To get you off to the right start this week, Casino Review has taken a look at Monday’s NBA schedule and picked out the winners and losers for you. Let’s start in the Windy City.
Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls
8:00 PM ET
After putting together a solid run towards the end of 2012, Atlanta (21-15, 9-9 road) has come unglued over recent weeks, dropping six of eight games.
Chicago (20-15, 10-10 home) meanwhile continues to stay afloat in the Central division, eagerly awaiting the return of Derrick Rose. The Bulls have won four of the last six, including a pair of wins over conference toppers Miami and New York.
The Hawks defeated the Bulls 92-75 on Dec. 22 in Atlanta, and Chicago has gone 5-4 since. Surprisingly, the Bulls have fared better on the road (10-5) this season, and have dropped three of the last four at home. Atlanta may find it difficult to score a victory though, especially considering the side has lost four straight and five of six away from Philips Arena.
Odds: Chicago is favorites, with the spread at 5 and the total at 183½.
Take: CHICAGO – The Bulls are better defensively and the Hawks have had their fair share of struggles over the past two weeks, which should be enough for the Bulls to edge this one. Both Atlanta (14-21-1 ATS) and Chicago (13-21-1 ATS) have struggled against the spread this season, so you face a roulette wheel of opportunity here. Take Atlanta to cover (+5) in a close one. Take a low total (183½) to go under still.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies
8:00 PM ET
With a 3-3 tally since the end of a record-breaking 17-game win streak, the Los Angeles Clippers (28-9, 10-5 road) will look to start another win streak on Monday with a visit to Memphis (24-11, 14-4 home).
The Grizzlies have had a solid season and have fared very well at home, losing just four games, three to teams with winning records. The Clippers however handed the Grizzlies a 101-92 loss on opening day, although that came at Staples Center.
The Grizzlies have the second best defense in the league (89.7 PPG) and will be calling upon it to stop a Clippers side that ranks No. 7 in scoring (101.8 PPG).
Odds: Memphis is favored at home, just. The spread stands at 1½, with the total at 184½.
Take: LA CLIPPERS – Memphis (21-12-2 ATS) is the best team in the league at covering the spread. Before you put your money on the Grizzlies though, consider that the Clippers (22-15-0 ATS) are third best in the league, and have covered more times than Memphis. Take the Clippers to cover (+1½) and take an upset win outright. Take the total (184½) to go under as the Grizzlies’ tough defense goes to work.
Miami Heat @ Utah Jazz
9:00 PM ET
Miami (24-11, 8-8 road) defeated the Jazz 105-89 at AmericanAirlines Arena on Dec. 22, but as we all know, Miami on the road is a very different side to Miami at home. The Heat has gone 5-3 on the road against Western Conference opponents, but only 2-3 against those teams with a winning record.
Despite currently residing just outside the top eight in the Western Conference, Utah (20-19, 11-4 home) has been solid at home this season, dropping just four games, and all to quality opposition (Memphis, Golden State, Clippers twice).
Both sides will look at this game as one ripe for the taking. A win for Utah will keep the Jazz above the .500 mark, whilst Miami will look to move to 2-2 on this current six-game road trip.
Odds: Miami is favored despite an indifferent road record. The spread is 5½, while the total is 197½.
Take: MIAMI – Take the Heat to score a second straight road victory ahead of games at Golden State and the Lakers later this week. This will be a tough one though, so take Utah to cover the spread (+5½), something the Jazz has been slightly better at this season than the Heat. Take the total (197½) to go under, as has been the case in more than 54 percent of both team’s games this season.
Having beaten both Oklahoma City and Atlanta last week, take Washington (6-28, 5-13 home) to score an unprecedented third win in a row with a victory over Orlando (13-23, 6-11 road). Take the Wizards – the sixth best team in the league against the spread – to cover (-3½) with the total (193½) going over.
Take favorite Boston (19-17, 12-6 home) to upend Charlotte (9-27, 4-13 road) in the first of four meetings between the sides this season. At 10 points, the spread may seem big but Charlotte (13-22-1 ATS) is the worst team in the league at covering the spread, so take Boston here. Take the total (190½) to go over.
As Minnesota (16-18, 6-13 road) and Dallas (15-23, 9-7 home) both look to find their winning ways, take the Timberwolves to cover the spread (+5½) but the Mavericks to win outright. Take the total (197½) to go over.
Take Oklahoma City (29-8, 11-5 road) to make short work of Phoenix (13-26, 10-9 home), covering the spread (-7½) in the process. Take the total (202) to go under.
Finally, take Sacramento (13-24, 10-10 home) to complete a season sweep over Cleveland (9-30, 5-18 road) in what will be a close game. Take Cleveland to cover the spread (+5½), with the total (203½) going over.