The NBA Slate Offers Some Potential Pitfalls

DJ
DJ
D.J. Augustin has done his best to replace the injured Brandon Jennings in Detroit.

There are some really interesting lines tonight and just as interesting are some of the trends too. As the Knight of the Templar told Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely.”

Detroit (+2) at Charlotte (O/U 191.5) – The Pistons were playing so well following the dismissal of Josh Smith and then Brandon Jennings went down with his season-ending injury. D.J. Augustin has actually played pretty well in his absence averaging over ten points and almost five assists per game. Still, the Pistons are two games out of the final playoff spot and it’s not going to be easy.

The Hornets are in the seventh seed but have lost two straight despite winning six of their last ten. With Kemba Walker out indefinitely and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist day-to-day, Hornets could be in trouble.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in four of Detroit’s last five games… The total has gone UNDER in six of Charlotte’s last seven games… The Pistons are 5-1 straight up in their last six games at Charlotte… The Hornets are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games at home versus Detroit.

The Pick: Take Detroit and the OVER.

Joerger
David Joerger has the Grizzlies in great shape in the Western Conference.

Brooklyn (+11.5) at Memphis (O/U 190) – The Nets are dead even with the Miami Heat for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but would lose the tie-breaker if the season ended today. Brooklyn has actually been better on the road than they have been at home but I’m not sure that will help here.

Memphis continues to put pressure on Golden State in the West. Right now, the Grizzlies are three games back. What’s gone in Memphis has been impressive and I don’t see this team going away any time soon.

Trends: The Grizzlies have won nine of their last ten games… The Nets have lost six of their last ten games.

The Pick: Take the Nets getting those points and the OVER.

Houston (+2) at Phoenix (O/U 214.5) – The Rockets come to the desert six games out of the first seed in the Western Conference but they have teams breathing down their necks. Portland, Dallas, the LA Clippers and the defending champion Spurs are all within three games of Houston.

The Suns find themselves currently hanging on to the final playoff spot by the skin of their teeth. New Orleans is a game back and Oklahoma City is two games behind. Phoenix must win games at home and needs to try and beat teams ahead of them in the standings.

Trends: The Suns have won four of their last ten games… The Rockets have won seven of their last ten games…

The Pick: Take the Rockets getting the points and the OVER.

Denver (+2) at LA Lakers (O/U 198.5) – These two teams have combined to lose nine straight games and they’ve also combined to win just two games in their last 20. The Nuggets are just 7-19 on the road this season and they are a full eight games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. In other words, they aren’t making the playoffs.

The Lakers are a mess on and off the court as disgruntled players have started to speak out a little more than the Lakers’ front office would like. Between injuries and an overall lack of talent, this has just not been a good run for the purple and gold.

Trends:  The Lakers have lost four in a row and nine of their last ten… Denver has lost five straight and has lost nine of their last ten.

The Pick: I’ll take the Nuggets getting the points and the UNDER.

Athletes and Their Income, Plus Jason Kidd and the Bucks are on the Agenda Today

James
James
LeBron James has every right to make as much money as he he can get whether we like it or not.

For whatever reason, the ugly discussion that centers around “athletes are paid too much” has reared its’ ugly head again and quite frankly I find it to be a moot point. The reason it has come up is because now LeBron James is officially an unrestricted free agent.

According to social media (take that for what it’s worth), LeBron James is not about winning if he takes a maximum contract. Therefore he’s not as forthright as Tim Duncan or Michael Jordan in the eyes of many and he doesn’t work nearly as hard as the common man.

I don’t like how much professional athletes get paid any more than you do but if the market bears it out then there’s not much that can be done. If you hate that a pitcher goes 10-13 yet gets a $13 million dollar per year contract then stop buying tickets and stop buying team gear. That’s the only way you’re going to get the attention of owners who continue to pay these salaries.

And…. That isn’t going to happen is it?

LeBron James has every right to make as much money has he is willing to be paid. Michael Jordan for years did not take a max contract and despite being the best player on the planet wasn’t always the top paid player. By all accounts, James is set to try and take less money once again in an effort to win another title.

Regardless of what he does, it’s his choice and the amount he could be paid isn’t his fault. I wish I was paid more but no one is standing in line to watch my type.

