After a long weekend of football actions, Casino Review returns to the hard court today to serve up some tips regarding the five-game NBA slate, a schedule that includes big games for the Heat and Lakers.
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers
7:00 PM ET
Having enjoyed one of the most home-friendly schedules around the league, Miami (23-9, 7-6 road) begins a six-game road trip – part of a larger stint of 10 from 12 on the road – in Indiana (20-14, 12-3 home).
Whilst the Heat has been somewhat stagnant on the road this season, winning in Indiana and winning a sizeable chunk of these upcoming road games would be the perfect way to fend off any naysayers who believe the team will struggle to repeat.
The Pacers meanwhile will be looking to continue treading water until the return of Danny Granger (knee). The side has done a good job so far, currently involved in a two-way dance with the Bulls.
The Pacers have fared well at home, losing just three (Washington, San Antonio, Denver), and fending off the Heat tonight would go a long way to staking a claim for a top half finish in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.
Odds: Miami is favored in this one with the spread at 4. The total is 191.
Take: Indiana – The Pacers have held their own at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season whilst Miami has been less than stellar on the road. The Pacers may not appear to have enough to hang with the Heat on paper, especially without Danny Granger, but stranger things have happened this season. Take the total to go under as has been the trend with both these sides.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets
8:00 PM ET
With Dwight Howard (shoulder) and Pau Gasol (concussion) sidelined until who knows when, the Lakers (15-18, 5-10 road) are in a whole heap of trouble. Anybody that says otherwise is in denial.
Having lost three straight and four of five, the Lakers need a win tonight, especially as a trip to San Antonio (Wednesday) and a home game against Oklahoma City (Friday) don’t look likely to yield anything other than a loss.
Houston (20-14, 13-6 home) will look to prevent the Lakers securing that much-needed win, extending its own winning streak to a league best five games, a tally which would also equal a season best for the club. After losing back-to-back games to San Antonio and Oklahoma City at the end of December, the Rockets have been firing on all cylinders, averaging 113.5 points over the last four.
Odds: Houston is favorites (-7) with the total at a staggering 220.
Text: LA Lakers – Anybody with any sense would steer well clear of the Lakers at the moment but this game has Kobe Bryant written all over it. Expect Bryant and Nash to get into a shootout with the number one scoring team in the league, and take the Lakers to shock the world with an upset over the Rockets. We’re not saying the Lakers are going to be okay going forward, but there’s a sense of underdog in the air. Steer clear of the purple and gold side the rest of this week though. Take the total to go under; these teams will score but 220 is absurd.
Take Minnesota (15-15, 9-5 home) to cover the spread (-1½) and win straight up against Atlanta (20-12, 9-6 road) despite being without Kevin Love; Atlanta has looked poor in two straight losses. Take the total (189) to go over.
Take Brooklyn (19-15, 7-8 road) to edge Philadelphia (15-20, 9-7 home) covering the spread (-1½) in the process and building that win streak up to four. Take the total (185½) to go over.
Take Milwaukee (16-16, 9-8 home) to snatch a rare win against the Western Conference as Phoenix (12-23, 2-14 road) comes to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Take the Bucks to cover the spread (-6) and the total (195) to go under.