Rams at Bears not the NFC playoff preview you might think

Snow isn’t in the forecast for this evening’s tilt in the Windy City but the mercury will drop below freezing.

From Thanksgiving on, Roger Goodell surrenders his office as NFL Commissioner to Old Man Winter in Northeast and Midwestern cities. Cold weather adds a harsh, challenging element to football missing before the holidays, under domes and in southern climes.

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I’ve lived in South Florida for the past three decades but still get the sniffles watching a late-season telecast from the “frozen tundra” at Lambeau Field. Carbon dioxide billowing from nostrils and mouths as lineman face each other on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback barking out the equivalent of smoke signals over their heads. You can almost feel the cold even if you’re watching the game poolside. Only football brings you the steaming scalps of 300 lb not so woolly mammoths removing their helmets on the bench after an 11-minute drive. If shoveling snow wasn’t the trade-off, I might still be up north.

The Los Angeles Rams put their NFL-best 11-1 mark on the line at Soldier Field in that unfamiliar, unfriendly environment tonight. If the Rams can acclimate to the Lake Effect, they’ll be in the post-season. With the pressure off, they can focus on securing home-field advantage throughout and resting players ahead of the postseason.

At 8-4, the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears can put themselves on the playoff’s doorstep by exploiting their experience with harsh conditions. Given favourable results elsewhere, they can even cross the threshold. 

The Rams offensive scheme is perfect for cold-weather football. Let running back Todd Gurley pound the Bears front-seven into submission. The former Georgia Bulldog is no stranger to wintry conditions, having grown up in Baltimore. 

A former [California Golden] Bear and a tenacious Bulldog will test Chicago’s resolve on Sunday night football.

That said, quarterback Jared Goff surely expects to test the Bears secondary. he can breach 4,000 yards in this game and the only injury worries for either side come at free safety for Chicago. Both starter Eddie Jackson and backup Deon Bush were held out of practice on Friday and listed as doubtful. Jackson is expected to play despite a bruised shin. Bush isn’t due to a hamstring.

Da Bears must rely on their defence to keep the Rams at bay. Second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky lags 1,300 passing yards behind Goff although he’s produced 20 TDs and nine INTs to the Rams signal caller’s 27 and seven. While Gurley provides 70% of LA’s 1673 yards on the ground, Jordan Howard leads the way for Chicago with a meagre 612. That’s just 44% of their 1,385, with Trubisky abandoning the pocket to add another 363. 

The LINE narrowed a half-point on Tuesday, leaving the Bears as +3 underdogs. The TOTAL sits at 51.

Surprisingly, the OVER  is 6-1 in the Rams’ last seven December games. Less shocking, they’re 0-3-1 AGAINST THE SPREAD vs teams with winning records. LA is 2-6 ATS in their last eight.

Meanwhile, the OVER is 4-0 in Da Bears last quartet against plus-.500 teams and Chicago is 6-0-1 ATS at Soldier Field against winning teams.

With a narrow spread  in this one, the OVER  seems a safe play but the cold weather makes me frisky. Take Da Bears and the points.

Free Pick: CHICAGO +3
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UConn must be on their guard against Florida State in Newark

Six-foot senior guard David Nichols negotiates traffic in Florida State’s squeaker against Purdue.

Is there a natural law forbidding a school from excelling at basketball and football [forget academics] simultaneously? Florida State’s shift from football powerhouse to AP Top 25 basketball program hints there is. 

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Once upon a time, the Seminoles bossed the college football landscape. Before Nick Saban went to Alabama, Bobby Bowden had his team in the national title picture year in, year out. When quarterback Charlie Ward ended up as the New York Knicks’ point guard, the general reaction was, “Wait, the ‘Noles play roundball, too?”

Now, Florida State’s gridiron program is in disarray. They’re 5-7 overall, 3-5 in the ACC. No bowl for you. 

On the other hand, the hoops squad is rocking the rock. Leonard Hamilton’s group is 7-1 on the early season, ranked 11th. They travel to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies tonight in an early evening tussle. 

Coach Dan Hurley’s Huskies are on a roll themselves, boasting a 7-2 record ahead of conference play. It helps that UConn’s games all came at Gampel Pavilion or a neutral venue but they’re not complaining.

The Seminoles only road trip to the opponent’s building ended in an 80-69 win over Tulane. They’re 2-1 in neutral venues. The Huskies are 1-1.

Alterique Gilbert controlled Lafayette. Can he ride his momentum to dominate Florida State?

