NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, April 17

NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, April 17

Rockets vs. Lakers: What Bettors Need to Know
By Covers.com

Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers can make the playoffs by beating the visiting Houston Rockets on Wednesday or having Utah lose to Memphis. Los Angeles has won seven of eight games in its late-season push and would actually claim the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference by beating the Rockets. Houston is one game ahead of Los Angeles entering the contest and also one game behind the Golden State Warriors, who are in sixth place heading into the final day.

The Rockets suffered a dreadful 119-112 loss to lowly Phoenix on Monday and that defeat has put them in danger of slipping into the No. 8 spot with the loss to the Lakers. Houston coach Kevin McHale is aware that winning the contest at the Staples Center is going to be an arduous task. “We are going to play a determined L.A. team,” McHale said. “We have to play well.” The Lakers will be playing their second game since losing Kobe Bryant to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Los Angeles notched a 91-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday without the superstar. The Lakers are 1-2 against the Rockets this season.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (45-36): Houston has lost three of its last five games despite playing a light April schedule. That has prompted concern with the playoffs about to commence. “I think that has been one of our problems all season – focus,” point guard Jeremy Lin said. “It usually comes with a younger team. At this point of the season, it is really not an excuse. Every game means so much. We are talking about playoff seeding. We are talking about matchups and things that are more important than anything we played for all season.” Leading scorer James Harden was just 5-of-18 from the field while scoring 16 points in the loss to the Suns. Harden averages 25.9 points.

ABOUT THE LAKERS (44-37): Center Dwight Howard had a monster game against San Antonio with 26 points and 17 rebounds. He is one rebound away from becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 9,000 career rebounds. Howard will be 27 years, 130 days old on Wednesday and legends Wilt Chamberlain (27 years, 144 days) and Bill Russell (27 years, 357 days) are the only other players to reach 9,000 before age 28. Guard Steve Blake stepped up with a season-best 23 points against the Spurs and will play a key role the rest of the season with Bryant sidelined. Blake averages 6.9 points.

TRENDS

The over is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.

Houston is 1-4 ATS in the past five games.

Lakers are averaging 106.5 points over the past four games, better than the 102.2 season average.

James Harden has averaged 22 points in three games against the Lakers this season, down from his season average of 25.9.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Houston has won four of the past five meetings.

2. Lakers PG Steve Nash (hip, hamstring) will miss his eighth consecutive game.

3. Rockets F Carlos Delfino has made 10 3-pointers over the past two games.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, April 17

NBA: Streaks, Tips, Notes
Sportspic.com

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA regular season will come to an end Wednesday night, and the only thing left to determine is the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers (44-37, 33-46-2 ATS) can clinch the final spot with a win over the Houston Rockets (45-36, 41-39-1 ATS), but could already have that spot locked up by the time they tip off should the Utah Jazz (43-38, 42-38-1 ATS) come up short against the Memphis Grizzlies (55-26, 45-34-2 ATS) hours earlier. Los Angeles winning seven of eight games (4-3-1 ATS) in it's late-season push have opened -2.5 point faves. Rockets losing three of it's last five overall have won two of three meetings this season but did drop the matchup at the Staples Center. Utah Jazz playing with WIN-OR-GO-HOME desperation for the past three weeks posting a 9-2 mark (7-4 ATS) could have a hard time keeping things going in Memphis, where they've dropped five of six (3-3 ATS) including a 103-94 loss during their last visit back in November. Grizzlies, with possible home-court advantage hanging in the balance have been pegged 5.5 point favorite to send Jazz packing.

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How final day of season can change things
USAToday.com

So it is that an NBA regular season defined by winning streaks and torn knee ligaments ends with this: eight teams jostling for position entering the final day.

The past two seasons each featured four teams still not locked into their playoff seedings, but things have been more complicated this year. And while the Los Angeles Lakers continue to draw much of the attention, they are in good company.

Here's the breakdown of what's at stake in Wednesday's season finales:

• The Nos. 6, 7 and 8 seeds in the Western Conference remain unsettled. The simplest scenario features the Lakers beating the Houston Rockets, which would give the Golden State Warriors the No. 6 seed, Los Angeles the No. 7 seed and Houston the No. 8 and eliminate the Utah Jazz. Should the Jazz win at the Memphis Grizzlies (who are locked in to the No. 5 seed) and the Rockets beat the Lakers, Los Angeles will miss the playoffs.

• Houston must win and have Golden State lose to the Portland Trail Blazers in order to steal the No. 6 seed. A Rockets loss also would benefit TV networks by setting up an anticipated series against the No. 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston star James Harden's former team.

