Basketball picksMarch 6, 2020

Miami Heat vs. New Orleans Pelicans Betting Preview

The Miami Heat take their four-game winning streak to New Orleans for a battle with the Pelicans on Friday night. The 40-22 Heat sit 13 games behind the Bucks for the lead in the Eastern Conference and 3.5 games behind the Raptors in second.

The Pelicans have looked like a different team with Zion Williamson; unfortunately, it hasn’t yet translated into their record. They are 26-36, 5 games behind the Grizzlies for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are 22 games behind the West-leading Lakers.

This game features two of the NBA’s most exciting teams right now. Even with the Pelicans floundering, their rookie superstar attracts all of the attention. The Heat are competing with Boston and Toronto for the title of the best team in the East not named the Bucks. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 pm ET. Let’s take a betting preview look at this game.

The Heat is On

Miami is coming off a four-game winning streak that saw them beat two really good teams, and one great one. They obliterated the Bucks 105-89 on Monday night, then went on to beat the Magic by three in Miami on Wednesday night. After the win over the Bucks, Jimmy Butler said that this was the way the team could play all the time if they were more consistent.

Butler is putting up 20.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. His defensive ability has made him one of the best players in the Eastern Conference. Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic are both putting up over 16 points per game as well. Adebayo also averages 10.5 rebounds and five assists per game.

Battling For New Orleans

The Pelicans are seeking desperately to come up and grab the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Right now, they’re in it just as much as every team 8-12 are. All five teams are within five games of each other. The Pels are 12th, and five games behind eighth. Zion has been stealing all of the spotlight as of late, but it’s a different Pelican that has caught my eye.

Brandon Ingram is easily having the best year of his career. He’s developed into the scorer that NBA scouts thought that he would be a few years ago. He’s putting up 24.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Throw in Zion’s 24 points, seven rebounds, and 2.2 assists, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a future.

Against the Wall and the Spread

These two teams have been extremely similar against the spread this season. Miami is 32-28-2, and New Orleans is 31-29-2. Not bad for the Pels who are nowhere near the Heat’s league in wins. The Pelicans are only 15-16 at home against the spread this season.

Miami, who has been the best team in the league against the spread at home this season, comes in 12-18-1 on the road. The third-worst record in the NBA. The Heat are favored by 1.5 points in this game. The over/ under is set at 235.5.

For more info on this game, check out our matchup page. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksMarch 5, 2020

LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

After winning five straight games, the LA Clippers head to Houston on Thursday for a classic showdown with the Rockets, featuring two of the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers are in second at 42-19, five games behind the Lakers, while the 39-21 Rockets sit in fourth, 2.5 games behind the Clippers, and 7.5 behind the Lakers.

Both teams head into Thursday’s matchup fully healthy, which should give fans the battle royale that they want. The Clippers are coming off a Tuesday night win against Oklahoma City, while the Rockets are coming off a tough road loss to the Knicks on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. Read on for more on the game in our betting preview.

Results of the Duo

The combination of a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both on the floor has been a winning one for the Clippers. They come in 21-7 when both are on the floor. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. He also grabs nearly two steals per game.

George is averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game himself. Throw in Lou Williams’ ability to score on demand with Patrick Beverley’s ability to defend anyone in the league, and you’ve got yourself a winning team. The Clippers rank top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating in the league.

The Other Dynamic Duo

Since James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited, they’ve both played just as they always have, out of their minds. Westbrook’s efficiency and shooting percentage even went up. The superstar is taking way fewer bad shots. Harden is averaging an NBA-leading 35 points per game, and his step-back seems to get better with age.

The Rockets’ decision to go small and trade away Nene and Clint Capela has worked out so far. The additions of Robert Covington and Jordan Bell allow the Rockets to go even smaller, spreading the floor.

This gives Westbrook the driving lanes he needs, and Harden the open looks from deep that he needs. All feast, no famine. Covington and fellow sniper Eric Gordon both average around 14 points per game. Covington is shooting nearly 37% from three since joining the Rockets.

Spreading it Out Farther

Los Angeles has been better this season against the spread, as well as by record. The Clippers are 33-28 against the spread this season, while the Rockets are only 29-31. The Rockets are just over .500 against the spread at home, at 15-14. The Clippers are an even .500 on the road, at 15-15.

The Rockets are favored in this showdown by one point. The over/under is set at 237. Place your bets, ladies and gents. Good Luck!

For more on this game, check out the matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 28, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Milwaukee Bucks Betting Preview

The 36-22 Oklahoma City Thunder head to Milwaukee to square off against the best team in the NBA, the 50-8 Bucks, on Friday. The Bucks recently became the third-fastest team in history to reach 50 wins, just behind the 2016-17 Warriors and the 1995-96 Bulls. Milwaukee has won four straight since the All-Star break.

