|Team||Power Rankings||888Sport Odds||2018-19 ATS|
|Portland Trail Blazers||1||+10000||11-5|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||T2||+4500||10-5|
|San Antonio Spurs||9||+7000||8-7|
|New York Knicks||19||+30000||7-8-2|
|Golden State Warriors||T22||-200||10-3|
|New Orleans Pelicans||T24||+3500||7-9|
|Los Angeles Lakers||T27||+2400||6-10|
We’re five weeks into the NBA postseason and it’s the Portland Trail Blazers that sit atop both the Western Conference and against the spread rankings.
But there have also been a few considerable NBA betting surprises out West in Dallas and the Clippers, while James Harden and the Rockets are beginning to look like themselves again. Here’s a roundup of the teams making the most noise – good and bad – against the spread.
Five weeks in to the NBA season we’re still waiting for the Rockets to hit their stride. But they’re trending in the right direction. James Harden is finally looking like an MVP candidate and they’ve won four straight by 63 combined points (covering in all four of them).
It’s probably not a coincidence that this is all happening after Carmelo Anthony said his goodbyes. He was an awful fit from the start, and they’re much better off with guys such as Gary Clark and Gerald Green on the wings. Don’t look now but the Rockets are heating up.
So much for that 9-1 start. Denver has lost five of six, including its last three at home, and are 14th in net rating in that span. The offense hasn’t been an issue of course – they’re fifth in the NBA in that span – but the defense has been the league’s fourth worst.
Mike Malone’s got some serious adjustments to make and needs to make them on the fly. They’ve got a rough couple of weeks coming up with tilts against Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, the Lakers, Portland and Toronto. We’ll learn a lot more about the defense shortly.
Don’t look now but the Mavericks have won five of six, which has included victories over the Thunder, Jazz and Warriors. They’re closing in on .500, and while that might not be enough for the postseason in the West it’s a major step in the right direction.
Leading the way has been supremely talented rookie Luka Doncic. He’s averaging 19.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists in nearly 34 minutes. The only other rookies to reach those numbers are Oscar Robertston, Damon Stoudamire, Allen Iverson and Oscar Robertson.
Their upcoming schedule is brutal, but they’ve shown they can hang around in games, if not win altogether.
Bulls Look Seriously Tired
No team in the NBA has lost more games to injury than the Bulls, a team that wasn’t really built to withstand even a couple of them. They’re missing three core rotation pieces in Lauri Markkanen. Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn and it’s beginning to take its toll.
The Bulls are 4-13 straight-up and have lost their last four games by a combined 92 points. Zach LaVine simply can’t continue shouldering this load, and neither Jabari Parker nor Wendell Carter Jr. has stepped up as a second scorer to complement LaVine.
Until the aforementioned guys get back it’s going to be a struggle in the Windy City.
One of the season’s biggest surprises has been the Clippers. Not expected to compete for the postseason, or even a .500 record, they currently rank seventh in net rating with the NBA’s fourth best offense.
Tobias Harris is turning into an All-Star, averaging 20.7 points on better than 51 percent shooting, Lou Williams remains as confident as ever and Danilo Gallinari has stayed healthy and efficient. They’re one of three teams with three 19-point or better scorers (Golden State and New Orleans are the other two).
All the talk in Hollywood this offseason was about LeBron, but it’s been the Clippers making the most noise in Staples Center.
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