USA Today Sports

See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bet opportunities

Jason Logan
Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.
Lookahead spot

The Staples Center will be a sight for sore eyes when the Los Angeles Clippers play their first home game in two weeks versus the Houston Rockets Wednesday night. The Clippers have been on an eight-game road swing, going 4-4 SU and ATS during that stretch.

The first home game after an extended road trip is always tough. Players are dealing with family, friends, financial, and fling issues, trying to make up for the time away. It also doesn’t help that the Clippers have a Staples Center showdown with the rival Lakers Thursday – and the upcoming All-Star break – to distract them from a dangerous Rockets team that can put up points in a hurry.

Letdown spot

Things haven’t gone according to plan in Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Tar Heels, expected to be among the national title contenders, are stumbling through ACC play with a 6-4 conference record (5-5 ATS). However, all will be forgiven if UNC can upset No. 1 Duke in Cameron Indoor Wednesday night.

Regardless of how that game trickles out, the Tar Heels are susceptible to a prime letdown spot versus Virginia on the weekend. A matchup with the Cavaliers pales in comparison to the pressure of playing the rival Blue Devils, even if Virginia already scored a 61-52 win over UNC last month.

Scheduling spot

Many NHL teams have benefited from home-hefty schedules to open the lockout-shortened season. Count the Columbus Blue Jackets among those, with nine of their first 13 contests coming inside Nationwide Arena.

The Jackets, who are 1-3-0-0 away from Ohio, hit the bricks for six-game road trip, starting in Los Angeles Friday. Columbus takes on Phoenix Saturday and Anaheim Monday, playing three games in four nights. The trip then takes the Blue Jackets to Detroit, St. Louis and Chicago, ending on Feb. 24.

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