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NBA: First of two chances for road dog Celtics to close series
2010-06-15

After winning Game 2 of the NBA Finals series between his Celtics and the Lakers, Paul Pierce claimed that his team would not be coming back to Los Angeles. Well, they got 2/3 of the way there by taking two games at home. Now with the first of two chances to close out a second NBA title in three years, the C’s face a hefty 6.5-point underdog line in Tuesday’s Game 6, according to Sportsbook.com. Let’s take a look at the game.

When the Celtics wrapped up Game 5 and moved one win away from an unprecedented 18th championship, the jubilant Boston crowd sent them off to the West Coast for the final time this season with one last chorus of that age-old “Beat L-A!” chant.

The Celtics will have to overcome their unimpressive record in closeout playoff games away from Boston to finish off the Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA finals on Tuesday night. For all their remarkable success over the past three seasons, including the 2008 title and another finals run this year, the Celtics have converted just one of their eight chances to finish a playoff series away from home.

They’ve got two opportunities at Staples Center, however, oddsmakers are still of the belief that the Lakers are the superior team in this series, assigning them as 6.5-point favorites as hosts, when the Celtics were giving just 3-points on their own home court.

Even after winning three of the series’ last four games, and compiling the NBA’s second-best road record in the regular season (26-15), the Celtics can’t be lulled into thinking they’ve got the Lakers on the run.

The Lakers are 9-1 at home in the postseason, and by no means is Boston taking its task lightly.

“The Lakers … got homecourt advantage, but we’ve played the best all year on the road,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re going to have to beat them at their best, because they’re going to be great there, and we can’t expect anything else.”

For the Celtics, this will be the 23rd playoff game of the season, and they are 6-5 SU & ATS on the road, as part of an overall 15-7 SU & ATS mark. The recipe for bettors has been simple for Boston though, win and cover, lose and don’t. The straight up winner of the Celtics’ 2010 playoff games is an incredible 22-0 ATS.

Boston has also been strong versus its best opponents on the road:

• BOSTON is 32-20 ATS (+10.0 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons. The average score was BOSTON 94.8, OPPONENT 92.7 - (Rating = 1*)

While the Celtics have ample reason to be confident, Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Bryant also didn’t seem particularly worried before the grand finale. “We have a challenge, obviously, down 3-2,” said Bryant, who scored 38 points in Game 5 while his struggling teammates only managed 48. “We let a couple opportunities slip away, but it is what it is. Now you go home, you’ve got two games at home that you need to win, and you pull your boots up and get to work.”

Heading into the finals, the Celtics believed they could beat the Lakers by shutting down Bryant’s teammates, even if Kobe went crazy on them. After all, that’s what Boston did two years ago in the finals—and so far, it’s working splendidly again.

Bryant is averaging 30.2 points per game, while Pau Gasol averages 18.8 points and 10 rebounds despite glaring inconsistency in his game in Boston. That’s just about it: Nobody else in purple and gold is averaging more than Andrew Bynum’s 9.6 points per game.

While Jackson likely senses the biggest danger yet to his streak of 47 straight playoff series victories after winning Game 1, the Celtics sense a golden opportunity to join the Boston greats who won multiple titles while repeatedly denying the Lakers nine previous times in the NBA finals.

They’ve just got to finish a playoff series on the road, something they failed to do in Miami and Orlando earlier this season. While Boston’s current starters have never lost a playoff series, they also haven’t finished one away from TD Garden since the 2008 Eastern Conference finals against Detroit.

The Lakers have to be hoping for a shift in tempo after going under the total in all three games at Boston, following back-to-back over’s in the first two L.A. contests. An up-tempo, higher scoring tilt would seemingly favor the hosts:

• BOSTON is 9-20 ATS (-13.0 Units) versus up-tempo teams averaging 83 or more shots/game this season. The average score was BOSTON 97.3, OPPONENT 96.7 - (Rating = 1*)

With the spread wins in Games 4 & 5, Boston is now on a 12-4 ATS run overall versus Los Angeles. The StatFox Power Line for Tuesday night’s 9:00 PM ET tip-off on ABC shows Los Angeles by 2, but a margin small enough to grant Boston a GREEN STAR edge against the number.




NBA Florida throw-down in Miami
2010-03-19

The Orlando Magic are feeling pretty good about Vince Carter’s steady performance in recent weeks. If they can get Rashard Lewis p Apuestas Deportivas Apuestas NFL Futbol Americano Online Bingo Rooms Play Bingo online SITRAK C7H Costa Rica 1989 Suzuki GS500E Modificada laying at that same level, they’ll be ecstatic. Lewis looks to build on his best game of an otherwise awful month Thursday when the Magic - seeking their 10th victory in 11 games - visit the Miami Heat. The Magic are 2-point road favorites at Sportsbook.com, but the Heat have upset on their minds.

Neither Carter (42.5 percent) nor Lewis (42.9) has shot the ball well this season. Orlando (48-21, 35-30-4 ATS) has plenty of other options to compensate for that duo’s struggles, but getting both stars on track could be critical with the playoffs approaching. Carter seems well on his way. The former Rookie of the Year has averaged 19.0 points on 54.6 percent shooting over his last 10 games as the Magic have gone 9-1 and 7-3 ATS.

