Theus latest NBA coach done in

Dec 16, 2008 5:05 PM

Bettin’ on B’ball by Andy Iskoe |

last week

It has never been more hazardous to be an NBA coach than this season. Less than two months in we have witnessed six coaching changes.

Just this past week Philadelphia fired Maurice Cheeks and Sacramento did the same to Reggie Theus just hours before we went to press. Interestingly, all six fired coaches are represented by the same agent.

On the court Boston is playing the best basketball in the league, riding a 14-game winning streak and 22-2 overall record. Not far behind are the Los Angeles Lakers (20-3), Cleveland (20-4) and Orlando (18-6). The Cavs have the distinction of being the last remaining unbeaten team (13-0) at home.

Denver (16-7) has been a nice surprise even after their major trade of Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets continue to play well and lead Utah and Portland in the Northwest Division.

San Antonio struggled at the start of the season as injuries sidelined both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for significant stretches. Both have returned and the Spurs have climbed their way to the top of the Southwest Division at 15-8, a half-game up on both Houston and New Orleans.

Of importance to handicappers and bettors is the point spread record of NBA teams. Heading the list roughly 25 games into the season is Cleveland, whose 19-5 mark against the spread is especially impressive. The second-best ATS mark belongs to Milwaukee at 16-8-1, despite a 10-15 overall mark.

The league’s worst point spread record belongs to Miami at 8-15, though managing a 12-11 winning record. Philadelphia is next worst at 9-15 ATS. Despite their awful 2-23 straight up record, the Oklahoma City Thunder are a very respectable 12-11 ATS and may remain a good value to bet in coming weeks.

Road teams continue to have solid success ATS as they begin this week with a 188-157-5 record (54.5 percent). Totals have been nearly 50-50 with the over leading 177-171-2.

Here’s a look at three games this weekend:

Cavs at Nuggets (Fri): The teams meet for the first time this season with the Cavs looking to avenge lopsided losses of 30 and 22 to Denver last season. Cleveland is more inclined to use this as a confidence building "statement" game. While the Cavs are idle until Sunday, Denver will be at Phoenix on Saturday. CAVALIERS.

Lakers at Magic (Sat): The teams traded road wins last season in games decided by 4 and 7 points. Although the Lakers start this week on an 0-6 ATS run, they have won 5 of the 6 games straight up and were double-digit favorites in all 6. In fact, the Lakers have been favored by 10 or more points in 14 of their 23 games. The emergence of the Magic as an elite team will have Los Angeles focused. LAKERS.

Knicks at Celtics (Sun): Boston swept the 4-game series last season and won the first meeting to go 5-0-1 ATS. The Knicks like to force the tempo but will be facing a defensively stout opponent. The first meeting produced 211 points and went over the total. The Knicks start this week having going 6-1 to the under in the last 7. All six went below by 10 points or more. UNDER.