December 21, 2016

NBA Handicap Previews – Thursday 22nd December by @DavAulak

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Atlanta Hawks – Philips Arena at 00:30

The Atlanta Hawks have been really inconsistent over the last couple of weeks which has seen them beat some big teams but then lose to teams they would be expected to beat. They are the favourites returning home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves, but I think the road team are being given too many points in this one.

There have been some improvements from the way Minnesota started this season to the way they have been playing in recent games. However there is no doubt that the Timberwolves have work to do to really fulfil the potential they have on the roster, but the young players have been producing some of their best basketball over the last week.

The Timberwolves have won two of their last three games and they came close to knocking off the Houston Rockets before a narrow loss in overtime in that time. I do expect Minnesota to exploit the spaces that Atlanta have left Defensively over the last couple of weeks and another game without Dwight Howard will make things difficult for them.

Both teams have been strong on the boards, but the one concern in backing Minnesota is their poor Defense from the three point range which is an area that Atlanta can have success. However the Timberwolves have a 4-1 record against the spread in the last five games in the series between these teams and I do think this is too many points for the home team to cover.

Atlanta just seem to be giving up too many points at the moment and so I will take the points and back the road underdog.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Minnesota +5.5 at 1.79


Washington Wizards @ Chicago Bulls – United Center at 01:00

The 2016/17 season has begun with the Washington Wizards failing to get over the hump in the Fourth Quarter in a number of games which has left them with a losing record. The Wizards will feel anything but a place in the Eastern Conference Play Offs would be a disappointing season and they suffered another tough loss at the Indiana Pacers a couple of days ago.

They are getting the points again when they head to the Chicago Bulls and I think the road underdog can be backed to keep this one within the number. The Bulls are coming in off a brutal beat down of the Detroit Pistons, but they had been struggling in the previous three games and the Wizards have enjoyed visiting this famous Arena where they have a 9-3 record against the spread in their last twelve visits.

The Wizards are playing well enough at the moment to keep this close with their Offense showing some spark in the last couple of weeks. They do need more from Bradley Beal and John Wall from the three point range where they have been struggling, but Chicago are not likely to get really hot from outside the arc themselves which gives Washington the chance to keep this one close.

I do think Chicago will likely have the edge on the boards which can be critical in these close games, but Washington have played well enough to challenge them all the way.

Chicago are 0-5 against the spread in their next game following a win and I think Washington can extend that sequence by making use of the points they are being given.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Washington +4 at 1.89

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @DavAulak

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