Top Game to Bet: Lakers (-2) at Celtics
Anthony Davis is questionable (bruised quad) for this matchup after sitting out in the Lakers' loss to the Pistons. I expect Davis to return tonight in what could and should be a classic Lakers-Celtics matchup. If Davis plays, the spread will move to -4 or more, so there is value in taking the Lakers now.
Building on that, the Lakers have lost two straight games for the first time since December of 2019. The Lakers lost four straight at one point last season, and in those four games, LeBron and AD only played together twice. The Lakers lost to the Bucks by seven and the Clippers by five on Christmas Day during that skid with the two players.
Before that losing streak, the Lakers won 17 of the previous 18 games, a slightly different circumstance. This season, the Lakers won eight of the last 10, before losing two straight.
The Celtics are 1-1 SU since Jayson Tatum has returned to the lineup, beating the Bulls and losing to the Spurs. In the last five meetings with the Lakers, the Celtics are 2-3 SU. In the previous six games, Boston is 3-3 SU, with each team splitting the season series 1-1 since 2017-18. Boston won by 32 at home last season and lost by two in Los Angeles.
The Lakers were 10-2 on the road but lost two straight during this road trip. After Boston, Los Angeles will finish up with a a meeting in Atlanta versus the Hawks before returning home. I expect the Lakers to clean up their play and earn both a road win here and versus Atlanta. I am backing Los Angeles early in case Davis does play to beat the spread before it balloons.
The Moneyline is a valuable -120 to -130 on most books and will likely go up to -160 or -175 if Davis suits up.
If Davis is out and you locked the Lakers in, simple, basketball is a game of runs, and live betting Boston is an option. Boston should provide good Moneyline value or a smaller spread if the Lakers lead by more than two possessions at any point after the second quarter. Like I said before though, I expect Davis to play. I would be surprised if he sat out this meeting with a bruised quad after missing the last outing.
Lakers are 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings.
Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Bet Locked In: Lakers ML (1u)
Top Team to Fade: Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are 3-3 SU in the last six games since beating the Lakers. The Warriors and Pistons are 2-1 SU in the previous three games entering this matchup. For a 10-9 team, Golden State remains covered and talked about as if they are better than their record indicates. Golden State's last three wins are over San Antonio and Minnesota twice, less than impressive.
Detroit has been an ATS machine this season, and it is hard for me to see them losing this game by much more than six. The Pistons have remained competitive, led by Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. It has been truly wild watching and betting on the Pistons this season.
Detroit is 5-4-1 ATS in the last 10 games, and it has been relatively easy picking the right spots for them, such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia this past week. Versus Golden State, Detroit is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. As the underdog once again versus the Warriors, this is a spot I found myself gravitating towards the Pistons.
Detroit is 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog, while Golden State is 4-9 ATS in their previous 13 games as a home favorite. Detroit expects to have Griffin and Rose for this matchup alongside Grant and company. Back Detroit to cover in what should be another competitive matchup for the Pistons.
Bet Locked In: Pistons +5.5 (1u)
Saturday Betting Notes:
Blazers at Bulls: Over/Under 233
Zach LaVine versus Damian Lillard. Get ready for what could be an old-fashioned shootout. While the Under has been a popular winner in this series, I do not see a low-scoring affair here. Defense has been optional for both squads.
Over the past five games versus teams with losing records, Chicago's average game scores have been 218, 233, 245, 252 and 252. For Portland, similar numbers at 205, 229, 229, 247 and 258. On the season, Chicago allows 118.2 points per game (28th) and Portland 115.5 (25th).
Portland has lost three of the last four games overall and Chicago two straight. Both teams need a win and are likely to resort to face-paced basketball. Chicago ranks second in pace factor (106.5) and Portland 13th (102.5).
The Under hit hard last year at 210 and 211-point finishes, but only two of Portland's starters remain the same from those games - Damian Lillard and Rodney Hood. Hood has recently had the privilege of starting two games because of injuries, so it is more like one returning starter. Both teams rank top six in the NBA with 114.5 (POR) and 115.3 (CHI) points per game. With Wendell Carter Jr. out for Chicago, the Bulls are not nearly the defensive team they could be. Back a high-scoring affair in Chicago.
Bet Locked In: Over 233 (1u)
Bucks at Hornets: Bucks -7
Milwaukee is coming off a SU loss, which is rare. Now, they travel to Charlotte to meet with a Hornets squad they have struggled ATS with. In the last six trips to North Carolina, the Bucks are 0-6 ATS. This season, Milwaukee isn't performing too well, going 2-5 ATS in the last seven games overall.
The Hornets are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog. Charlotte's won two of the last five games overall, including Friday's win over Indiana. The Hornets opened at +8.5 and was bought down to +7. Watch the spread movement and a first-half bet on the Bucks could be where the money is at. Milwaukee is consistently one of the better first-half teams in points per game, margin and ATS.
Rockets at Pelicans: Rockets -1
The Pelicans are coming off a huge win last night highlighted by the guard duo of Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. Houston has won four straight games overall, while New Orleans won two straight after losing eight of the last nine.
The Pelicans are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games. Houston has not played well in New Orleans, going 2-5 ATS in the previous seven meetings. This Houston team looks determined and a flip has switched with John Wall and Victor Oladipo playing together. Mix in Christian Wood and a re-tooled DeMarcus Cousins, and I like this Rockets' roster. It is Houston or nothing in this matchup with me.