Warriors face obstacles on road to record-setting NBA season
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | March 8, 2016
As the NBA regular season enters its final month, it remains a three-way race atop the championship odds, with Golden State Warriors continuing to lead the way as strong 4/5 favourites with Coral.
Warriors improved to a league-best 56-6 on Monday night, toppling Orlando Magic by a 119-113 score, failing to cover as massive 16-point chalk, but setting an NBA record with their 45th straight regular-season victory on home court.
With just 20 regular-season contests remaining, the Dubs are now clearly within striking distance of the NBA record for most wins during a regular season, set by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who posted a 72-10 record en route to an NBA title in 1996.
Scheduling is on the Warriors’ side. The club plays 14 of their final 20 contests in the comfortable confines of Oracle Arena, where they last suffered a regular-season loss on January 27th, falling 113-111 to the Bulls.
While seven of the Dubs’ remaining home games are against teams currently outside the playoff picture, they face stiffer competition in their six remaining road dates.
Warriors travel to San Antonio twice down the stretch for dates with Spurs, whom they have beaten on the road just once in their past 30 visits.
Spurs biggest challenge to Warriors dominance
San Antonio look to be the clearest threat to the Dubs’ drive to a successful NBA title defense, sporting 7/2 odds in NBA championship betting at Coral.
Spurs take a 53-10 record into their Tuesday night visit to Minnesota, where they are pegged as 10.5-point road favourites against Timberwolves.
In addition to a perfect 30-0 mark on their home floor at AT&T Center, San Antonio also own the NBA’s stingiest defense, surrendering just 92.3 points per game, and have held Warriors to just 86.75 points per game over their past four visits.
Warriors success against remaining road rivals
However, Warriors have enjoyed more success against their other remaining road opponents. Dallas Mavericks, whom they will visit on March 18th, have lost nine of their past 14 overall and six of their past 10 at home, but remain in a close battle with Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference.
The Mavs posted a lopsided 114-91 home win over Golden State back in December, halting Warriors’ three-game win streak at American Airlines Center. However, Dallas remains an impressive 13-5 SU in their past 18 at home against the defending champions.
Conversely, GSW have dominated Minnesota, which they visit on March 21st, looking for a ninth straight road win over the T-Wolves.
Warriors also take a recent 5-2 SU road record against Jazz into their March 30 visit to Utah, and have topped Memphis Grizzlies SU and ATS in four of their past five visits, ahead of their April 9th road clash.
But, while Warriors continue to pile up numbers in the SU win column, they have failed to live up to expectations at the sportsbook, where they are a dismal 3-8-1 ATS over their past 12, and an uninspiring 13-14 ATS at home this season.
Dubs have been particularly disappointing as double-digit chalk, covering in just four of their last 14, and have surrendered 100 or more points in 15 of their past 17 contests.
Spurs enter the home stretch with 11 of their remaining 19 contests on their home hardwood, but will also face some difficult road tests including visits to Golden State, Oklahoma City, Charlotte and Dallas.
Cavaliers tops in East despite brutal road record
Over in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland Cavaliers maintain a slim 2.5-game lead over the Toronto Raptors in the standings, but join Warriors and Spurs at the top of the odds, perched at 3/1 in NBA futures betting at Coral.
Unlike their Western rivals, Cavs play the bulk of their remaining contests on the road, where they have produced mixed results this season.
Cleveland kick off a four-game Western swing in Sacramento on Wednesday with a respectable 17-12 SU mark away from Quicken Loans Arena, and are just 1-3 SU in their past four.
Indeed, apart from a six-game road win streak over the New Year, Cavaliers have been downright ordinary on the road, and a risky bet, going 11-16-2 ATS this season.
However, Cavs can look forward to a soft stretch of eight games to close out the season, including four against non-playoff opponents.