During Babe Ruth’s prime in the late 1920’s, he had a brief encounter with famous gangster Al Capone. Ruth had recently signed a deal that was the largest in baseball at the time and Capone allegedly said, “Hey Babe, you make more than the President!” Ruth replied, “I had a better year than he did.”

It really is that simple people. If you don’t like the money athletes are paid then I suggest you follow another hobby.

Kidd
Jason Kidd was sent to Milwaukee in a rare trade for a coach. The question is why?

Shame on the Bucks, But that’s business

There’s nothing quite like walking in to the office and finding someone else sitting at your desk. You inquire as to why they are in your office and you are politely given a kick in the ass while being told that you no longer have a job. That’s essentially what happened to Larry Drew yesterday in Milwaukee.

Drew had been the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks but was unceremoniously fired after the team traded two second round picks for Jason Kidd. Because he was fired with years left on his contract, Drew isn’t walking out the door penny-less but his ego can’t be doing real well right now.

For his part, Kidd has rubbed more people the wrong way in his career than most I can think of and he must have worn out his welcome in Brooklyn despite getting the Nets into the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

My question is why do the Bucks feel the that Kidd is worth giving up two draft picks? Is he that much better of a coach than Drew? Take a look at the talent on the two teams last season and you’ll find Kidd had way more to work with than did Drew.

Perhaps the Bucks feel that Kidd will work better with Jabari Parker who was drafted second overall last week in the NBA Draft. Either way, it isn’t a good look for the Bucks or for Kidd but it’s business plain and simple.

Nets Odds to Win NBA Title Jump with acqusition of Pierce, Garnett and Terry

Now that the Brooklyn Nets have traded for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, they have shot up the odds boards with regards to winning the NBA Championship.

After the trade had taken place and the dust had settled, the sportsbooks such as Bovada, betonline, topbet and sportsbook.com moved the Nets up to 15 to 1 to win the NBA title in 2014. That put the Nets into a tie for the sixth position overall on the board moving up from their previous odds of 40 to 1.

Boston, who is starting a complete rebuilding project, took another direction as they went from being ranked at 60 to 1 on most sites down to 100 to 1 to win the next NBA title.

The Nets are much better right away and the deal they made with Boston shows their win now mentality, while the Celtics know they will needs three to five seasons and top draft picks to reach the top again.

If even the Nets cannot reach the level of the Heat, they still will have the talent to challenge other top Eastern conference foes like the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, the second tier of the conference.

Many odds makers still do not believe the Nets will win a championship with their current roster. Bovada has the Nets at 13 to 2 for the East and that is still in fourth place in the conference behind the third place Pacers, second place Bulls and top ranked Miami Heat.

Boston blew their roster apart with looking to the future. In return for giving up Terry, Pierce and Garnett, the Celtics picked up three picks in the first round in 2014, 2016 and 2018. They also received Reggie Evans, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph and Keith Bogans.

Boston management did not want to go through the doldrums they faced in the 1990s after Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and superstar Larry Bird called it quits and Boston did not get anything in return except for retiring jersey numbers.

The odds to win the NBA Title for 2014 overall are:

Heat 9-4

Thunder 9-2

Bulls 7-1

Spurs 7-1

Clippers 10-1

Post-Draft NBA Odds for 2014

James and Spoelstra
James and Spoelstra
James and Spoelstra are favored to win a third-straight title.

I’ve been so swept up by hockey, baseball, Aaron Hernandez and the NBA Draft that I’ve completely forgotten to congratulate the Miami Heat on their riveting seven-game series win over San Antonio. This is the Heat’s third title and LeBron James’ second straight. We haven’t been witness to a Finals this good in years in my opinion and now we already turn our focus to the 2013-2014 season just days after the draft.

If you’re thinking of laying some dough on next year already then let me give you the top contenders and their odds and I’ll even throw in a few potential long-shots for your entertainment.

Miami Heat 2-1 The Heat did nothing to add to their roster through the draft because they didn’t have a pick but they did exercise options on Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen is sticking around as well. The big question I have for Miami is the health of Dwyane Wade. Reports are that he had his knee drained prior to game seven and it hampered him throughout the playoffs. He and Chris Bosh were both absent at times during the playoffs but they survived. Can they next season?

Adams
The Thunder added seven-footer Adams to bolster the middle.

