Woe is Washington at 0-8!

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The compressed NBA season is just two weeks old and already a pair of teams have played 10 games with several others slated to do so before this issue of GamingToday hit the streets at the start of the week.

Barely before the ink dried on last week’s column in which the perfect 5-0 starts of both Miami and Oklahoma City were praised, the final two unbeaten teams lost last Monday night.

But one team does remain perfect on the wrong side of the ledger. Washington is off to a franchise worst 0-8 start with its next chance to extend that streak being Tuesday night when hosting 3-5 Toronto.

The lines maker has still to adjust for Washington’s woes as the Wizards are just 2-6 ATS, failing to cover in four of five games when getting more than 6.

Thus far in the 125 games played through Sunday home teams are a solid 70-54-1 ATS (56.5 percent).

Most of the home team success has been from favored home teams who are 48-33 ATS (59.3 percent).

Home underdogs are basically even at 22-21-1 ATS.

The sloppy early season play is attributed by many to the effects of the lockout which caused a shortened preseason. Many players reporting out of shape and the compressed schedule which limits practice time is being evidenced in the Over/Under results.

To date just 49 games have gone OVER the total while 74 have stayed UNDER with two pushing.

The 60% UNDER pace should be unsustainable, but with the scheduling conditions as they are it may be longer than expected for totals lines to catch up.

Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.


Miami at Denver: The Heat starts the week with the NBA’s best record, 8-1, the only team to have lost just once. Included in their eight victories is a triple overtime win at Atlanta last Thursday in which both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did not play. Both are expected to play against a deep Denver team off to a solid 6-3 start.

The Nuggets played extremely well over the latter part of last season following their trade of star Carmelo Anthony to New York. The Heat and Nuggets traded home wins last season with Denver winning at home by 29 points. This is the end of a five games in eight night road trip. The Heat will be off until Tuesday as they play their third game in four nights.

Denver is rested and has not had to play back to back games in a week. The Nuggets won’t play again until Sunday. Despite losing in the NBA Finals, Miami is still looked upon as the team to beat and a measuring stick for every opponent. Denver’s depth and ability to play at the altitude gives them a nice edge over a tired Miami team looking forward to the trip home. It would not be a surprise to see the Nuggets come as small chalk, but chalk worth backing in this spot. DENVER.


LA Lakers at LA Clippers: These teams played both preseason games against one another and the Clippers swept. Those wins do not mean all that much other than having given the Clippers confidence and some validation that they are an improved team with the solid tandem of Blake Griffin and the newly acquired Chris Paul III. The 4-2 Clippers have gotten off to a solid start. Their most noteworthy win has been over Portland but both losses were to playoff caliber teams, Chicago and San Antonio.

The aging Lakers have started 6-4 and will face a rested Clippers team that last played on Wednesday and will be off on Sunday. The Lakers hosted Cleveland on Friday night and their next two games are against last season’s NBA finalists, hosting Dallas on Monday and then at Miami on Thursday.

This might seem to be a spot in which the Clippers make a statement that they have arrived. But the Lakers are also in position to make a statement that says “not yet” and the price may well reflect what is a more favorable situation for the second fiddle Clippers. The Lakers are not accustomed to have their superiority as LA’s top team questioned, much less challenged. It’s still early enough in the season for grandpa to put those young whippersnappers in their place. LAKERS.


Phoenix at San Antonio: Both teams last played on Friday night and neither plays Monday. San Antonio is without injured Manu Ginobili who, along with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, form the core of a Spurs team that’s been at the top of the NBA for over a decade. Phoenix is still seeking an identity and is likely to contend for, at best, a break even season.

The Suns are a blend of youth and aging veterans with Steve Nash and Grant Hill still filling key roles as the youngsters develop. San Antonio won 3three of four meetings last season including both on their home court. Thus far San Antonio is a perfect 6-0 at home and a winless 0-3 on the road. Four of their home wins have been by double digits and there may be some line value here due to Ginobili’s absence.

Spurs coach Greg Popovich has always been adept at making adjustments when key personnel are injured and he’s shown the capability of playing both at slow and fast tempos. This matchup works to the Spurs’ advantage. SAN ANTONIO.


About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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