NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 7

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 7

NBA TNT Doubleheader: Lakers at Celtics, Bulls at Nuggets
By Covers.com

Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics (-2, 194)

Just as things were starting to fall into place for the Los Angeles Lakers, another major injury cropped up that could severely impair the team's chances of snagging a playoff slot. Forward Pau Gasol is the latest casualty for the Lakers, suffering a torn plantar fascia in his right foot during Tuesday's win over the Brooklyn Nets. Gasol was headed back to Los Angeles to be examined by a specialist, but he is expected to miss at least four weeks. Meanwhile, the Lakers will put their three-game winning streak on the line when they visit the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Boston suffered what appeared to be a debilitating injury when All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was lost to a season-ending knee injury. Rather than fold, the Celtics have played their best ball of the season, running their winning streak to five games since Rondo was hurt. Kevin Garnett scored a season-high 27 points in Wednesday's victory over the Toronto Raptors - the only road win during the current streak. All five starters scored in double figures for the fourth straight game for the Celtics.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (23-26, 20-28-1 ATS): Gasol was largely responsible for helping Los Angeles snap an eight-game road losing streak, averaging 20 points during the current three-game run. He was starting in place of Dwight Howard, who has sat out the last three games after aggravating the torn labrum in his right shoulder in a loss at Phoenix on Jan. 30. Howard is listed as day-to-day, but Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant let it be known that the day should come soon. "You have to play through where you have to manage the pain," Bryant said. "When you go through those things you learn your body and what you can push through."

ABOUT THE CELTICS (25-23, 19-26-3 ATS): Boston's bench had produced an average of nearly 50 points in the three games prior to the matchup with Toronto. On Wednesday, former Raptor Leandro Barbosa did most of the damage, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to spark the game-winning rally. It was the third straight game in double figures for Barbosa, who has shot at least 50 percent in each game since Rondo went down. Coach Doc Rivers earned his 400th win with the Celtics, putting him third on the franchise's all-time list behind Red Auerbach (910) and Tom Heinsohn (427).

TRENDS:

* Under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings in Boston.
* Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings.
* Lakers are 7-15-1 ATS in the last 23 meetings.
* Underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Los Angeles has won three straight against Boston, including both meetings last season by a combined four points.

2. Paul Pierce, who has four double-doubles in his last five games, is averaging 24.7 points in 24 games against the Lakers.

3. Howard averaged 16.4 points and 12.7 boards in 27 games against Boston while he was with the Orlando Magic.


Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets (-6.5, 197.5)

The Denver Nuggets attempt to extend their season-best winning streak to eight games when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. Denver has won 14 of 17 games and is now among the top five teams in the Western Conference standings, thanks to strong play during a home-heavy stretch. The Nuggets wrap up a six-game homestand against Chicago, which has won six of nine games. The Bulls hope to have center Joakim Noah (foot) back after a three-game absence.

Chicago is a solid 14-8 on the road despite losing at Indiana on Monday. The Bulls are 2-2 during a stretch in which eight of nine games are on the road. Chicago will be without guard Kirk Hinrich (elbow) for the fourth straight game. Denver rallied to beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday and scored 29 points off 17 turnovers. “When we create any type of offense with our defense, we score,” coach George Karl told reporters. “Everybody wants to make a great offensive play, but I think it’s actually more thrilling and exciting to a team to make a great defensive play.”

ABOUT THE BULLS (29-19, 20-28 ATS): Guard Marco Belinelli is a game-time decision after turning an ankle during Monday’s game against the Pacers. Belinelli suffered the injury in the first half and then returned to score 17 in the second half en route to a season-high 24 points. With point guards Derrick Rose (knee) and Hinrich sidelined, veteran Nate Robinson has played 40-plus minutes in three consecutive games while being highly productive. Robinson is averaging 18.7 points over the last seven games. Forward Carlos Boozer (hamstring) had 10 points against Indiana after missing the previous three contests.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (31-18, 29-20 ATS): Denver has topped 100 points in eight consecutive contests and will find it challenging to keep the streak going against the Bulls, who rate third in the NBA by allowing just 91 points per game. Controlling the pace will be crucial for the Nuggets. “We’ve got to move the ball and we’ve got to run,” said swingman Corey Brewer, who tallied 20 points against Milwaukee. “It’s all about running, especially when you play a team like the Bulls, who play really good five-on-defense. You want to get the pace going.” Forward Kenneth Faried had 13 points and 10 rebounds against Milwaukee for his 20th double-double of the campaign.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Home team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings.
* Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Denver.
* Bulls are 5-11-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings.
* Bulls are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Denver.
* Underdog is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Denver has won five straight games against Chicago at the Pepsi Center and 11 of the past 12.

