NBA Picks Week 12 (Jan 6- Jan 12) – Updated Daily!
11 January 2020
Saturday Against The Spread Plays
Milwaukee Bucks 34-6 at Portland Trail Blazers 16-23
Opening Line: Bucks -4.5 and 227.5
Current Line: Bucks -5.5 and 227.5
We already played a road Bucks over this week, with a successful cover and this one will be much of the same. The gist in playing the over in the Bucks at Spurs game was that while Milwaukee is the fastest team in the league overall, they go into even more of a turbo mode on the road. The Blazers are a team that has a change up in their own scoring pace between home and road games, as they score five more points per contest at home and see a real shift in offensive efficiency. There is far less chang on the defensive/points allowed side of things as they stay close to their overall average of 113.6 points allowed per contest no matter the venue. Enter the league’s fastest team and factor in the laughable proposition of Carmelo Anthony guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 118 points per game road average for the Bucks should be the absolute floor for their scoring in this one and this is a good spot to segue to the other play in this game.
The Bucks only laying 5.5 would be very attractive in this spot if we knew the Blazers were going to be at full strength. That may not be the case as center Hassan Whiteside is truly questionable with a respiratory infection. I already mentioned the individual matchup of Giannis versus Anthony, and that point can’t be driven home enough. This is as wide of an advantage as any player will have over another in an NBA game this season. The task of trying to keep this one close will fall on the Portland guards, and they are more likely to just keep a sound scoring pace than they are to actually keep pace with the Bucks. The Bucks are a play whether Whiteside plays or not but they are a smash should he sit this one out. This is a fun parlay spot as well if you choose to go that route.
The Magic and Suns played the first half at the expected pace and were just slightly behind the total pace through three quarters. The fourth quarter could have taken it in either direction and it went woefully the wrong way. We got just 42 fourth quarter points as the over fell well short.
The loss brings us to 43-35 on the season.
Friday Against The Spread Play
Orlando Magic 18-20 at Phoenix Suns 14-23
Opening Line: Magic -1 and 217
Current Line: Suns -2 and 217
The normally slow paced Magic travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns, in a battle of differing pace. Pace is the word of the day and it will relate to a total I believe to be set far too low.
The Magic are the fourth slowest team in the league overall, but digging a bit deeper there is a shift in their pace away from home. They are actually the slowest overall team in the league in home games and allow just 99.8 points per game at home. Luckily for us they are on the road in this one, where their pace average is just ninth slowest and they allow 107.9 points per game. This average number is key because all signs point to the output for the Suns being over the Orlando average.
The Suns are the polar opposite of the Magic. They are the ninth fastest paced team overall, but they play much faster at home than on the road. On the road they are just the twelfth fastest team and they allow 114.4 points per game. In home games, their defense doesn’t improve any, but their pace very much does. They are third fastest in the league in home games and allow 115.8 points per game, while scoring 116.1 per.
In the first matchup between these two teams, the Suns dictated pace but the Magic won the game. The final score was 128-114 and I believe this is the scoring output to expect in this one. Needless to say, that’s 25 points over where the total is set in this one, hence why I believe the line is very far off. Take the over here.
Betting Play: Over 217
Our play of Indiana -1 got the screws put to it late in the day, as Malcolm Brogdon was ruled out after being on track to play. While it was a strong value with Brogdon, it wasn’t a negative expected value with out him. Even so, the Pacers had a lifeless performance, falling behind in the first half and never being able to fully recover.
The loss brings us to 43-34 on the season.
Wednesday Against The Spread Play
Miami Heat 26-10 at Indiana Pacers 23-14
Opening Line: Pacers -1 and 209.5
Current Line: Pacers -1 and 210
This is a matchup of the two most night and day difference home and road teams in the Eastern Conference. Of the six teams in the East with winning records, three have a winning record both at home and on the road. The other three are hovering at or below .500 and if guessed two of those teams are the Pacers and the Heat, you’d be absolutely correct.
The Pacers are expected to have star combo guard Malcolm Brogdon back for this tilt, and he would be a welcome presence with 18/4/7 averages. Both teams should be at full strength and are matched up quite evenly. This is a spot to be sure to not make more complicated than it is. I want the home team in any game these two play.