Lewis, on the other hand, has been completely off his game. He had averaged 4.0 points over Orlando’s previous three games heading into San Antonio’s visit on Wednesday, and coach Stan Van Gundy said his two-time All-Star lacked energy. Orlando travels south and is 19-9 ATS in road games after a non-conference test over the last two seasons.

While Thursday’s meeting is the last of the regular season between the Magic and the Heat, it could be a playoff preview. Orlando is the East’s No. 2 seed, with Miami currently in the seventh slot.

The Heat (35-33, 34-34 ATS) won the first two games of the season series as Lewis struggled, scoring nine points in each game and shooting 25.0 percent. He fared much better versus Miami on Feb. 28 at home. Lewis had 22 points to lead the Magic to a 96-80.

Dwyane Wade has managed 23.3 points on 39.3 percent shooting against Orlando, but he’s elevated his game so far in March to help the Heat get back in the playoff picture. In ninth place after the Feb. 28 loss to the Magic, the Heat have since won six of eight behind 30.3 points per game from Wade. Yet one night before Orlando routed the Spurs, Miami couldn’t deliver against San Antonio. Wade had 28 points Tuesday but his teammates shot 36.5 percent in an 88-76 defeat. Even with the loss, Miami is 5-1 ATS in last six home games.

Sportsbook.com has Orlando as two-point favorites and they are 24-11 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 since last season. Miami has had their problems with teams with offensive format like the Magic and are 18-36 ATS versus clubs who attempt 18 or more three-point shots a game in the second half of the season.

The total is a modest 188.5, the lowest it has been in exactly three years (3/18/07), when oddsmakers had it at 186. This could go either way as Orlando is 14-4 UNDER after scoring 110 points or more and the Heat are 12-3 OVER in March home games over the last two seasons.

This is the opener on TNT at 8:00 Eastern and both teams have been sloppy on Thursday nights with the Magic 1-4 ATS and Miami 5-13 ATS. The StatFox Power Line shows Orlando by 4



NBA: Phoenix at Atlanta (8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
2010-01-15

ESPN has a strong NBA doubleheader on tap for Friday night, and in the first game, Atlanta welcomes Phoenix to town for the only time this season. Read on for a closer look at that game then visit the LIVE ODDS page on Sportsbook.com for the latest prices, then head over to the BETTING TRENDS page to see where your betting colleagues are placing their trust.

The Phoenix Suns have been struggling on the road for more than a month, and recently they’ve displayed an inability to protect leads. Atlanta might not be the best place to remedy either of those troubles. In a matchup pitting two of the league’s top offenses, the Suns will try to bounce back from their latest loss Friday night against a Hawks team seeking its fifth win in six games.

For more than a week, Phoenix (24-15, 20-18-1 ATS) has been getting off to fast starts, only to see its intensity dissipate as the game progresses. This trend started Jan. 5 at Sacramento, when the Suns led by 20 in the second quarter only to let the Kings rally and tie the score in the fourth. They ultimately pulled out a 113-109 victory.

A similar scenario has occurred in each game since.

“It is alarming for us,” Suns forward Grant Hill said. “We have to figure it out, stay together, and try to improve. The only way you get there is as a unit. We’re good enough to get up big, but we have to get better at managing those leads.” The Suns have been outscored 129-97 in the second halves of their last two games and are 23-36 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons.

The Suns’ recent loss in Indiana opened a four-game road trip for the Suns, who have dropped eight of nine (3-6 ATS) away from Phoenix since Dec. 1. They are, however, continuing to pile up the points.

Phoenix is averaging 118.0 points in its last three road games and its 106.3 road scoring average leads the league. With the Suns defensive shortcomings of late, they are 13-3 ATS after allowing 120 points or more. They may need to light up the scoreboard at least that much against a Hawks team that’s plenty capable of scoring in its own right.

Atlanta (25-13) ranks fourth in the NBA with 108.2 points per game at home, helping produce a 15-4 record at Philips Arena. Atlanta is the best bet in the NBA at 26-12 ATS and also has the finest home spread record at 14-5.

The Hawks opened a season-high five-game homestand with Wednesday’s 94-82 victory over Washington, their third straight home win and fourth victory in five games overall. Joe Johnson scored 24 points and Jamal Crawford added 22 in a game Atlanta led by as many as 22. Johnson’s club protected the ball well against the Wizards in that outing and is 16-5 ATS after committing eight or less turnovers over the last two seasons.

Sportsbook.com has the Hawks favored by four, with 217.5 total. They are 10-2 ATS versus shooting teams making 46 percent or more of their shots this season and 8-1 OVER at home against clubs allowing 99 or more points a game this season, winning by a supersized 13.9 PPG. Phoenix has floundered this month, sporting a 5-15 ATS record in January games the last couple of years and is 12-3 UNDER after allowing 100 points or more three straight contests thru 39 games.

Atlanta has lost three straight to Phoenix and nine of the last 11 meetings (5-6 ATS), and is 4-9 and 5-8 ATS hosting the Suns since 1996.