The Bulls are my NBA version of Duke – no more action no matter what. The reason is the same; it’s more Roulette than poker, it is simply throwing chips on a number and hoping with randomness decides our fate.
That may be a bit dramatic, but the Bulls are emerging as the NBA team with the wildest fluctuation between their best and worst efforts and the randomest at WHEN each effort with surface. So, until further notice, there is a self-imposed Sports Geek moratorium on Bulls picks. If you want to roll the dice on the collection of crazies on your own, God Speed.
Meanwhile, the wacky pre-All Star tradition continued this weekend with more perplexing results. The Spurs got beat at home by DALLAS, despite a good game from Kawhi Leonard and Toronto, who has shown more vulnerability lately, took another bad home L, this time to the Orlando Magic. If you are scoring at home, that is two #2 seeds in their respective conferences losing straight up at home to teams well outside the playoff picture.
Weird, weird, weird stuff brewing lately in the NBA.
Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5 at Dallas Mavericks
Sure, the Mavs beat the Spurs last night. But do you think they are going to take down the Spurs on the road and the Defending Champs on back-t-back nights? I sure don’t.
Yes, Cleveland is also on the back end of a back-to-back, and that situation generally favors the HOME team, but it is still Cavs vs. Mavs, and the lopsidedness of that simple equation is startling.
Dallas is 3-6 ATS on no rest with a -12.4 point differential. Cleveland is also bad at 2-6 ATS though a much closer mark at just -3.5. However, Cleveland is 32-14 on the season and Dallas is 17-30 which is a pretty large difference. But in fairness, both in recent trends and overall season ATS numbers, this aren’t a ton of reasons to definitively say “Cleveland.”
Look, a lot of the metrics lately even say Dallas is the play, I acknowledge this pick could be a bit counter-intuitive. I am going purely on ‘dramatically better team playing an older team while both are short rest.’ Unless the Cavs unexpectedly bench LeBron for rest, and the reports are they will not as both he and Kyrie made the trip, the edge goes to the Cavs.
Kevin Love will sit, but the rest of the team is EXPECTED to play. As always, when a situation like this arises, CHECK LINEUPS BEFORE GAMETIME. Obviously, without EITHER Kyrie or LeBron, this pick becomes NO ACTION.
Right now though, the line is too slim to ignore at just -4.5. I think the Cleveland funk was ended with yesterday’s defensive effort and their brief malaise was just part of the inevitable wave of a long, long NBA season for a team with frankly little to challenge them in the regular season. It doesn’t mean they stay down for ever. A few people caught them slippin’ but this is still a 60+ win team. Those teams lose rarely to Top Five Lottery teams, even on the road.