I took a one-day hiatus from NBA picks yesterday but am back to put our 12-1-2 2015 ATS record to the test and see if we can remain absolutely sizzling in the New Year. And perhaps yesterday wasn’t a bad day to sit on the sidelines as three of the stronger trends of 2015 all hit a brick wall yesterday. The Detroit Pistons, the absolute free-money ATM of 2015 NBA wagering, got beat at home by double-digits by the New Orleans Pelicans. Meanwhile, two teams streaking in opposite directions hooked up last night with the Spurs visiting the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets had been rolling in 2015, winning five straight and covering all five games before getting beat last night 98-93 by San Antonio. The Spurs have a losing record without Kawhi Leonard and were on the backend of a road back-to-back and fresh off a commanding loss to the Wizards. The Spurs were 3-5-1 ATS in their last nine games. But of course, not many a man has gotten rich consistently fading the Spurs, so perhaps the fact that I’ve gone against them twice during my 2015 winning streak was a little window of good fortune that won’t be open again often…
Alas, it is a short schedule tonight, but there is a fun game on the slate – even if it is for slightly morbid-curiosity reasons. So let’s dive back in to today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers -6 at Los Angeles Lakers
The Cavaliers are 19-20, a game removed from LeBron pushing their head coach, the same head coach who just benched Kevin Love in the fourth quarter of a game, the same coach who is rumoured to be on his way out as rumours of Mark Jackson replacing him amidst rumours that players (LeBron) are outright defying the play-calling wishes of said Coach Blatt and… they are STILL favored by a half dozen tonight on the road. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014-2015 Los Angeles Lakers!
I can’t help but smile that this game landed on TNT’s marquee matchup night, but I suppose the NBA gets what it deserves for buying into two of the cheaper narratives of the season; LeBron’s magical return home and the triumphant return of Kobe Bryant from injury. Suffice it to say that neither has had much “triumph” so far this season.
So let’s recap exactly where we are right now: It is easy to poke fun at the Cavaliers, but they are at least finally healthy and should have their full lineup on display tonight in Los Angeles. They are on a vicious losing streak but keep in mind many of those games were without LeBron. Meanwhile, Kobe is expected to play tonight amidst rumours he will be shutdown for the season soon (which makes sense, might as well save a 37 year old aging, fading superstar on a lousy talentless roster for NEXT YEAR!). But is it even a good thing he’s playing tonight? He is fresh off a disastrous 3 of 19 shooting performance, and as much as I love The Mamba, there’s a reasonable chance he shoots them right out of the game again tonight.
Cleveland’s defense is a sieve, but they do have an odd capacity to ramp it up a bit for big games. Though this isn’t a “big game” per se, it is a nationally televised “marquee” game. The other thing that is important to note is that this Cleveland roster has experienced some major overhaul the last few weeks. J.R. Smith and Timofey Mosgov should be better acclimated and LeBron has at least had a game and some practice time to integrate his new teammates. Meanwhile, LA is a complete dumpster fire. It’s the second-worst roster in the NBA (no one can touch the Knicks, but at least they have cap space) and is about to enter complete tank-mode.
I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I’ll put my win streak on the line with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As BAD as they have been this month, they are still WAY better than the Lakers and they are finally healthy. I’ll even eat the points and look for a LeBron awakening in a double-digit win as they vent some frustration on the hapless Lakers tonight.