Sophomore Alterique Gilbert [4.7 apg] runs the offence for the Huskies. He’s coming off a career-high in assists [11] in the 90-63 win over Lafayette but senior Jalen Adams is the star, averaging 19.3 ppg. UConn is weak on the boards. Third guard Christian Vital leads the team with 5.9 rpg. You might say it’s vital for Dan Hurley to recruit a presence in the paint.

Expect FSU to attack them there. Seven-foot-four senior centre Christ Koumadje should have a big game. Hamilton expects twin point guards Terence Mann [sr, 2.1 apg] and Trent Forrest [soph, 3.6 apg] to spread the ball around. Four players average double figures in points, with Mann the highest at 11.1 ppg. Senior guard PJ Savoy averages 9.5. While both sides emphasise guard play, the ‘Noles look to penetrate more.

 It should come as no surprise that the UNDER is 9-2-1 in FSU’s last dozen outings. On the other hand, they save their best for Saturdays. The OVER is in their last eight to start the weekend. UConn loves the OVER. It’s 7-1 in the Huskies last eight non-conference tilts, 15-5-1 in recent neutral site matchups and 16-5 in their last 21 overall.

The TOTAL for this one is 152.5, the LINE UConn +9.5. The two schools have only met twice, the last time in 2011, so throw their head-to-head results out the window. This season, Florida State games have been consistently UNDER 152.5, often narrowly. UConn’s been well OVER on most occasions. Trust their magnetism to have the greater pull.

Free Pick: OVER Florida State v Connecticut [152.5]
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Toronto Raptors @ Brooklyn Nets (Atlantic Division) NBA Betting preview for Friday, December 7, 2018.

        Written by National Basketball Association ATS Analyst Bobby Wallace.

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The (21-5) SU, (13-13) Toronto Raptors have won 9 of 10 SU including a 113-102 victory over Philadelphia on December 5th as 6′ point home FAVORITES ATS. Kawhi Leonard scored a team-best 36 points while Jimmy Butler for the 76ers leads both teams with a game-high 38 points in defeat.

Toronto owns the best record in Basketball. As much success, they’re having there’s still tension between Kyle Lowry and management over how they handled DeMar DeRozan.

  • OVER bettors have cashed in 5 of Toronto last six after an ATS cover.
  • The Raptors are 1-4 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD their last five following SU win.
  • UNDER bettors have cashed in 4 of the last six between the teams in Brooklyn.
  • Toronto is 5-2 ATS their last seven vs. Brooklyn.

The (8-18) SU, (11-15) ATS Brooklyn Nets have lost eight in a row after blowing an 18 point fourth quarter lead to Oklahoma City in a two-point SU loss as 6′ point home UNDERDOGS ATS.

However, the Thunder outscored Brooklyn 39-19 in the final quarter to ink out a win. One trend continues to favor bettors, Brooklyn is 20-6 ATS in first quarter proposition wagers.

  • Brooklyn is 2-4 ATS their last six at home.
  • The Nets are 4-0 ATS their last four after a POINT SPREAD COVER.
  • The UNDER is 4-2 the last six between the teams in Brooklyn.
  • OVER bettors have made a profit in 4 of the Nets last seven at home.

Friday’s game is at 7:30 PM EST at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Local Television Network will be broadcasting. The Betting Line has Toronto point road FAVORITES ATS. The TOTAL is 221 points for Friday’s contest.

Nick Nurse should be the front-runner for 2018-19 NBA coach of the year for the job he’s done North of the Border since taking over for Dwane Casey. The organization understands Kawhi Leonard could have a short stint in Toronto which is why an Eastern Conference title is a top priority. Leonard is a native of Southern California with a desire to play for the Lakers or Clippers. However, it could change if Toronto gets to the NBA Finals.

Toronto averages (116.4) points per game which ties Golden State for third place, the (49.0%) shooting from the field is 2nd in the league. Leonard pours in (26.1) ppg. The Raptors have captured 4 of the past five Atlantic division title, but they know Boston can compete. Toronto has won 5 of their last eleven by double digits making tonight’s line favorable for FAVORITE bettors.

The Raptors allow opponents (108.0) points per contest which ties Orlando for seventh in the Association; their (44.3%) shooting by the opposition is 6th in the NBA. The Raptors have lost to Brooklyn since 2015, and tonight the Nets need to get a win in the worst way.

Toronto must come out and play their style of basketball.
Bovada.Lv list the Toronto Raptors win total at 54′ games for 2018-19.