• The Atlanta Hawks can claim the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win and a Chicago Bulls loss. The Bulls would prefer the fifth seed because they went 1-3 vs. the No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers and 3-1 vs. the No. 4 seed Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks split their season series with both.

• The Denver Nuggets need a Los Angeles Clippers loss or a home win against the Phoenix Suns to clinch the No. 3 seed in the West. That seed is perhaps the most important left for grabs because it allows a team to avoid playing the tough Grizzlies in the first round and the Thunder in the second.

• The Clippers still may have something to play for, though, even if the Nuggets lose, because Memphis would get home-court advantage if it has a better record.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, April 17

Inside the Paint - Wednesday
By Chris David
VegasInsider.com

Similar to other sports, the last day or week of the regular season creates numerous meaningless games and the Association is no different. The playoffs start Saturday and 15 of the 16 possible playoff spots have been clinched, with the eighth seed in the Western Conference still up for grabs.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat
No. 2 New York Knicks
No. 3 Indiana Pacers
No. 4 Brooklyn Nets
No. 7 Boston Celtics
No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks

Chicago is currently the No. 5 seed and with a win tonight at home against Washington, the Bulls will secure that spot. Also, the Bulls can lock up the fifth seed if Atlanta loses at New York since they own the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Hawks laid down last night at home against Toronto and they’ll probably do the same tonight. Personally, I think Atlanta is making the right decision. It went 2-2 against Indiana this season and 1-2 against Brooklyn, which isn’t much of a different. The key in the East is avoiding Miami and you’d rather avoid a possible second-round matchup (1 vs. 4/5) with the Heat and catch them down in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Unlike the East, the Western Conference only has three seeds locked up.

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder
No. 2 San Antonio Spurs
No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

The Nuggets would clinch the No. 3 seed with a win at home Wednesday against Phoenix or with a Clippers loss at Sacramento. Los Angeles can’t drop below the No. 4 seed but it could lose homecourt advantage to No. 5 Memphis in their first-round series. That will happen if the Clippers lose at the Kings, and the Grizzlies beat the Jazz. Utah needs to win to have a shot at the No. 8 seed. Along with a victory, the Jazz will need the Rockets to beat the Lakers at Staples Center. If the Purple and Gold win this game, they would jump Houston and claim the No. 7 seed and also knock the Jazz out of the playoffs. If the Rockets beat L.A. tonight, they can also improve their seed to No. 6 if Golden State loses at Portland.
   
With all of the above being said, you basically have seven games that have playoff implications tonight and you could say four or five because the Hawks are laying down again and the Warriors might sit their starters since a matchup against San Antonio as the No. 7 seed might be better suited than a series as the No. 6 seed against Denver.

Twelve of the 15 games on tonight’s board will start at 8:05 p.m. ET, with the last three slated to tip at 10:35 p.m. ET. Similar to Week 17 of the NFL, you can expect the late games to be taken off the board when the early games begin.

How do you attack tonight’s board? With the help from a few VI experts, let’s take a closer look at two teams fighting for the eighth seed in the West.

Utah at Memphis: Even though Utah faces a must-win spot, VegasInsider.com handicapper Kevin Rogers isn’t buying the Jazz. He explained, “The Grizzlies are locked into the fifth seed in the West, but Memphis can still grab home-court in the first round with a win and a Clippers' loss at Sacramento.  Utah has plenty of pressure of them tonight to win, plus needing a Lakers' loss at Houston later tonight.  Memphis has taken two of the first three meetings with Utah this season, while the Jazz are just 13-27 on the road.  The Jazz has lost 13 of their last 14 road games to teams currently in the playoffs.” Make a note that Utah recently captured a 90-84 win against Memphis at Salt Lake City in mid-March and while the road record hasn’t been great, the Jazz have won and covered three in row as visitors. Total players might want to lean ‘under’ here despite a low number of 180. The Grizzlies (7-1) and Jazz (4-1) have both been leaning to the ‘under’ lately and this game should have plenty of defense. Tip-off is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET and ESPN will be providing national coverage.

