Orlando at Washington (+2 ½, 202)
Sure, the Wizards have pulled up their socks lately and finally figured out how to win without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. If you’ve been riding this team lately, you’re probably pretty happy with the way Antawn Jamison has put the team on his shoulders, the toughness of Brendan Haywood in the paint, and the maturation of Nick Young. And you’re obviously pleased with their 8-2 ATS record in the last 10 games too. But here’s a caveat: the Magic are even hotter. They’ve covered in five of their last six games and a win over Toronto last night further entrenched their hold on third place in the Eastern Conference. This is a young team that isn’t slowed by playing back-to-backs (10-5 ATS) and they love road games (22-11 ATS), so I wouldn’t worry too much about laying points on the road against a rested team.
Seattle at Milwaukee (-9, 208 ½)
Excuse me, but could someone please tell me what the Bucks have done lately to justify a pointspread like this? It couldn’t be a 22-point loss to the 11th-place team in the Eastern Conference in their last game. I doubt it’s the 111 points they’ve been giving up over their last five games against such "offensive powerhouses" as San Antonio (20th ranked offense), Cleveland (17th), and New Jersey (27th).
Really though, its probably got more to do with the fact that they’ve covered the spread in their last five home games, but don't forget they were dogged in every one of those. They haven’t been favored by anywhere close to this much all year – actually, they haven’t been favored much at all, but in games they were, they have a 3-9 ATS record. In spite of all this, it’s still not easy to lay your money down on the Sonics, but would it help if I told you Seattle has covered in its last seven road games and four straight against the Bucks?
New Jersey at Memphis (+3, 201)
There’s not much to like about the Nets, especially since Jason Kidd skipped town, but if there’s one thing the Nets like, it’s an easy target. And there isn’t a team in the NBA that more closely resembles a wounded animal than the Memphis Grizzlies. Even though they’re consistently on the receiving end of double-digit pointspreads, they haven’t covered in nine straight games. Since Memphis parted with Pau Gasol, they are 3-11 ATS and the biggest difference has been on defense. In their last five games, they’re averaging 115.4 points allowed opponents to shoot 54.2 percent from the field. Vince Carter & Co. were almost completely snuffed out by the Spurs defense in their recent home-and-home series, so the Memphis “D” should look like a wide-open country road by comparison.
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