January 17, 2021, 11:45 pm
Games start early, so we do, too! A 3-0 weekend has us feeling groovy.
#Magic @ #Knicks (PK) (208)
Knicks snapped out of their little funk in a nice way against the Celtics, and they come right back with another early game, and this might actually be a good thing for them, now having already dealt with one early start. The MLK morning game is always a bit clunky, and the Magic have shown a real weakness with dribble penetration since Fultz went down. I like the Knicks with their interior defense (assuming Mitch-Rob is okay) to slow down the Magic and force Orlando into a jumpshooting game.
#Cavaliers @ #Wizards
Washington, apparently, is back to being able to play. I didn’t see precisely who was available, but I think this game would have been postponed already if it wasn’t expected to go. I don’t know if we can bet it, but if we did, I’d look at the rested Wizards or the Under (once we get a line) might be the play. A weird start time, a team that hasn’t gone in forever, and a Cavs team that stresses defense and will be incorporating Jarrett Allen. Should be disjointed and weird.
#Wolves @ #Hawks (-8) (228.5)
This might be the game that gets the Hawks back on track. That said, Atlanta has been bad at home, and Trae Young still looks out of sorts. I just can’t bring myself to trust the Wolves without KAT, and even moreso without KAT and Rubio. That’s too much inefficient D-Lo. Best to leave this one alone, I’d say.
#Spurs @ #Blazers (-1.5) (225)
I’m a bit surprised we have a line on this game, and I’m thinking the short spread means there’s no McCollum, who sprained his foot in Portland’s last game. The Blazers picked up for CJ with a comeback win over Atlanta, but this one could be a letdown, and the Spurs can throw a lot of long bodies at Dame. I’d be floored if San Antonio wasn’t coming prepared to blitz Dame and back someone else beat them. I would lean to the Spurs here, assuming they actually gameplan the right way for a beat up Blazers club.
#Pistons @ #Heat
The Pistons steamrolled Miami on Saturday, and I almost don’t care who plays on the Heat side… this is a prime bounceback spot. They’re slowly getting players back, though it sounds like Jimmy Butler still isn’t cleared and Tyler Herro has a neck issue. Still, they’re coached well enough to get it done, and I don’t expect another Derrick Rose turn-back-the-clock night. I also don’t expect another 22-turnover game. Lean to Heat, but the line will help dictate our move.
#Suns (-3) @ #Grizzlies
The Suns are back in action, and we haven’t heard about any positive tests, so perhaps all the contact tracing went well, one week was scratched, and they’re all okay? The layoff probably helps guys like Deandre Ayton, who really hadn’t been able to catch his breath. That said, no practices means the team is still feeling out the pieces. The Grizzlies looked motivated in their last one with Ja Morant returning. I just have no idea if the Suns are focused or lost in the clouds in this first game back after the layoff. Pass.
#Mavericks @ #Raptors
The Mavs have most of their team in quarantine, still, and this is the second half of a back-to-back after a midday Sunday affair, but I can’t help but think that maybe the back-to-back is good for us because it assists the line. Why? Because I want to back the Mavs but I’m not doing it unless the number works. The Raptors can’t guard anybody, so I have no idea how they’re going to handle Luka Doncic. There’s almost no way this isn’t a tightly contested game, so assuming Dallas is a dog, that’s where I’d look first.
#Bucks (-2.5) @ #Nets (238.5)
Star power! So much star power! Milwaukee is going to want to show dominance against the already-anointed Nets. You guys already know I’m in Nets fade mode until they learn how to play together. I might also consider the Under. This number is crazy high for a team that has no idea how to pass to one another. The fear is that the Bucks put up 130 because Brooklyn can’t defend.
#Rockets @ #Bulls
The Rockets get Victor Oladipo for this one but it sounds like John Wall is still out. The Bulls are on back-to-back after a day game in Dallas on Sunday, but I don’t think fatigue is a serious issue for a pretty young Chicago team. Closing games is a problem for them, but with the Rockets working a new piece into the picture, this could swing a few ways. I want to fade Oladipo’s debut, but I wanted to fade it when he was trying to coexist with other higher usage guys. With Wall out, Victor is basically the man on offense right out of the chute, and they’ll just start running.
#Warriors @ #Lakers (-9) (223.5)
I’m not laying 9 points but I’m also not getting in the way of the Lakers sledgehammer. They’re playing too well right now and crushing spirits in the process. If you think the Lakers have a good gamplan for Steph, the play is probably the Under, but there aren’t a ton of bonus angles on this game, so I’d probably call the line fairly accurate and move on.