January 25, 2021, 1:37 am
Hot dog, we have a wiener! After victory was snatched from us by a pair of buzzer-beaters in Phoenix on Saturday, stealing what should have been a 2-0 day… we came right back with a 2-0 Sunday! Still a shame about that bad beat, but we’ll keep grinding out winners, slowly but surely.
#Hornets @ #Magic (-2) (213.5)
I’m assuming Aaron Gordon is back for this one, though I guess nothing is set in stone. He was out for back issues, but it was also the front end of a back-to-back, so… in any case, the Magic ran out of gas in the first game back home off a long road trip, but they still nearly won it if not for Gordon Hayward going nuts and Devonte’ Graham actually not shooting horribly in the second half. A lot of things had to go right for Charlotte to steam past Orlando and grab the win on Sunday. I’ll go ahead and ride the flip and lean Orlando to play some slightly better defense.
#Sixers (-7) @ Pistons (215.5)
The Sixers, as expected, snoozed their way through a narrow win over Detroit on Saturday, and assuming no one rests, I think they’ll put together a more complete effort here, particularly on the defensive end. Laying 7 on the road is a pretty big number, but from a sheer talent perspective, there’s no reason Philly should have let the last one stay as close as they did. If Joel Embiid sits, though, this is a very different game. I lean to the road favorite, but I can’t bring myself to get on it until we know if Joel is playing.
#Raptors @ #Pacers
Yet another Rematch. I mean, we’re really in it now, folks. The Raptors put the clamps on Indiana first thing on Sunday morning in a game that really had a Sunday morning feel. Myles Turner and OG Anunoby were brilliant, but mostly everyone else was just okay. And that’s where I think we have an angle once we see a line, here. Indy was favored by 4.5 with Toronto missing Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, and if either of those dudes plays in the rematch, the line will move toward 2, 1 or even a PICK, at which point I think the value shifts back over to the Pacers. And I realize this is lazy handicapping, but Domantas Sabonis going 1-for-10 against the likes of Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher is not bound to happen again.
#Lakers (-10) @ #Cavaliers (213.5)
I’m just not getting in front of the Lakers right now. Simple as that. I also can’t lay double digits on the road, but look at what LA is doing to teams right now. It’s a bludgeoning. Every fiber of my being wants to bet the Cavs to bounce back from a half-hearted effort in Boston, but they’re in an emotional lull after those big wins over Brooklyn, and if they’re not at top level, Bron and AD will pulverize. I’ll leave this one alone, thank you.
#Heat @ #Nets (-7.5) (235)
ANOTHER Rematch! This is wild. I know they’re part of the process, but to have them all happening at the same time is a little different. Brooklyn got out to a big lead in the first meeting on Saturday and slowly let it wither while Bam Adebayo posted a 40-burger. And if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, Brooklyn has no business laying more than a couple possessions while they remain unable to defend even poor offensive teams. I actually think Miami might very well win this game outright.
#Spurs @ Pelicans
This line popped up at Pels by 3 but has since come off, presumably due to San Antonio’s penchant for resting veterans on the back-to-back. The Spurs handled Washington in 3 quarters on Sunday, so maybe the vets get to give it a go. In any case, this game has ugly written all over it. The Spurs are, oddly, on revenge, having lost to the Pels near the end of December. The Pels are in their first game back home off a horrific 1-5 road trip out west, which you’d think might put them in desperation mode, but coming home always has that same weird impact. Lean to Spurs, though personnel will make a difference for sure.
#Celtics @ #Bulls
I assume we’re waiting on the status of Jayson Tatum to get a line, here. Regardless, this is NOT one of the games I’m targeting. Boston looks like they’re getting a little edge back after losing two to the Sixers, but it was also a Cavs on letdown, so who knows, there. The Bulls have been pretty good this year, so if they’re catching more than 4-5 points you probably have to look their way. Sadly, though, I’m guessing this line is pretty near that and we’ll leave it alone.
#Nuggets (-1.5) @ #Mavericks (222)
The fact that we have a line here suggests Dallas is likely still without their infirmed starters. And I like the Nugs here. Dallas beat Denver in Denver in their last game with most of their guys. Remember, a few had to stay back in the mountains to quarantine. I have no idea if they’ve finally been able to leave. That said, I’m a bit concerned about Denver playing so much overtime with Phoenix. Does that take its toll on their legs a couple days later? Competing angles, revenge versus letdown tell us to quietly step through, though if I had to choose I probably look at the Mavs to catch Denver still feeling tired.
#Thunder @ #Blazers (-6) (222)
Portland has no business laying 6 points to anyone with the lineups they’re trotting out. They can’t defend… at all… and if Dame isn’t otherworldly, I don’t know how they keep up with middling teams. The Thunder are below average, yes, but they never stop fighting, and they have serious wing and guard defensive options if they want to throw Dort or Shai at Dame for stretches. Both teams are on back-to-back. Portland didn’t have to travel but finished much later on Sunday. The Thunder traveled from LA but finished with the Clippers about 6 hours earlier.
#Wolves @ #Warriors (-8) (225.5)
I don’t have a great feel for the Warriors, but I’m not in the business of betting on Minnesota to hang in there these days. They did manage to cover against Orlando and actually beat the fetid Pels straight up, but these close games feel more like catching teams napping than actually putting together great basketball… or even good basketball. The Warriors are all over the map themselves, and you guys know how I feel about unpredictability. I dislike it.