NBA Picks Week 10 – Updated Daily!

December 22, 2019

Saturday Against The Spread Plays

Toronto Raptors 21-10 at Boston Celtics 22-7


Opening Line: Celtics -6.5 and 216.5
Current Line: Celtics -6 and 216

This is a rematch from Christmas Day, and a game the Celtics won 118-102 in Toronto. The Raptors continue to be without all of Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell. The former two have had a large effect on the team defense and gross points allowed. In the four games these players have been absent, the Raptors have allowed at least 107 points and have allowed at least 118 in three of the four games, including the Christmas Day matchup with the Celtics at home. The Celtics are capable on the road, but they are exceptional at home, and should be at full strength with the return of Marcus Smart who is expected to play, albeit on limited minutes. The Celtics score 116.7 points per game at home compared to 109.1 on the road, and they were eight points over their average in the game in Toronto. This sets up for Boston to run off with another win against the short handed Raptors, and get to or over the 120 point mark. Both the Celtics and the over are very sound plays and I was pleasantly surprised to see where the lines opened and to even gain a half point on the Celtics in early betting line movement.

Betting Picks: Celtics -6 Over 216.5


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Atlanta Hawks 6-26 at Chicago Bulls 12-20


Opening Line: Bulls -7 and off
Current Line: Bulls -7.5 and off

The Hawks bring the league’s worst record and the league’s worst road record with them to Chicago.  They are an utter joke on defense, allowing 124.9 points per game on the road with an average point differential of -14.3. For reference, their points allowed per game at home is 111.0, so there is a massive shift between their home and road games. To compound their ugly situation in any road game, the source of the majority of their offense, Trae Young, was injured in their game on Friday night and he will be out for this one. They have recently seen top big man John Collins return to the lineup, and he will be a source of some offense, but the trade off of Young for Collins is a huge net negative. That net negative is subtracted from the already ugly road woes and they will be blown out on Saturday night once again. The Bulls are no world beaters but have been better of late, winning three of their last five and four of their last six games. My preseason expectation for this team was to be in the neighborhood of .500 and they are working their way back to that point after an ugly start to the year. I touched on the Bulls, but the truth is they get a gimmie of a game here and the Hawks opponent in this spot would be a betting target regardless of who they were and almost regardless of point spread. Hammer the Bulls.

Betting Pick: Bulls -7.5


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Thursday Review

The Pistons -6 took a 20 point lead into the locker room at halftime and never looked back in the second half. They stretched that lead out to 30+ in the third quarter and ultimately won by 30 in our sweat free win.

The win brings us to 38-30 on the season.

Thursday Against The Spread Play

Washington Wizards 9-20 at Detroit Pistons 11-20


Opening Line: Pistons -6 and 231
Current Line: Pistons -6 and 231

The Wizards continue to be the walking wounded on their front line. Their top four interior players will continue to be out for this one, giving an opportunity for Andre Drummond and, to a lesser extent, Blake Griffin to absolutely feast on the replacement level players the Wizards are forced to give extended run to. Also missing for the Wizards is starting point guard Isaiah Thomas, who can’t be classified as a difference maker, but is certainly better for the team than the end of the bench players forced into extended action. The Wizards have lost 10 of their past 13 overall and are 5-13 overall on the road this season. The Pistons have dealt with injury issues of late as well, but are expected to have all or most of their core available for this game, particularly Drummond who missed the most recent game against the Wizards. Drummond is set up for a 20/20 game here and Bradley Beal just won’t receive enough help to keep this one manageable down the stretch. Take the healthier Pistons.

Betting Pick: Pistons -6

Christmas Review

  • The Raptors +3 had quite an uninspired effort to kick off the Christmas day slate. In the NBA, divisions mean very little, but there is a crazy streak snapped with the 16 point home loss. It had been four years since the last home loss to a divisional foe by the Raptors. OG Anunoby and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sleep walked through this one and are at the top of the list of players to pin this one on.
  • While the Raptors weren’t competitive, and arguably played their worst game of the season, the over 212.5 got there with the final landing on 220.
  • The Bucks -2.5 were simply out shot in this game. The 76ers set both a Christmas Day and franchise record with 21 three pointers made and controlled the game throughout. The Bucks made a late run to only lose by 12 points, but this was a one sided, ugly loss.
  • The Clippers +2 made it a little bit interesting as they trailed in the third quarter. In Clipper fashion however, they owned the fourth quarter and ultimately left with a 111-106 outright win. The Clips remain the team to beat come June.

