One of the two most impressive winning streaks in the NBA will come to an end on Friday night when Memphis, on eight successive victories, bid to end Miami’s 12-game surge. However, inspect a little closer and you see that the Grizzlies' schedule has been ultra-weak during their streak, with only two of their opponents coming with .500 records or better.
Miami are a little more battle-tested, with five of their 12 foes possessing winning marks. But they’ve also struggled in their last two outings with lowly Cleveland and Sacramento, needing overtime to see off the Kings. But the Heat still look a class above so bet on them with a handicap of -8.5 points at 1.91 in a game that should go over the total points line of 187.5.
Expect fireworks in Colorado as the scoring titans of the Western Conference, Oklahoma City and Denver, square off. With the Thunder averaging a league-high 106.8 points and the Nuggets only a shade behind with 105.5, it figures to be about who blinks first in the scoring charts. Right?
Maybe not. OKC’s chief virtue has been their improved defence this season and over their last two games – both wins – they’ve held Chicago and New Orleans to under 74 points and to a combined 32% shooting. Denver are a much tougher proposition but in two meetings inside a week in January, the Nuggets were held to 97 in a loss before pulling out 109 points in regulation en route to a 121-118 overtime victory.
The hosts come in off a three-game winning streak, as do the Thunder, but they’re also a league-best 24-3 on their own court. That advantage is a great equaliser in what figures to be war of attrition. Back Denver on the handicap to do more than OK.
There’s also an interesting punt available when Toronto face Indiana. Although the Pacers are a defensive juggernaut, it’s worth a tickle on the Raptors to win at 2.24.
Bet of the day: Take Denver over Oklahoma City on the handicap