Pistons favoured over Mavericks in battle of NBA playoff bubble teams
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | April 1, 2016
A pair of teams precariously perched on the NBA playoff bubble face off on Friday when Detroit Pistons play host to Dallas Mavericks as 5.5-point favourites in NBA betting with Coral.
Pistons (66/1 to win the Eastern Conference) enter the weekend on a solid 6-1 straight up run that has lifted them into seventh place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, but sit just two games up on ninth-spot Chicago with seven games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Detroit has enjoyed recent success on home hardwood, posting victories in nine of their past 11 but, with four of their final six contests on the road, the club will be eager to pad their current win total in Friday night’s Mavericks vs. Pistons clash at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Mavericks currently hold a share of seventh place, alongside Utah Jazz in the Western Conference standings, but hold just a half-game lead over the ninth-placed Houston Rockets.
Dallas rides a two-game SU win streak, and are an impressive 6-3 against the spread over their past nine, but have struggled to tally wins on the road, posting just five SU victories in their last 16, dropping their away record to 16-21 this season.
Mavs have dropped their last two to Detroit, including a 102-96 loss as 1.5-point home chalk on March 9th, but have dominated in recent visits to Motown with four straight SU wins, going 7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS in their past nine.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Utah Jazz (-8.5)
The Jazz will be looking to keep pace with Dallas on Friday night when they welcome Minnesota Timberwolves to town as 8.5-point chalk.
Utah is coming off a disappointing 103-96 loss to Golden State on Wednesday, but take clear momentum into the final week of the campaign after posting SU wins in eight of their past 11, and are a solid 4-1 SU in their past five at home.
Conversely, T-Wolves play after what coach Sam Mitchell described as their worst performance of the season on Wednesday, when they suffered a 99-79 blowout loss to Los Angeles Clippers as 6-point home underdogs, extending their current ATS losing streak to three games.
Minnesota has dropped two of three to the Jazz this season, including a 103-90 loss in Utah on January 29th, but are 3-2 SU in their past five trips to Salt Lake City, and have covered in five of their previous six visits.
Eastern Conference playoff race heats up
With four teams separated by just 1.5 games in the standings, the battle for third place in the East heats up on Friday when Atlanta Hawks take on the conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers as 2.5-point underdogs.
Hawks have won 14 of 18 SU to grab sole possession of third place, but remain just a single game up on Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets, and 1.5 games up on Boston Celtics, all of whom are in action on Friday.
Atlanta returns home following a three-game road trip, kicking off a tough four-game home stand in search of their first SU win over Cleveland in their past five, including a four-game sweep at the hands of Cavaliers in last year’s playoffs.
But the Cavs have been far from a reliable bet of late, going 4-3 SU in their previous seven, including a spectacular collapse in a 106-100 loss to Houston on Tuesday, and are just 3-7 ATS over their past 10, while watching the point total play UNDER in each of their last four.
Hornets will be looking to complete the season sweep against Philadelphia when they host the Sixers in the back half of a home-and-home as 14.5-point favourites.
Charlotte has won nine of 11 SU against Philly, who travel to Carolina with just one SU win in 24 games, dating back to February 8th.
Heat, meanwhile, try to end a two-game SU road losing streak as they visit Sacramento Kings as 7.5-point favourites, while the fading Celtics hope to become the first team this season to hand Warriors a loss at Oracle Arena, as they take on Golden State (4/7 to win the Western Conference) as 11.5-point underdogs.