Tuesday tip-off: Four smart midweek picks for your NBA coupon
The 76ers are finally showing some promise, and they are among our best bets for a busy night of basketball...
Chicago Bulls to beat Orlando Magic -
The Bulls have been inconsistent recently, but they should be able to beat the Magic, who have lost eight of their last 10 contests.
Orlando have also only won eight of their 22 home games, and when these teams met in Chicago in November they lost by 32.
They were held to 80 points in that game, and it is not hard to imagine them struggling to score again against the Bulls’ stifling defence.
Only five teams have conceded fewer points per game than Chicago, while Orlando have the league’s fourth-worst offensive rating.
Philadelphia 76ers to beat Los Angeles Clippers -
The 76ers’ recent revival has been one of the stories of the NBA season, and their impressive run is unlikely to stop at home against the Clippers.
Philadelphia have won six of their last eight games, and while Los Angeles have been impressive in the past few weeks, they will struggle without starting point guard Chris Paul.
The 31-year-old has missed the Clippers’ last two games with a thumb injury – both of which they lost – and they also endured a six-game winless streak when he was injured in December.
The 76ers beat two playoff teams – the Trail Blazers and the Raptors – in their last three games.
With Paul missing, they should add a third to that list.
San Antonio Spurs to beat Toronto Raptors -
In a meeting of No. 2 seeds, the Spurs should leave Toronto with a win on Tuesday night.
While the Raptors have performed relatively well at home this season, San Antonio have the NBA’s best away record, having only lost four out of 23 contests on the road.
The Spurs are in fine form, too.
They have won four consecutive games and eight of their last 10, while Toronto have hit a slump, losing five of their last 10.
And while both of these teams rank in the top five in offensive rating, San Antonio possess a clear advantage at the other end of the court.
Only two teams rank above them in defensive rating – a category in which the Raptors fail to crack the top 20.
Utah Jazz to beat Denver Nuggets -
Another defensive powerhouse – the Jazz – will likely record their seventh win in eight games when they visit Denver.
The Nuggets are the league’s second-worst defensive team, and have conceded an average of 117.1 points over their last 11 contests.
They need to record huge offensive totals to win games, but that is highly unlikely here considering only the Warriors have a better defensive rating than Utah.
These teams split their two previous meetings this season, but the Jazz are fast improving, and should boost their playoff credentials further with a victory.