Wednesday's Tip Sheet
January 10, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Game of the Night: Thunder at Wolves – 8:00 PM EST
These two Northwest division rivals are meeting for the final time in the regular season as each of the first three matchups have been decided by four points or less.
Minnesota stunned Oklahoma City in the first contest in late October at Chesapeake Energy Arena on a game-winning three-pointer by Andrew Wiggins in a 115-113 triumph as four-point underdogs. Five days later, the Wolves edged the Thunder as two-point home ‘dogs, 119-116, led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 33-point, 19-rebound effort. OKC broke through in the most recent meeting in early December, 111-107, but the Wolves cashed for the third time against the Thunder as 5 ½-point ‘dogs.
The Wolves (26-16 SU, 19-21-2 ATS) are fresh off a pair of resounding routs over the Pelicans and Cavaliers at the Target Center. In Monday’s 127-99 crushing of Cleveland, the Wolves built a 27-point halftime edge, while Wiggins burned the team that drafted him number one in 2014 with 25 points and six rebounds. Minnesota improved to 15-6 at home this season, while snapping a six-game UNDER streak by barely eclipsing the closing total of 223 on Monday.
Oklahoma City (22-18 SU, 16-24 ATS) heads to the Twin Cities with no rest following Tuesday’s home loss to Portland. The Thunder recently completed a 2-1 road trip capped off by a surprising setback at Phoenix on Sunday as eight-point favorites. Billy Donovan’s team has won in its last two opportunities on the highway with no rest, including double-digit victories against the Jazz and Clippers in the last month.
It’s hard to call the Warriors and Clippers a rivalry as Golden State has won 12 consecutive matchups against Los Angeles since March 2015. Golden State (33-8 SU, 19-21-1 ATS) ripped Los Angeles last Saturday at Staples Center, 121-105 to easily cash as eight-point favorites thanks to a 45-point effort from Stephen Curry. The Warriors followed up that road win with a 124-114 home triumph over Denver on Monday to pick up their fifth consecutive victory, while cashing their fifth straight OVER.
The Clippers (18-21 SU, 20-18-1 ATS) edged the Hawks on Monday, 108-107 to end a two-game slide, but failed to cash as 4 ½-point favorites. Blake Griffin sat out that victory with a concussion suffered in Saturday’s loss to Golden State, as the Clippers’ forward is expected to be sidelined once again on Wednesday. Taking the points with Los Angeles against Golden State isn’t even a smart wager, as the Clippers own a 1-6 ATS record in its past seven meetings with the Warriors.
The last time the Jazz and Wizards hooked up in Salt Lake City on December 4, Utah humiliated Washington, 116-69. Not only did the Jazz win their fourth straight meeting with the Wizards, but they limited Washington to 30 first half points and 29% shooting from the floor. Utah (16-24 SU, 20-20 ATS) isn’t exactly playing its best basketball now, owning a 3-13 record since routing Washington, including seven consecutive away defeats.
The Wizards (23-17 SU, 19-21 ATS) had their four-game winning streak snapped in Saturday’s 110-106 home defeat to the Bucks. Washington has stumbled in the role of a favorite by going 3-10 ATS in the last 13 when laying points, including a 3-5 ATS mark at Capital One Arena. Since losing to Dallas and Phoenix as heavy favorites earlier this season, the Wizards own a solid 7-1 record in their last eight home contests against Western Conference opponents.
The Blazers (22-18 SU, 19-17-4 ATS) have pulled off three straight wins and are 6-2 in their past eight contests following Tuesday’s 117-106 triumph at Oklahoma City as eight-point underdogs. Portland won without star guard Damian Lillard, who remains sidelined with a calf injury, as the Blazers have inexplicably won five straight games without their leading scorer. The Blazers bring an impressive 8-1 ATS record in their last nine tries as a road underdog into Houston to face the Rockets.
In their only meeting this season back in December at the Moda Center, the Rockets (28-11 SU, 18-20-1 ATS) were down 14 points heading into the final quarter before stunning the Blazers, 124-117 as 8 ½-point road favorites. James Harden ripped the Blazers for 48 points, but the MVP candidate is out with a hamstring injury. Houston snapped a two-game skid in Monday’s 116-107 victory at Chicago as six-point favorites, but the Rockets return home looking to improve on an 0-4 ATS mark in their last four outings at the Toyota Center.
No, the Bulls aren’t going for a third straight title, but Fred Hoiberg’s squad looks for a third victory in three tries against the Knicks. Chicago (14-27 SU, 23-17-1 ATS) has squeezed past New York twice at the United Center by a combined seven points in a pair of December wins, including a 92-87 comeback triumph as 1 ½-point favorites right after Christmas. The Bulls have stumbled of late by losing five of their last six games, while covering only once in their past five contests.
New York (19-21 SU, 22-18 ATS) returns home after winning the finale of their three-game road swing at Dallas, 100-96 on Sunday night as five-point underdogs. The Knicks have performed well at home this season, but have lost their last two at Madison Square Garden against the 76ers and Spurs. New York has won four consecutive home matchups with Chicago dating back to December 2015, as the Bulls haven’t broken the 94-point mark in any of those defeats.
The Magic (12-29 SU, 14-26-1 ATS) actually started the season at 6-2 if you can believe that. But Orlando owns a dreadful 6-27 record the last 33 games, including Tuesday’s 114-99 setback at Dallas as seven-point underdogs. The Magic aren’t even competitive from a pointspread standpoint by posting a 3-14 ATS record the last 17 contests, including a 1-7 ATS mark in their past eight road games.
Orlando travels to Milwaukee (21-18 SU, 17-17-5 ATS), as the Bucks try to rebound off a 109-96 defeat at Indiana on Monday. The game wasn’t even that close as the Pacers led by 26 at halftime, snapping Milwaukee’s four-game stretch of scoring at least 100 points. Milwaukee and Orlando are meeting for the first time this season as the Bucks captured two of three matchups last season.
-- Charlotte pulled off a two-game sweep of Dallas last season as the two teams hook up at Spectrum Center. The Mavericks have won three straight road contests, while owning an impressive 8-1-1 ATS record in their last 10 opportunities as an away underdog. The Hornets are back home following a 3-1 SU/ATS California swing, including consecutive double-digit wins over the Kings and Lakers.
-- The Pacers look to keep up their home domination of the Heat as Indiana has won nine of the past 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over Miami. The Heat edged the Raptors last night to pick up their fifth consecutive win, but Miami has struggled with no rest by compiling a 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS mark on the second end of a back-to-back.
-- Detroit has lost five straight road contests, coming off Monday’s three-point setback at New Orleans. The Pistons travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets for the first time this season, as Detroit lost both visits to Barclays Center last season. The Nets lost a heartbreaker in overtime on Monday to Toronto, but managed a cover for the sixth consecutive game.
-- The Pelicans have stumbled to a 1-4 ATS record the last five games as New Orleans makes the short trip to Memphis. The Grizzlies have been off since last Friday’s 102-100 defeat to Washington as 4 ½-point ‘dogs, as Memphis has compiled a solid 4-1 ATS record the past five games. Four of the last five meetings between the Pelicans and Grizzlies have gone UNDER the total, including Memphis’ 103-91 home victory in October.
-- The Hawks look to avoid an 0-5 road swing as they head to Denver. Atlanta has lost twice on this trip by one point, while getting blown out in the other two defeats to the Blazers and Lakers. The Hawks try to avenge a 105-100 home loss to the Nuggets from late October, while Denver looks to halt a two-game losing streak.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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