It would be easy for Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson to be frustrated after their latest debacle against Oklahoma City. The Nets were competitive for 45 minutes in defeat and looked better than they did in a home loss to Cleveland.

Caris LeVert is out until February with a foot injury which means the offense will run through D’Angelo Russell (18.0) ppg. The Nets offense produces (108.7) points per contest while giving up (111.1) ppg to opponents. They’ve given up more than 110 points to 4 of their last six opponents at Barclays Center and haven’t held Toronto under 100 points in the previous ten meetings.

Fans in largest borough of New York City fell the Nets lack a superstar, they thought Russell could fill the void, it hasn’t happened. Backcourt mate Spencer Dinwiddie is a good as he’s going to get, but John Wall would be a great fit with Brooklyn.

Ed Davis and Jarrett Allen grab eight rebounds apiece per game which the Nets are pretty good at doing, they rank 17th in the league. Atkinson has to keep things light by letting the team know they can compete which shows in the leads they’ve given up to elite teams. Beating Toronto could go a long way in building their confidence.

Brooklyn must make the open shot and play defense in the fourth quarter.

Bovada.Lv list the Brooklyn Nets win total at 32′ games for 2018-19.

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Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trailblazers (Western Conference) NBA Betting preview for Thursday, December 6, 2018.

     

Written by National Basketball Association Expert Point Spread Analyst Greg Nelson.

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The (4-20) SU, (8-16) Phoenix Suns will try to break a six-game losing streak both SU/ATS. Phoenix has been as bad as expected through the first quarter of the 2018-19 season. The latest a December 4th, a 122-105 defeat to Sacramento as 5′ point home UNDERDOGS ATS.

Sacramento got off to a 36-9 first-quarter lead, never looking back in victory.

  • The Suns are 4-1 ATS their last five in Portland.
  • Phoenix is 0-5 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD their last five after an ATS loss.
  • UNDER bettors have cashed in 4 of Phoenix last five overall.
  • Phoenix is 2-4 ATS their last six on the road.

The (13-11) SU, (11-13) ATS Portland Trailblazers have dropped six of seven and have not had a POINT SPREAD cover since November 18th. Portland is 8-4 SU playing in front of the home crowd this season. They’re four games behind first-place Denver in the Northwest division.

The Trailblazers got outscored 34-20 in the opening quarter in their latest loss to Dallas as 2 point road FAVORITES ATS.

  • The Trailblazers are 0-6 ATS their last six on one day of rest.
  • Over bettors have made profits the last four meetings between the teams in Portland.
  • Portland is 0-3 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD their previous three at home.
  • The OVER is 7-3 Portland last ten overall.

Thursday’s game is at 10:05 PM EST at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. The Local Television Network will be broadcasting.

The Betting Line has Phoenix as 13 point road UNDERDOGS ATS. The TOTAL is 214′ points for Thursday’s contest.

Trade rumors surrounding 33-year-old forward Trevor Ariza are swirling around the Phoenix Suns organization. The former Rockets star has plenty of value with an ability to clamp down on defense and shoot from the perimeter.

Phoenix wants a quality point guard to distribute, freeing up Devin Booker (out tonight) to freelance on the wing.

The Suns (103.0) points per game are 28th in the league while the (45.6%) shooting from the field ranks 17th in basketball. Booker (23.5) ppg along with TJ Warren whos out with a hamstring injury, (17.7) are the primary offensive weapon. The organization wants 2017 number-four overall draft pick, Josh Jackson, to play a more prominent role, and he’ll get his chance tonight with the two top scorers out.

Rookie Deandre Ayton is the real deal and is showing why he was the top overall pick this season grabbing a team-best (10.2) rebounds per game. The Suns 25th ranked defense allows opponents (114.0) points per game; the last two opponents have scored at least 120 points. Phoenix allows the opposition a high shooting percentage which must be corrected.

Forward Ryan Anderson has been a disappointment since coming over from New Orleans but provides leadership to the youthful roster. Phoenix knows that Portland is desperate for a victory.

However, it’s going to be tight with Booker and Warren out tonight.

Bovada.Lv list the Phoenix Suns win total at 29′ games for 2018-19.

The Portland Trailblazers front office didn’t make any drastic moves after they got swept in the opening round of last season’s playoffs. Portland began the season playing efficiently at both ends of the court, but now fans around the city are questioning head coach Terry Stotts.

As expected All-Star point guard Damian Lillard is playing at an elite level. However, role players such as Zach Collins, Moe Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu are struggling which reminds the faithful of the Pelicans playoff series.

