Several teams have already reached the mathematical midpoint of the NBA’s 82 game regular season schedule, including the two teams tied for the league’s best record.
With their overtime loss at Denver last Sunday night Oklahoma City dropped into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers at 32-9. Both teams have displayed the credentials of legitimate championship contenders by virtue of outstanding play away from home. The Clippers are a strong 13-5 and the Thunder are nearly as good (13-6). Each has been outstanding at home as well.
The best road team in the Eastern Conference has been Chicago, but the Bulls are a perplexing team. Despite a solid 12-5 record on the road, Chicago is just 11-11 at home. It’s rare for a team to have a better record on the road than at home, but such a stark contrast is extremely unusual.
This suggests one of two things will happen going forward. The Bulls will either start to win more at home or begin to lose more often on the road. The thought here is that the former is more likely to occur. The Bulls have been without star Derrick Rose all season, but remain a well-coached, defensive oriented team.
As such improvement can be expected as the season lengthens and should be evidenced by their play at home. They are unlikely to sustain their high level of success on the road but the drop off may not be a complete reversal.
The topic of the Los Angeles Lakers and their struggled continues to be one of great interest. As their woes continue, chances of even making the playoffs become more in doubt.
The Lakers start this week losers in 8 of their last 10 games and stand at 17-23 one game prior to the season’s midpoint. They are currently tied for the eleventh Western seed (with Dallas) and are three games behind eighth seeded Portland.
Recent history suggests it should take a minimum of 45 wins to make the Playoffs in the Western Conference. If 45 is indeed the “magic number” this season the Lakers would have to go 28-14 the rest of the way to finish 45-37.
Can the Lakers win two thirds of their remaining games? Thus far against the NBA’s “elite” teams – those that currently have won at least 65 percent of their games – the Lakers are just 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS. Against the next level of teams – those that currently have winning records but have won less than 65 percent of their games – the Lakers are just a modest 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS.
The Lakers still have nearly 20 games remaining against teams currently with winning records so reaching 45 wins may be tough. If you can find a Sports Book with a Yes/No Prop on whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs taking the NO at a plus price might be a good investment.
Here’s a look at three games this weekend.
Brooklyn at Memphis (Fri): Both teams are on the rise in the respective conferences and start the week with solid winning records. Brooklyn had a 7 game winning streak snapped in Atlanta last week but turned right around and defeated the Hawks two nights later.
Both teams are currently on the “play on” list which often suggests a look first to the underdog. With their outright road win at Oklahoma City earlier this month the Nets have the confidence to play well in this spot which, when combined with their current form, make them attractive as a road underdog of likely from 5 to 7 points. BROOKLYN.
Indiana at Utah (Sat): Despite the absence of Danny Granger all season, Indiana has played well enough to lead the Central Division and is winning over 60 percent of its games with a 25-16 record. They will have had three nights of rest prior to playing in the tough confines of Utah whereas the Jazz just played Friday night at the Lakers. It is also their third game in four nights.
Utah figures to come favored by a couple of buckets. Yet despite the negative scheduling spot Utah is 13-4 SU at home and a solid 12-5 ATS. The Pacers are a losing team on the road and are just 5-11 ATS as underdogs. This is also a revenge game for the host who lost by 20 points at Indiana in mid December. UTAH.
Miami at Boston (Sun): Boston has been very streaky since Christmas, losing 4 in a row, then winning 6 straight and enters this week having lost its last 3 games. Age and a lack of depth seem to be plaguing the Celtics as they are just 20-20 as mid season approaches. Miami seems to play to the level of its competition and has put forth its best efforts in selected games.
This is their first meeting since opening the season in Miami where the Heat won by 13 points as 6 point chalk. This is the first game of a 4 game road trip for the Heat but they won’t play again until Wednesday. Miami still considers Boston a rival and a threat in the East and should play with above average interest and intensity. MIAMI.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]