Not a great day yesterday for me, but with a full slate of games tonight there is no rest for the weary. Getting right into it…
Orlando (-3) @ Philadelphia (195 o/u)
…with one of the worst games of the season. Oof. Orlando is fun to watch for stretches, and the Sixers do play with some good pace, but if you like clean, fundamentally sound basketball you should probably flip over to Hawks-Spurs instead.
I think Orlando has more talent, but still not enough talent to be a clear favorite on the road, even against Philly. They are on night two of a road back-to-back, too. Just nothing really working in their favor except for the fact that, you know, they get to play the Sixers.
With all of that information, I’d still take Orlando at like, -6. I just don’t see Philly being able to compete.
Pick: Orlando -3
Miami (189.5 o/u) @ Charlotte (-1.5)
Both teams are on a back-to-back, but Miami’s on the road. Charlotte has looked ugly so far this season, and I think it’s pretty clear that Miami is further along in the process of being a 2014-15 NBA team than the Hornets are.
Even so, this line is fair. It’s hard to win on the road without rest in the NBA, and the Heat aren’t a juggernaut, just a solid team. I’ll take them here because I like any bet where the better team is the underdog.
Pick: Miami +1.5
Toronto (203.5 o/u) @ Boston (-1.5)
I’m going to this game, and I couldn’t be more excited. As you will know if you read this blog even semi-regularly, I love the Raptors. They are so much fun and I try to catch them whenever they come to Boston – Lowry, DeRozan, Ross and Johnson are all among my favorite NBA players.
I’m also a huge Celtics fan, though, and the comeback in Dallas on Monday was SO much fun. Seeing Smart and Bradley harass Devin Harris as he tried to bring the ball up the court was amazing, and exactly what every Celts fan wanted to see this season with that duo in the backcourt. Brad Stevens is a great coach and there is real hope for this team.
They are catching Toronto on a back-to-back, but again – I have this thing about betting against a better team when they are the underdogs. I’m going to take Toronto here, but I’ll be cheering for Boston at the Garden.
Pick: Toronto +1.5
Minnesota (209.5 o/u) @ Brooklyn (-5)
This one has Stay Away written all over it for me. Both these teams have been all over the map so far this early season, and until I see more from them, I really don’t want to touch either one. Brooklyn currently registers as the #2 NBA offense, for instance, which I find hard to believe will be sustained. Are they even a top 10 offense in this league over a full season? I kind of doubt it.
New York (186 o/u) @ Detroit (-4)
Drummond should FEAST on the Knicks big man rotation tonight, and unless Melo goes off (which is totally a possibility, even though people forget how good Josh Smith can be defensively) then I think New York is in trouble. Detroit isn’t going to lose 60 games this season, and they have to start picking up some W’s at home soon.
I love this line for the Pistons. New York is on a back-to-back on the road, while the Pistons had yesterday off and are playing at home (and with the motivation of their first win still hanging out there).
Pick: Detroit -4
Indiana (187.5 o/u) @ Washington (-9.5)
This one is an easy go for Washington to me. They should absolutely win this game by double digits at home. If they want to be a true Eastern Conference contender then these are the kinds of wins they have to get decisively.
The Hibbert-Gortat match-up is interesting for me, and I can see Indiana hanging around for a while with their toughness and grind-it-out style, but you have to score points when it counts, and they just can’t do that with this active roster.
Pick: Washington -9.5 & Under 187.5
Chicago (-4.5) @ Milwaukee (190.5 o/u)
I have to take the Bulls here, even with Rose questionable and Noah doubtful. I just think they’re still a much better team and the stakes are higher for them in games like this. The under also intrigues me with neither team having a dominant offensive option and having defensive anchors (Gibson for Chicago, Sanders for Milwuakee) that can really impact the game on that end.
Pick: Chicago -4.5 & Under 190.5
Atlanta (201 o/u) @ San Antonio (-8)
I hate betting against the Spurs, but the Hawks should hang in this game. The tough thing is that the Hawks could be right in it with four minutes to go and still lose by 12 because San Antonio is just so good at executing down the stretch.
I like the over more than I like the spread either way. These are two offensive-minded teams that shoot the ball well and often from deep. Budenholzer-Popovich is a fun coaching match-up, and I’m saving this game on my DVR for tomorrow morning.
Pick: Over 201
Memphis (193 o/u) @ Phoenix (-1.5)
This is a big test for the 3-1 Suns at home, hosting the undefeated Memphis Grizzlies. If Phoenix wants to compete for a playoff spot they are going to have to win quite a few games like this. They also played late last night in L.A., a fast-paced affair that was closer than it should have been.
Memphis had the day off, on the other hand, and should be well rested. This clash of contrasting styles can make for interesting basketball, and I think that it favors the better defensive team in this case.
Pick: Memphis +1.5
Cleveland (-5.5) @ Utah (204.5 o/u)
Utah has been friskier than most predicted, while Cleveland has been the opposite. If we were going by the numbers and basketball so far this season, Utah would be an easy pick at +5.5. However LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love play for the Cavs, and just because they haven’t jelled yet doesn’t mean this team isn’t going to be awesome. I predict a BIG Cavs win tonight in Utah, their version of a statement game before everyone panics.
Pick: Cleveland -5.5
Denver (203 o/u) @ Sacramento (-4)
The Kings have been a surprise so far, outperforming expectations, while the Nuggets have been dreadful compared to projections. This collision of teams that are so far off what I expected them to be is interesting, but it’s also incredibly hard to pick. As a gauge, I’m going to pick the Nuggets, which is what I would have done with the knowledge I had prior to the last week of basketball. I want to see if I was really as far off as the first few games have indicated on these two squads, and this is a good way to test it.
Pick: Denver +4
LA Clippers (210 o/u) @ Golden State (-4.5)
One of the best rivalries in the sport reignites tonight by the Bay. This line has really inflated on Golden State’s side because of their early success and the Clipps early struggles, but I’m sticking with my theory that the early season trends have been more anomaly than reality and taking LA on this spread.
Pick: LAC +4.5 & Under 210