NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 12

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 12

NBA TNT Doubleheader: Clippers at Nets, Rockets at Blazers
By Covers.com

Los Angeles Clippers at Brooklyn Nets (+2.5, 195.5)

The Brooklyn Nets seek their first three-game winning streak of the season when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday in what could be another emotional night for forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The veteran stars will be opposite Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who guided them to the 2008 NBA title during a solid run with the Boston Celtics that ended this offseason. Pierce and Garnett already got through one emotional affair Tuesday, when they topped the Celtics in the first meeting with their former team.

Rivers' current crew is coming off a 96-88 win in Boston on Wednesday in his return to TD Garden, where fans gave him a rousing ovation. The victory gave the Clippers a 3-2 mark on their season high-tying seven-game road trip, during which they have held four opponents to 88 points or fewer. Blake Griffin scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Los Angeles' 110-103 victory over Brooklyn at home on Nov. 16.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (15-8): Wednesday's win featured another standout performance from Jamal Crawford, who scored 21 points in 27 minutes, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the closing minutes. Crawford has always been a quality scorer, but has stepped up his offensive game in the wake of the injury to fellow shooting guard J.J. Redick. Including the game at Sacramento on Nov. 29 in which Redick hurt his right hand, Crawford is averaging 18.1 points off the bench.

ABOUT THE NETS (7-14): Brooklyn has won three of five games after a 4-12 start. That may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but if star guard Deron Williams can remain healthy there should be better days ahead. Williams returned from a nine-game layoff Tuesday against the Celtics and instantly provided a boost, scoring a game-high 25 points as the Nets topped the century mark for the first time in seven games.

TRENDS:

* Over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Nets are 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games.
* Under is 4-0 in Clippers last four overall.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Clippers F Antawn Jamison scored his 20,000th point Wednesday.

2. Brooklyn played without Pierce, Garnett, Williams and leading scorer C Brook Lopez in the loss at Los Angeles last month.

3. The Clippers' seven-game trip ends in Washington on Saturday, after which the team will fly home to complete a 6,103-mile excursion.


Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5, 211.5)

The Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets are following a similar formula to the top of the Western Conference with strong inside-outside combinations and rapid ball movement leading to 3-pointers. The Trail Blazers will attempt to prove they run it better when they host the Rockets on Thursday. Portland holds the top record in the West and is second in the NBA in scoring, behind only Houston.

The Rockets are winners of two straight thanks to an improved effort on the defensive end and the continued acclimation of Dwight Howard to Houston’s high screen-and-roll offense. That high screen system between James Harden and Howard should look familiar to the Trail Blazers, who run plenty of the same with Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland did not respond well to that scheme in the first meeting, a 116-101 home loss on Nov. 5.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (15-7): Houston is in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense but is making its way up by holding its last two opponents to an average of 85.5 points. “I think we have a better mindset and we are more comfortable and executing to the scouting report very well,” forward Chandler Parsons said of the last two games.  “I think out problem is we haven’t fully grasped that we can lose to any team on any given night.” That should not be a problem against the Blazers if the first meeting was any indication. Harden led the way with 33 points in that one as Rockets shot 54.7 percent from the field.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (18-4): Portland had a four-game winning streak come to an end with a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday but bounced right back with a win at Utah and is making a brief stop at home before heading out on a four-game road trip. Aldridge was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for last week after posting four straight double-doubles and even began to hear “MVP” chants in Utah on Monday. “It was a blessing and definitely something I feel I’ve worked hard for,” Aldridge told the team’s official website. “I’ve never heard MVP chants on the road, that was definitely new for me.”

TRENDS:

* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Rockets are 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings in Portland.
* Trail Blazers are 5-0 ATS in their last five Thursday games.
* Underdog is 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Houston has taken three straight in the series and has won five of its last six in Portland.

2. Rockets G Jeremy Lin (knee) is expected to make his return from a six-game absence on Thursday.

3. Howard has pulled down 18 or more rebounds in each of the last three games to boost his average to 13.3 boards.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, December 12

Inside the Paint - Thursday
By Chris David
VegasInsider.com

The biggest surprise of the NBA season has been Portland, who has started the season with an 18-4 record, which is the best record in the Western Conference. Along with the top mark, the Trail Blazers have also helped cash tickets at the betting counter with a 16-6 ledger against the spread and that’s tied for the best mark in the league with Indiana.

At the beginning of the season, the LVH SuperBook in Las Vegas had Portland as the fourth choice (15/1) to win the Northwest Division and they had a season win total of 38½. As mentioned above, the Trail Blazers lead their division and they’re almost halfway to eclipsing their win total expectations.