Lillard average a team-high (27.3) ppg on a unit that produces (112.5) points per contest. If the season ended today, Portland would be the number-seven seed in the Western Conference. Portland allows the opposition (111.7) points per game, 20th in the NBA on a dismal (46.0%) shooting from the field which is too high.

Portland excels at forcing turnover; the (12.2) is the 2nd league-wide. CJ McCollum is questionable for tonight’s game after suffering an ankle injury.

A key to a Portland win tonight to come out and play with enthusiasm; someone other than Lillard has to produce on offense.

Bovada.Lv list the Portland Trailblazers win total at 42 games for 2018-19.

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Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers Week 14 NFL (NFC East) Betting Preview for Sunday, December 9, 2018.

Written by National Football League Point Spread Analyst Al Presto.

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The (4-8) SU, (3-9) ATS Atlanta Falcons look to break a four-game losing streak both SU/ATS in the Frozen Tundra in a matchup between two teams who are spiraling downwards. The Atlanta defense allowed the Baltimore rushing attack 207-yards rushing in a 26-16 loss as 2′ point home FAVORITES ATS.

Baltimore held Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to 131 passing yards in defeat.

  • The Falcons are 1-3 ATS their last four on the road.
  • Atlanta is 4-1 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD their last five vs. Green Bay.
  • Atlanta is 0-5 ATS their last five vs. Teams with a losing record.
  • The UNDER is 4-0 Atlanta last four overall

After the (4-7-1) SU/ATS Green Bay Packers lost their third game in a row Sunday to Arizona as 13′ point home FAVORITES ATS head coach Mike McCarthy was fired. Green Bay has dropped five of six and is 2′ games behind first-place Chicago.

On a positive note for the Cheeseheads is every team in the NFC North division lost last Sunday; their Packers are still in the playoff hunt.

  • The OVER is 4-0 the last four meetings between the teams.
  • Green Bay is 0-4 ATS their last four in December.
  • The UNDER is 3-1 Green Bay last four at home.
  • UNDER bettors have profited the last four following an SU loss.

Kickoff will be Sunday, December 9, 2018. Game time is at 1:00 PM EST at Lambeau Field in frigid Green Bay, Wisconsin. The FOX Television Network will be broadcasting.

The Betting Line has Atlanta at 5 point road UNDERDOGS AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD. The TOTAL is 49′ points for Sunday’s contest.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has been on the sideline since 2015 with his 2016 team nearly winning Super Bowl LI. The Falcons are in jeopardy of missing out on the 2018-19 postseason with a loss to Green Bay. Three of the Falcons last four games are on the road which makes it more difficult to compete for a wildcard berth.

” According to ESPN Staff Writer David Purdum, the MGM sportsbooks reported taking a $330,000 on the Falcons -2′ point ATS last Sunday in the loss to Baltimore”.

The Falcons offense averages (377.6) total yards per contest is led by quarterback Matt Ryan (3,814) passing yards. What’s more impressive is they’ve outgained three of their last five opponents, including the Saints and Cowboys. However, the ground game ranks last in the NFL averaging (79.0) yards per game. Tevin Campbell (514) rushing yards is taking a lot of the heat with Devonta Freeman in the injured reserve list.

Defensive coordinator, Marquand Manuel unit, allows (130.7) per game on the ground but after Baltimore scorched them last week, there must be adjustments. They give up (394.2) total yards per contest which ranks 26th league-wide while allowing (27.8) ppg. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett along with linebacker Deion Jones is questionable; the Falcons struggle began when safety Keanu Neal was lost for the season.

Atlanta must come out with passion and establish a presence running the football to open up passing lanes.

Bovada.Lv, list the Atlanta Falcons at nine total wins for the win the 2018-19 season.
The turmoil surrounding the Green Bay Packers has hit title town this week like a snowstorm with the firing of Mike McCarthy who served since the 2006 season. In the aftermath, they also got rid of longtime assistant Winston Moss for a series of tweets about leadership surrounding the organization.

Quarterback Aaron Rodger is familiar with interim coach Joe Philbin who served as offensive coordinator in the Super Bowl winning season. The Green Bay offense averages (380.6) total yards per game which ranks 8th in the National Football League. Green Bay puts up (23.4) ppg, and they should be able to put up plenty of points against a problematic Falcons defense.

Many around the NFL believe Green Bay needs to get more athletic on the defensive line; they’re giving up (127.8) ypg on the ground. The Packers allow opponents (351.8) total yards per contest, 13th in the league. Rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander is getting rookie of the year, and will is a rising star. After trading former first-round draft pick HaHa Clinton-Dix to Washington, they lost a ferocious hitter who can also cover. The trade raised eyebrows around the league.

