Friday night brings you a nice platter of NBA matchups that will have some tempting - and telling - betting lines. A strange little fact about this week's six teams: they're all 6-4 SU in their last 10 games. We're at the hump of the season, so that's to be expected. But all of these teams, aside from Dallas, are legitimate playoff teams. We're inching towards that time where we separate the men from the boys, so these matchups will have lots on the line as we barrel towards the playoffs.
Home team in CAPS and all picks are meant to indicate covers.
BOSTON CELTICS over Golden State Warriors (7:30pm
Golden State has had its fair share of trouble this year, including a mysteriously alarming injury to Andrew Bogut. After one of the hottest starts in team history, the Warriors have been mired by a rough slump going just 3-7 SU and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. That includes going 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games away from home. The trip to Boston will be their fourth road game in a series of five.
The last time these two teams met, Golden State demolished Boston 101-83 and though the basketball gods have been merciless on the Celtics this season, they've shown the same resolve that's made them a contender for the last half decade. Boston has gone 6-4 SU and ATS in their last 10 games and remain a decent bet at home where they're 14-13-2 ATS overall. Despite losing Rondo, they'll have plenty of size to pour on against an athletic, but weary, Golden State team. Boston is much better in front of their fans overall, and will be glad to return to the comforts of their home court after a five game road trip of their own.
Dallas Mavericks over BROOKLYN NETS (8pm
The problem with a shallow roster is that it relies so much on rhythm and star players playing up to their potential. You need bench players to have a semblance or modicum of consistency. That's the main problem when trusting the Brooklyn Nets. Hosting Dallas should be a cake walk this season, but the Nets have been up-and-down at best. Deron Williams isn't taking over games the way he can and my reservations about Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez have been pretty well justified. With a 12-17-3 ATS record at home, including a 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS record over their last five games in Brooklyn, you just can't trust them.
Like almost other team on this list, the Mavericks are 6-4 SU and ATS in their last 10 games and despite a few brutal home losses you have to be encouraged by this team's ability to keep games close. They've lost their last two games by -4.5 points and won a handful of games by blowing out opponents. Nobody expects the Mavs to do anything this season which is why they're getting lambasted by the oddsmakers with disrespect. That's led to a 17-13 ATS road record that should improve as Dirk reaches his true potential after returning from injury.
Dirk is the kind of star you build around, and Brooklyn will find out quickly that they don't have someone like that amongst their budding threesome.
DENVER NUGGETS over Oklahoma City Thunder (10:30pm
I love the Denver Nuggets this season. They're one of the most underrated collection of talents in the NBA and have been a force in the sportsbook for their backers. Who would've thought that McGee-Nene trade would've worked out this well for them? Though their 6-4 SU and ATS record over the last 10 games doesn't exactly evoke a ton of confidence, their staggering 18-9 ATS record at home should. They can score a ton of points in a hurry, ranking third in the league. Unfortunately they also give up the 101.7 points against, ranking them 26th.
Oklahoma City has been amazing this year, both in the standings and as a betting team. They're also 6-4 SU and ATS in their last 10 games and have been blistering at home going 20-9 ATS. Unfortunately they're on the road this Friday, and while they're 13-12-2 ATS on the road this season, and lost to Denver in their last meeting during an overtime thriller. The OVER in this game is probably the best bet since these teams love torching the scoreboard, but all things considered I have to stand by Denver whenever they play in the Pepsi Center.