NBA Week Preview

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The NBA regular season continues its roll toward the turn of the year, with relatively few surprises thus far. Here’s a quick look at some of this week’s action, and a few facts hoops handicappers may find pertinent.

Wednesday the 18-4 Los Angeles Lakers, who have played 17 of their first 22 games this season at Staples Center, continue a five-game road trip with a stop in Milwaukee for a game with rookie sparkplug Brandon Jennings and his 11-11 Milwaukee Bucks (8 pm ET).

Pacific Division-leading LA just had an 11-game winning streak snapped in Utah. Milwaukee, meanwhile, a year after going 34–48, has split its first 22 games, and sits in second place in the Central Division.

The Bucks have been one of the more frequent OVER plays so far this season, going 14-8 on the NBA betting totals through Monday’s action.

Also Wednesday the 18-7 Dallas Mavericks, the leaders of the Southwest Division, visit Kevin Durant and the 12-11 Oklahoma City Thunder (8 ET, ESPN). And the 13-10 Houston Rockets visit the 18-7 and Northwest-leading Denver Nuggets (9 ET).

Both OKC and H-Town have been good bets so far this season, both going 14-9 vs. the pointspreads.

Thursday a good Southeast Division battle takes place in Miami between the division-leading 18-6 Orlando Magic and the 11-11 Heat (7:30 ET, TNT). And the handicappers’ Association nightcap pits the 16-8 Phoenix Suns at the 14-11 Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 ET, TNT).

Phoenix may lead the league in scoring this season, and rank 27th in scoring defense, but they’re 7-15 on the totals so far.

Friday’s slate provides us a good interconference bout as the 14-10 Utah Jazz visit the 17-6 Atlanta Hawks (7:30 ET). Coach Sloan’s crew has won seven of its last 10 games, and they stopped the Lakers’ recent winning streak with a victory in Salt Lake Saturday night. Atlanta, meanwhile, has won four straight, and only trails first-place Orlando by a half-game in the Southeast Division.

The Hawks are also a league-best 17-6 vs. the pointspreads this season. And Utah leads the league in OVERS, going 15-9 on the totals.

Also Friday, those .500 Bucks hit Cleveland to take on the 17-7 Cavs (8 ET, ESPN), Houston visits Dallas (8:30 ET), and in a rematch of the 1975 NBA championship series (well, sort of), the 7-15 Washington Bullets/Wizards, recent losers of five games in a row, visit the 7-17 Golden State Warriors (10:30 ET, ESPN), losers of eight of their last 10.

Rick Barry and Elvin Hayes, where are you?

Washington is 6-15 vs. the numbers this season, better than only the Chicago Bulls, who are 5-15 ATS.

Bettors should check out the updated NBA futures market at for prices on all the division titles, the conference championships and the NBA crown. As of Tuesday morning the Lakers, Magic and Boston Celtics top our NBA championship betting board at +200, followed by, among others, the Cavaliers at +500, the Nuggets and Suns at +1,000, the Mavericks at +1,200, the Blazers at +3,000, the Hawks at +4,000, the Wizards at +7,000, the Jazz and Rockets at +7,500, the Bucks and Heat at +15,000, and the Warriors at +25,000.

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