Oklahoma City Thunder 11-2 I don’t believe the Thunder would have won the title this past season had Russell Westbrook not been injured but his loss certainly was the nail in the coffin of their playoff run. In order for OKC to be a legitimate threat next season they need a third scorer who used to be James Harden. His absence was especially glaring with Westbrook out. I love the Thunder’s first round draft pick in seven-footer Steven Adams of Pitt. He will provide tremendous size and a defensive presence despite being a bit raw.

Brooklyn Nets 10-1 The Nets jumped to this position with the trade that brings Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn from Boston but long-term I think this will hurt the Nets as they gave up youth and a lot of draft picks. What that means is they must win now and with a rookie head coach in Jason Kidd. The Nets will have a really good starting five and added Duke’s Mason Plumlee in the first round the other night. He will provide some rebounding and defense off the bench. The Nets have a very small window due to age and health of Garnett and Pierce and that makes me leery of laying cash on them.

Los Angeles Clippers 10-1 The Clippers immediately jumped to this spot with the addition of coach Doc Rivers who I believe will take both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to new heights as players. The Clips also added shooting guard Reggie Bullock from North Carolina in the draft. It’s amazing that a coach like Vinny del Negro was fired after a 56-win season but this is a player’s league and there was certainly friction. I expect the Clips to once again win the Pacific but I’m not sure I’m willing to lay money on them winning the title just yet.

The Longer Shots Golden State at 25-1 is one I’d take a shot on. The guard play is outstanding and if healthy the bigs can be effective. Atlanta Hawks 66-1 is another I like especially if they land Dwight Howard. I love their pick of Shane Larkin in the draft as he can provide solid minutes at the point to compliment Al Horford and company. Portland Trail Blazers 100-1 Portland was on the verge several times last season of making a go at the playoffs but fell short. I like the drafting of scorer C.J. McCollum and they added size and smarts with Jeff Withey from Kansas. I can see them making a run in the playoffs next year.

Players Becoming Coaches is a Sure Bet in the NBA

Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd
Could Kidd go straight from the court to the sidelines in Brooklyn?

When New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd retired earlier this week his entry into the Basketball Hall of Fame was as sure a thing as one can get. He leaves the game after 19 seasons and ranks second in both steals and assists. If the Jason Kidd you’ve seen the last couple of years is your only image, then that’s too bad because in his prime Kidd was a dynamic player who could do a little bit of everything.

Kidd has hopes today that his lengthy career and keen knowledge of the game will translate into a coaching career in the very Association in which he was so good in for years.

ESPN is reporting this morning that Kidd will meet with Brooklyn General Manager Billy King this week to discuss the head coaching position with the Nets. While it would be a bit unusual for a former player who has been out of the game for all of a month, it wouldn’t really be that out of character especially in the NBA.

For years, the NBA employed player-coaches on its’ sidelines but stopped the practice in the mid-1980’s because of the salary cap’s entry into the game. The league was worried teams would try to get around the cap (and paying coaches huge salaries) by having players paid for both coaching and playing.

While Kidd legally couldn’t go back to playing should he become the Nets’ head coach, he would certainly be as close as it gets to a modern-day player-coach.

More than any other league, former players become coaches at a greater rate than they do in other professional sports. Truth is, some former players make excellent coaches while others, not so much. While Kidd is what I would call a long-shot for the job, would it be considered ‘fair’ or even just for him to get a head coaching job when so many other former players have been waiting in the wings for their shot while being assistant coaches.

Patrick Ewing
Ewing has been an NBA assistant for over a decade now.

Patrick Ewing is a prime example of a former player who is more than due his shot at an NBA coaching gig. Since leaving the game as a player in 2002 Ewing has been an assistant coach in Washington, Houston and Orlando. If you listen to people who have played under Ewing or coached with him they’ll tell you this guy is more than ready for his shot at coaching.

So why does a guy like Ewing get passed over so often while the NBA continues to recycle coaches with horrible records? Your guess is as good as mine but to be sure there is a lot more that goes on between players, coaches and front office personnel than we’ll ever know. People often have long memories of what said player did to them in the playoffs when they played and still hold that against them when they pursue head coaching jobs.

While the days of a Bill Russell or Lenny Wilkens playing and coaching at the same time are over, could Jason Kidd’s pursuit of a head coaching job so soon after playing start a trend? The only way to answer that question is if Kidd actually gets the job. Then we must of course evaluate his success in that position before making any judgments.