Houston at L.A. Lakers: The Rockets have won two of three against the Lakers this season but the pair hasn’t met since early January and in one of Houston’s victories (125-112), Los Angeles didn’t have Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol in the lineup. The two big men will be in action tonight but the “Purple and Gold” won’t have Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash. Even with those key injuries, the Lakers are laying 2 ½-points to the Rockets and that number could spike if Utah beats Memphis in the early game, which creates a must-win situation for the Lakers. Los Angeles has been a tough out at home lately, going 12-1 in its last 13. As mentioned above, Houston has a lot to play for as well. A win would lock up the No. 7 seed and it could jump to No. 6 if the Warriors lose at Portland. This season, Houston went 1-3 against the Spurs and 1-2 against the Thunder but San Antonio isn’t in great form and is also dealing with key injuries. As much as fans would love to see James Harden face OKC in the first round, even Harden would admit they have a better shot against the depleted Spurs. Without Kobe in the lineup this season, the Lakers went 2-1 both straight up and against the spread. The ‘under’ went 2-1 as well. ESPN will provide coverage at 10:35 p.m. ET.

The other 13 games on the board aren’t easy to handicap, which is why oddsmakers didn’t start posting numbers till this morning (10:45 a.m. ET). It’s a crap shoot and my advice is to tread lightly with numerous starters sitting out. For what it’s worth (not much), here’s my Fearless Predictions for the last day.

Philadelphia 95 Indiana 90
Miami 96 Orlando 90
Toronto 105 Boston 90
Chicago 98 Washington 96
Oklahoma City 110 Milwaukee 100
New York 90 Atlanta 85
Detroit 105 Brooklyn 100
Cleveland 92 Charlotte 91
Dallas 94 New Orleans 88
San Antonio 103 Minnesota 90
Memphis 86 Utah 83
Denver 114 Phoenix 104
L.A. Clippers 102 Sacramento 99
Golden State 100 Portland 90
L.A. Lakers 95 Houston 94

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Wednesday, April 17

NBA Sports Betting Odds and Capsules: April 17
Atssportsline.com

This is the final night for the NBA before the playoffs start on Saturday, April 20.  There are several matchups tonight that have playoff implications. In the Western Conference, the only thing that is really set is the top two seeds with Oklahoma City and San Antonio.  Check out a preview from the top two games of the night below from each conference.

Washington Wizards (29-52 SU, 44-35-2 ATS, 33-45-3 O/U) at Chicago Bulls (44-37 SU, 36-45 ATS, 36-44-1 O/U)


Intangibles:
Chicago is tied with Atlanta for the fifth seed in the East, but they have tiebreaker
Washington has lost five straight games
Washington may be looking at a better draft spot

Last game: (4/2/13) Washington (-2.5) over Chicago, 90-86.

Keys to Success: The Bulls have an opportunity to claim the fifth seed with a win here. They own the tiebreaker over the Atlanta Hawks but they aren't playing their best basketball. They lost  two of three on the road and four of their last six overall. At least they are playing the Wizards, who are sitting six key players due to injuries including Nene and Brad Beal. Chicago is almost full-strength now and the only question is whether star guard Derrick Rose will return from his year-long absence from a knee injury. With Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah healthy, the Bulls will be a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with or without Rose.

Washington lost at Brooklyn, 106-101, getting 4.5 on Monday. The Nets rested most of their starters and Washington blew a 17-point lead. Chicago beat Orlando, 102-84 on Monday, giving 5.5 on the road.  Washington is 0-7 ATS last 7 road games. Pro Basketball Odds: Chicago is an 8.5-point betting odds favorite. Total: 186.0.


Houston Rockets (45-36 SU, 41-39 ATS, 41-40 O/U) at Los Angeles Lakers (44-37 SU, 33-47 ATS, 43-37 O/U)


Intangibles:
The Lakers need a win or a Utah loss to make the playoffs
The Lakers have won seven of eight games
Houston will fall to the eighth spot with a loss

Last game: (1/8/13) Houston (-8) over LA Lakers, 125-112.

Keys to Success: Houston has won two of three in the series this year but if they lose tonight, the series is tied and the Lakers have the tiebreaker. The Rockets were shocked by the lowly Sunday on Monday and now they need to win just to keep the seventh seed. Houston has lost two of its last three games and three of five. The Lakers have managed to win seven of eight, but if they make the playoffs, will have to do so without Kobe Bryant, who ruptured his Achilles tendon against the Warriors last Friday. This will be the Lakers second game without Bryant and they'll also be playing without Steve Nash (hip), who is expected to be ready if the Lakers make the playoffs,

The Rockets are coming off a 119-112 win over Phoenix on the road, giving 7.5 on Monday. The Lakers upset San Antonio, 91-86, getting 3.5 at home on Saturday. Steve Blake, who averages 6.9 points, scored a season-best 23 points against the Spurs. Pro Hoops Odds:The Lakers are a 2.5-point betting odds favorite. Total: 203.5.

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