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NBA: 76ers to end slump – but only with the handicap

| 03.03.2014

Philadelphia are the league’s worst team with regard to form at present, losing 14 straight, and the skid looks set to continue on the road to the high flying Oklahoma City Thunder.

However, a spread of 20.5 points looks too generous, even for the hapless 76ers, so backing the visitors with the head start looks a wise move.

Add in spread wins for Indiana, San Antonio and the LA Clippers and you’ve got a fourfold priced at tempting odds of over 12/1.

A £10 stake on this quality quartet could land you with healthy returns of £132.83.

Indiana Pacers (-5.5) to beat Golden State Warriors @ 10/11

Golden State (36-24) are in pretty decent form having won five of their last seven and going 12-5 from 17 on the road.

However, this will count for nothing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against a Pacers (46-13) side that has won five straight in the league.

Indiana are 18-2 from 20 in front of their own fans and are 5-1 from six meetings with the Warriors.

Four of the hosts’ last five victories over Golden State have come by a winning margin of eight points or more and with their last 10 wins against all comers seeing an average margin of 12 points the spread should be easily covered, especially with six of the Warriors’ last eight losses coming by six points or more.

San Antonio Spurs (-7) to beat Cleveland Cavaliers @ 10/11

San Antonio (43-16) are scoring seven more and conceding four less on average than Cleveland (24-37) in games this season and this alone makes them a good bet to cover a seven-point spread here.

Further encouragement comes from the fact that the Spurs are 6-2 from eight road trips against the Cavs and 5-0 from their last five meetings overall, while the hosts are also 2-4 from their last six in the NBA.

Gregg Popovich’s men have taken four of their last six victories by a double-digit margin and Cleveland have gone down by more than seven points in nine of their last 11 losses.

With the Spurs’ last eight wins over Cleveland coming by an average margin of 15.5 points this spread should be easily overcome.

Philadelphia 76ers (+20.5) to beat Oklahoma City Thunder @ 10/11

With MVP candidate Kevin Durant among their ranks Oklahoma (45-15) will be able to beat the hapless 76ers (15-45) without getting past second gear.

Philly have lost 14 straight and all of the last five meetings with the Thunder, while the hosts have lost just three of their last 14 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

However, with just one of Philly’s last seven defeats seeing a margin of greater than 20.5 points and the Thunder taking just one of their last 10 wins by a bigger margin, backing the visitors with the handicap is the way to go here.

LA Clippers (-3.5) to beat Phoenix Suns @ 10/11

The hardest of the four games to call sees the Clippers (41-20) head to US Airways Center in search of a fifth straight win in the league.

Phoenix are historically sound against LA, winning 16 of the last 21 overall and 11 of the last 12 at home, but form and the slight handicap give the visitors the edge here.

During their current win streak Doc Rivers’ side have averaged 114.3 points, meaning the hosts are likely to need to score at least 110 to cover the spread and with their home average standing at 110 they will need to be at the top of their game.

All of the Clippers last 10 victories have come by more than three points and six of the Suns’ last eight losses have come by six or more, so back the Clippers to cover the spread in this one.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.