The first weekend of 2019 has arrived and the NBA is in full swing approaching the half way point. The big match up for January 4 is the New Orleans Pelicans versus Portland Trailblazers. Both teams are in the mix for top playoff positions in the Western Conference. Four other games will also be examined. Note that all information is for games played through January 4.
Oklahoma City Thunder versus Portland Trailblazers
in this Western Conference showdown, the Thunder come third in the conference Portland is fifth. Oklahoma City is 6-4 over their last ten and 10-9 on the road. On the flip side, the Trailblazers are 14-6 at home and 7-3 over their last ten. Both teams come in “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator and the Thunder have a slight +23 to +19 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator. Portland has had their way recently with Oklahoma City, winning the last five meetings. The Thunder are the more stable team, meaning they are performing more consistently according to their favorite/underdog status. In the best game of the day, this should be close but looking for a narrow road win for the Thunder to keep pace in the conference.
Indiana Pacers versus Chicago Bulls
Indiana looks to remain within striking distance of Raptors in the Eastern Conference, while the Bulls are hoping to turn things around towards mediocrity. Indiana has taken the last two between these teams and have a +28 to +6 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Winners of their last five, the Pacers are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Chicago is just 10-27 on the season, but have played a little better lately, 4-6 over their last ten and +6 ranking. Both teams are very stable according to the Team Volatility Oscillator, which is another reason to go with the Pacers as a road favorite. There is little chance for the Bulls in this one. Go with the Pacers by double digits.
Orlando Magic versus Minnesota Timberwolves
Both teams are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. The Magic are 6-9 on the road and 4-6 over their last ten. They enter with a +9 ranking and “ice cold down”. Minnesota is 12-6 at home, but also 4-6 over their last ten. They are +11 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “average down” status. The Timberwolves have also taken the last three meetings between the teams and are the more stable team, at +7 to +3 on the Team Volatility Oscillator. Being a likely home favorite, this looks favorable to pick Minnesota by a five to ten point margin.
Dallas Mavericks versus Boston Celtics
Dallas is a very good home team, however they are terrible on the road at just 2-16. This will be an extremely tough match up for them facing a Boston team that is 11-5 at home and in the mix in the Eastern Conference. Boston holds a +21 to +10 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Both teams are quite stable, performing consistently with their favorite/underdog status. Although Dallas won the first meeting between that teams, that was in Dallas. This is a totally different story and the Celtics will win and likely win big.
New York Knicks versus Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are likely without LeBron James, but it shouldn’t matter much in this one. Los Angeles enters with a +14 to 0 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and “average” versus “dead” on the Team Strength Oscillator. New York has lost their last eight and are 5-17 on the road. Los Angeles is four games out in the Western Conference and 13-6 at home. With James, this is a blowout. Without James, this is still likely to be an easy win for the Lakers by double digits.
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