First and foremost, we at SBR would like to send out our condolences to all those affected by the senseless tragedy at the Boston Marathon. The Celtics/Pacers game scheduled for tonight has been cancelsed, which was clearly the best course of action.
What that means for handicappers is that there are just two matchups to run over in hopes of taking advantage of the NBA odds offered up by the top online sportsbooks.
Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks
Sometimes an opening number just sticks, and that's pretty much what's happened here with the Hawks/Raptors game, set to tip off in Atlanta at 8:00 PM EST tonight.
Atlanta opened up as six-point favorites and, while a couple of online sportsbooks have listed six-and-a-half, that first number is still the most prevalent. The total started out at 197 and has dropped ever so slightly to 196.5.
The Raptors have nothing really to play for other than pride, while also getting the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Kyle Lowry more accustomed to playing with one another, but the Hawks are still trying to fend off the Chicago Bulls in hopes of holding on to their number five seed. Should they do so, Atlanta will play Brooklyn in the first round instead of Indiana.
Joe Freda was tasked with coming up with his preferred play for this game, and in the end he believes the best value to be on the Raptors at +6. He points out that Atlanta has been inconsistent and that they haven't covered the spread in any of their previous six contests at home.
The Hawks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games.
The Raptors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on one day of rest.
The UNDER is 6-1 in Atlanta's last 7 games at home and 5-1 in Toronto's past 6 games overall.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
If the playoffs began today, the Clippers would own the four seed and would therefore get home-court advantage over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. They are, however, just a half-game up on the Grizzlies, so they will be going all out for a win tonight.
Portland is simply preparing for next season but will do their best to make life difficult for Vinny Del Negro's team. The Trail Blazers opened at +14.5 but that number has been bet up to +15 at a majority of the books. The total has risen from 202.5 to 203.5.
We have two different perspectives on this game tonight. Joe Freda likes the look of the OVER as he believes the defense could be lacking for the Trail Blazers, who have allowed 109.8 PPG over their last five.
Joe Catalano meanwhile is rolling with L.A. to cover this huge number at home. Portland has failed to win since March 22nd, while the Clippers obviously have a lot to play for tonight.
The Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Trail Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
The OVER is 5-0 in L.A.'s last 5 home games and 8-3 in their last 11 overall. The OVER has also gone 7-3 in Portland's previous 10 overall.
We will be back tomorrow for the final regular season games, with all 30 teams set to be in action.