One of the things I suggested last week was using the NBA schedule to your advantage. There are some spots that can lead you in the right direction with a handicap based on rest, travel and other factors. Last week’s trio of spots worked out well, as all three teams covered.
It won’t always work out that way, but it was nice to have that topic show immediate returns. Like I wrote last week, these are NOT sole justifications for a bet. They are a starting point to help narrow the card and to see if you think the line is reasonable and if everything has gone according to plan.
I’ll talk about a few more here to further illustrate some of the angles I’m trying to find.
Raptors at Pistons (Friday) – The Raptors just had a really gutsy performance at home with a shorthanded roster in the 99-95 loss to the Suns that ended Toronto’s six-game winning streak. The difficulty with this Pistons game is that it is the front end of a back-to-back and the Raptors play Milwaukee at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Detroit is awful, but teams can definitely play down to their competition with a better opponent on deck. While it is the first game of a five-game road trip for Toronto, this feels like a “win and get out” spot. If I’m getting enough points with the Pistons, I’ll be interested.
Cavaliers at Thunder (Saturday) – This is the last game of a six-game road trip for Cleveland, as the Cavaliers head home to host the Nets on Monday in a pretty big measuring stick type of game. This is a back-to-back off of playing the Spurs. Cleveland will be laying a road price here, which is mostly uncharted territory for such a young team. Like Detroit, OKC is simply awful, but that’s why the spread is in place.
A young team like the Cavs feels very, very susceptible to tripping up in a spot like this.
Warriors at Timberwolves (Sunday) – The Warriors are struggling a little bit right now, but have games against Milwaukee and Chicago on Thursday and Friday to right the ship in front of national TV audiences. Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves is the end of a four-game road trip and a stretch of six out of seven away from home.
Following this game, the Warriors start a seven-game homestand. As long as Golden State doesn’t rest anybody, Minnesota should be getting a healthy number of points at home in a game that Golden State may not be invested in.
The caveat is that if the Warriors look bad against the Bucks and Bulls, they may take out some frustration on Minnesota. That’s why these are starting points for a handicap and not guaranteed picks. The plan has to work out in advance of the game and the spread has to be a number you want to take as well.