I got totally hosed last night, as the Denver Nuggets didn’t bother to show up and got housed by the Los Angeles Lakers. How did I get hosed, exactly? Well, I failed to realize Denver would have an off night in L.A. the night prior and that potentially played a hand in the team coming out and looking like hot garbage.
Even if the Nuggets were to rebound from a shaky start, hopes of that were dashed when head coach Michael Malone and star center Nikola Jokic were both ejected from the game. Add in a Paul Millsap injury to the mix and the Nuggets never really stood a chance. Lonzo Ball also picked a random time to drop in his second ever triple-double as the Nuggets failed to deliver as -4.5 road favorites.
It was a brutal end to the weekend and dropped my NBA picks to 2-2 on the year.
There are plenty of solid opportunities to right the ship on Monday, though, as the NBA schedule offers 11 games on the docket. The one that stands out the most for me is a battle in San Antonio between the Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs come in as -9.5 home favorites at just about every NBA betting site you’ll stumble across and I like their chances to cover.
Atlanta Hawks (+9.5) @ San Antonio Spurs (-9.5) Total: 203
I’m not even going to waste that much time on this one. The Hawks are an abysmal 3-13 on the season and they are in bad form with a 2-8 run over their last 10 contests. Dennis Schroder remains their only consistently reliable offensive weapon, while the Hawks are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA (22nd in efficiency).
Atlanta has predictably been awful (2-8) on the road and their numbers against the spread don’t promote much confidence entering tonight’s matchup, either. Atlanta is just 7-8-1 against the spread overall and they’re just 4-5-1 as road underdogs.
This series has been terrible for Atlanta even before they had their roster completely stripped down over the last two years. These two sides split last year’s season series (1-1), but the Spurs have otherwise dominated this matchup. San Antonio has secured wins in a ridiculous 12 of the last 13 meetings. During that stretch, the Spurs have topped this exact spread six times.
That was against more talented Hawks teams, too. The Spurs are still down Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, but LaMarcus Aldridge has spear-headed a competitive bunch that refuses to give in. There’s no better evidence of that than a crazy comeback win last week over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
San Antonio will be well rested with two straight days off and should look to build on a stellar 7-2 home record. The Spurs remain in a solid groove, as they’re 10-6 on the year and have won 6 of their last 10 contests.
The Spurs are really a middling unit against the spread (8-8) overall, but they’re a different beast at home, as they’ve gone a blistering 6-1 ATS as home favorites. The Spurs also combat Atlanta’s 9th ranked offense with one of the best defenses in the league (6th in the NBA).
All of the data supports the Spurs in this spot, but so does the matchup and sheer logic. The Hawks aren’t good, they stink on the road and they can’t defend. Whatever production they do muster on offense will be sliced up by San Antonio’s elite team defense, while the Hawks simply won’t have much of an answer for Ridge.
I love the Spurs at home and in what should be a blowout, the Hawks don’t feel like serious threats to beat this spread. It’s always a slow burn for any favorite to top a spread closing in on -10, but the value you’re getting at -110 will make it worth the fuss in the end.
Pick: San Antonio Spurs (-9.5)