Both of these teams carry a negative point differential average on the road, with Miami being the far worse of the two, averaging -3.9 per. To illustrate the stark contrast, that figure shifts all the way to +11.7 in home games. Indiana’s splits are quite as pronounced, but they do average +6.5 in home games. Indiana is 7-1 in their last eight home games while the Heat have played just two road games over the last three weeks, losing both games by blowout to lower level teams in the East in Washington and Orlando.
In a virtual pickem spot, all signs point to the Pacers for the home win in a spot to not overthink.
Betting Pick: Pacers -1
Tuesday Against The Spread Play
Portland Trail Blazers 15-22 at Toronto Raptors 24-12
Opening Line: Raptors -1 and 220
Current Line: Raptors -1.5 and 220
The Blazers travel to Toronto in the midst of an ugly patch in their season. They’ve lost six of their last seven games overall and it is safe to say the “Carmello Effect” has taken its toll on this team. Carmello Anthony was signed in late November to fill their gap at power forward, but the team hasn’t taken any real steps forward and are now doing what Anthony teams have a long history of doing – not winning. The Blazers 7-13 road record is not a good win, but it is actually buoyed by some early season road wins and are just 2-9 away from home since Anthony joined the team. Not ideal for them is travelling to Toronto against any version of the Raptors. Despite continuing to be at far less than full strength, the Raptors are a strong home team, sporting a 14-5 home record and a +7.1 average point differential in home games. For reference, the Blazers have a -4 average point differential in road games. The individual matchups in this one tilt towards the Raptors as the strength of the Blazers is in their guard play and the Raptors have high end defense in this area with both Kyle Lowry and Fred Vanvleet healthy and not among their missing pieces. The current version of the Raptors is far too discredited by this line and it very much should be higher. Take the Raptors in a virtual pickem spot to get the win.
Betting Pick: Raptors -1,5
Fred Vanvleet is ruled out for the Raptors, killing the play.
The Spurs and Bucks were scoring very much at the pace we expected. They were pacing 234 at halftime and held that pace throughout the second half. It did become a slight sweat that never should have been at the end. With the Spurs winning by blowout, the starters were pulled with just over two minutes left and the total sitting on 225. There were only five points scored in those last two minutes plus, which is all that was needed but it was the absolute bare minimum. Even still, we got across the finish the line for the win.
The win brings us to 43-33 on the season.
Monday Against The Spread Play
Milwaukee Bucks 32-5 at San Antonio Spurs 14-20
Opening Line: Bucks -7.5 and 229.5
Current Line: Bucks -7 and 228
The Bucks travel to San Antonio for what is a home and home back to back set between these two teams. The Bucks won the first matchup in their building 127-118. We know the Bucks play faster than any team in the league as a whole, but their road pace is truly something to behold. They lead the league in road pace by two expected possessions per game over the second fastest team. To illustrate how wide of a gap this is, going down two more possessions per game after that, we would make our way all the way down to the tenth fastest team. The Spurs are 12th fastest in pace overall and have no real diversion from this ranking whether they are home or away, and are a team that is willing to let a game move at the preferred pace of their opponent. In this particular case that is very, very fast and we have the most recent possible sample of a matchup between them getting to 245 points in the venue the Bucks play slower in. This will be the fourth Spurs home game of the season against teams top five in pace and the average total in the first three games was 245.3 points, and this looks like a trend that will continue throughout the season, including in this game. The over is very much the play and we got a nice gift with the early downward line movement. If you want parlay action in this game and need a side, Milwaukee as the favorite would be it, but the over is the dedicated play here.
Betting Pick: Over 228
The Suns and Grizzlies were tracking for the over 234.5 throughout the game. The scoring pace actually slowed in the second half and we had ourselves a sweat slate, as the over didn’t hit until very late in the game. No matter, we got the win and moving on to the next one on Monday.
The win brings us to 42-33 on the season.
TJ Calkins – NBA Expert
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. TJ provides NBA Picks daily on US sportsbonus.