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Dec 12 NBA Action: Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets

Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets +7.0 (-108)

Barclays Center, New York City, New York

December 12, 2015, 5:00PM EST

Our computer simulation-based composite indicator makes the Clippers out to be 2.1 points better than the Nets at Barclays Center this afternoon. Interestingly though, two of the four components regard Brooklyn as a live dog, calling for an outright Nets victory by a couple of points (all four sim routine factors anticipate a Brooklyn cover).

A similar divide exists in our power ranking work. One indicator handicaps Brooklyn as 4.5 point dogs, while the other sees the Nets collecting the "W" with a 2.5 point cushion.

Given the unanimous indications in favor of the cover by the home dogs, we are siding with the Nets versus the number.

In addition to our primary handicapping framework, betting trends likewise squarely endorse a Nets cover today. The Clippers have covered only one of the six games they have played so far in December, and are 8-15 against the spread on the season. LA's dismal record versus the number stands in stark contrast to that of the Nets. Brooklyn is only 7-15 outright, but is a solid 13-9 compared to the betting line.

Further, Brooklyn is riding a two game win streak, after beating and covering versus both Houston and Philadelphia this past week. Moreover, since 2010, the Nets have been dominant facing the Clippers, covering nine times in 12 games. Over this same timeframe, Brooklyn is 6-0 ATS when playing host to Los Angeles.

We struggle to explain, statistically, the decided edge the Nets have displayed versus the Clippers. Clearly LA is stacked with talent. This aptitude manifests itself, for instance, in measures of offensive productivity and efficiency -- LA ranks 10th in Average Points Per Game, and 9th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (while Brooklyn scores in the bottom tercile in these categories). And while stopping the opposition is neither team's hallmark, the Clippers also sort better on the basis of Defensive Efficiency than do the Nets.

Absent an obvious deficiency, we are forced to concludethat psychology is the limiting factor to LA's upside. Perhaps this mental blockage deserves credit for Los Angeles' disappointing post-season performances in recent years, including the last year's second round melt -down (LA blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semi-Finals last year and were eliminated by the Rockets).

But in spite of the opaqueness of the 'why', we cannot ignore the 'what'. The Clippers continue to enjoy a top-ten seeding in most power rating schemes, however, they simply haven't been very good versus the number, and have demonstrated a vulnerability to lessor teams (of LA's ten straight up losses this season, six have come at the hands of underdogs). Accordingly, we are taking the points and backing the Nets.

Happy betting!!

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