Should Kidd not land this job, chances are good that he’ll land one down the road. While I’m not going to suggest he’ll be as successful as Doc Rivers, another former player turned coach, I do see some parallels. Either way, Kidd will be just another in the line of former players who become NBA head coaches at some point.

Monday NBA Playoff Games: April 29, 2013

NBA fans and bettors saw the Spurs and Heat advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs this weekend and today two more teams will have the chance to move on, while two others will be staring elimination in the face.

Here is a look at all three games in the NBA playoffs today and and always, our premium point-spread picks:

Chicago Bulls +5.5 at Brooklyn Nets -5.5

After winning game one of the best-0f-seven series, the Nets have stumbled, losing the last three to the Bulls and now face elimination in game five. However, Brooklyn will be back on its home court today and it knows there’s no room for error.

The Bulls have faced plenty of adversity this season – mostly in the form of injuries – and have been able to overcome it, but today they’ll be in the unfamiliar role as the hunter looking to finish off an opponent.

The Nets have dominated stretches of games during this series, but haven’t been able to hold on to leads in clutch moments and late in games. I think they’ll have a much better chance to do this at home today and I think they’ll stay alive. Take the Nets to cover -5.5 with their backs against the wall, but look for the Bulls to win the series in game six.

Indiana Pacers +1.5 at Atlanta Hawks -1.5

After crushing Atlanta in the first two games, the Pacers were looking like they could earn the sweep, but then they failed to show up at all in game three, losing 90-69 in a dreadful offensive showing. We also have to give some credit to Atlanta for finally playing some physical defense and frustrating Indiana’s scorers. They’ll definitely need more of the same tonight.

Even though the momentum seems to be shifting, the fact is, Indiana played a bad game in game three. The Pacers turned the ball over 22 times and we can’t really expect that to happen again. Game four will probably be close, but I like Indiana to get back on the horse with a win tonight, while covering +1.5 points.

Oklahoma City Thunder -2 at Houston Rockets +2

The Thunder won game three to take a 3-0 series lead against the Rockets and they did it without star Russell Westbrook, but the Rockets looked like they had plenty of life, losing by just three points, so we know a sweep won’t be easy to come by for OKC tonight.

Kevin Durant picked up the slack in game three, scoring 41 points, and we have to believe the Rockets’ full attention will be on him tonight without Westbrook in the lineup. The Thunder definitely have other guys who can score, but if the Rockets are able to limit Durant’s production, even a little, then they’ll have a great chance to win at home.

Let’s also not forget that Houston is one of the best scoring teams in the league and they’re going to play as hard as they can facing elimination. I like Houston to edge out a win here in game four, covering +2 tonight, but don’t expect this series to continue past game five when it goes back to OKC.

 

Sunday NBA Quick Picks: Feb. 24

With around 25 games remaining in the regular season, the playoff pressure is beginning to ramp up for some NBA squads, while others (ahem, the Heat) are starting to show their dominance. We’ll see all of that and more on display today as the Association has a juicy nine-game slate for us to sink our teeth into. Here are our quick picks for eight of the nine games in the NBA today.

Los Angeles Lakers +3 at Dallas Mavericks -3

It’s no secret. The Lakers have been the biggest disappointment of 2012-2013, but they are playing better lately. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games, including the last two. The teams have split the season series so far, going 1-1 against one another, but with the Mavs at home and also playing well (three-game win streak). I like Dallas to take this one, covering -3.

Golden State Warriors -1.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves +1.5

The Warriors hit a rough patch in recent weeks, but they are starting to get back on track, as they’ve won their last two games. Meanwhile, the T-Wolves continue to struggle without their star Kevin Love. Take the Warriors to cover -1.5 and win on the road today.

Sacramento Kings +6 at New Orleans Hornets -6

Considering the Hornets have been worse at home than on the road and considering both teams are on losing streaks entering tonight’s game and each have the exact same record, this one is a toss-up. For that reason, take the Kings to cover +6.

Cleveland Cavaliers +13 at Miami Heat -13

With the Heat playing their finest basketball of the season, they are getting a huge spread against the struggling Cavaliers. The Heat have won 10 straight and there’s no question they should defeat the Cavs on their home floor, but I just hate these huge spreads. All the Cavs need to do is play halfway decent and they will cover this spread, even on the road. The Heat will win, but it’s safer to take Cleveland to cover +13.

