Griffin can send Howard and co back to Orlando with NBA defeat

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Nine games are being played in the next batch of NBA fixtures and some clear winners look to be among them.

The LA Lakers should have too much for the Philadelphia 76ers, while it is hard to bet against the Chicago Bulls comfortably seeing off the New Jersey Nets.

However, there are three matches that look far closer to call.

Los Angeles Clippers (-1) to beat Orlando Magic @ 10/11

The Los Angeles Clippers are in the middle of a lengthy road trip lasting 11 days, but they can show why they are serious contenders to win the Western Conference in their only scheduled game of the season with the Orlando Magic.

Five victories in six games have boosted confidence at the Clippers and they should be well rested following an easy victory over the Washington Wizards in their last game, while Orlando were getting frustrated in shading past the Indiana Pacers.

The clash could come down to who has the bigger positive impact on the game between Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard and the Clippers may end up having the better success, especially if DeAndre Jordan can keep Howard relatively quiet.

Portland Trail Blazers (+1) to beat Oklahoma City Thunder @ 10/11

Oklahoma have a better record on the road than any other team in the Western Conference, but should have their work cut out against opposition to have triumphed in 13 of their 14 matches at home.

Portland have also already beaten Oklahoma away in 2012 and beaten the opposition on seven of the last nine occasions on their own patch. The fact they get the slight handicap advantage makes them the superior bet.

San Antonio Spurs (-1.5) to beat Memphis Grizzlies @ 10/11

Tony Parker has been in flying form for San Antonio and contributed 42 points in the latest win over Oklahoma.

The chances of Memphis slowing down Parker will be weakened further if the doubtful Tony Allen misses a second straight game, while their inability to convert openings at present will be punished.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.