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Chicago comes into this huge Central Division showdown a bit short-handed with Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrick already out of the lineup and Carlos Boozer listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. If the Bulls are going to have shot at holding on to their slim lead over Indiana, they will need another big defensive effort from a team that is ranked third in the NBA in points allowed; giving-up an average of 90.6 points a game.
Miami may only be 11-10 straight-up (9-12 against the spread) on the road this season, but it got its record over .500 in impressive fashion with a 105-85 beatdown of Brooklyn this past Wednesday night as a 2.5-point road favorite. The Heat are now 29-13 SU on the year and 21-21 ATS. The total stayed UNDER the 191 line against the Nets after it had gone OVER in five of their previous seven games.
The Grizzlies continue to try and keep pace with the top teams in the Western Conference but a 5-5 record in their last 10 games has them 29-15 straight-up on the year and 5.5 games out of the No.1 spot. They have gone 3-1 against the spread in their last four games to improve to 26-17-1 ATS overall.
Miami may be the defending NBA champs and the top team in the East this season at 23-18 straight-up, but its performance on the road so far has left the team with a very mediocre record of 10-10. Overall, it is 20-21 against the spread including a costly 8-12 record ATS on the road. The total has gone OVER in five of its last seven games.
Duke only has two straight-up losses on the season, but last Wednesday’s 90-63 blow-out at the hands of No.14 Miami as a 2.5-point road favorite had to raise some eyebrows concerning the overall state of this team. The Blue Devils responded by hammering a decent Maryland team 84-64 as 12-point favorites at home this past Saturday. They are now 17-2 straight-up on the year and 11-8 against the spread. The total has gone OVER in their last four games.
It has been a fairly steady downward spiral for Orlando this season with an overall record of 14-28 straight-up and a 20-22-1 record against the spread. Sunday night’s 104-102 loss to Detroit was its fifth straight and ninth in its last 11 games. The Magic are 6-13 SU (12-6-1 ATS) on the road and the total has gone OVER in eight of their last 11 games overall.
San Antonio has reeled-off six straight victories to move into a tie atop the Western Conference with an overall record of 34-11 which includes a solid 15-9 record on the road. The Spurs have not been nearly as good to wager on lately with a 3-6 record against the spread in their last nine games, but they are still 25-19-1 ATS overall. Their record on the road ATS is 13-11 and the total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last 10 games.
Most bettors left Baltimore for dead heading into the playoffs after it finished the regular season 1-4 both straight-up and against the spread in its final five games. After grinding out a 24-9 victory over Indianapolis as a 7.5-point home favorite, the magic really began with a stunning 38-35 overtime win over Denver as a 9.5-point road underdog followed by a 28-13 drubbing of New England as an eight-point underdog on the road.
New York is only a game and a half out of the top seed in the Eastern Conference but it is taking on water with just two straight-up victories in its last six games. The latest setback, an 88-85 loss to Brooklyn this past Monday as 3.5-point home favorites, dropped the Knicks to 25-14 SU overall and 20-18-1 against the spread. They are 11-8 SU (9-9-1 ATS) on the road this season and the total has now stayed UNDER in four of their last five games.
Denver has now won seven of its last nine games straight-up after this past Sunday’s 121-118 overtime victory over Oklahoma City as a one-point underdog at home. Its overall record is 25-18 and it has gone a profitable 24-19 against the spread. Most of the Nuggets’ problems this season have come on the road where they are 9-15 SU but they are still an even 12-12 ATS. The total went well OVER the 208.5-point total line against the Thunder and it has gone OVER in seven of their last eight games.