NBA Picks Week 14 (Jan 20- Jan 26) – Updated Daily!
January 19, 2020
Sunday Against The Spread Play
Phoenix Suns 19-26 at Memphis Grizzlies 21-24
Opening Line: Grizzlies -2 and 236
Current Line: Grizzlies -2.5 and 236
The Grizzlies have been a fast paced team all season, but they have been uber fun and fast since the calendar flipped to 2020. Their games have averaged 236 points in total scoring in the calendar year spanning 11 games, hence this completely justified jacked up total. They are third in the league in home pace on the season and third in the league in average points allowed at home on the season. The Suns remain top ten in road pace and are generally a team that allows pace to be dictated to them. Both teams are in the bottom quarter of defensive efficiency overall and with the pace we are going to get, prepare the fireworks. If you’re a DFS player, this is probably the game to target as well, despite the Atlanta game having an even higher total. Both teams are should be at roughly full strength with only Jae Crowder expected to miss for the Grizz and Aron Baynes out for the Suns. Needless to say, neither of these players are offensive forces so this is a net positive for the total. Take the over and enjoy the scoring pace.
Uggggghhhhhh we got the easy win for the Bucks that we expected, but we got hooked! The 116-103 final made us a half point loser. Bummer! I couldn’t quite pull the trigger on the Jazz on Saturday, but if you follow the ussportsbonus.com twitter account, you know we eeked out a one point cover on that one.
Friday Against The Spread Play
Milwaukee Bucks 39-6 at Charlotte Hornets 15-30
Opening Line: Bucks -13.5 and 219
Current Line: Bucks -13.5 and 219
We get some afternoon hoops on this Friday and as the matchup dictates, a blowout waiting to happen. The Hornets have lost seven straight games and additionally lost 13 of their last 15. They have become the bottom feeding team I envisioned entering the season after being unreasonably competitive with a poor roster to begin the season. These last 15 games have featured 10 against current playoff teams and they have won just one of those games, exposing how far from competitive this team actually is. Enter the toughest matchup to date, the Bucks have the league’s best record, the best road record in the East, and most importantly the best average point differential in road games in the league, by a wide margin. The Hornets, despite winning seven games at home, have the fifth worst home point differential in the league. Read: Milwaukee has no problem blowing teams out on the road and Charlotte allows teams to blow them out at home. This is the most important factor when dealing with a point spread of this magnitude and we have a track record with both teams. The pace factor cannot be understated either. The Bucks play fastest in the league away from home while the Hornets are snail slow no matter where they are, and will have no answer for the Bucks in this one. The first matchup in Milwaukee was a 137-96 decimation and we can very much expect more of the same in this one.
The Lakers -5.5 allowed the Nets to be competitive in the first half, but pulled away and made the game a laugher in the second half. The starters were able to be pulled with over four minutes left and the final of 128-113 was a very comfortable win for the Lakers and for us.
Thursday Against The Spread Play
Los Angeles Lakers 35-9 at Brooklyn Nets 18-24
Opening Line: Lakers -5.5 and 227
Current Line: Lakers -5.5 and 229
The Lakers won in New York last night and have just a short drive for a team bus to play in Brooklyn tonight on a back to back. Not all back to backs are created equal however, and it is far more of a negative for some teams than others. The Lakers are 5-0 on the second half of back to backs this season with a total point differential of +80 and an average point differential of +16 per game. For reference, their average for all games on the season is +7.6 points per game. The Lakers are expected to be at full strength tonight but it is a spot to monitor the news as Anthony Davis had a glute issue leading up to yesterday’s game, but he ultimately played and played well.
The Nets continue to be a reeling team without chemistry the week after Kyrie Irving made the ill advised comments in the media about the additional pieces the team needs, essentially throwing the current version of the team under the bus. They have now lost 11 of their last 13 games and are now forced to host the Lakers, who have the west’s best record and the second best overall. While the Lakers have a better point differential average at home, their 19-4 road record is better than their home record.
Kyrie Irving is expected back for this one, which is arguable as to whether that is a net positive for the Nets at this point. Perhaps more importantly, they are expected be without two reserve bigs in Deandre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton and could find themselves impossibly thin at center in the second unit. This would be alarming for the middle portion of each half while Jarrett Allen sits and would be a death knell of sorts on the glass should Allen find himself in foul trouble, which isn’t a longshot by any means. Take the Lakers to extend their back to back streak in this one.
The Pistons and Kings had the expected slow scoring pace in the first half, with a 57-50 halftime score and were well on their way to landing under 224. The second half featured little defense however and the final ran all the way up to 127-106 for a loss on the under.
The Rockets -8 on the other hand did exactly as expected, notching a 121-105 win in which they held a 20+ lead for the majority of the game. They were able to pull their starters with about four minutes left and the final score indicates a closer game than it actually was.
Wednesday Against The Spread Plays
Sacramento Kings 15-28 at Detroit Pistons 16-28
Opening Line: Pistons -1 and 222
Current Line: Pistons -1 and 224
Leaving out the build up to what the play might be, the total in this game was a jaw dropper for me for a game in Detroit between these two squads. A road game for the Kings and a home game for the Pistons sets up one of the slowest possible average pace scenarios between any two NBA teams. Now the Kings are faster than their average with De’Aaron Fox in the lineup and he missed a significant portion of the season, but the overcorrection on a line like this is far too much. The Kings are second slowest in road pace with an average point output of 217 while the Pistons are fifth slowest in home pace with an average point output of 222. Needless to say, the matchup with each other should have an expectation of both of these figures hitting a lower than average outcome with the sheer lack of expected possessions. This is simply a value spot to attack with the under.