Despite the hot start and best record in their conference, the club still isn’t garnering much respect from the oddsmakers. The Trail Blazers are listed as the sixth choice (8/1) to win the West behind Oklahoma City (13/5), San Antonio (3/1), Houston (6/1) and Golden State (6/1).

Portland certainly doesn’t have the experience of those teams but it does have talent and it added a lot of depth after last year’s squad was depleted to injuries. Offseason additions in center Robin Lopez (9.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG) and back-up point guard Mo Williams (8.9 PPG, 4.6) have been great fits and certainly taken some of the load off the team’s two-headed monster of LaMarcus Aldridge (23.2 PPG, 10 RPG) and Damian Lillard (20.7 PPG, 5.6 APG).

If you bet hoops on a regular basis then you’re well aware that everybody looks better when you make shots and that’s one thing Portland has done consistently this season. The team is ranked second in scoring with 106.2 points per game and 3-point field goal percentage (41.5), plus they lead the league in free-throw percentage (81.7), which is a huge when you’re averaging over 22 attempts per game.

So why is everybody hesitant to back Portland?

I don’t have an exact answer but the issue could be exposure. When you play on the West Coast, you don’t get noticed much unless you have the big-name players or a big-time coach.  Small-market teams always get overlooked in all sports but that certainly doesn’t define success. Investing in future prices on Portland might be a good look, especially if it can ever get rookie C.J. McCollum healthy and in the rotation but that’s a big “If.”

On Thursday, the Trail Blazers can gain more credibility when they meet Houston (15-7 SU, 12-9-1 ATS) in a primetime battle on TNT.

Portland opened as a four-point favorite but number quickly dropped to 3½.

The Rockets have won three straight and seven of their last nine meetings against the Blazers, which includes a 116-101 road victory on Nov. 5. All-Star center Dwight Howard and the Rockets had a 54-28 edge in the paint and 47-30 advantage on the boards in the November affair. While the frontcourt was dominated in the first encounter, the Rockets also received a great performance from James Harden, who has scored a total of 101 points in his last three games against the Blazers.

Houston will be looking to win its third straight game on Thursday but the club has been inconsistent on the road this season, going 5-4 both SU and ATS.

Similar to past seasons, Portland has taken advantage of its homecourt this year. The Blazers have gone 9-2 both SU and ATS, one of the losses coming to the Rockets.

Total players could be looking at a high-scoring affair based on the scoring for each club and the recent trends. The Blazers have seen the ‘over’ go 8-3 at home and the Rockets have watched the ‘over’ go 7-2 on the road.
Tonight’s total opened at 212½ and has held steady. The last four meetings between the pair have gone ‘over’ the number.

Omer Asik (knee) will miss his fourth straight game for the Rockets but Jeremy Lin is expected to return after missing six straight games.

L.A. Clippers at Brooklyn

Bettors have another game to follow tonight as the Clippers (15-8 SU, 13-10) visit the Nets (7-14 SU, 8-13 ATS) in Brooklyn. This matchup is receiving some extra attention due to Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers squaring off against his former players in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Rivers had a reunion last night as the Clippers defeated the Celtics 96-88 in his first return to Boston since leaving the franchise this past summer. Los Angeles has gone 3-2 in its last five games, all on the road but tonight’s game will be on zero days rest.

The Clippers have gone 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS in back-to-back situations this season and the two losses came against quality opponents in the Thunder (105-91) and Heat (102-97) on the road.

The Nets have started slow due to chemistry and injuries but they have won two straight albeit against the Bucks (90-82) and Celtics (104-96). Considering the team hasn’t won back-to-back games all season, it might be a start of something good in Brooklyn.

These teams met in Los Angeles on Nov. 16 and the Clippers defeated the Nets 110-103 but failed to cover as 13 ½-point favorites. You might want to toss this game out since Brooklyn played without starters Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Garnett and Pierce.

What’s a little strange about the Clippers is that they haven’t taken advantage against the weaker teams in the East this season. Doc’s team has gone 5-5 both SU and ATS in non-conference games, which includes their last two games.

Brooklyn is 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS versus the West this season and that includes a 1-3 mark at the Barclays Center.

The Nets have seen the ‘over’ go 6-3 at the Barclays Center this season but the Clippers have been a dead-under team (10-3) on the road. Also, the Clips have seen the ‘under’ go 6-3-1 against the East and their last four games have gone ‘under’ the number as well.

After this game, L.A. wraps up its seven-game road trip on Saturday at Washington.

The Clippers have been installed as 2 ½-point road favorites over the Nets tonight. Brooklyn has gone 1-3 both SU and ATS as a home underdog this season, the lone win coming on Nov. 1 against Miami (101-100).

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