It's a tricky time of year on the professional hardwood as some teams simply are looking forward to vacation time. The Spurs, however, have been solid against the spread.
Sometimes NBA teams with nothing to play for can be the best pointspread clubs to back. Indiana, Golden State – when playing in division – and New Jersey on the road are cases in point.
There has been nothing at stake for the Pacers except the number of ping pong balls they’ll have for the draft lottery. Yet Indiana goes into its final two games 14-4-1 ATS in its past 19 contests.
The Pacers are 9-2-1 ATS during their last 12 home games. The ‘under’ is 16-8-2 during the past 26 times Indiana has been ‘chalk.’
The Warriors have covered 11 of their past 12 Pacific Division matchups.
The Nets are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road contests when meeting foes with a winning home record.
Bookmakers often shade lottery-bound teams, especially late in the season when these clubs are playing opponents fighting for playoff seeding.
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Those kinds of scenarios can present value to the underdog – unless it’s the Minnesota Timberwolves. Going back the last two years, Minnesota is 11-31 ATS at Target Center when hosting foes with a winning record.
But as we enter the final week of the regular-season, it is worth keeping track of trends involving playoff-bound teams.
San Antonio, for instance, has been on a major pointspread run covering 17 of its last 23 games. The Spurs are 11-3 in their last 14 games versus Western Conference opponents.
The ‘under’ has cashed in 24 of San Antonio’s last 30 games against foes with a winning record.
Denver has been another big ‘under’ team lately. The ‘under’ has cashed in seven of Denver’s last eight games. The Nuggets have gone ‘under’ in 22 of their past 28 matchups versus opponents with a winning mark.
However, the Nuggets enter their final two regular-season games with a 3-10-1 pointspread record in their last 14 matchups.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost their star center Andrew Bogut for the rest of the season and playoffs, but have the top pointspread mark in the league through 80 games at 51-27-2. The Bucks are 35-15-2 ATS in their last 52 Eastern Conference contests.
Scott Skiles has turned Milwaukee into a hard-nosed defensive unit. The ‘under’ is 35-16-1 in Milwaukee’s last 52 Eastern Conference matchups. The Bucks also have covered in eight of their last nine Saturday games.
Orlando has been a strong favorite. The Magic are 21-8-1 ATS the past 30 times they’ve been ‘chalk.’
Miami has been a strong road club. The Heat have won and covered their past seven away matchups entering their final regular-season road game on Monday against Philadelphia.
The Heat have held their last 11 opponents to an average of 86.8 points, although their last three games have gone ‘over’ the total.
Boston has been profitable when playing on the second of back-to-back games, but a money-burner when laying double-digits. The Celtics have covered seven of the past eight times when playing on zero rest. The Celtics, though, are 4-18 ATS when giving up 10 or more points.
Chicago has gotten healthy and hot as it tries to hold off Toronto for the final playoff spot in the East. The Bulls are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games. The ‘under’ has cashed in eight of Chicago’s past 11 contests. Toronto has been going ‘under,’ too. The ‘under’ is 8-2-1 during the Raptors’ last 11 games. The Raptors are without their top scorer, injured Chris Bosh. He currently ranks ninth in the NBA in scoring at 24 points per game.
Portland has been a road warrior going 15-6-1 ATS in its last 22 away matchups, following Sunday’s 91-88 upset victory against the Lakers at Staples Center.
The Lakers have gone ‘under’ in 21 of their last 29 games.