Now that the Thunder have been silenced, it’s the Los Angeles Clippers who boast the NBA’s longest winning streak and they’ll be confident of extending their run to 12 when they host lowly Sacramento on Friday night. It’s been an impressive spell from the Clips but a little closer examination of their recent schedule shows that it’s been loaded with weak sides such as Charlotte, Toronto, New Orleans, Detroit, Phoenix and Sacramento themselves, who were thrashed 116-81 when these teams met two weeks ago.
It’s seen the Clippers cut to 12.50 third favourites for the title and 6.00 second favourites to win the West. They’ve also got a very favourable fixture list until mid-February. That’s why I tipped them to win the Pacific Division at the start of the season but it’s a little premature to back them for honours, at least yet. And even though the Kings have lost five of their last six, a handicap of -13.5 on LA might be a little extravagant.
One team to watch over the second half of the season is Chicago, with Derrick Rose tipped to return to action by the All Star break. Even in the absence of the former MVP, the Bulls have carved out a respectable 14-10 record so far against all the odds. Their best result came against the New York Knicks, when they ground out a 93-85 earlier this month but the Eastern Conference leaders get a chance for a little revenge. Carmelo Anthony missed that defeat and he’ll be needed, with Chicago haveing held 13 of their last 14 opponents under 100 points. But there’s still good value in going over the total points line of 187.5 with the Knicks to prevail by less than the handicap of -7.
In a season of surprises, there’s no such thing as a sure thing but the Charlotte Bobcats take a 13-game losing streak to Golden State. The Warriors are off to their best start since 1991, even though they’re coming off a 131-127 loss to the Kings. The hosts should prevail but take a punt on the Bobcats to keep it close on the handicap of +11 at 1.91.
Bet of the day: Take Sacramento on the handicap of +13.5 over the Clippers at 1.91.