Oklahoma City sits in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, nine games behind the Lakers and just a half-game ahead of the Jazz. The Thunder are 8-2 over their last 10 games and show no signs of slowing down. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET, so let’s do a betting preview of this contest.

Thunder Rolling

As the NBA season works it’s way down the stretch, the Thunder keep getting better. They’ve gone from staying afloat, to firmly in the playoff picture over the last six weeks. Led by veteran point guard Chris Paul, the Thunder rank 4th in the NBA in field goal percentage and 7th in turnovers per game.

Paul himself is averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Paul hasn’t had to do it all himself, teammates Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Dennis Schroder are all averaging over 19 points per game. Steven Adams is averaging 11 and putting up nearly 10 boards per game.

Running With the Deer

The Bucks show no signs of giving any team in the East an easy run to the Finals. Their 50 wins before March shows just how special this team could be. Giannis Antetokounmpo has become a top five player in the NBA in any given night, and he just keeps improving.

Khris Middleton keeps hitting threes at a ridiculous clip. And Eric Bledsoe is able to score and distribute at a high clip.

The Bucks have been favored for much of the season, and that won’t change on Friday night. Not coming off of four straight wins, including a couple of blowouts. They’re coming off a game in which they beat the Pistons by 20, a game in which Giannis had 33 points and 16 rebounds.

The Thunder’s defense should give Giannis more of a fit, but enough to win? That remains to be seen.

Attention Bucks Bettors

If you’ve bet the Bucks hard this season, congratulations, you’ve made some money. The Bucks are 34-24 against the spread this season. It doesn’t get much better than that, right? Wrong.

The best team in the league at covering spreads this season has easily been Oklahoma City. They come in at 38-20 against the spread. They’re an astounding 21-6 against the spread on the road.

So, who are you taking? The Bucks are currently favored by 10.5 points. Both teams have made bank this season, and look to continue to do so Friday night. See you there and good luck!

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more odds and action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 27, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers Betting Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers head East on Thursday night for a showdown with the Indiana Pacers. Indiana sits just inside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, with a 34-24 record, putting them in 6th place. The Blazers are on the outside of the West’s playoff picture, looking in. They’re 26-33, currently in the 9th spot.

We’ll take a closer look at this game in our betting preview.

The battle, which is set to be a good one, lost a bit of its flare this week. It looks like the Blazers will head into the matchup without Damian Lillard, who is day to day with a groin injury.

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, who recently returned from injury, is also once again sidelined with a back injury. We will have to see how the teams fare without one of each of their biggest scorers.

CJ Leads the Way

In the absence of Damian Lillard, teammate C.J. McCollum will have to step up and showcase the skills that make him a star in the league. McCollum is averaging 22 points, four rebounds, and four assists on the season, all while shooting nearly 39% from deep.

Lillard shoots 10 threes per game, so CJ and company will have to find a way to make up for the range they’ll be missing. The answer is likely CJ.

Trevor Ariza will also be assisting with some of those threes. Ariza is shooting over 40% from range, which is an evergreen statement for his entire career. In the paint, the Blazers leave it on the shoulders of Hassan Whiteside, who’s putting up 15.9 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. Whiteside grabs 4 of those boards per game on the offensive end.

Sabonis Rising Up

Domantas Sabonis has turned into an absolute phenom since donning a Pacers jersey. Sabonis is shooting 54% from the field while putting up 18.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. Sabonis’ 18.3 is second on the team to T.J. Warren, who’s putting up 18.5 points per game.

Warren has progressively improved over the last three seasons, becoming an asset for the Pacers.

The Pacers have had plenty of practice without Oladipo. On paper, the game lost some of its flare, but in real life, the Pacers have the advantage when it comes to injuries. Oladipo has only appeared in eight games this season; Dame has started 54 for the Blazers.

Playing Against the Spread

Statistically, Portland is one of the worst teams in the NBA against the spread this season. They have only beat the spread 23 times, only Detroit and Minnesota have fewer. Indiana, on the other hand, has been pretty good. They’re 31-26-1, covering 54.4% of the time.

The Pacers are 20-10 at home this season. They’re 15-14-1 at home against the spread this season. Portland is 10-20 on the road this season, 12-18 against the spread. We will see who’s numbers improve on Thursday night. The Pacers are favored by 10 points headed into tip-off.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 21, 2020

Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Preview

The NBA welcomes fans back with a full slate of NBA action on Friday, including the Celtics heading to the Midwest to square off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Read on for our betting preview of this contest.