San Antonio Spurs -9.5 at Phoenix Suns +9.5

The Spurs are also getting a large spread and will be on the road today, where they have only been half as strong – 22-11 compared to 22-2 at home. The Suns are certainly struggling as losers of eight of their last 10, but they should be able to cover +9.5 today in the loss.

Boston Celtics +2 at Portland Trail Blazers -2

Despite dropping their last seven games, the Blazers are getting two points at home against a Celtics team that has played well recently, winning seven of their last 10 games. Even though the Celtics have been atrocious on the road, I can’t go against the recent trend here. Portland will break out of its funk, but no tonight. Go Boston to cover +2 in the win.

Chicago Bulls +9 at Oklahoma City Thunder -9

Both teams have struggled a bit recently, but the Thunder are getting nice odds to win at home, where they are 24-4 this season. There’s little doubt that they will do it, but Chicago is too good defensively to get blown away, even by the Thunder. Take Chicago to cover +9 in the loss.

Philadelphia 76ers +10.5 at New York Knicks -10.5

Both teams are coming into this game on four-game losing streaks, so it’s hard to imagine liking the Knicks by more than a few points against anyone right now. Play this one safe and take the Sixers to cover +10.5 on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday NBA Quick Picks: Feb.20

With the NBA back from its All-Star break, there will be a lot for bettors to keep track of today. There are 11 games in action in the Association today, but don’t worry. We’ve made it easy by providing you with the winning quick picks. Check ’em out!

Memphis Grizzlies +1.5 at Toronto Raptors -1.5

The Raptors may have one of the worst records in the NBA, but they’ve stepped up their game since acquiring Rudy Gay in a trade from Memphis as winners of their last five games. However, the Grizzlies have also continued to win despite losing Gay and are currently on a four-game streak of their own. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the trade.

The Raptors got the better end of the trade, but the Grizzlies are still be far the better team. Take Memphis to cover +1.5 today.

Detroit Pistons -3.5 at Charlotte Bobcats +3.5

The Bobcats only have 13 wins on the season, but one of them came against the Pistons in the teams’ only other meeting this season. This time around, the Bobcats will have the home floor, but the last time they won back-to-back games was back in November. Go with the better overall team and take Detroit to cover -3.5 on the road.

New York Knicks +4 at Indiana Pacers -4

These two will renew their long-standing rivalry for the third time this season, as the Knicks and Pacers have split the previous two games between each other. The Knicks are coming off a two-game losing streak, but should be refreshed after the break, while the Pacers have dominated opponents at home with a 21-5 record. Look for Indiana’s defense to be the difference and for the Pacers to cover -4 today.

New Orleans Hornets 0 at Cleveland Cavaliers 0

Since both teams have been equally horrendous this season with similar records coming into tonight’s game, the odds makers are going easy on us and giving us an even line. Honestly, this one really is a toss-up though. Since Cleveland has the home floor, take the Cavs to win this one.

Miami Heat -5 at Atlanta Hawks +5

The Hawks have been superb at home this season (17-9), but the Heat have been superb everywhere and they are playing their best basketball of the season at the moment, as they are currently on a seven-game winning streak. Look for the Heat to make it eight in a row by covering -5.

Brooklyn Nets +3 at Milwaukee Bucks -3

The Bucks have gotten the better of the Nets so far this season, winning two of the previous three match-ups, but Brooklyn is coming in with plenty of momentum as winners of its last three. Look for the Nets to keep it going by winning on the road and covering +3.

Oklahoma City Thunder -2.5 at Houston Rockets +2.5

This match-up should be the highest scoring of the day, as it boasts the league’s top two scoring teams, but it’s a match-up the Thunder have dominated lately, winning the previous two meetings this season by more than 20 points on each occasion. Even on the road, take the Thunder to cover -2.5.

Philadelphia 76ers +3.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves -3.5

Although Minnesota has played better at home than on the road, they haven’t fared well without Kevin Love in the lineup, losing eight of their last 10 games. Look for the 76ers to take this one, covering +3.5.

Orlando Magic +10.5 at Dallas Mavericks -10.5

Yes, the Magic are 1-9 in their last 10 games, but the Mavericks haven’t been fantastic either, making their massive favoritism in this one unwarranted. Orlando should be able to cover +10.5 in the loss today.

