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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez tells us who he's backing on Saturday in the NBA

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Golden State Warriors +2 @ + 100

Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors, 8:30 PM:

  • The 76ers have struggled ATS this season, ranking eighth worst in the NBA at 27-32-4. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we're backing the Warriors

Philadelphia (38-25) finally got in the win column on their current road trip, snapping a two-game losing streak with a 125-108 win against the Sacramento Kings. 

The shorthanded Sixers were without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but found production from Tobias Harris who totaled a double-double with a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds. Shake Milton continued to be a solid offensive playmaker, adding 20 points, and Al Horford filled up the stat sheet with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The losses continued to pile up on Friday for Golden State (14-49), yet the Warriors had a silver lining with the return of superstar Curry who made his presence felt with a team-high 23 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

Damion Lee knocked down five three-pointers, adding 23 points of his own, and Marquese Chriss contributed a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Philadelphia sits at the five seed in the Eastern Conference standings, yet despite the success, the Sixers have the worst home record amongst the top eight seeds at 10-23. With Curry back in the lineup, I like the Warriors to bounce back at home and edge out the snake-bitten 76ers.

(1u) Cleveland Cavaliers +8 @ -110

Denver Nuggets @ Cleveland Cavaliers, 8:00 PM:

  • Cleveland and Denver have split the last 18 meetings with each other 9-9.
  • The Nuggets are 2-3 ATS in Cleveland since 2013-14.

The reason we're backing the Cavaliers

Denver (42-20) battled back late in the fourth quarter and avoided a near road upset by  defeating the Charlotte Hornets 114-112. All five of the Nuggets’ starters scored in double figures, led by the clutch efforts of Jamal Murray.

Murray scored a team-high 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with five seconds left. Nikola Jokic filled up the box score with a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. 

Cleveland (17-45) hung tough, but dropped a fourth straight game in losing 112-106 at home to the Boston Celtics. The Cavs’ offensive production came from three players - Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr and Kevin Love.

Sexton carried the load, going off for 41 points from 17-of-30 shooting. Nance Jr. and Love both contributed double-doubles. Love had 26 points with 14 rebounds and Nance Jr. added 19 points with 15 rebounds.

Backing the Cavaliers is no easy task, yet Cleveland winning 111-103 in the first meeting between these teams in Denver makes it a bit easier. The Cavaliers have lost each of the first three games of this homestand, but all were by nine points or fewer. Although it may not be pretty, I like Cleveland to cover the spread at home.

1u - Houston Rockets (-8) @ -110

Houston Rockets @ Charlotte Hornets, 5:00 PM:

  • The Rockets have won 17 of the last 19 meetings with the Hornets.

The reason we're backing the Rockets

Houston (39-22) dropped a second straight game after getting their doors kicked in at home by the Los Angeles Clippers in a 120-105 defeat. The Rockets trailed by 25 entering the fourth quarter due to an awful three-point shooting night (16.7%).

James Harden was an ice-cold 0-for-8 from three-point range with 16 points. Russell Westbrook was the lone bright spot, totaling a double-double with 29 points and 15 rebounds.

Charlotte (21-41) covered the spread (+9.5) and nearly pulled off the upset, falling short in a 114-112 defeat to Denver.

Devonte’ Graham and PJ Washington did most of the heavy lifting. Graham had a game-high 24 points with seven assists, and Washington added 20 points and six rebounds.

Houston will be without both Westbrook and fellow starter PJ Tucker in Charlotte, and although the Rockets are slumping, they’ve had far too much success against the Hornets for me to bet against the trend. Houston took down Charlotte 125-110 a month ago, and haven’t lost in seven consecutive meetings. Take the Rockets to cover on the road.


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