2. Bulls C Taj Gibson is averaging 14.8 points and 12 rebounds while starting the last four games.

3. The Nuggets are 19-3 when allowing fewer than 100 points.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 7

Lakers at Boston Preview
Sportspic.com

Sometimes in life less is more. That certainly isn’t usually the case when it comes to the NBA and the number of superstars on the roster for any given team, which makes the sports betting circumstances surrounding Thursday night’s showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics that much more interesting. The Lakers have struggled this season despite the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to the lineup, as inconsistent play and a general lack of chemistry has prevented them from holding down a playoff spot all season. Meanwhile, Boston has managed to hold down a playoff spot these past couple of months despite an aging core, and ironically has played some of its best basketball since losing its biggest superstar in Rajon Rondo.

The Celtics have won four-straight games since Rondo went down with a season-ending ACL tear, an injury that was expected to end any chance of Boston reaching the postseason. A greater sense of urgency and more complete team approach has been the difference for the Celtics since losing Rondo, and will be among the many keys to Thursday night’s contest.

Betting Preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Despite their inconsistent play overall the Lakers have rallied together of late with strong play over the past couple of weeks, winning five of six games including back-to-back road wins in the midst of a seven-game trip. That stretch will continue Thursday at Boston where Los Angeles will look to continue to build on its team chemistry, which has looked much more cohesive since Kobe Bryant changed his approach to become more of a facilitator and pass up more shots for Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in the post. With Howard and Gasol ranking among the most dominant post players in the game it only makes sense to give them more looks down low and working off the inside game, and that has led to the results the Lakers want over the past two online betting weeks.

Betting Preview: Boston Celtics

A team that ranks 29th in the NBA in rebounding won’t have an easy time slowing down Howard and Gasol, with Jared Sullinger’s injury leaving Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass to handle the load inside. Sullinger wasn’t an outstanding defensive presence in the lineup anyway, and with Garnett wearing down due to age the Celtics have struggled against bigger opponents. The loss of Rondo has forced Paul Pierce to be a more complete player and he has responded with averages of 17.3 points and 6.3 assists over the last four games. Jason Terry and Jeff Green have also played bigger roles of late at the offensive end of the floor particularly, and will need to be at their best to keep up with the Lakers.

Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

For as good as Boston has looked since losing Rondo, it’s only a matter of time before this group wears down under the pressure of having to win every night and the Lakers are built with the raw size to take advantage of them. Los Angeles is learning how to take advantage of its strengths and wear opponents down, and it won’t be a surprise when they have their way with the Celtics on Thursday night.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 7

Inside the Paint - Thursday
By Chris David
VegasInsider.com

Despite dealing with age, injuries and chemistry issues, the Boston Celtics (25-23 straight up, 19-26 against the spread) and Los Angeles Lakers (23-26 SU, 20-28 ATS) both continue to fight for a spot in the postseason. Tonight, these two legendary franchises will square off from TD Garden in Boston.

If the playoffs started today, Boston would be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and Los Angeles would miss out entirely for a postseason spot in the West. The two clubs still have more than 30 games to change their fortune but most pundits agree that injuries have done these teams in.

The loss of point guard Rajon Rondo (knee) hasn’t set in yet for the Celtics but it’s hard to imagine the club keeping up their current pace without the All-Star.

Since Rondo was ruled out for the season on Jan. 27, the Celtics have won and covered five straight games, including last night’s 99-95 road win at Toronto. During this run, Boston has also notched impressive victories over the Heat (100-98) and Clippers (106-104). Both of those wins came at TD Garden, where Boston has gone 17-9 SU and 12-12 ATS this season.

Similar to the Celtics, the Lakers have felt the injury bug as well. The team won’t have forward Pau Gasol (foot) in the lineup for up to six weeks. Also, All-Star center Dwight Howard (shoulder) has missed the last three games and is listed as ‘questionable’ for tonight. If he does go tonight, I would expect him to sit tomorrow at Charlotte and then gear up for Miami on Sunday afternoon.

Even with all the injuries the Lakers have shown some effort lately, especially from All-Star guard Kobe Bryant but he doesn’t seem too confident with his current cast of mates. "Now reality kind of sets in,” Bryant said. “If Pau can't go and Dwight can't go, we have to figure some things out.”

