With the playoff races heating up, here’s what’s on tap for Friday, March 9. Note that any records or standings are through games played March 5.
Atlanta Hawks versus Indiana Pacers
The Pacers come in fourth in the Eastern Conference, while the Hawks are last. Indiana has won two of the last three meetings between the teams. They hold a +18 to +11 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and are “average up” versus “ice cold down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Also in Indiana’s favor is that they are home favorites and third in Team Volatility. This should be an easy, double-digit win for the Pacers.
Houston Rockets versus Toronto Raptors
In the game of the day, the two top teams in their respective conferences face off. Toronto won the last meeting as the road underdog. Houston holds a +29 to +24 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator, while both teams are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Not surprisingly, both are in the top ten in Team Volatility, with the Rockets tied for 5th. The Raptors likely will be a slight home favorite, although Houston has won their last 15. Expect a tight game decided by 4 points or less, but it’s a toss-up who to choose. If I was forced to bet, I’d take the Raptors simply because they are at home and the Rockets have to lose again eventually, right?
Washington Wizards versus New Orleans Pelicans
Washington is in the middle of a six-team pack in the Eastern Conference playoff race, while the Pelicans are in a similar situation in the Western Conference. New Orleans holds a +28 to +13 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and are “burning hot” versus “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator. The Wizards won the first meeting this season as a home favorite. The teams are trending in opposite directions and with New Orleans at home, have to pick them in a relatively comfortable win.
Los Angeles Lakers versus Denver Nuggets
Denver is battling to hold on to a playoff spot, while the Lakers are far on the outside looking in. The Lakers, due to an 8-2 stretch are “burning hot” and +23 on the Power Ranking Indicator, compared to +17 and “average up” for the Nuggets. However, Denver has won three of the last four meetings between the teams. They are also the home team, having won 24 of 33 this season, compared to 13-20 road record for the Lakers. Expect the Nuggets to pull away late to secure a victory.
Golden State Warriors versus Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State is trying to keep pace with the Rockets in the Western Conference, while Portland attempts to fend off several teams and hold on to the third seed. Both teams are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator, with the Trail Blazers holding a slim +27 to +25 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator. The teams have split the two games this season. Although Portland is at home, I feel the Warriors will take this one in a game decided late, possibly in overtime.
Cleveland Cavaliers versus Los Angeles Clippers
Cleveland looks to hold off several teams for third in the Eastern Conference, while the Clippers need a run to move into playoff position in the Western Conference. The Cavaliers won the last meeting as a home favorite, however Los Angeles holds a +19 to +13 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and “average up” versus “average down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Another good sign to bet on the Clippers is that they are fourth in Team Volatility and likely a home favorite. I will go with the Clippers, inching them closer to the eighth seed in the conference.
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