The red hot Atlanta Hawks welcome the Portland Trailblazers town tonight. The Hawks enter this contest as a seven point favorite at home despite playing one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Entering tonightâ€™s contest the Hawks have the second best record in the NBA only trailing the Golden State Warriors.
Despite not having a true elite super star the Hawks are finding other ways to win. One of those ways is been the teams unselfish like attitude that has helped everyone contribute in some capacity. On the season the Hawks are averaging the second most assists per game averaging a little over 26 per game. This has led to success on the offensive side of the ball as they also are averaging the sixth most points per game with a 103. 6 per contest.
As you start to look at the Hawks current winning streak the team has taken care of some of the top teams in the NBA. The list includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Trailblazers.
These two teams met back on January 3rd with the Hawks getting the 115-107 win despite a big game from Lamarcus Aldridge. Aldridge finished with a game high 30 points to go with 12 rebounds. The Hawks were led by a game high 27 from Paul Millsap but also saw six other members score double digits.
While the Hawks are red hot the Trailblazers have struggled over their last ten games going just 4-6 in those contests. In that stretch the team fell to some good teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angels Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies but also fell to the Boston Celtics at home. Overall the team has lost four of their last five games before there contest in Atlanta tonight.
That could be the deciding factor tonight as the Trailblazers take on a Hawks team that has only lost three games at home all season. Their last home loss came on December 26 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Along with the teamâ€™s success at home in the standings the Hawks have also played to a 6-2 record against the spread in their last eight games.
Other trends to monitor include the Trailblazers 2-6 record against the spread over their last eight games as well as 1-4 record against teams with a winning percentage higher than .600 at home. The Hawks are also 4-0 against the spread in their last four games on Friday.
All of these trends could point to a easy Hawks win but can they walk away with a win by more than 7.5 points? You might want to consider taking the under as both teams allow less than 98 points a game as this contest currently sits at an over/under of 203.
The Milwaukee Bucks look to stay above the five hundred mark against he Orlando Magic. These two teams square off in Orlando with the Bucks being favored by 4.5 points. This line has stayed between the three and 4.5 point but one sportsbook opened as low as two this afternoon.
The Bucks also enter this contest sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference and currently hold a three game lead over the Miami Heat. The Magic are trending the opposite direction losing six straight games to fall to 15-33 on the season. The one odd stat has been the Magics struggles at home winning just five of twenty contests this season.
Brandon Knight has been the spark for the Bucks this season leading the team with 17.9 points per game, assists with 5.1 per game and steals with 1.6 per game. Along with leading the team, Knight has been consistent from behind the arc this season including nine contests in January with at least two three pointers.
Along with Knight, the Bucks have been getting solid play from a variety of players since losing Jabari Parker for the season. The list includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley. Mayo, Antetokounmp and Middleton are all averaging double digit points on the season.
On the other side of the court the Magic are led Nikola Vucevic who is leading the team in points per game with 19.5 as well as rebounds with 11.2 per game. Along with Vucevic the team has gotten solid play from Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier all averaging over 12 points.
The Magics struggles come on the defensive side of the ball allowing over 105 points a game. When you start to examine the Magicâ€™s current six game losing streak the team allowed over 103 points in each contest with two opponents recording over 127. Overall the Magic have allowed triple digits in ten straight contest resulting in a record of 2-8 over that stretch.
These two clubs met back in November with the Magic walking away with a 101-85 win. In that contest Harris led the way for the Magic finishing with a double double recording 26 points to go with 10 rebounds. Knight finished the game with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists in the loss for the Bucks.
While the statistics point to the Bucks in this contest the trends could lean you either way, who do you like with your Thursday Night NBA picks. The Bucks enter this contest posting a 5-2 record against the spread this season against the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are also 19-6-1 against the spread on the road over their last 26 road contests.
Stephen Curry looks to lead his Golden State Warriors to another big win against the Chicago Bulls. Curry and the Warriors are red hot of late winning nine of ten games leading up to their contest against the Chicago Bulls. Over that stretch the Warriors have picked up two wins against the Houston Rockets, one win against the Miami Heat and a win against the Cavaliers.
