The NBA Game Breakdown takes an in-depth look at all of the games on the schedule each day in terms of expected pace of play, Vegas lines, and defense vs. position matchups.

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Magic @ Sixers

Game Analysis

This is a tough game to gauge pace wise. Philly has been hitting the over often and the Magic have been going under in their games. Bad offense and bad defense should mark this battle of winless teams. Philly Struggles against both point guards and centers while the way to get to the Magic is basically everywhere but the center spot. We should see a pretty even game here.

Line: Magic -3, O/U 195.5

Players to Watch

  • Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic ($4,000)
  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($5,800)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8,800)
  • Tony Wroten, PG, 76ers ($7,500)

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Heat @ Hornets

Game Analysis

Two of the better defensive teams in the NBA square off in this one. Charlotte tends to play a slow paced game where they look to dump it inside to Big Al Jefferson when they can. Miami prefers the tempo to be a little faster and will probably try to push it some to take advantage of the speed they have at the big man spots. Miami defends guards very well, but struggles against wide bodied bigs. Charlotte on the other hand has been getting beaten by PGs and Cs so far this year. I’d expect this one to be on the lower scoring side with Hornets at home it should also remain somewhat close throughout.

Line: Hornets -2, O/U 192

Players to Watch

  • Gary Neal, SG, Hornets ($3,400)
  • Shawne Williams, SF, Heat ($3,000)
  • Al Jefferson, C, Hornets ($8,500)
  • Chris Bosh, C, Heat ($9,000)

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Raptors @ Celtics

Game Analysis

So far this season 5 of the 7 games played by these teams combined for the over. Vegas and I expect to see some scoring in this one. I think Toronto is the better team, but Celts are scrappy and well coached. They will not let it get away from them at home which means 48 minutes most likely for all the studs. Raptors are seventh in the league in scoring and enjoy the fast pace. They are also 25th in the league for shooting percentage, so the rebounders should all see some work on both sides, especially if Valanciunas is out.

Line: Raptors -1, O/U has gone up from 202 to 205

Players to Watch

  • Tyler Hansborough, PF, Raptors ($3,000)
  • DeMar Derozan, SG, Raptors ($8,000)
  • Jeff Green, SF, Celtics ($6,700)
  • Avery Bradley, SG, Celtics ($4,500)

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Timberwolves @ Nets

Game Analysis

This should be a fun game to watch. The new look Timberwolves and a finally healthy Nets team have both gone over in two of the first three games. I could see them combining today to make it 3 out of 4 each. The Wolves just finished reaching the triple digit mark against Chicago the other day which is never an easy feat and with Brook Lopez now back the Nets offense which was already clicking only gets a tad stronger.

Line: Nets -5.5, O/U climbing from 201 to 206

Players to Watch

  • Joe Johnson, SG, Nets ($7,000)
  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($7,300)
  • Kevin Martin, SG, Timberwolves ($5,100)
  • Anthony Bennett, PF, Timberwolves ($4,300) (<— If Thad Young is out)

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Knicks @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Both of these teams have struggled to put points on the board this year which is why it is baffling to me that the money is coming in 84% on the Over early today. Pistons are winless and the Knicks are still trying to find their rhythm in the new triangle offense. The Knicks have played better on D to start this season as well, so maybe this is a perfect stay away game.

Line: Pistons -4.5, O/U down from 193 to 189 (98% of the money is coming in on the Knicks +4, line seems off?)

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Jennings, PG, Pistons ($6,500)
  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($6,900)
  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Knicks ($4,000)
  • Shane Larkin, PG, Knicks ($3,800)

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Pacers @ Wizards

Game Analysis

The O/U on this game is one of the lowest of the night. It is also one of the highest spreads meaning Vegas thinks Wiz blow out the Pacers. That is the scary part to me if you plan on using anyone in this game. Pacers have a short bench due to injury, so they feel much safer to me as they should see minutes regardless of how the game plays itself out.

