling away from the Windy City.

Chicago is 3-13 (6-10 ATS) on the road, losing by 10.2 points per game, with only New Jersey being worse. The Bulls are 16-35-1 ATS vs. the Atlantic Division and hopes their recent play of winning six of last nine (8-1 ATS) is a harbinger of things to come.

Betonline.com has Boston favored by seven having covered four in a row over Chicago. The Celticss faced New Jersey Wednesday and are just 1-5 ATS with no rest. The last six meetings between these teams in Beantown have gone OVER. TNT has this contest starting at 8:05 Eastern.

Later on the same station, Cleveland (30-10, 20-20 ATS) plays its four consecutive road game on its western swing, this time in Utah. In spite of sluggish start, the Cavs are the first team to 30 wins in the NBA and are 15-3 since Dec. 11, with 10-8 spread mark. After losing by two points at Denver to open the five game road trip, Cleveland bounced back with wins over Portland and Golden State, though the latter was tougher than expected, a 117-114 triumph over the pesky Warriors as 5.5-point favorites.

The Cavaliers are 13-5 ATS against teams with winning records like Utah (21-17, 22-16 ATS), however not many teams enjoy the home court edge the Jazz do.

Utah at is 14-6 at home, winning by almost eight points per game. After an unusually slow start for them, the Jazz are back in harmony covering 10 of last 13 contests at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah has won three of four and covered four straight and is 6-1 ATS vs. teams like Cleveland who own a .600 or better record on the road. (Cavs are 16-7 and 14-9 ATS as visitors)

Cleveland has destroyed Utah, winning nine of 11, covering all of them, including six straight in Salt Lake City. The Cavaliers are slight favorites this time around.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 1/14

Trend Report - Thursday
By Ed Meyer

Bulls at Celtics - The Bulls are 0-8 ATS (-11.2 ppg) since April 01, 1999 as a dog after a double digit home win in which they shot at least 10 percentage points higher than their season-to-date average. The Bulls are 0-6 ATS (-6.9 ppg) since December 03, 2007 as a dog after a double digit home win in which they shot at least 50% from the field. The League is 0-6 ATS (-8.4 ppg) since November 09, 2007 as a road dog with two or more days of rest after a double digit home win in which their DPS was at least plus 15 points. The League is 9-0 ATS (13.6 ppg) since December 02, 2006 at home with no rest after a win in which they were whistled for at least 30 personal fouls.

Cavaliers at Jazz - The League is 7-0 ATS (9.3 ppg) since January 17, 2009 on the road with two or more days of rest after a win in which their opponent shot at least ten three-pointers and made at least half of them. The Cavaliers are 6-0 ATS (9.8 ppg) since January 29, 2006 off a win of four points or fewer as an away favorite in which they held a double digit lead. The Cavaliers are 6-0 ATS (10.6 ppg) since January 17, 2004 on the road versus the Jazz. The League is 10-0-1 ATS (6.7 ppg) since May 11, 2008 at home with two or more days of rest after a double digit home win in which their DPS was at least plus 15 points. The Jazz are 0-8-2 ATS (-12.2 ppg) since December 15, 1995 with two or more days of rest after a double digit home win in which they shot at least 55% from the field. The Jazz are 7-0 ATS (6.3 ppg) since January 31, 2007 at home after a game at home in which their DPS was at least plus 15 points.

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