NBA Week 19 (Feb 24- Mar 1) – Updated With Daily Picks!
February 23, 2020
Friday Against The Spread Play
Minnesota Timberwolves 17-40 at Orlando Magic 26-32
Opening Line: Magic -7.5 and 235
Current Line: Magic -7.5 and 233.5
We covered on Wednesday how the Timberwolves were a tanking team that was not overly interested in winning games at this point in the season. So of course they went into Miami and handed the Heat just their fourth home loss of the year. This is not going to be a trend and it will be today that the TWolves get back to their losing ways. Entering the game against the Heat they’d lost nine straight on the road and 18 of 19 overall. They have still lost 18 of 20 overall entering this game and are a bottom feeding team in the league as long as Towns is out of the lineup.
The Magic have won four of their last five and have an overall winning record at home despite their overall record sitting seven games under .500. The Magic are one of the slowest paced teams in the league and allow the fewest points per game in the league. This style will not do well for the TWolves and their lack of defense and lack of high end half court offense. The Magic will grind down the TWolves and we will get Wednesday’s loss back as the Magic roll.
Bonus note: Only 5 of 58 Magic games have seen a total hit of 234 or higher so there is the option for the under as well.
The Heat -10 allowed the Timberwolves to play close until the middle of the fourth quarter when they finally stretched the lead out to 11 at that point. At this point the Heat hit a wall, quickly blowing the entire lead and losing outright 129-126. This was unfortunate but we can get this one back today.
The loss brings us to 65-50 on the season.
Wednesday Against The Spread Play
Minnesota Timberwolves 16-40 at Miami Heat 36-21
Opening Line: Heat -10 and 228.5
Current Line: Heat -10 and 232
The tanking Timberwolves travel to Miami to get smoked by one of the best home teams in the league. The TWolves have lost 18 of their last 19 games overall and are currently riding a nine game road losing streak. They have committed to tanking and have been rolling out a replacement level roster with the exception of Russell and Towns being injured. The TWolves began the year as a middling team whose path was in flux, and they are now aiming to finish as low as possible in the standings.
The Heat on the other hand are cruising towards the playoffs and get to play a terrible team at home sweet home where they are 23-3. Their +10.9 point average home differential is second best in the league and they allow the sixth fewest points per game at home while scoring the fifth most. This game shouldn’t resemble anything competitive and should simply be a Heat blowout, take them at home.
Tuesday Against The Spread Play
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers
Opening Line: Lakers -8 and 238.5
Current Line: Lakers -8 and 238.5
The Lakers remain atop the Western Conference with the league’s second best record. Despite this fact, they have not been overly dominant, and certainly haven’t been blowing teams out regularly. In the last month, using the 8 point line as a measuring stick, they’ve only won four of their 10 games by 8 or more points, and now have to contend with a surging Pelicans team. The Pels have won five of their last six and eight of their last eleven and have been quite competitive on a nightly basis. In their last 17 games, they have just one loss by double digits, and that was to the league best Bucks. This comes on the heels of top overall draft pick Zion Williamson claiming a top role and the rest of the team being healthy. No longer are the likes of the current versions of Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes forced into the rotation. These young players will be quite effective in the future, but are currently not ready to play competitive NBA basketball. This play is one fully based on current form on a Pels team that has been competitive night in and night out and are in every game for the duration. Eight points is too many and we want the dog on Tuesday night.
The Bucks -12.5 had a double digit lead at halftime and carried that well into the fourth quarter when the foul trouble for Giannis, who only played 25 minutes, caught up with them. The Wizards closed the fourth quarter strong and Giannis fouled out, eventually forcing overtime, only to see the Bucks hold on for a 137-134 win, but no cover.
The 76ers -8.5 were in firm control of the game throughout the first half. They let that lead slip away in the second half before eventually closing strong and securing with a 129-112 win. Embiid did as expected with 49 and 14 and lead the way.
The split on the day brings us to 65-48 on the season.
Monday Against The Spread Plays
Milwaukee Bucks 48-8 at Washington Wizards 20-35
Opening Line: Bucks 12.5 and 240.5
Current Line: Bucks -12.5 and 240.5
The Wizards host the league best Bucks and do so on their second leg of a back to back. Before getting into the matchup and home/road splits, we need to touch on the Wizards in back to backs this season. They are 1-5 on the second leg of back to backs with a -5.8 average differential and that does not set up well for a matchup with a team that is rolling everyone aside from their hiccup leading up to the break, sans Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the first meeting between these teams, the Bucks scored 151 points in a 20 point route as the Wizards had no defensive answer, per usual.
While the Wizards are somewhat respectable at home, they still have a losing record and a negative point differential average while the Bucks continue to maul teams away from home. They lead the league in points scored per game on the road and continue to blow the field away in average point differential. Their +11.3 per game is 4.4 points per game better than the second best Mavericks. The Wizards could easily score 120 tonight and not sniff covering and we will keep rolling with the Bucks as they role another bottom feeder in the East.
Atlanta Hawks 17-41 at Philadelphia 76ers 35-22
730 PM EST
Opening Line: 76ers -7.5 and off
Current Line: 76ers -8.5 and off
It’s no surprise to regulars of this column to see the 76ers game listed in the play column. They are truly Jekyll and Hyde with their home/road splits to the point that it is comical. They are just 9-20 on the road and 26-2 at home, which is best in the league, even better than the Bucks. Their -5.5 average differential on the road is the polar opposite of their +10 average margin at home. To add to the comedy we should note that the 76ers are currently and consecutively riding both a six game losing streak on the road and an 11 game winning streak at home.
Now, we absolutely need to note that the 76ers will be without both Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris for this game, and their trade deadline acquisitions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson will prove timely, as they will be needed in this one. The good news is the matchup is with the league’s second worst road team.
The Hawks bring a 6-24 road record and their -13.3 average differential is easily worst in the league. Even with their acquisition of Dewayne Dedmon, they will have no answer for Joel Embiid in this one and the 76ers can easily survive a game in which the offense has to run through him. Even with Philly missing two of their most key pieces, this line immediately spiked after opening and it is still one to attack as even a shorthanded Philly squad is a problem for the Hawks on the road.
We got another sweat free win on Saturday as the Bucks -8.5 won 119-98. This one was so out of hand the last remaining starters in the game for both teams were pulled with six and a half minutes left in the game, getting exactly what we projected.
The win brings us to 64-47 on the season