This run has helped the Warriors to the top spot in the Western Conference along with the best record in the NBA at 36-6. This contest will tip off at 10:30pm ET at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California where the Warriors are 21-1 on the season. The teamâ€™s only loss came back on November 11th against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bulls on the other hand have had their ups and down this season playing to a 29-17 record on the season. Over their last ten games the Bulls have played to a 4-6 leading Derrick Rose to speak out about the teamâ€™s performance. The one stat to look at that could help you decide on which team to place you money on is the fact the Bulls have played much better on the road winning sixteen of twenty two games.
While the point spread has yet to come out the only concern we have is how high it could rise to. We like the Warriors at home to win but are concerned of the early line of ten in this contest. On the other hand the Bulls have lost back to back games three times in the month January. In all three of those losses the Bulls fell by at least 12 points.
The trends are also pointing in the direction of the Warriors as they have played to a 37-15-1 record against the spread over their last 53 contests. The Bulls on the other hand are just 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five games and just 1-7 against the spread on Tuesdays.
Along with the Bulls/Warriors contest the NBA has five other games taking place around the NBA. Here are two other contests we really like on Tuesday Night NBA basketball picks.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat: The early line has the Heat as the early favorite by 4.5 points at home. Despite being a home game for the Heat, the team has struggled this season at American Airlines Arena playing to an 8-13. The Heat has played well of late winning six of ten contests including big wins over the Bulls and Clippers. Overall the favorite is 8-3 against the spread in this matchup over their last 11 meetings.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks enter this contest as the early favorite at home by 4.5 points over the Grizzlies. This contest could swing either direction as the Grizzlies have been the hot team winning seven of their last ten games including back to back road games. The downside though is the 1-4 record against the spread the Mavericks have posted the last five times in Dallas.
The NBA action is nearly full schedule on Sunday with an eleven game schedule. The action gets under way at 1pm ET as the Miami Heat travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls. The one game many fans have on their reminders schedule is the Oklahoma City Thunder with Kevin Durant traveling to take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
These two teams are sitting with almost identical records to this point as the Thunder sit at 22-20 while the Cavaliers sit at 23-20. The one main difference though comes with the Thunder who was without their MVP Durant for over the first few months of the season. Since Durant returned to the Thunders lineup the team has been red hot winning fourteen of their last nineteen games.
Over that same stretch the Thunder posted a seven game winning streak and as well as current four game win streak before Fridayâ€™s night contest against the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers on the other hand have struggled of recent picking up just four wins in their last 10 games. All four of those wins have been consecutive with LeBron James back in the lineup.
These two teams faced off back in December in Oklahoma with the Thunder getting the 103-94 win led by a big game by Russell Westbrook. The only question mark going into this game is where the point spread might start out. The Thunder have picked up four wins in the month of December of seven or more points and two wins with five or fewer.
For the Cavaliers their recent four game winning streak has produced wins of seven points, five points and two games by 14 points. Based on the trend of both teams we like the Thunder to win this game on the road as long as the points going to the Cavaliers are less than five or if the Cavaliers or favorite.
Here are the other two games to watch on Sunday.
Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls: This marks the second time these two teams have faced off this season with the Bulls getting the better end back on December 14th. In that contest Mike Dunleavy carried the way for the Bulls finishing with a game high 22 points. The Bulls would cruise to an eighteen point win 93-75 in Miami. The Bulls get the slight advantage at home with a 13-10 record while the Heat are just 11-11 on the road.
Detroit Pistons @ Toronto Raptors: Donâ€™t let the Pistons 17-26 record fool you as this should be a really great contest. The Pistons are one of the hottest teams in the NBA currently winning seven of their last ten games and continue to play at a higher level since the team let go Josh Smith. The Raptors on the other hand are trending down needing a win to stay in the third spot in the Eastern Conference.Â Who will Wunderdog take in this NBA pick?
