It is a pretty great slate of NBA action today, as well as a stark reminder that the balance of power – or at least the preponderance of good teams, has finally shifted back to even, if not favoring the East outright. All of the best games are Eastern Conference matchups tonight, and it is largely based on the fact that right now there are more competitive teams in the East. Atlanta heads to Indiana and Toronto is at Chicago in the two highlights of the evening. Both should be fantastically competitive and interesting high-level games.
Meanwhile, the Warriors look to run their record to an unfathomable 29-1 against the mercurial Kings. I’m taking a break from wagering Kings games after getting burnt twice by their surprising road upset wins and then subsequently burnt last night as they laid an egg at home, losing to the Damian Lillard Trailblazers. It’s a mixed bag in SacTown, which I suppose falls right in line with the equally-mercurial superstars that drive the engine.
We are enduring one of our first losing stretches of the NBA season. After reeling off 14 of 16 NBA picks, I’ve gone just 2-5 over a tough Holiday Week. It’s definitely time to start a new week with an old result – stacking up winners.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers -1.5 at Washington Wizards
The basic stats and metrics favor the Clippers. After all, they are 18-13, allegedly one of the four best teams in the mighty West, while the Wizards are just 14-14 and a lousy 7-7 at home. Add in the Bradley Beal and Gary Neal injuries, and it makes sense that the Wizards are underdogs at home, right?
Or does it? The Wizards have won four games in a row, thanks largely to some remarkable play by John Wall. Meanwhile, the Clippers will be without the services of Blake Griffin, severely changing and limiting their offensive attack. John Wall has averaged over 13 assists per game in his last five games. He has revitalized Marcin Gortat and kept the offense clicking (in fact, better than ever) despite missing his second leading scorer. It will be hard for Chris Paul to keep pace without his favorite target.
I love getting points with home teams hosting foes from across the country. Especially under-performing teams missing their best player. The Clippers have been one of the worst bets in the NBA this season at just 11-18-2 ATS. Not that Washington has been great; they are 15-13 overall, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
I’ll take the home court and the hotter team. Plus, I get a point and a half cushion (which I am perfectly amenable to waiving for the +108 I can get at 5Dimes or even +100 on most other sportsbooks).