It’ll be the sixth consecutive year the teams will battle with 3 of five being decided by a point.

Green Bay has to come out and take advantage of the home crowd; they understand it’s a must-win game for both teams.

Bovada.Lv list the Green Bay Packers at ten total wins for the win the 2018-19 season.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz (Western Conference) NBA Betting preview for Tuesday, December 4, 2018.

Written by National Basketball Association ATS Analyst Al Presto.

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The (11-12) SU/ATS San Antonio Spurs broke a two-game losing streak on December 2nd with a 131-118 win over Portland as 1 point home UNDERDOGS ATS. DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 36 points making 13 of 27 shots from the field.

After suffering consecutive double-figure losses, Sunday’s victory over Portland showed fans in San Antonio their team has what it takes to compete in the West.

  • San Antonio is 2-4 ATS their last six on the road.
  • The OVER is 5-0-1 San Antonio last six when giving up 100 points or more in the game before.
  • OVER bettors have cashed in 7 of the last eight meetings between the teams.
  • The Spurs are 0-6 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD the last six after scoring more than 125 point their previous contest.

The (11-13) SU/ATS Utah Jazz ended a three-game trip with a 102-100 SU loss to Miami as 4-point road FAVORITES ATS. Utah is last in the competitive Northwest division, five and a half games behind first-place Denver.

Utah will host Houston on December 6th before traveling to the Alamo City to face the Spurs again on the 9th of this month.

  • The UNDER is 10-4 the last fourteen between the teams in Salt Lake City.
  • Over bettors have made profits Utah last six at home.
  • Utah has lost their previous two games ATS at home.
  • The Jazz is 1-8 ATS their last nine vs. Teams with a losing SU road record.

Tuesday’s game is at 9:00 PM EST at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The NBA Television Network will be broadcasting.

The Betting Line has Utah as 8 point home FAVORITES ATS. The TOTAL is 216′ points for Tuesday’s contest.

Gregg Popovich and RC Buford are known to some around the NBA as the most efficient Head Coach and General Manager duo in the NBA, that’s why the Spurs will be relevant in the 2019 playoffs.

San Antonio is tied with Houston for fourth place in the Southwest division with a team that’s still trying to find an identity.

The Spurs one time smothering defense is a work in progress giving up (112.3) points per contest, 22nd in the league. Popovich will also continue to address the (48.1) shooting percentage they allow opponents which ranks 28th league-wide. Center Pau Gasol has been out since late November with a foot injury, and they don’t know when he’ll be back in the lineup. DeRozan (24.3) ppg is the top scorer on an offense that puts up an average of (109.4), 17 in the league. The (38.9%) shooting from beyond the three-point line is the best in the Association.

Power Forward LaMarcus Aldridge grabs a team-best (10.5) rebounds per game on a unit that average (44.0) per game, 18th in the league. With the departure of longtime Tony Parker, San Antonio is looking for Patty Mills or Derrick White to take the lead. DeRozan is a shooting guard but leads the team in assists, Buford could make a trade for an upgrade at the position.

San Antonio must play with consistency at both ends of the floor while Aldridge and Rudy Gay must get physical with Utah in the post.

Bovada.Lv list the San Antonio Spurs win total at 44′ games for 2018-19.

Fans who root for the lone major sports franchise in the Beehive State are a bit shell-shocked through the first quarter of 2018. After taking down Oklahoma City in the playoff, last season expectations for this year were through the roof.

Many NBA Experts believe Utah would challenge Golden State for supremacy. However, it’s been tough going for the Jazz who seem to be average at best so far this season. In an attempt to shake things up they acquired Kyle Korver from Cleveland and are 2-1 since his arrival; Korver played for the Jazz from 2007-10.

Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell (21.4) points per contest lead a Utah offense that ranks 26th in the NBA with (105.7) ppg with a (45.8) shooting percentage from the field. The (32.6%) from three-point territory is also 26th.

What’s baffling is their lack of presence in the post with Rudy Gobert (13.0) rebounds per game and Derrick Favors (7.1) they should be better than their 23rd ranking grabbing boards.

Point Guard Ricky Rubio (6.4) assists per game are growing into a prominent role with the team but can be a defensive liability at times.

Forward Jae Crowder brings a sense of toughness to the roster to a defense that allows (108.0) ppg, sixth in the league. The Jazz must contest the Spurs from the 3-point line, Utah allows (36.5%) from beyond the arc with (47.4%) from the field.

