Detroit (+7) at Houston – The Pistons are in the midst of difficult stretch where most of their games are on the road. They dropped four in a row and worse yet; they’ve dropped to three and a half games behind eight seed Charlotte.
The Rockets have climbed into a tie with Portland for the third spot in the West despite losing two straight. James Harden returns after his suspension for kicking LeBron James in the… Well, you know where. The crazy thing about the Rockets is that they’ve been doing better than expected without Dwight Howard who should return for the playoffs.
Houston is 23-9 at home while the Pistons are eight games below .500 on the road.
Trends: Detroit is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games on the road… Houston is 5-1 SU in their last six games at home… The Pistons are 1-4 against the spread in their last five trips to Houston… The Rockets are 7-1 SU in their last eight games against the Pistons.
The Pick: I like the Rockets to cover as the Pistons slide continues.
Cleveland (-1) at Atlanta – The Cavaliers aren’t going to catch the Hawks for the top seed in the East but securing the second seed would mean they could avoid Atlanta until the Conference Finals. Both teams have won seven of their last ten and each are on streaks. The Cavs have been victorious in two straight while the Hawks have won five in a row.
This has all the makings of one of the best games of the year. I feel that way not just because the teams are good but also because I believe the Hawks have something to prove. All the talk has been about the Cavs in recent weeks so look for a big night from Atlanta.
Trends: Cleveland is 204 straight up in their last 24 games… Atlanta is 15-1 SU in their last 16 games at home… The Cavs are 1-8 in their last nine games on the road in Atlanta… The Hawks are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games at home versus the Cavaliers.
The Pick: Take the Hawks to win.
Chicago (+5.5) vs Indiana – The Bulls are 10.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks but so are Toronto and Cleveland. With Washington in a free-fall, it appears these three teams will duke it out until the dust settles with them placed in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are just a half game out of the eighth spot and many teams to contend with for that final playoff position.
Obviously the Bulls are dealing with injuries in the names of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Both could return in time for the playoffs but what could be expected from them is anyone’s guess. Despite the injuries, the Bulls have on seven of ten.
Trends: The Bulls are 8-3-1 straight up in their last 12 games… The Pacers are 6-1 SU in their last seven games at home… Chicago is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at the Pacers… Indiana is 4-1 ATS in their last five games at home versus the Bulls.
The Pick: The Pacers have won three in a row and eight of ten. I like them to cover at home.