Boston Celtics +7 at Los Angeles Lakers -7

I’m sorry, but the Lakers shouldn’t be getting seven points against anybody right now, much less a Celtics team that has won eight of their last 10 games. This should be easy money. Take Boston to cover +7 against the floundering Lakers.

Phoenix Suns +8.5 at Golden State Warriors -8.5

Normally I would love the Warriors here against the Suns, but as losers of their last six games, the Warriors confidence is obviously shaken. Their last win was in fact against Phoenix a couple of few weeks back and they did win by more than 8.5, but that was then and this is now. The Warriors should have enough to snap the streak, but they aren’t playing their best ball right now, so take the Suns to cover +8.5.

 

 

3 Dark Horse NBA Futures Picks

After seeing each NBA team play in more than 50 games this season, we have a good idea of who the favorites are and who will likely contend for the championship in 2013, but as always, there a few teams waiting in the wings, ready to pounce if the top dogs find trouble down the stretch. These are the dark horse teams and although they don’t have extremely good odds to become champions this season, they still have strong value as long shots because if they pull through, you are bound to be swimming in cash and if they don’t, you won’t stand to lose much. However, to really be considered a dark horse, you also need to be a team with a decent shot at winning and we’ve got three picks that fit the bill. Here are the top 3 NBA dark horses:

1. Denver Nuggets – 40/1

After going on a nine-game winning streak toward the end of the first half of the season, the Nuggets propelled themselves into the Western Conference title hunt with a 33-21 record going into the All-Star break. The Nuggets near flawless record at home (22-3) and their high-scoring nature (105.1 points per game, 3rd in the league) makes them prime dark horse candidate, as does their 40/1 odds. The Nuggets have beaten several of the league’s top teams already and if they can improve their position slightly up from 5th in the West, they’ll receive home court in the first round of the playoffs, which is almost an assured advancement with the Nuggets. With the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs all playing top notch basketball, it certainly won’t be easy, but the Nuggets are one team that could surprise people, but not us. Denver is very valuable at 40/1.

2. Golden State Warriors – 50/1

The Warriors also are unfortunate to be in the ultra-competitive Western Conference this season, but considering they are just one game behind the Nuggets, they too are in strong position and if they are able to make a run late in the season, they could climb right to the top. Buoyed by a versatile offense that includes big man David Lee and guard Stephen Curry, the Warriors are also a threat to take down the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs, simply because they can keep up on the scoreboard. The Warriors are scoring 101 points per game, but also are allowing 101 points per game, so they are a little more of a long shot at 50/1. Still, they have the capabilities of boasting a stronger defense in the second half of the season. They are slightly less valuable than Denver, but still a solid pick at 50/1.

3. Brooklyn Nets – 33/1

Although the Nets have better odds – which in some cases would decrease their value as a dark horse – they do have a fairly complete team with Deron Williams running the point, Joe Johnson on the outside and Brook Lopez in the middle. They also happen to be in the East, which is slightly less competitive, as evidenced by the West’s All-Star win on Sunday. They are still definitely a dark horse, but a good one with a 31-22 record, which is only six and a half games back of the East-leading Heat. They’ve also played well recently, winning their last two games, so they could be poised to go on a run. Because of the aforementioned reasons, the Nets are our No. 3 pick at 33/1.

 

Monday Betting Tips: NBA Hoops

With Tim Duncan's availability in question, Chicago is favored over San Antonio on Monday night.

After what was another awesome weekend of college hoops, it’s time to change gear – hesitantly we might add, especially with the Kansas State-Kansas game taking place tonight – and take a look at the pros.

With eight games on the NBA schedule tonight, you’ve got plenty of action to choose from, but Casino Review has picked out three prime cuts for you to sink your teeth into, starting in Indianapolis.

 

Brooklyn Nets @ Indiana Pacers

7:00 PM ET

Indiana (31-20, 20-4 home) suffered a rare home loss on Friday, falling to the unlikely Raptors in overtime. Now Frank Vogels’ side will look to return to winning ways, and set about making the Bankers Life Fieldhouse a fortress once again. The Pacers had won 14 straight in the building before Friday’s loss.

