With the Super Bowl officially in the rear view mirror (nice call SportsGeek on Denver), the attention now shift largely to the hardwood. The NBA isn’t dumb, there is a reason the All Star Game is this upcoming weekend –to capture the gulf of sports fans looking for a safe landing spot after the thudding end of football season. And a word of caution to newer NBA bettors – the week leading up the All Star Game, especially the night before the break, has been known to produce some crazy logic-defying results. We will do our best to play close attention to any lineup moves and injury reports prior to the picks, but it is generally a good idea to keep an eye throughout the day to see if any teams might try and grab a few extra days of rest for their key players.
As we enter the break, we also enter the heated up rumor factory of the approaching trade deadline. There are a ton of rumors flying around about teams like Sacramento, Boston, Miami and a few others. It’s isn’t baseball with the massive buy/sell (salary caps make that tricky) but don’t be surprised if at least one blockbuster goes down; be it seismic (Pau Gasol, Boogie Cousins) or substantial (Jabari Parker, Hassan Whiteside). It’s just another thing to keep an eye on as several teams may dramatically alter their look, which will alter the effectiveness of some of the prior-established season stat analytics.
For the here and now, things are status quo, so let’s start the new week in the same fashion as last week’s NBA picks – with a winning record.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Portland Trailblazers at Memphis Grizzlies -3
Sleep on the Grizz at your own peril. The Grizzlies seem to be repeating their act of two seasons ago; slump terribly early, have the entire league write you off as old and finished, then storm back into the playoff picture and become one of the best wagers in the NBA. They had their five game winning streak snapped in overtime by Dallas over the weekend, but have still won 8 of their last 10 and 13 of 16 overall. They have also won 15 of their last 18 games against the Portland Trailblazers, and this is a franchise that was unquestionable better in the last three seasons than as they are currently constructed.
Portland has also far exceeded expectations and has played well lately, winning six of their last seven games overall and going 5-2 ATS in that stretch. However, all but one of those games was at home, where they have gone 15-11. They are just 10-16 on the road.
Memphis is 19-8 in The Grindhouse this season, including winning five of their last six home games. Marc Gasol is nursing a sore knee, but is expected to play, which means the Grizz are at near full strength after yesterday’s off day. I am really surprised this line isn’t 5.5 or 6. If it creeped up to 6.5 or 7, I’d balk, but at just -3 it is a really good value. Memphis has dominated this matchup and they are playing at home – that’s too good to pass up.