• The funny thing is that I pretty much nailed the handicap on the Sunday card, but somehow we went 1-2 on plays. I knew Utah/Denver was going to be weird, and that should have been a small play, if anything. The Pacers had a weird letdown, maybe because of no Embiid on the other side, and the Wizards got their slump-buster against the defense-free Nets. I knew the Cavs line was a trap. I knew Orlando needed more than the line would likely be. But yet, we got frisky with a third bet and it cost us. Still 1-2 isn’t the end of the world, so a bounceback should be pretty easy if we keep seeing cards well. Onto Monday.

    #Wolves @ #Cavaliers

    Rematch! I ended up leaving the first one alone because the line looked too damn trappy, and sure enough, it was. But now they flip venues and have at it again, this time with the Cavs likely to lay a much larger number. And I hate it, again. If this thing shifts the way I think it might, Cleveland might have to cover 6-7 points, and that’s a lot for a slumping team. I’d still look their way, but it’s going to be a stretch to get me on board.

    #Lakers (-6.5) @ #Hawks (220)

    The Lakers got the defense back on track against Boston, but you know damn well Atlanta has been waiting on this one. The question is whether we get good Trae or bad Trae. Dennis Schroder is a pretty good defender, and of course AD at the rim is magical, but Trae seems to have his groove back of late. I think this should be a good game, and I reckon both teams are up for it.

    #Hornets @ #Heat

    LaMelo’s recent surge has powered the Hornets to a couple nice wins, but the Heat are starting to look a little more like themselves. This one is going to come down to whether we feel there’s value. I’d like to get on Heat off ending their losing skid but the Hornets might just be too hot to fade right now.

    #Kings @ #Pelicans (-4.5) (230)

    End of a 4-game road trip for Sacramento who, to their credit, have played quite well. It’s not quite like the end of a 5 or 6 gamer, but this is absolutely a fatigue spot. That said, the Pels beat the Kings and the Rockets beat ’em down pretty good, ending their short 2-game win streak. This is a game of competing angles… Kings fatigue versus a recent streak of better play and some revenge.

    #Knicks @ #Bulls (-4.5) (218)

    This is the front end of a Rematch Set, and without any other big angles, a great spot to just watch game one and see if it presents any regression-related angles for game two. Both games will be a battle of pace. Bulls want speed. Knicks want to grind.

    #Rockets (-5.5) @ #Thunder (222)

    Houston is having fun, man. The Thunder are in their second game back home off the long road trip, so they’ll be better in this one than the last, but again, with competing angles (Thunder have energy, Rockets surging), you really need to dig into the line and see if there’s anything there. I’m inclined to pass.

    #Blazers @ #Bucks (-11) (235)

    The Bucks have not looked good at all lately, and frankly, all year they’ve been a bit lackadaisical. They’re not as invested in the regular season, defensively more than anything else, but after losing a few, this game scares the hell out of me. The Blazers only real shot is against teams that don’t play any defense. If the Bucks show up at all…

    #Grizzlies @ #Spurs

    A nice little opportunity for the Spurs to get right after coming out tired and with minimal resistance against the Grizzlies on Saturday. I saw a few things I liked as fade points from game one between these two clubs. Memphis shot 56% and hit 17 threes. DeMar DeRozan had 5 points on 6 shots. Derrick White’s first game back was solid but there’s always an issue with working a guy back in. The Grizzlies were over-amped and had the hustle edge, and 34 assists is just madness. It just won’t be that easy again.

    #Suns @ #Mavericks

    The Mavs need a win, and the Suns were able to push away late in the front end of this Rematch Set. Normally I’d look at the fade on what we saw in the first game, but at this point I haven’t seen anything from Dallas to make me think a win is coming. Dallas shot 53% and lost by 6. Free throws played a huge role. Can Dallas keep Phoenix off the foul line? Will KP’s return fix that?

    #Pistons @ #Nuggets

    Denver’s second game back home and Detroit off a really bad loss in Golden State. This game is asking me to play the big favorite, but I just can’t bring myself to lay that level of chalk. The one factor pushing me toward the underdog is that the Nuggets head to LA for a TNT game on Thursday, but that’s after 2 days off. Can the look-ahead really be that big of a deal, here? I doubt it. That said, I do like the Nuggets in that game as we plan out our week.

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