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NBA Games Preview – Sunday 12.01.2020

 

One week closer to the All-Star break and the trade deadline. Let’s see what we got this Sunday:

 

New York Knicks - Miami Heat (20.30 UK Time)

Knicks continue to linger around the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They’ve lost their last 5 games in a row and wins have been a rare occurrence for them, even in MSG. Heat won the first game in the season series convincingly, 129-114, just before Xmas.

Jimmy Butler continues to lead his Miami forward. They are still 2nd in the Conference and hold their 2-game advantage over Boston. Nets made an unlikely comeback on Friday night and won narrowly over Miami. It’s a natural bounce-back spot for the team from Florida and a much easier opponent of course.

Verdict: Oddsmakers will rightfully install Heat as heavy favs in the game. It will probably be around 8-9 points for Miami to cover, which is a bit too much for a straight wager. Chances for NY to start strong are also slim. Maybe we’ll have some value on the OVER though. Knicks can’t defend but still have a few guys who want to look good on their roster. Miami usually steps a bit off the pedal on the defensive end when the game is in their control. I’d take any OVER at lines around 215 points, pre-match or live.

 

Washington Wizards - Utah Jazz (20.30 UK Time)

We have another game with similar circumstances here. It’s an empty season for Wizards with John Wall out for the year and Bradley Beal also in and out of the line-up with his own knocks. Beal could be on the trade block even, although Washington won’t get too much value for him now. Still Wizards are not terrible. They’ve won 5 of their last 10 games and could surprise most of the teams on any given night.

Utah Jazz are not ‘’most’’ teams though, in terms they very rarely slip against lesser opposition. Jazz are proudly sitting on 4th place in the West with a single win in hand over Houston. They have surely circled this game as a ‘’must’’ win spot in the calendar. It’s the first meeting between the teams this season. Utah won both games last year though and will likely do it again.

Verdict: With Wizards being quite competitive, especially on their home floor, we have very good chances to get a decent spread line pre-match. Beal is listed as day-to-day but his participation doesn’t seem very likely tonight. I guess the spread will be something like 5-6 points for Jazz to cover, that would be fair. Let’s draw the line at 5 points then. It would be a Jazz (- 5) bet, either pre-game or in-play (much bigger chances to get that live, in case oddsmakers play it safe with the opening lines).

 

 

Toronto Raptors - San Antonio Spurs (11.00 UK Time)

This one will be quite interesting one. Raptors continue to linger around 50 % win rate in the absence of Pascal Siakam. They got the good news he is very close to a return this past week, albeit not tonight probably. Good job for Kyle Lowry and VanVleet to keep the ball rolling in Pascal’s absence though. Raptors hold on to the 4th place in the East, with a game in hand over Sixers and two over Pacers.

Spurs got beaten by Memphis on Friday night, their direct rival for the last play-off spot in the West. Of course both teams will likely be outpaced by Portland at some point late in the regular season. Reaching the play-offs will do no good to Popovich anyway, as it means an early first-round exit against one of the LA teams or Denver.

Verdict: DeRozan’s return games in Toronto are always emotional. Raptors will likely prevail tonight though, being the more motivated and deeper team right now. The default spread will probably be around 6-7 points. Raptors to cover 5 points would be playable but I feel there’s a great chance we got a better line at some point live before the half-time.

 

 

 

Denver Nuggets - Los Angeles Clippers (01.00 UK Time)

And this is the ‘’derby’’ of the night, the 2nd vs. the 3rd team in the West. Paul George missed the last games with a hamstring injury. His status is not updated yet for tonight but he’s unlikely to be risked at this spot. Clippers have proved on many occasions this season that they prefer to play the longer game and don’t put everything they got in a single regular-season game. Nuggets have the home court and all the chances to get a win here.

Verdict: Oddsmakers will wait for George’s news before releasing the opening lines probably. I’d play Denver ML if it’s good enough (1.80 +) or Denver to cover small spreads of 2-3 points, pre-match or live.

 

 

 

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