Damian Lillard set to carry the load for the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday. The Trailblazers welcome the 13-26 Boston Celtics to the Moda Center. This will be the teamâ€™s third game of the week including a game against the Suns on Wednesday night in Phoenix. For the Celtics this will be the teamâ€™s first game since Monday another contest that took place out on the West coast.
Lillard has been hot of late posting over 22 points in four of his last five contests including a big 34 point outburst in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Despite his play the Clippers have struggled posting a 2-3 record in those games losing to the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. The two wins came against the Lakers on the road and at home on Monday against the Sacramento Kings.
While Lillard has played well the Trailblazers will need there star point guard to pick up the load while LaMarcus Aldridge is out. Aldridge left the teamâ€™s contest on Monday Night with an apparent thumb injury. Sources are indicating that Aldridge is expected to get an MRI late this week making Thursdays contest against the Celtics doubtful.
Aldridge is currently averaging 23.2 points per game to go along with 10.2 rebounds. Depending on the results of the MRI and how long Aldridge is out it could be devastating blow to the teamâ€™s position in the Western Conference. Luckily for the Trailblazers there contest on Thursday Night comes against a Celtics team that has only posted a 2-8 record over their last 10 games.
On the season, the Celtics are 0-4 on the road out west including games against the Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. Three of those loses were by 14 or more points with the last loss by nine at the Clippers on Monday. The Trailblazers are 4-1 against the spread over their last five games playing a second game of a back to back.
Here are the other NBA games in action on Thursday.
San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls (+5): The defending NBA champions Spurs head to Chicago to take on Derrick Rose and the Bulls. These two teams are heading in different directions with the Spurs going 8-2 over their last ten while the Bulls are just 4-6 in that same stretch. The Spurs have also have improved there play on the road going 3-1 in their last four contest.
Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks (-7.5): The question entering this contest is can the Bucks protect their home court. On the season the Bucks are just 9-9 in front of their home court but should have an easy task against a Jazz team that is just 7-15 on the road including three straight contests.
Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Clippers (-12): Blake Griffin and company host a Nets team that continues to struggle despite sitting in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Griffin has been hot of late leading the team with 52 points over the teamâ€™s last two contests.
The NBA slate is limited on Sunday with a three games taking place including the New Orleans Pelicans heading to take on the Toronto Raptors. This matchup looks too good to be true on paper with the Raptors sitting at 25-12 and a Pelicans team that is 18-19. The reality of this game is the fact that one of these two teams plays in a very deep Western Conference and one that plays in a weaker Eastern Conference.
The other major concern has been the play of the Raptors at home over their last three games including two losses to teams with losing records. Those losses came on Monday Night against the Detroit Pistons 114-111 and the Charlotte Hornets last Thursday 103-95. The Raptors have also struggled overall in their last ten games just going only 4-6.
This matchup can simply come down to whether or not the Raptors can shut down the NBAâ€™s top power forward Anthony Davis. Davis is putting together an MVP like season averaging 24.1 points to go along with 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots a game. The Pelicans star has posted at least 20 points in four straight games prior to their game on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.
The success of the Raptors revolves around point guard Kyle Lowry who is averaging 20.4 points per game to go with 7.7 assists. Lowry has been the teamâ€™s best player all season including an impressive December averaging 22.3 points per game, 8.9 assists per game and 4.2 rebounds per game.
The outcome of this game could go either way but stay tuned to the point spread as the game approaches this weekend. We expect the Raptors to be the favorite at home but look at the Pelicans if it reaches five or more points.
Here are the other two NBA games for sports bettors to take advantage of on January 18th.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Orlando Magic: The Thunder have played well this year against the Eastern Conference posting an 8-5 record. That success should continue against a struggling Magic team that has only won three of their last ten games. The only concern entering this game is how high the point spread might reach. In six of their last 10 losses the Magic have kept the game with ten or fewer points giving you a good mark to monitor.
Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs have seen their production drop a little in the Western Conference this season as they sit in the seventh spot. Now this is nothing to be alarmed about as Greg Popovich and his team has shown us in the years past they can win the title from any slot in the conference. The Spurs have played well at home this season at home going 13-6 with nine of those wins coming by nine or fewer points.