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NBA West: A Bettor’s Triple Header

It’s been a rough go for the Lakers so far in 2012-2013. The injuries have piled up and so have the losses, but it’s still early enough in the season that they can turn things around and they’ll try to get a little winning streak going today as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks at home. Meanwhile the Clippers will aim for their 30th win of the season against the much-improved Rockets and the Trail Blazers will try to improve their dismal road record against the Nuggets. Here is a look at the games in the Western Conference today and as always, some winning point-spread picks.

Los Angeles Clippers -1 at Houston Rockets +1

While the Lakers have lived through a nightmare beginning to the season, it’s been a dream come true so far for their Staples Center roommates, the Los Angeles Clippers, which will gun for their 30th win of the season in Houston. With the additions of James Harden and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets have become one of the top scoring teams in the league, but they’ve been quite streaky and are currently on the wrong end of a three-gamer.

The Clippers have remained solid all season long, but they may be without their leader Chris Paul, who is listed as day-to-day with a bruised knee. Los Angeles was able to to silence the Memphis Grizzlies in a 99-73 win without him on Monday, but shutting down a team that scores 105 points per game without one of their best defensive players would be a different story.

The game could hinge on Paul’s availability, but from all accounts, the injury is not very serious and he is likely to go, so I’d feel pretty secure taking the Clippers to cover -1 on the road, where they are 11-5 this season.

Portland Trail Blazers + 9 at Denver Nuggets -9

The Nuggets are coming into today’s home contest against Portland on a five-game win streak, while the Blazers have dropped their last two. Denver’s been able to outscore most opponents, scoring more than 102 points per game with even better averages at home, where it is 14-2 this season. Since Portland is just 7-12 on the road this season, a win in Denver looks like a tall order today.

Still, nine points is a lot to cover and the Blazers are capable enough on both sides of the floor that they should keep things close even in the loss. So, I like Portland here to cover +9, but for Denver to extend its win streak to six games.

Milwaukee Bucks +7 at Los Angeles Lakers -7

With Dwight Howard back in the lineup, the Lakers put a stop to their six-game skid on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they face a much tougher challenge today against a Milwaukee Bucks squad that has a winning record on the road this season. The Lakers have played better at home, but not by a whole lot, going 11-9 so far in 2012-2013.

The Lakers will likely be without Pau Gasol again today, so I’m not sure why they are getting seven points against a superior defensive team in the Bucks. The Lakers have possibly built a little momentum from their win, but they continue to get these large spreads at home, which is beyond me. This is a team that is 16-21 this season and has yet to figure out how to play together. I do like L.A. as a slight favorite, but not by seven. Take the Bucks to cover +7 today and don’t be surprised if they beat the Lakers outright.




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