NBA: Intriguing East and West Skirmishes



2008-03-05

Wednesday features four playoff contenders, two from each conference, doing battle to improve playoff positioning. In the East, Detroit travels to Boston, while out West, Denver hosts Phoenix. Early action finds the public backing the Celtics & Suns.

The Betting Trends page shows that 69% of early bettors are favoring Boston as the favorite at -4.5. In the other contest, it's 73% of the action siding with the Suns, who play as the 5.5-point underdog. This figures to be a great day to take advantage of the Bettign Trends at Sportsbook.com as there is a lot of one-sided action early.

Detroit still with an outside chance to catch the Celtics. Denver trails Golden State by two games for the last playoff spot, meaning they can't afford many slip-ups the rest of the way. They will host Phoenix, who is trying to regain its stature in the in the Western Conference. NBA bettors have choice of an even dozen games, here is in-depth look at the two most important.

Maybe no team in the history of the NBA has gone through a transformation like the Boston Celtics (46-12, 34-23-1 ATS) in term of roster makeover. Another new piece was added, with the acquisition of Sam Cassell's from the Clippers. The 38-year old Cassell's has spent the better part of the last month trying to leave L.A., in search of one more shot at NBA championship ring. Boston felt it needed an experienced point guard to back up Rajon Rando, once playoff basketball starts, especially against teams like they are facing tonight in Detroit.

The Pistons (44-16, 35-24-1 ATS) offer bountiful post-season experience and are considered the only team in the East with a chance to knock-off Boston before the NBA Finals. A victory be Detroit, moves them one game closer to the Celtics, and would give them the season series, plus the tie-breaker should they end up with same record at season's end.

Boston is 21-6 ATS after playing two consecutive home games and is riding the broad shoulders of Kevin Garnett, who seems to be playing at the same level before abdominal strain. "He's all the way back," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said after Garnett scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in 10-point push over Atlanta. "When he's going to the basket, inside and outside, dominating the rebounds: That's the Kevin Garnett I like to see." The Celtics are 13-3 ATS off a home win by 10 points or more this season.

Sportsbook.com has Detroit as five point road dogs with a total of 182.5. The Pistons have won 15 of last 18 (9-9 ATS) and are 23-12 ATS as an underdog over the last couple of seasons. Detroit lost at home to Boston 92-85 on Jan.5 and is13-3 ATS in road games revenging a straight up loss vs. opponent as a favorite. Garnett and the rest of the Celtics are 19-6 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points this season, yet the white and green clad Bean-Town team has lost four straight to the Pistons at home with 1-3 ATS record.

These are the top two defensive teams in points allowed. Boston is 18-6 UNDER in home games versus good ball handling teams committing 14 or fewer turnovers a game in the second half of the season and Detroit is 15-5 UNDER as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points.

Phoenix (40-20, 27-31-2 ATS) will attempt to win two in a row since acquiring Shaquille O'Neal, as they get ready to play in the Mile High City. O'Neal's offensive contributions have been scant, averaging less then 10 PPG with the Suns. "We're still a work in progress," the Big Fella said. At least he has helped on the boards, pulling down over 10 a night. The Suns continue to shine on the road with 19-11 (16-13-1 ATS) record and are 17-7 ATS after a win by six points or less over the last two seasons.

Denver (35-24, 30-29 ATS) is at an extremely critical juncture of there schedule. The Nuggets have lost five of last eight (2-6 ATS) and are now chasing to make the playoffs. They are in a five game period in which they've already lost to Houston, host Phoenix and Northwest Division leader Utah and have home and home with San Antonio. Anything other than a winning record in these five contests might be the beginning of the end for Denver.

The Nuggets have been among the better home records in the NBA at 23-7 (17-13 ATS) and are 18-8 ATS at the Pepsi Center versus teams who average seven or less steals a game on the season. Denver has lost both meetings at Phoenix, allowing gargantuan 131 PPG. Even with those awful outings, they are 5.5-point favorites, with total of 230.5. Carmelo and company is 30-13 ATS revenging a same season loss vs opponent.

This is ESPN's lone NBA Wednesday night game, which will start at 9:05 Eastern, with the Suns 25-10 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record.

StatFox Power Line Boston by 4, Denver by 6

NBA News

Click here to read latest NBA news