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Inside the Paint - Thursday
After watching the favorites go 9-3 straight up and 5-6-1 against the spread on Monday and Tuesday, bettors watched the underdogs strike back with an eye-opening 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS mark last night.

Notable stunners included the Clippers (+12, ML +600) routing the Warriors 125-106 in the Bay Area and the Hawks (+9.5, ML +400) avoiding a dreaded 0-5 road trip with a big 110-97 win over Denver.

Thursday’s card had four games on tap, which includes an early tip at the O2 Arena in London between the Celtics (-2) and 76ers. Philadelphia is 0-2 versus Boston this season and both setbacks came by double digits so perhaps a change of scenery might help them in this game, which is set for 3:00 p.m. ET.

We’ve got three more night games on tap and below is my quick handicap.

Cleveland (26-14 SU, 12-27-1 ATS) at Toronto (28-11 SU, 22-17 ATS)

BookMaker.eu sent out the Cavaliers as 2 ½-point road favorites this morning and the number was quickly pushed up to -4. This will be the first time this season that Toronto will be listed as a home underdog and it’s largely due to a short-handed roster.

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (back) has been listed as ‘doubtful’ while forward Serge Ibaka will serve a one-game suspension due to an altercation in Tuesday’s 90-89 loss to the Heat. Including that setback, Toronto has gone 14-2 SU and 9-7 ATS at home but that record could receive a couple more dents with the Cavs tonight and Golden State visiting on Saturday.

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Even though Toronto won’t have a full roster tonight, making a case for Cleveland isn’t exactly that easy. They own the worst record (12-27-1 ATS) in the league for bettors. However, they have managed to produce better ATS numbers (9-12) on the road as opposed to home (3-15-1).

Still, Cleveland enters this game in a poor form. The club is 3-6 SU and 1-8 ATS over its last nine games and the defense has allowed 112.1 points per game during this stretch. Point guard Isaiah Thomas has played limited minutes (19.7) in three of those games while the team has gone 2-1.

The Cavaliers have gone 11-10 SU and 9-12 ATS on the road this season and that includes a 6-7 SU and 3-10 ATS as favorites.

Tyronn Lue’s team should have confidence heading into this venue knowing the success they’ve had versus the Raptors. Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season and they also took three of four in the regular season against the Raptors. During this eight-game span, the Cavaliers have gone 4-0 at Toronto and they’ve posted a solid 3-0-1 ATS mark in those games.

The ‘over’ went 5-3 last season and the Cavaliers had no trouble scoring, posting 100-plus points in six of the eight contests while averaging 108.5 PPG on the road.

The total opened 218 ½ and was pushed up quickly to 219 ½.

TNT will provide national coverage at 8:05 p.m. ET.

L.A. Clippers (19-21 SU, 21-19 ATS) at Sacramento (13-27 SU, 16-21-3 ATS)

After watching Lou Williams drop a career-high 50 points in last night’s 125-106 road win over Golden State, it makes you wonder what the Clippers will do to the Kings tonight.

The oddsmakers certainly aren’t expecting a blowout, opening Los Angeles as a short two-point road favorite and the early money dropped the number to 1 ½. This game will be part of a home-and-home set as the pair meet again in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Clippers have won six of the last seven meetings against the Kings and that includes a 2-0 record this season. The outcome at the Staples Center on Dec. 26 was a 122-95 blowout victory but the win in Sacramento was just a 97-95 win.

Sacramento has posted a 7-12 record at home and it has gone 9-10 ATS in those games but its current form at Golden 1 Center hasn’t been great, going 3-7 both SU and ATS in the last 10.

Including last night’s win at Golden State, the Clippers have gone 8-12 SU and 11-9 ATS on the road. What’s impressive is that Los Angeles is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS when laying points on the road. While that record is noteworthy, I’d be remiss to mention that Los Angeles has gone 0-6 on zero days rest this season.

The total opened at 209 and was pushed up quickly to 211. The Kings are ranked last in scoring at 97.3 PPG but head coach Dave Joerger has been pushing for an up-tempo approach lately. "We really try to pick up our stuff in practice, so the game almost feels a little slower," Joerger told reporters. "And try to make them play, fast, fast, fast and make mistakes and that's OK, because we learn from them."

Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin has missed the last two games due to a concussion, which Los Angeles won, and he’s listed as ‘questionable’ for tonight.

 San Antonio (28-14 SU, 23-18-1 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (13-27 SU, 19-21 ATS)

The late-night tip on TNT at 10:30 p.m. ET takes place from the Staples Center and the Spurs opened as 2 ½-point road favorites over the Lakers.

This will be the first meeting between the pair this season and San Antonio has gone 16-4 in the last 20 games against Los Angeles. Last season, the Spurs won and covered three of the four encounters and that included two victories at Staples Center.

Kawhi Leonard (shoulder) has been ruled ‘out’ again for the Spurs and his absence shouldn’t really matter considering he’s only played in eight games this season.

A lot of San Antonio’s success has been attributed to great road records but a 10-12 SU and 9-13 ATS mark as visitors this season has been a concern.

The Lakers certainly aren’t a great team but they’ve been a tad better at home, going 8-14 SU and 10-12 ATS. After dropping nine straight, Los Angeles has rebounded with back-to-back home wins this past week over the Hawks (132-113) and Kings (99-86). Including those wins, the Lakers are 8-9 teams against losing clubs while struggling (5-18) against teams above .500 this season.

Los Angeles begins a three-game road trip on Saturday after this game and bettors should note that the Lakers haven’t won three consecutive games this season. They’ve gone 0-3 in three previous opportunities but all of those games took place on the road.

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com



  
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