Head Coach Quin Snyder believes Korver brings another shooter to the lineup which they’ll need tonight.

Bovada.Lv list the Utah Jazz win total at 49′ games for 2018-19.

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Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat (Southeast Division) NBA Betting preview for Tuesday, December 4, 2018.

Written by National Basketball Association Expert Point Spread Analyst Charlie Red          McDougall.

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The (11-12) SU, (14-9) ATS Orlando Magic are at the end of a six-game road trip as they’ll take on division foe Miami. Orlando should be well rested after their 99-85 win over Phoenix as 4-point road FAVORITES ATS on November 30th.

What’s better for the betting public is Orlando has covered the POINT SPREAD in four consecutive games. Center Nikola Vucevic scored 25-points with 15 rebounds against 2018 first overall draft pick Deandre Ayton.

  • Orlando is 6-2 ATS the last eight meeting between the teams.
  • The Magic have covered their last four AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD After an SU win.
  • OVER bettors have made a profit in 3 of Orlando last six on the road.
  • The OVER is 8-3 the last eleven times the teams have played.

The (9-13) SU, (10-12) ATS Miami Heat have won two consecutive, a 106-101 win Over New Orleans as 3 point home UNDERDOGS ATS and a 102-100 victory against Utah as dogs on Sunday, December 2nd.

Dwyane Wade made two free throws with two seconds left in regulation after a foul by Jazz Center Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Hassan Whiteside recorded his second 20 point, twenty rebound game of his career in the victory.

  • Miami is 0-5 ATS their last five on Tuesday’s.
  • The Heat is 1-6 AGAINST THE POINT SPREAD their last seven at home vs. Teams with an SU losing road record.
  • OVER bettors have cashed in 4 of the last five between the teams in Miami.
  • The UNDER is 5-1 Miami last six after allowing 100 or more points their previous game.

Tuesday’s game is at 7:30 PM EST at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Local Network will be broadcasting.

The Opening Betting Line has Orlando as 2′ point road UNDERDOGS ATS. The TOTAL is 207′ points for Tuesday’s contest.

Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford likes where his team’s mindset is and after a successful West Coast road trip they’re tied for first place with Charlotte in the Southeast division. With the first quarter of the 2018 season coming to an end the organization is pleased with the progress of a team that was thought to be in the 2019 draft lottery. Vucevic was one of five who was nominated for Conference player of the week, but it went to Kawhi Leonard of Toronto.

Vucevic, (21.0) ppg leads an offense that scores an average of (105.8) points per game which is 25th in the NBA while Aaron Gordon (16.1) is second. Terrance Ross(14.3) ppg has been doing an excellent job in a reserve role at both ends of the floor; Clifford is impressed with the skill set of the former Raptors standout. The Magic pulls down an average of (42.2) rebounds per contest which ties Indiana for 24th best in the league.

Where the Magic excel is at the other end of the floor with a defense that allows opponents (108.1) ppg which is 7th league-wide. The opposition shoots (46.1%) shooting against Orlando while the (36.2%) from downtown is tied with Minnesota and San Antonio.

A key to an Orlando win is how Vucevic plays Whiteside in the post, also Gordon defending a versatile James Johnson at the forward position. Miami doesn’t have an answer for Ross on the second unit.

Bovada.Lv list the Orlando Magic win total at 31 games for 2018-19.

The Miami Heat organization understands they’ll no longer have the services of Dwyane Wade after the 2018-19 season as he’ll retire the top scorer in franchise history. After winning 5 of fourteen games last month (2-6) at home the Heat are off to a good start in December. Miami looks to close the gap in the division with a win over Orlando. Head Coach Eric Spoelstra will do more to insert the versatile Justin Winslow into the rotation especially with Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters out with injuries.

Miami is a game and a half out of the division lead with the Washington Wizards creeping up on everyone in the Southeast. The Heat are getting back to playing their signature style of defense after a stretch in November when the lost four consecutive at home giving up no less than 104-points. However, the last two victories at the American Airlines Arena opponents have average (101.0) ppg. The Heat averages (108.2) ppg which are 22nd league-wide but the (43.3%) shooting from the field is last in the NBA.

The (36.2%) Miami shoots from beyond the 3-point line is seventh in the NBA.

Better shot selection is a must, and it’s what they must do to beat Orlando Tuesday.

Bovada.Lv list the Miami Heat win total at 41′ games for 2018-19.

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