Boston remains highly in playoff contention, sitting at 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The Timberwolves have only 16 wins on the season, their only glimmer of hope coming from the recent acquisition of D’Angelo Russell.

The Celtics’ 38-16 record puts them eight games behind the conference-leading Bucks and only 1.5 behind the second-place Raptors. They’re 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The Timberwolves are only 1-9 in their last 10, and 16-37 overall. They recently unloaded top draft pick Andrew Wiggins to the Warriors for Russell. Only time will tell how that works out for them. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET on Friday night.

Celtic Magic

Brad Stephens once again shows that he can make the best of any roster handed to him this year, though this is an exceptionally talented roster. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been phenomenal for the group. Tatum is averaging 22.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals on the season. Brown is putting up 20.2, 6.4, and 1.1.

Brown went into the All-Star break with a day to day status due to a calf injury. His status for Friday’s game is not yet known. Kemba Walker has been bringing his 21.8 points and five assists per game all season and has been relentless since joining a contending team. Throw Gordon Hayward in the mix, and you’ve got a championship-caliber team.

Ice Cold in Minnesota

Few players would have been happier to arrive in icy Minnesota after playing in sunny California. However, Russell was about as happy as one could be about coming to a struggling team in Minnesota.

After all, his previous team was literally the worst in the league. Russell is averaging 24 points and eight assists on the season, which should easily replace Wiggins production and then some.

Karl-Anthony Towns leads the team in most of everything and has become one of the most dynamic bigs in the game. Towns is putting up 26.5 points and 10.8 boards per game. It’s also extremely difficult to gain position on him on the defensive end of the floor. Towns blocks only 1.2 shots per game, but it’s those that he alters that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Hot and Cold

It remains to be seen if the Celtics can actually catch the likes of the Bucks in the East. It would take a major stumble from Milwaukee. Overall, the Celtics are second to only OKC at covering the spread this season at 32-20-2. Minnesota is the worst team in the league when it comes to covering. 18-33-2. Yikes.

The Celtics are favored by 6.5 points in this game, with an over/under of 228.5. And in this one, don’t expect the unexpected. I would expect exactly what the matchup looks like on paper.

For more on this game, check out our matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 19, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Betting Preview

A couple of old Central Division foes square off as the NBA makes its post-break return. The Detroit Pistons are set to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night as part of a full slate of NBA games. The Pistons sit 28.5 games behind the Bucks, who own the best record in the league at 46-8. Tip-off is set for 7 pm ET. Read on for our betting preview of this contest.

The Bucks are 8-2 over their last 10 games, which is basically the same scorching pace they’ve maintained all season. Stay healthy, and they can do damage down the stretch. The Pistons, on the other hand, aren’t in contention for much of anything.

With Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard both being mainstays on the injury report, they just haven’t had enough gas in the tank to keep up with even the bottom of the East’s playoff picture. They’re six games behind the eighth-place Magic, who are 22.5 behind the Bucks.

Bucking Around

How much better can Giannis Antetokounmpo get? Well, it seems every year he plays, he will improve something. He has become an absolute terror on both ends, the past two seasons. He leads the Bucks in points, rebounds, and assists. And he isn’t far behind in blocks and steals.

At this rate, Giannis may spend the next few years collecting MVP’s, and maybe some other trophies as well.

Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe have been the perfect complements to Giannis’ game this season, as they both help out in all categories. Middleton is shooting nearly 44% from three-point range this season, and he attempts 5.5 per game. Bledsoe is shooting 48% from the field and averages 5.3 assists per game.

Cold in the D(etroit)

Another season, another Derrick Rose resurgence. Unfortunately for the Pistons, his resurgence isn’t enough to counteract the injuries of Griffin and Kennard. Rose leads the team in scoring and assists with averages of 18.2 and 5.8. He’s shooting just under 50% from the field on the season.

Things won’t get much easier for Rose anytime soon as the Pistons also just traded away Andre Drummond to Cleveland. Drummond led the team in blocks, rebounds, and steals. He was also less than half a point behind Rose’s scoring average. Large shoes to fill for a shallow roster of youngsters.

Points and Pointers

Heading into Thursday’s matchup, the Bucks are favored by 12.5 points. Vegas doesn’t care if the best team in the NBA is on the road. Milwaukee is 15-10 against the spread on the road this season. The Pistons are 11-18 against the spread at home.

Overall, Milwaukee has only lost five games on the road this season, tied with the Lakers for NBA best. The over/under is set at 224.5. The Bucks can put up points in droves at times. Tune in Thursday for all the NBA excitement.

For more on this matchup, check out the matchup page. For more NBA odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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