Midseason report: Lines right on!

Feb 22, 2005 8:46 AM

The entertainment provided during the NBA All Star weekend has given way to the two month run to the playoffs.

The trading deadline occurs later this week. While there may well be a few name players changing jerseys, for the most part playoff bound teams have used the first 50 games to be in position to play their best basketball after the All Star break.

More than 750 games have already been played with the linesmaker good as ever at achieving balanced results. Other than the 17 games that ended in pointspread pushes, home teams covered 385, road teams 379. Underdogs held a slight 380-374 ATS margin over favorites.

Breaking down the stats even further: Home favorites are 267-265-12 ATS and home Underdogs are 115-107-5. The home team in pick’em games is just 3-7.

The fact that scoring is up this season is evident in the "over / under" total results. Aside from the six pushes, "over" held a 398-377 edge. Scoring is up considerably. Through this date last season, nearly 186 total points per game were being scored. Currently, NBA teams have produced 193 total points per game.

The top four "over" teams have each eclipsed 60 percent. Miami at 34-19-1 (64 percent) leads the way followed by Phoenix (33-21, 61 percent), Utah (31-20-1, 61 percent) and Golden State (32-21. 60 percent).

Memphis is the only team involved in at least 60 percent "under." Surprisingly, the percentage (66 percent) is higher than even Miami’s leading "over" rating. Memphis is an amazing 35-18 "under" in posted total contests.

By looking for teams that may have gone "over" or "under" at least five games in a row, many a winning wager can be made.

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

Cavs at Pacers (Fri): With sensational sophomore LeBron James leading the way, Cleveland continues to win nearly 60 percent of its games. With a 20-5 record, only San Antonio has lost fewer home games. But the Cavs have a losing record on the road. Indiana is in a desperate race to make the playoffs. Both teams are in the top six in the league in fewest points allowed per game. UNDER.

Grizzlies at Spurs: (Sat): San Antonio entered the All Star break with the NBA’s best record, 41-12. The Spurs have won at home by an average of more than 14 points per game, the only team with a double digit margin. Memphis has played well for the past few months and actually has a positive scoring margin on the road (+0.4) despite a losing road record. Memphis plays great team basketball with no true superstar to rely upon. San Antonio has Tim Duncan and a solid supporting cast. They are rested having not played since Wednesday while Memphis played on Friday night and is playing their third game in four nights. SAN ANTONIO.

Jazz at Rockets (Sun): Utah has struggled, mostly from the extended loss to injury of star Andrei Kirilenko. Even with AK-47 back, the Jazz are just 3-7 SU in the last 10 games. Houston entered the week with an eight-game win streak. The teams are 1-1 in the series, but the Rockets have been idle since Wednesday. HOUSTON.

Last week: 0-2. Season: 26-20 (56.5%)