Wednesday’s Tip Sheet
By Kevin Rogers
Heat at Hornets – 7:05 PM EST
Miami’s unbalanced schedule from a home/road perspective has helped benefit this Heat (12-7, 9-10 ATS) squad so far. Erik Spoelstra’s club sits in first place of the Southeast division as the Heat are 10-4 at home, while playing only five games away from South Florida (2-3). The Heat finished off a four-game homestand at 2-2 after losing to the Wizards on Monday night, 114-103 as eight-point favorites. The 114 points were the most allowed by Miami this season, while the Heat cashed the ‘over’ for just the fourth time in 19 games.
Following an 0-3 start, Charlotte (12-8 SU, 11-8-1 ATS) has won 12 of its past 17 games to pull within one-half game of first place in the Southeast. The Hornets are 3-1 since Al Jefferson was sidelined with a calf injury, including a 104-84 blowout of the Pistons on Monday to improve to 9-2 in the last 11 home contests. Charlotte plays with revenge against Miami after losing in the season opener at American Airlines Arena, 104-94 as 6 ½-point underdogs. The Hornets have captured the past two home meetings with the Heat, as both games finished ‘under’ the total.
Bulls at Celtics – 7:05 PM EST
Last week, Chicago (11-7 SU, 6-12 ATS) owned the best record in the Eastern Conference at 11-5, but lost consecutive home games to Charlotte and Phoenix. The last defeat to the Suns on Monday burned Fred Hoiberg’s team, as Chicago squandered a 16-point fourth quarter advantage in a 103-101 setback as seven-point home favorites. The Bulls have cashed the ‘under’ in four straight road contests, while splitting eight games this season away from the United Center.
Brad Stevens continues to impress as head coach of the Celtics (12-9 SU, 12-9 ATS) in his third season as Boston won three of the final four games on its road trip. The C’s ripped the Pelicans, 111-93 as short favorites on Monday, topping the 105-point mark for the fifth time in the past six games. Boston will need to keep up this offensive explosion on Friday when undefeated Golden State visits TD Garden, as the Celtics hope to avoid a look-ahead spot. The Celtics have struggled against the Bulls the past few seasons, losing eight of the past 10 meetings, including a pair of home losses to Chicago last season.
Rockets at Wizards – 7:05 PM EST
Houston (10-12 SU, 7-15 ATS) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end in Tuesday’s 110-105 defeat at Brooklyn. The Rockets broke the 100-point mark for the seventh straight contest, as the ‘over’ cashed five times in this stretch, including in last night’s loss to the Nets. Houston dropped to 3-6 against Eastern Conference foes, as the Rockets enter D.C. owning a 3-3 SU/ATS mark with no rest. The road team won each meeting last season, as Houston won at Washington this past March as two-point favorites, 99-91.
Consistency has been a hard thing to find for Washington (9-10 SU, 9-10 ATS), who searches for consecutive wins for the first time since November 21. The Wizards are 3-6 since a three-game winning streak in late November, as Randy Wittman’s club is coming off a 114-103 triumph at Miami on Monday as eight-point underdogs. Washington has won just once in four tries off a road victory, while losing four of its past five games at the Verizon Center.
Spurs at Raptors – 7:35 PM EST
San Antonio (18-4 SU, 14-8 ATS) shoots for its fifth straight victory after routing hapless Philadelphia on Monday, 119-68 as 10-point favorites. Seven of the last nine wins for the Spurs have come by double-digits, while all seven road victories for Gregg Popovich’s club have been decided by eight points or more. Kawhi Leonard missed the rout of the 76ers on Monday with a stomach virus, as his status is up in the air for Wednesday. The Spurs have won four of the past five visits to Toronto, as the Raptors came out with an 87-82 triumph over San Antonio back in February.
In spite of sitting in first place of the Atlantic division, the Raptors (13-9 SU, 14-8 ATS) are down two starters with forward DeMarre Carroll (knee contusion) and center Jonas Valanciunas (broken left hand) sidelined. The Raps got past the Lakers on Monday, 102-93 to snap a two-game skid, but failed to cover as 11 ½-point favorites. Toronto has responded well in the underdog role this season, compiling a fantastic 7-1 ATS record when receiving points. Dwane Casey’s team has stepped up against winning teams, posting a 9-2 ATS mark versus clubs currently above the .500 mark.
Hawks at Mavericks – 9:35 PM EST
Since an 8-2 start, Atlanta (13-9 SU, 10-11-1 ATS) has stumbled to a 5-7 record the past 12 games, while not winning back-to-back contests in over a month. The Hawks have alternated wins and losses in the last 10 trips to the court, coming off a 100-87 home victory over the Lakers on Friday. Mike Budenholtzer’s squad begins a stretch of four games against winning teams, while heading to Oklahoma City on Thursday with no rest. The Hawks are 0-6 SU/ATS in their last six games off a win, while scoring 97 points or fewer in their previous seven defeats.
The Mavericks (13-9 SU, 14-8 ATS) may not be a young squad, but these veterans are playing well of late by winning four of their last six games. Dallas swept a mini two-game road trip at Washington and New York, winning both contests in the favorite role. Rick Carlisle’s club held off the Knicks on Monday, 104-97 as one-point favorites to improve to 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in the last four games against Eastern Conference foes. The Mavs lost both matchups with the Hawks last season, including a 105-102 setback last December at the American Airlines Center.