• Thursday was a bit of a boring card despite a few marquee games. We save our bullets for the right moments. And there are probably a few mixed in, here.

    #Bulls @ #Hornets

    Honest to goodness, I can’t even remember the last time the Hornets played. It was 6 days back. The Bulls are on a nice little push, but it’s hard to balance the rest of these days. We’ve seen teams with medium breaks like Charlotte get running a bit but seem a bit disjointed. But they’ve been able to practice, so I’d reckon all parties should be fine. This is a prime pass game.

    #Magic @ #Pacers

    The Pacers have now been back home for a game and got that ugly one out of their systems. The Magic are not good. The question isn’t really whether Indiana plays better here than their last two – it’s whether they can cover what should be a relatively steep number that might be hard to lay. Myles Turner’s status will weigh heavily here.

    #Rockets @ #Pistons

    Houston will be without John Wall and now Christian Wood is bang up, as well, which means Boogie gets in the mix and I’m not sure that’s particularly helpful. The Pistons have been quietly competitive of late, and I bet they see this game as a winnable one. Wayne Ellington’s recent floor-spacing has been an under-the-radar help for a Detroit team that was robbed of a win and a cover by OT against the Hawks in their last one.

    #Celtics @ #76ers

    Philly was able to free throw their way to a win and a cover two days ago, and we were happy to cash that ticket. I would expect Boston comes back stronger here in the rematch, though it’s not like they magically have someone that can deal with Joel Embiid. Lobbying might be the best weapon to limit Philly’s foul shots. Boston was able to keep that first meeting tight throughout without playing all that well. I like the Celtics to win this outright.

    #Heat @ #Raptors

    Ah, another rematch. Toronto showed, yet again, that they’re just not the same team this year… maybe it’s playing in Tampa, but something is just off. Miami beat the Raptors by 9 with Toronto shooting just 40%. I’m inclined to think Toronto plays better overall, but the question becomes whether that should push us toward an Over wager or the Raps side. Let’s get a number and make a call then.

    #Nets (-10) @ #Cavaliers (227)

    A rematch of the Nets/Cavs game that went to 2-OT before Cleveland was able to grab the win. And I know it’s counterintuitive, but I don’t think I’m fading the winner in the rematch. Brooklyn has no business laying 10 points regardless of their firepower because they’re just not defending teams. I might end up passing here since I hate to bet against the losing team not playing better, but what does that even mean? Can they defend enough to win by double digits? Maybe the Under makes more sense.

    #Hawks @ #Wolves

    This is a rematch, but it’s more of a home-and-home with a game in-between. The Wolves tried to hang tough with Atlanta two games back but ultimately drifted away for a Hawks cover. This one, unlike the previous game, I do have an inkling to get on the revenge team. I wonder about the line, though. The Hawks aren’t overvalued any more. After losing a bunch they’ve become relatively cheap to bet on, so unless I can get the Wolves and what I’d call a medium allotment of points, it might not be enough to entice me.

    #Mavericks (-3) @ #Spurs (222)

    I don’t think I want anything to do with this one. The Mavs might have gotten their groove back a little in Indiana, and the Spurs are a total Jekyll and Hyde team. Unpredictability can be good for some things, but not for individual full-game marks. Maybe go live betting on this one.

    #Thunder @ #Clippers (-12.5) (219.5)

    That’s a monster of a number, but it’s probably fair. The Thunder are leveling off a bit, though they remain pretty competitive in most games… outside of their last one in Denver. This is the front end of a rematch, so if we have any trepidation whatsoever, we can always watch one and play the next. No real lean on this front end.

    #Knicks @ #Kings (-4) (218.5)

    I’d say the Kings have no business laying 4 points to anyone right now, but the Knicks are here on a back-to-back, and the Kings are hanging by a thread. Desperation is a weird scent. But here’s the thing: if you can’t defend, the Kings really, really can’t defend, you should almost never be a favorite. 4 points isn’t many, so it’s doable, but with the Kings you basically always have to start with the opposition and talk yourself out of it.

    #Nuggets @ #Suns (-1) (218.5)

    This is something of a sneaky revenge game from a much earliest contest. The Suns beat the Nuggets in Denver, and the situation is pretty nice for a Denver win. The Suns are trying to settle back in after a long layoff, there’s still some chemistry stuff going on, and Denver has, a little quietly, started to play some defense. They might be getting Michael Porter Jr. back for this one, and I usually like to fade key players returning, but MPJ isn’t going to be orchestrating offense – he’s just a very talented scorer to plop around Jokic. Lean to Denver.

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