See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bets

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Ben Burns - 2/13/2015 10:16 AM

Spot bets are classic handicapping practices that have proven profitable no matter what sport you're betting. Whether it's a team looking past this week's opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots. Expert Ben Burns points out his favorites:

Lookahead spot

The All-Star break can't come soon enough for the Los Angeles Clippers. In the ultra-competitive Western Conference, a four-game losing skid can instantly drop a team from a Top 4 spot to the fringe of the playoff cut - and that's where L.A. found itself before snapping that slide with a win over Dallas Monday. The Clippers are a tired team, coming off the eight-game "Grammy Trip" which had L.A. away from home since Jan. 28.

On top of that relentless schedule, the Clippers just lost star forward Blake Griffin for three weeks due to surgery to cut out a staph infection. Los Angeles needs some time to breathe and collect itself before making a push in the second half of the season. The All-Star break offers that but not before tangling with the Houston Rockets Wednesday. The Clippers haven't defended the Staples Center this season with an 11-16 ATS mark at home and are just 6-15 ATS in their last 21 home games against Houston.

Letdown spot

The La Salle Explorers know they're a long shot for the NCAA tournament and that playing in the Atlantic 10 limits the chances they have to impress the selection committee. La Salle does, however, have a respectable RPI (0.5569) at 79th in the country and their strength of schedule is 51st in the land (0.5588) with teams like Virginia, Villanova and Wednesday's opponent, No. 22 VCU, headline the calendar.

A win over the ranked Rams could be just what the Explorers need to bulk up their tournament resume and kick start a strong finish to the A-10 slate. Win or lose, though, La Salle will be ripe for a letdown against the Davidson Wildcats Saturday. Davidson is in a similar spot as the Explorers, needing to put some wins together, and are a solid 7-2 ATS away from home.

Schedule spot

The Iona Gaels are the top team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, boasting an 11-2 conference record and an 18-6 SU mark overall (9-13 ATS). The Gaels have won five in a row with just one of those games coming as a true road contests. But now, Iona stares down a nasty chunk of schedule that has it on the road for four straight MAAC contests, starting Tuesday at Fairfield and extending to Feb 20 at Marist.

That's a string of four road games in 11 days, with things getting hairy in between. Following Tuesday, the Gaels hit the court Friday at Manhattan and then Sunday at Quinnipiac. Iona is tremendous at home but all six of its losses have come away from New Rochelle. The Gaels are the second-highest scoring team in the nation - 82.8 points on 48.1 percent shooting - but this road stretch will test Iona's legs and ability to continuously play at that breakneck pace - 73.6 possessions per game.

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