Line: Pacers -9.5 down from -11, O/U 187.5 down from 189.5

Players to Watch

  • Chris Copeland, PF, Pacers ($4,600)
  • Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($7,000)
  • Garrett Temple, SG, Wizards ($3,800)
  • Otto Porter, SF, Wizards ($3,800)

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Bulls @ Bucks

Game Analysis

Milwaukee has been playing faster. They are scoring and giving up more points this season. The Bulls also have a higher points against then usual and if Joakim Noah misses again tonight I can see that staying as is. Pau and Gibson are both offensively gifted, but combined they still are not half the defensive player Joakim Noah is. With Derrick Rose also questionable again, this game is going to require a lot of monitoring of the twitter feed.

Line: Bulls -5.5 down from 7, 192.5 O/U up from 191

Players to Watch

  • Jimmy Butler, SG, Bulls ($4,900)
  • Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls ($7,500)
  • Brandon Knight, Pg, Bucks ($7,400)
  • Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls ($5,200) (<— If Joakim Noah is out)

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Hawks @ Spurs

Game Analysis

The money is coming in about even on the Over and the under, but even at -7.5 the Spurs are taking a lot of the cash. Atlanta never really plays well in San Antonio and despite the perception that the Spurs are a methodical team, they do put a good amount of points up on the board every game. They have four or five guys in double digits nightly and it’s almost never the same 4 or 5. I think the Hawks get a slight tick down and the Spurs remain about the same based on projected usage and pace in this one.

Line: Spurs -7.5 down from -9.5, O/U of 202

Players to Watch

  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7,600)
  • Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks ($7,500)
  • Tony Parker, PG, Spurs ($6,700)
  • Tim Duncan, C, Spurs ($7,600)

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Grizzlies @ Suns

Game Analysis

Interesting clash of styles here as the Grizzlies have gone under in half of their games with total O/U in the mid 180’s while Phoenix has been over in 3/4 with totals in the low 200s. Last year Memphis held the high powered Suns to 93 points a game and they are fresh off two stellar defensive performances this year where Charlotte and New Orleans shot a combined 37% against them. Memphis likes to slow it down and the Suns want to get out and run. In boxing they say contrasting styles make great fights in the ring and I hope that the same holds true for basketball tonight on the hardwood.

Line: Suns -1 down from -3, O/U 194.5

Players to Watch

  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($8,000)
  • Zac Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($7,500)
  • Isiah Thomas, PG, Suns ($5,500)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6,000)

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Cavaliers @ Jazz

Game Analysis

Cleveland has struggled to get their new big 3 firing on all cylinders. Love has been great but Kyrie and James have shot poorly. The cure to that may be a Utah team giving up over 100 points per game. Utah has gone over some 200+ point O/U  in 3 of 4 already this season and their abysmal defense has been more the reason than their scoring. They have not been horrible on offense either, although much of that is due to Gordon Hayward’s play and he historically struggles against Lebron. I see a good deal of points coming in this one, especially for the Cavs who could use a confidence boosting performance tonight.

Line: Cavs -5 down from -7.5, O/U 201.5

Players to Watch

  • Enes Kanter, C, Jazz ($4,300)
  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5,500)
  • Anderson Varejao, C, Cavs ($4,200)
  • Kevin Love, PF, Cavs ($9,200)

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Nuggets @ Kings

Game Analysis

In 7 combined games these two teams have gone under 5 times and I think this one will be lower scoring than expected. Sacramento has been pretty good on defense to start the season and Denver’s offense has been sputtering out the gate. I think it stays relatively close but mostly because it will be pretty low scoring. I’d be careful about having too much exposure to the guys in this game as maybe only one or two make value.

Line: Kings -3.5 up from a pick em, O/U down from 205 to 202.5

Players to Watch

  • Darren Collison, PG, Kings ($7,000)
  • Rudy Gay, SG, Kings ($7,700)
  • Ty Lawson, Pg, Nuggets ($7,100)

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Clippers @ Warriors

Game Analysis

If you were looking for a fast pace and a lot of points then here is where you should find it. Neither team is great defensively and both have amazing offensive potential. I like the Clippers more based on Defense vs. Position rankings. The Warriors struggle to defend the PG and the PF which just happens to be where the Clips are strongest. The clips are weak defensively except at the PG spot which just happens to be where the Warriors best scoring threat plays. It’s a tough match up on paper for the Warriors and I expect a lot of scoring and high usage in this one.

Line: Warriors -4.5, O/U 202

Players to Watch

  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($10,100)
  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($9,600)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7,600)
  • Andrew Bogut, C, Warriors ($5,400)