2-2 on the day brings us to 37-30 on the season.

Christmas Day NBA

Our yearly tradition of NBA on Christmas continues, but we have some weird games this year caused by injuries that the schedule makers could not foresee. We have what should be three very fun games in close matchups and two lopsided matchups. The wide point spread games have the Warriors and Pelicans as underdogs. The schedule makers were trying to showcase Steph Curry and Zion Williamson in these games but their injuries take something away from an otherwise fun slate. Let’s get to the games.

Boston Celtics 20-7 at Toronto Raptors 21-9


Opening Line: Celtics -2.5 and 213.5
Current Line: Celtics -3 and 212.5

The Raptors continue to navigate key injuries in abundance. They will be without star power forward Pascal Siakam once again, and will additionally be without center Marc Gasol and off guard Norman Powell for the foreseeable future. The Celtics have dealt with injuries of their own, but are healthier than the Raptors. They will be without combo guard Marcus Smart but it appears as if wing Gordon Hayward will be returning for this game. The Raptors remain an exceptional home team with a 13-3 record and have won four straight at home. As they lost some key pieces, they have had other players see their roles expanded and respond favorably. Serge Ibaka has a massive role inside and Kyle Lowry, Fred Vanvleet and OG Anunoby have seen high usage rates. Another player to keep an eye on that can be a difference maker in limited minutes is big man Chris Boucher. The Celtics are a capable road team and are favored due to the injuries the Raptors are dealing with. While the injuries do narrow the gap for a game in Toronto, I would have set this line with the Raptors as a small favorite and think there is value in getting a few points. They are a sound play, but not the only one in this game. The Raptors have seen their opponents and their own scoring totals spike in recent weeks and the total of just 212.5 is one that this game is likely to see go over. The Celtics gross defensive numbers tends to be matchup related and of teams with winning records, only the super slow paced Nuggets have failed to crack triple digits against them on the season. Take the Raptors and the over to start the day.

Betting Plays: Raptors +3 Over 212.5

Milwaukee Bucks 27-4 at Philadelphia 76ers 22-10

2:30PM EST

Opening Line: 76ers -1 and 222.5
Current Line: Bucks -2.5 and 220

This game features a couple high end Eastern Conference teams that healthy for the most part. The only key player of note expected to miss this game is Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe. The 76ers are in a bit of a lull, as they’ve lost three of their last five games overall. They also lost their air of invincibility at home, after winning their first 15 home games, they lost two home games in the past week to high end opponents and have only bounced back with wins against the lowly Pistons and Wizards. The Bucks on the other hand have shown zero signs of slowing down. They have won 21 of their last 22 games and are a rare case of a team just as good on the road as at home. They are easily the best in the league in away point differential, averaging +11.9 per contest which is nearly two points better than Philly’s otherwise high end home mark. While the 76ers deserve some level of respect for their home game output up to this point in the season, the oddsmakers erred in opening them as a favorite, and the line movement of 3.5 points is probably not done moving. Get in on the Bucks as quickly as possible to get the most favorable point spread.

Betting Play: Bucks -2.5

Houston Rockets 21-9 at Golden State Warriors 7-24


Opening Line: Rockets -10 and 228.5
Current Line: Rockets -11 and 226.5

Just as I was down on the Rockets this week, and rightfully so, they came out with the performance of the season, being the only team to beat the Clippers at full strength at the Staples Center. This performance alone keeps them in the conversation of the west’s elite. The Warriors on the other hand have limped through a highly injury plagued season and remain without both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. They do however have D’Angelo Russell back in the lineup, giving them a sorely needed volume shooting scoring threat as that aspect of the roster is completely lacking given the other injuries. The Warriors have been better than their overall body of work in the past week, and have won two consecutive home games. This is a spot to shy away from with the double digit line and the Warriors slow pace putting the total in question.

