SEARCHING FOR OFFENSE EARLY
The Brooklyn Nets have not found much success early in games averaging just 48.7 first half points in their last three games, and only put up 35 at home last time out to the Pacers. Today, the Nets host a Charlotte Hornets team who haven’t been much better when it comes to quick starts, averaging 51.3 first half points.
With Kyrie Irving out for a third straight game, expect a lower scoring first half. That has also been a common trend when these teams meet, with the average score over their most recent 10 games coming in at 55-52 for the Hornets. Bet Under the first half game total of 113.5.
HEATING UP THE HOME COURT
The Miami Heat are 10.5-point favorites as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight and for good reason as they have been perfect at home so far this season. Miami has won all five home games, covering the spread in each instance, and have won 16 straight contests when playing the Cavs at home.
Miami has really turned up the heat on the defensive end at home, holding opponents to 100 points per contest and is going up against a Cavaliers team that is scoring only 102.1 on the road. With Cleveland failing to eclipse 100 points in three of its last four games and facing a Miami team, which held them to 97 points and 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc at home back on Nov. 14, expect the Heat's defense to take over once again. Bet Under the Cavaliers team total of 101.5.
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OUT FOR REVENGE
The Utah Jazz takes their elite defense, which is tied with the Lakers for giving up the fewest points per game in the Association at 101.1, on the road as they travel to Minnesota to take on a Timberwolves team that will be playing without Andrew Wiggins.
These teams are playing the second half of a home-and-home series, where Minnesota upset the Jazz 112-102 as 9.5-point underdogs in Utah on Nov. 18 and held the Jazz to only 36.5 percent shooting from the floor.
It’s not very often you get an immediate shot at redemption like this. Expect the Jazz to clean up their mistakes and find their groove offensively versus a T-wolves squad surrendering 117.3 points per game. Take Utah to cover the 3-point spread.
OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE
The Denver Nuggets are 1-point home favorites as they host the Houston Rockets. Houston has won eight straight contests overall, eight straight versus Western Conference opponents, and nine of the most recent 10 in the head-to-head versus Denver.
Except for their two most recent games against the Hawks and Grizzlies, the Nuggets have not put up many points per game. But they haven't had to, as they’ve held opponents to 100.4 points per game at home. However, with the way the Rockets are shooting, averaging 122.7 points over their most recent three games, the Nuggets might struggle to keep up offensively. Side with the Rockets as slight road dogs.
DYNAMIC DUO DEBUT?
The Boston Celtics currently possess the NBA's best record at 11-2 and travel to Los Angeles to take on a Clippers team that many are picking to represent the West in the Finals. Unfortunately for L.A., Kawhi Leonard is once again listed as questionable (knee), as we eagerly await seeing Paul George and Kawhi take the court for the first time together this season.
The Clippers have won eight of nine home games and have been a profitable bet in the process, covering the spread in seven of those nine games. The Clippers have also been money as a favorite, going 8-2 ATS in that situation. If Leonard is good to go, expect a big effort from the Clippers at home and bet them to cover as 5.5-point favorites.