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni seems to like the challenge when asked about the recent injuries. "Hopefully we'll get Dwight back pretty soon and then hopefully Pau's not too bad,” D'Antoni said. "If not, we'll play.”

Los Angeles has won six of its last seven games and is 3-1 on its current seven-game road trip. The Lakers could easily be 4-0 but they were outscored by 16 points (29-13) to Phoenix in the fourth quarter on Jan. 30.

Fatigue could be a factor tonight for Boston, who has gone 5-6 on zero days rest this season. However, the Celtics played nine of those games on the road where they went 3-6, which means the club has produced a 2-0 mark in back-to-back spots at TD Garden.

As mentioned above, the Lakers face the Bobcats in North Carolina tomorrow. This season, L.A. has gone 3-6 SU and 1-8 ATS in the front end of back-to-back spots. Defensively, the Lakers have been lacking in these situations, which has helped the ‘over’ go 6-3. In case you’re wondering, the Lakers haven’t been great on rest either. The team is 3-6 both SU and ATS and the ‘under’ is 6-3. The Bobcats aren’t great but could be a look tomorrow as home ‘dogs.

The Lakers and Celtics haven’t met this season but Los Angeles has won the past three encounters, including both affairs in last year’s lockout-shortened season. Two of the wins during this stretch occurred in Boston and gamblers should note that the final margin was decided by a combined 10 points (6, 1, 3).

Total players have seen the ‘under’ go 7-3 in the past 10 meetings but you might want to tread lightly with that number considering the new faces and styles.

TNT will broadcast this tip at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Chicago at Denver: The obvious choice for TNT’s late-night affair would be Denver, who has quietly ripped off seven straight wins. More importantly, they’ve gone 6-1 against the spread during this run and that includes Tuesday’s miraculous front-door cover over Milwaukee (112-104) as a seven-point home favorite. The Nuggets trailed that game by 15 at halftime but rallied behind the home fans and ran the Bucks off the court in the second-half (61-38). Denver also had a 37-11 free-throw advantage over Milwaukee in that contest. The victory improved Denver’s record to 21-3 SU and 16-8 ATS.

Oddsmakers sent Denver out as a five-point home favorite and the number has been pushed up to 6 and 6½-points at most outfits.

Chicago will be looking to snap the Nuggets’ streak tonight and its defensive style could definitely do the job. The Bulls are holding opponents to 91 PPG, which is ranked third in the NBA. The defense should be in better shape tonight with Joakim Noah (foot) returning to the lineup. The big man missed Monday’s 111-101 loss at Indiana and his absence was evident. It was the second-highest point total the Bulls gave up this season and the first time in 11 games that a team was able to put up 100-plus on Chicago. The Bulls will conclude their six-game road trip tomorrow at Utah. Make a note that Chicago is 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five games when playing on the front end of a back-to-back set.

The total on this game opened at 197 and was quickly steamed down to 195½. The Nuggets have watched the ‘over’ cash in five straight and 12 of their last 14 games. During Denver’s recent seven-game winning streak, the offense is averaging 113 points per game. Chicago has been an ‘under’ (28-20) team all season but the ‘over’ has gone 13-9 in its road games.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the ‘under’ trend in the late-night game on TNT and it occurred again last Thursday albeit very luckily.

2012-13 TNT Late-Night Games

Date     Matchup    Total     Result
Nov. 1 Oklahoma City 84 San Antonio 86 204 Under
Nov. 8 L.A. Clippers 103 Portland 90 201.5 Under
Nov. 15 Miami 98 Denver 93 202.5 Under
Nov. 29 Denver 105 Golden State 106 199.5 Over
Dec. 6 Dallas 97 Phoenix 94 205 Under
Dec. 13 San Antonio 90 Portland 98 200.5 Under
Dec. 20 Miami 110 Dallas 95 203 Over
Dec. 27 Boston 77 L.A. Clippers 106 189.5 Under
Jan. 10 Miami 90 Portland 92 195 Under
Jan. 17 Miami 99 L.A. Lakers 90 207 Under
Jan. 24 L.A. Clippers 88 Phoenix 93 191 Under
Jan. 31 Dallas 97 Golden State 100 203 Under
Feb. 7 Chicago at Denver     -     -

When you look at the early steam to the ‘under’ and the above trend (10-2) this season, the ‘under’ could be in play again tonight. Tip-off is set for 10:35 p.m. ET.

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