No Plays

Los Angeles Clippers 22-10 at Los Angeles Lakers 24-6


Opening Line: Lakers -1 and 223.5
Current Line: Lakers -2 and 222.5

This is the most anticipated matchup of the day and it rightfully gets the prime time slot. There was doubt earlier in the week on the availability of both Lebron James and Anthony Davis for the Lakers, but they are both expected to play as of Tuesday morning. On the Clippers side, point guard Patrick Beverly is questionable but it would appear he is more likely to play than not. It is difficult to assign home court advantage to either team in their matchups, as they share the Staples Center as their home venue. This is the second meeting of the year between these two teams with the Clippers winning on opening night without Paul George. The Lakers have had their first real adversity of the season of late, losing three straight games including being blown out at home by the Nuggets on Sunday. The Lakers team is built well for the regular season with the role players complimenting their big two nicely and winning at a very high clip. The problem will come in the playoffs when they face the best of the best, as the Clippers are, in games that mean more and have maximum effort exerted as this game is sure to have. As mentioned in the Houston game’s notes, the Clippers have lost at Staples this year just one time to the Rockets. Also mentioned was them beating the Lakers without Paul George as well. Expect more of the same as the Clippers continue to be disrespected by oddsmakers and continue to prove them wrong in key games while at full strength.

Betting Play: Clippers +2

New Orleans Pelicans 8-23 at Denver Nuggets 21-8

10:30PM EST

Opening Line: Nuggets -10 and 219.5
Current Line: Nuggets -9 and 218.5

This game should see both teams at full strength as no players are expected to miss the game that haven’t been out for a significant amount of time. It would however, be better if Zion Williamson were healthy but we are still waiting for his NBA debut. The Pelicans are apparently in the midst of an identity crisis, and that crisis is them not knowing whether they are supposed to be an awful team or not. After an incredibly ugly losing streak, they’ve now won two of their last three – both on the road against western conference foes. Their pace has also slowed of late and they have not been nearly the team that was top five in pace at the onset of the season. The Nuggets are riding a seven game winning streak and have been playing solid, if not world beating at both ends and the wins haven’t exactly been blowouts. Their average margin of victory has been 9.6 points on the winning streak and only two of the games have been decided by a double digit margin. This is a game to stay away from as the Pelicans have been quite Jekyll and Hyde of late and the Nuggets aren’t playing at a level to fire at a double digit win.

No Plays

Monday Review

The Trail Blazers -6  had an incredibly poor showing on offense, headlined by Damian Lillard and his 6/21 shooting performance. Included in that ugly line is 0/10 from three point range as the Blazers failed to reach triple digits against the lowly Pels and this lack of scoring allowed the Pels to win outright.

The loss brings us to 35-28 on the season.

Monday Against The Spread Play

New Orleans Pelicans 7-23 at Portland Trail Blazers 14-16


Opening Line: Trail Blazers -6.5 and 228.5
Current Line: Trail Blazers -6 and 230

This matchup features two teams very much moving in diverging directions. The Trail Blazers have won four in a row, have won five of their last six and four of those wins have come at home sweet home. The difference of late has been the play of center Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside has long been a player longer on ability than motivation, and it appears the staff and teammates in Portland are owed some kudos for bringing out the version of the player that has only flashed in the past. In the past six games Whiteside is averaging 17 points, 17 rebounds and a fantastic 4.3 blocks per game. This will be a wide positional advantage against Derrick Favors and Jaxson Hayes in this particular matchup. Also playing well on the four game winning streak is combo guard CJ McCollum. He is scoring over six points per game more than his yearly average on the stretch and also over his averages in rebounds, assists and steals. On the other side, the Pelicans have lost 14 of their 15 games with the only win they were able to muster being one against a Timberwolves team missing their utterly key player, Karl Anthony Towns. They are just 3-12 on the road this season and are in the bottom six of just about every category pertaining to efficiency and scoring defense. Their point differential is a full six points worse per game on the road as they go from an average of an ugly -3.8 per game at home to a truly woeful -9.4 per contest on the road. We will get more of the same with a very favorable line for the surging Trail Blazers at home in what has all the symptoms of a blow out.

Betting Play: Trail Blazers -6

Saturday Review

The Hawks put up one if their more spirited road efforts on Saturday at Brooklyn -7. The Hawks lead for most of the game, and it wasn’t until middle of the fourth quarter that the Nets took the lead. The last six minutes saw the Nets slowly extend their lead and ultimately land in safely covering territory with a 10 point win.

The win brings us to 35-27 on the season.
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TJ Calkins
TJ Calkins was raised in a gambling loving household. He knew how to handicap horse races and follow line movements well before his tenth birthday. While sports betting remained a passion into adulthood, poker and Daily Fantasy Sports also became passions and remain as such today.