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Jonathan Macri previews Tuesday's NBA games and gives us his picks

We have a couple of very hot and very cold teams facing off against one another on Tuesday, presenting a few really solid opportunities for betters to take advantage and trust the trends to continue, starting with the hottest team in basketball facing one of the coldest:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat

Let’s start with Miami who, if you just looked at the standings and their year-long statistical resume, you might not think much of heading into this one.

For one, they’re just 21-18 –a decent record but a far cry from the top three in the East. They also have a negative scoring margin on the season and just the 22nd ranked net rating in the NBA.

But over their last 11 games – of which they’ve lost just once – the Heat are outscoring teams by 6.4 points per 100 possessions, which is good enough for 5th in the league over that span. A few of those games have been closer than you’d like, which is part of why they’ve covered eight of those 10 wins, including just two in their last five games.

If you zoom in closer though, two of those dropped covers came against the Magic, who historically play Miami very tough. The team that’s coming into their home arena on Tuesday night, though, can make no such claim. The Heat were 3-1 against Cleveland last season with the one loss coming by six points in a game Jimmy Butler missed, while the three wins came by an average of 18 points.

These Cavs may be even worse than last year’s version, with a negative 13.4 net rating over their last 15 games. They’ve won just four of those 15, covered just six, and have dropped their last two by a total of 54 points. This one will not be close.

The Pick: Miami -10 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Atlanta Hawks vs. Houston Rockets

Coming into Tuesday night, the longest winning streak in the NBA was shared by the Atlanta Hawks, who seemed down and out just a few weeks ago after firing their head coach and finding themselves on the outside of the Eastern Conference play-in race looking in.

Now, five straight wins later and the second best net rating in the sport over that time frame, Atlanta has to be feeling good about their prospects moving forward. They are, in no uncertain terms, a different team than what we saw over the first 34 games of the season.

The Rockets, well…they are who we thought they’d be after the James Harden trade. After initially coming out and fighting hard on the defensive end, the Rockets have now lost 16 games in a row while getting outscored by an average of 17.1 points per 100 possessions.

A large reason for that is due to injuries and absences, but they won’t be getting much help on the horizon come Tuesday night. Victor Oladipo is here, but he hasn’t been helping much, and the rest of their rotation players remain sidelined for one reason or another.

In short, this is as prime an opportunity to take advantage of a team when it’s down and another when it’s continuing its rise up the standings

The Pick: Atlanta -8 @ -105 (Click To Bet)

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Other NBA Games

Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics

The Jazz are suddenly scuffling, with four losses in their last six games and the only wins coming against the aforementioned tanking Rockets and the offensively challenged Magic. In the Celtics, Utah gets a team that has won five of six, They also face them in Boston, where the C’s are 11-6 against the spread.

New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers

The Knicks feisty season continued with a near come-from-behind victory in Brooklyn, but they had to fight tooth and nail to the end of that game just last night, with Julius Randle playing over 40 minutes. They’re also thin right now, as Mitchell Robinson, Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose may all once again be out. Philly is the safer pick.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls

These are two of the nine NBA teams with at least a 55 win percentage against the spread, but of the two, OKC is the safer bet. Chicago is just 9-12 ATS at home, while Oklahoma City is 13-6 ATS on the road.

New Orleans Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers

Almost no team has been more unkind to bettors on the road this season, as the Pelicans are just 7-10 in those spots. Portland, meanwhile, is just 7-11 against the spread at home, but they’d won six of seven outright at home prior to a tough loss to the Suns just after the break. Go with them here.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers

It’s the defending champs at home against the team with the worst record and net rating in all of basketball. Don’t overthink it.

NBA Expert Picks

(Click Odds To Bet)

Miami -10 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Atlanta -8 @ -105 (Click To Bet)

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Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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