WINNIPEG JETS AT EDMONTON OILERS (WEDSNESDAY, MARCH 11 9 P.M. ET)
The Edmonton Oilers are in a heated battle at the top of the Pacific Division, currently trailing the Vegas Golden Knights by two points at the top of the table. The Oilers took a step back with a 3-0 loss to the Golden Knights on February 28 but have been on a tear ever since, winning four of their last five contests.
Edmonton has revenge on its mind hosting Vegas on Monday – a game that could swing the division toward the Oilers and give them momentum in the final month of the schedule. Win or lose, however, that massive matchup sets up Edmonton for a letdown spot when it hosts Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The Jets are sitting near the bottom of the Central Division but are playing solid hockey in March, winning three of their last four games heading into a home date versus Arizona on Monday night. That lone loss was a 3-2 defeat in Edmonton on February 28. Winnipeg has played their western Canadian rivals tough, splitting their two meeting this season and winning six of their last eight encounters overall. It could be another victory for the Jets if the Oilers suffer any hangover from their showdown with Vegas.
HOUSTON ROCKETS AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (TUESDAY, MARCH 10 8 P.M ET)
The Rockets are battling for a Top-4 spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, currently sitting sixth in the conference pecking order entering the week. Houston is mired in a four-game slide, punctuated by a loss to the Clippers and compounded by defeats to Eastern Conference cupcakes in New York, Charlotte, and Orlando.
Houston has a big game in L.A. on Thursday, traveling to play the conference-leading Lakers in a matchup that will test the Rockets’ chances of truly contending for a title. But before then, Houston hosts Minnesota on Tuesday and could get caught looking past the T-Wolves and ahead to its trip to La-La Land.
Minnesota is in the basement of the Northwest Division, and has lost back-to-back games entering the week. The Timberwolves have lost their three previous meetings with the Rockets this season and will be sizable road underdogs in Tuesday’s contest. If the Rockets are looking ahead to LeBron and the Lakers, there could be value with all those points.
NEW YORK KNICKS AT ATLANTA HAWKS (WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 7:30 P.M. ET)
Not that you need more reasons to fade the Knicks, but their upcoming schedule will stretch this already talent-thin team into the “hotel toilet paper” range with back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
New York takes on the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital Tuesday before heading south to visit the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday. The Knicks are actually a profitable play on the road going 16-14-1 ATS as a visitor but that could run empty against the Hawks in the second stop of this back-to-back challenge. New York is just 2-6-1 ATS on zero rest this season.
Atlanta will have a day off before welcoming the Knicks, hosting Charlotte on Monday. The Hawks are 19-12-1 ATS at home heading into this week and an impressive 9-3-1 ATS with the rest advantage in 2019-20. Atlanta also runs the sixth-fastest pace in the NBA and will put New York on its heels, with the Knicks boasting the 25th slowest pace in the league.
WHAT ARE SPOT BETS?
The bones of situational handicapping or spot betting is to not only factor in current form, injuries, and other factors like weather into researching a bet but to see how each team’s schedule could impact performance as well. You measure that against the odds for that game and determine if the spot provides any added value to follow or fade a team.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SPOT BETS?
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on three popular methods for situational handicapping:
A team has a notable game ahead on the calendar against a top contender or hated rival but before that big matchup they must play a weaker opponent or less-weighted game. Teams can often overlook that upcoming opponent and lack focus, instead planning and looking ahead to the more important game.
A team is coming off a big matchup, most often a notable win of importance or an upset victory and runs the risk of falling flat in the following game. Teams can have a hard time finding the same intensity as the previous performance and can also get caught “fat and happy” with a sense of accomplishment coming off a big win.
While all spot bets involve scheduling in some form, the schedule spot focuses more on challenges of travel and quick turnarounds between games. Schedule spots are more prevalent in day-to-day sports like basketball, baseball and hockey – with teams playing many times per week and hitting stretches of multiple home and away contests – but still do apply to sports like football and soccer, which have larger spacing in their schedules.
Schedule spots can include teams playing on back-to-back nights, a bulk of games in a short period of time, long trips and games played in foreign time zones, as well as an extended hiatus from action, such as bye weeks in the NFL or breaks in the schedule.