Denver Nuggets 30-13 at Houston Rockets 26-16
Opening Line: Rockets -8.5 and 228.5
Current Line: Rockets -8 and 230
This version of the Nuggets remains wholly a shell of the deep team we have become accustomed to. The Nuggets were already looking at multi game absences from Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris, and now Mason Plumlee gets tacked onto that list as well as he’ll be out about two weeks. This is also just about the worst possible timing for this injury barrage as the Nuggets will be playing their third game in four nights and going on the road to Houston in a pace up spot. This is the first test for this skeleton crew of the Nuggets away from home against a quality team and I view it as a spot to attack. The Rockets are on a current four game skid and this matchup projects as a get right spot for them. In the three games without the majority of their pieces, the Nuggets notched wins against low level Minnesota and Golden State, but lost by eight at home against the playoff caliber Pacers. This play certainly isn’t one rooted deeply in statistics but rather one on feel and the attrition of the frequency of games on the skeleton crew of the Nuggets will catch up with them, and a Houston team in dire need of a win will pounce when they smell blood. This one could get out of hand late and a fourth quarter run away for the Rockets is in the cards.
We had a perfect 3-0 outcome on the NBA’s MLK holiday slate!
- The Nets stayed cold and the 76ers +1.5 got the 117-111 win on the back of Ben Simmons monster 34 point triple double with an additional five steals and a pair of blocks.
- The Nuggets +2.5 played a tight game with the Timberwolves throughout, but once they pulled away just a bit in the fourth quarter, they never looked back and notched the 107-100 win.
- The Jazz -7 were utterly dominant in their 118-88 win over the Pacers. This was one of the duds from the Pacers that they proved capable of in back to back sets, but it’s doubtful they could have kept this one close even if they didn’t have a flat showing.
Monday Against The Spread Plays
Philadelphia 76ers 28-16 at Brooklyn Nets 18-23
Opening Line: 76ers -2.5 and 218
Current Line: Nets -1.5 and 221
The 76ers remain without Joel Embiid and additionally Al Horford is questionable for this contest, which is my assumption as to why the line has moved the Nets way. The 76ers have figured things out a bit being without Embiid as they’ve won three straight and have been smothering defensively. On the other side, the Nets remain a reeling team, clearly without chemistry after the trouble stirred up by Kyrie Irving in the media, who is questionable for this game with a hamstring tweak. The Nets have lost 10 of their last 12 games and three straight and have all the symptoms of an unmotivated team to continue to target with wagers against. These two squads met in Philly just five nights ago and that resulted in a 117-106 76ers win and more of the same should be expected here. If Al Horford were ruled out with time to spare before tipoff, perhaps sitting this one out for the later plays today would be prudent, but it is fair to say with the state of the Nets they could lost to just about anyone. Take the value of the 76ers with this inexplicable line movement for now and keep an eye out for the Horford news.
Denver Nuggets 29-13 at Minnesota Timberwolves 15-27
Opening Line: Timberwolves -2.5 and 218
Current Line: Timberwolves -2.5 and 222.5
This temporary new version of the Nuggets team is taking its time to gel, but a matchup with the Timberwolves is one that is a prime opportunity to do so. The Timberwolves are one of three teams that have found more success on the road than at home this season, and they are being careful with the minutes played for Karl-Anthony Towns. By all appearances, the Wolves have no interest in winning games and the organization prefers a tanking approach with this season being lost from a playoff potential perspective. They have lost five straight games, three of which at home and even with the injuries the Nuggets are dealing with, they have no business being the favored team in this matchup. The Nuggets are expected to be without Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris once again, but this is a team that has the depth to overcome, particularly against low rent teams like the Wolves. Just two games ago they overcame a dud of a first half in which they were trailing by 17 to beat the Warriors on the road and this game is not dissimilar. The Wolves inexplicably are two points better per game in point differential on the road than they are at home, and they play much slower at home, which is the preferred pace of the Nuggets. The Nuggets, coming off a loss to the Pacers, have not lost consecutive games since early December and those losses were all to playoff teams. Take the Nuggets in this bounce back spot against a probably tanking team that is uninspired in home games.
Indiana Pacers 28-15 at Utah Jazz 29-13
Opening Line: Jazz -7 and 217
Current Line: Jazz -7 and 214.5
The Pacers have been playing solid ball of late, winning five straight and six of seven, but run into a buzz saw on the schedule in the white hot Jazz. The Pacers are on a road back to back after securing a win in Denver on Sunday night and are forced to go right back to work against a Jazz team that has won 11 of their last 12 games, including seven straight at home. The Pacers are a middling road team, generally beating the teams they should beat and losing the same way. They have just two road wins against other playoff teams on the season and are 11-10 overall away from home. The Jazz on the other hand have become one of the league’s strongest home teams with a 16-3 record, the fourth fewest points allowed per game and the seventh best home point differential. Indiana has also had a horrific showing in the second leg of two of their five back to backs so far this year with the most recent being a blowout loss in New Orleans. This should be an easy enough win for the Jazz, whose average point differential has been +21.3 points in their home games over the last three weeks and are certainly the more likely team to keep their hot streak rolling.
The Bucks -9 made easy work of the Nets, 117-97. They Bucks carried a lead throughout the game and were never in any jeopardy at all, but that lead was at too much of a level to get the over home as well. The end of the bench players were inserted before the half way mark of the fourth quarter and the Nets waved the white flag quite early.