Brooklyn (29-22, 11-12 road) has hit a rough patch of late, losing two straight, three from the last four, and six from the last nine. This slump has seen the Nets fall to the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference, just one game ahead of Atlanta. The Nets are also four games behind Atlantic Division-leading New York.

Expect a methodical, hard fought game, as both sides excel at restricting opponents’ scoring. The Pacers allows just 90.2 points per game (2nd) while the Nets allow 94.6 (5th). Indiana is No. 1 in the league when it comes to opponents’ field goal percentage, allowing teams to shoot a stingy .419.

This Season: Brooklyn handed Indiana a 97-86 loss on Jan. 13 at Barclays Center. After Monday night, the two sides will meet once more this season, on Apr. 14 in Indianapolis.

Favorite: Indiana Spread: Total: 183½

Take: INDIANA – Friday night’s loss to Toronto was just a blip on the radar, and the Pacers will be ready to lock down the Nets on Monday night. Take Indiana (28-23-0 ATS) to cover the spread, despite doing so less than half the time at home; Brooklyn (22-27-2 ATS) has not fared well against the spread this season. Take the total to go under, as has been the trend with both sides this season.

 

Washington Wizards @ Milwaukee Bucks

8:00 PM ET

Whilst a game between the Bucks and Wizards might not strike you as being must see TV, this could actually be one of the night’s more interesting games.

Milwaukee (25-24, 13-11 home) has slipped off the pace in the central division, and has also fallen behind the Celtics into No. 8 in the Eastern Conference. Between now and April, the Bucks could face a tough time holding onto that final playoff berth, even if the conference looks like a car wreck between positions nine and 15.

Washington (14-35, 3-21 road) was the laughing stock of the league for the early part of the season, but the Wizards have slowly been picking things up. It may come as a surprise, but the D.C. side has won three in a row. A win in Milwaukee will secure Randy Wittman’s side its longest winning streak of the year.

The Wizards have struggled on the road though, having lost four straight away from the Verizon Center. Milwaukee is susceptible though, having lost three straight and five from six. The Bucks have also lost five from six at home.

This Season: Milwaukee won on the road in Washington on Nov. 9, defeating the Wizards 101-91. The two sides will meet again on Mar. 13 in Washington, following Monday night’s game in Milwaukee.

Favorite: Milwaukee Spread: Total: 195

Take: WASHINGTON – Whilst the Wizards have struggled on the road, the side is due a win outside of D.C. and Milwaukee is ripe for the pickings. The Bucks look to be going nowhere but down, so Washington can score an upset here. Consider the Wizards (31-17-1 ATS) are also the league’s best team against the spread, so even if you’ve got the Bucks straight up, take the Wizards to cover. Take the total to go under, a trend that has been associated with both teams this season.

 

San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls

8:00 PM ET

After losing three in four, Chicago (30-20, 15-11 home) scored a 93-89 victory over Utah on Friday bringing a six-game road trip to an end with a 3-3 record. The Bulls return to the comfy confines of the United Center for one game before heading to Boston on Wednesday.

San Antonio (40-12, 18-10 road) is on an extensive road trip of its own. With the rodeo in the Alamo City, the Spurs have gone 2-1 in the first three games of a nine-game road stint. Fortunately for the side, the All-Star break will give the team a brief respite.

The Spurs served the Nets a lopsided 111-86 defeat in Brooklyn on Sunday night, and will look to fend-off the defensively-minded and resilient Bulls. That’s a tough task though as Chicago has won four straight home games and five of the last six.

This Season: Monday marks the first meeting between the sides this season. They’ll meet again on Mar. 6 in the Alamo City.

Favorite: Chicago Spread: 2 Total: 191

Take: SAN ANTONIO – Chicago will be the favorite due to the availability of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli being uncertain. However, despite better form of recent, Chicago has not been all that successful at home, especially against the spread. The Bulls (21-29-0 ATS) have compiled a 7-19-0 record against the spread at home. Meanwhile, San Antonio (29-21-2 ATS) has a winning record against the spread (and straight up) on the road and at home. Take the total to go under, something that is not uncommon in Chicago, and not uncommon when the aged Spurs take to the hardwood.

 

Remaining NBA Schedule (Monday)

Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers

Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Bobcats

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Cleveland Cavaliers

New Orleans Hornets @ Detroit Pistons

Atlanta Hawks @ Dallas Mavericks