WE’RE coming off another NBA sweep and look to keep the momentum going ahead of a big weekend of sport.
Here’s our best bets for the action ahead:
Atlanta Hawks @ Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have certainly found their identity and Stan Van Gundy seems to have his players buying into their new system.
The addition of Avery Bradley has certainly given them a genuine perimeter defender and his ability to space the floor also opens up the lane for Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond to get to the basket with ease.
Another home game should see another Pistons win – especially against a banged up Hawks team that doesn’t travel well.
Atlanta will again be forced to gamble on the fitness of Dennis Schroder, Marco Belinelli and Dwayne Dedmon who are all carrying niggling injuries – while Mike Muscala, DeAndre’ Bembry, Miles Plumlee and Ersan Ilyasova all remain absent.
That leaves a lot of pressure on rookie John Collins and a less than healthy Dedmon to deal with a strong and physical paint presence on both ends of the court.
The Pistons are 5-1 on their home court and have covered the line in all of those wins – the only exception being a shock loss to Philadelphia. They’re well rested after blowing out Indiana and match up very well against this Hawks team who will have likely have their top scorer (Schroder) defended by one of the best defensive guards in the league (Bradley).
Atlanta have covered just once in their last six road games overall, and are 2-6-1 against the spread in their last nine games against Eastern Conference opponents.
The Pistons meanwhile are flying high, with the team six of their last seven games against Eastern Conference opponents and going 12-3-1 against the spread in their last 16 home games against teams with a losing road record.
Lay the points on the home side as they roll towards a 9-3 start.
Tip: Detroit Pistons -7.5 @ $1.91 (Crownbet)
Orlando Magic @ Phoenix Suns
The Magic bounced back with a much needed win, and it’s not coincidental that it happened on Elfrid Payton’s return to the lineup.
The Magic went 0-2 straight up and against the spread while both Payton and DJ Augustin were unavailable through injury. While Augustin remains out they do thankfully have at least one natural point guard to help guide the team around the court.
Orlando’s up tempo style puts them in good stead ahead of their Western Conference road trip and should serve them well against a Phoenix team that could not get any stops against the Heat last time out.
The Suns currently allow opponents to score an average of 115.8 points per game and allowing them to shoot 46.9% from the field. What’s worse is that they struggle to defend the perimeter – an area that Orlando are surprisingly finding range from.
The Magic are currently shooting an impressive 40.6% from beyond the arc, and it’s not just their starters that are getting it done from deep either. Bench production will only improve with Payton now back in the starting five and Frank Vogel will have no problem getting his side to attack the basket early and spot up their shooters in transition against a leaky Phoenix defence.
To compound matters for Phoenix, they will still be without new recruit Greg Monroe and could also be without veteran centre Tyson Chandler.
Let’s just keep this one simply from here; the line is too short.
Orlando are at least a 6.5 point favourites over their opponents on a neutral court and this Suns team doesn’t earn that much respect on their home court.
The Magic have covered the line in four of their last five games against Western Conference opponents, and are 5-1 against the spread in their last six visits to Phoenix. Lay the points on the road team in this one.
Tip: Orlando Magic -3.5 @ $1.92 (Centrebet)
Punter Problems NBA multi: