We grabbed our sixth win ATS in seven NBA games with Brooklyn defending their home court and cruising to a relatively easy victory against the hapless Sixers. The game got close from a spread perspective, so we had to hang on to the final minutes to secure the winning pick. But the game was never really in any jeopardy for the Nets, who covered their ninth game in eleven outings.
Elsewhere in a light NBA slate, the Thunder beat the Hawks by double digits for their third straight win and their seventh in nine games. They are still just 14-8 on the season, but perhaps this team is ready to get back where most people expected them before the season; near the top of the Western Conference and contending for a Finals berth (in the non-Golden State universe, of course). Then again, things get real tonight with a road game at Utah to cap a back-to-back, which is never a good recipe for NBA success…
I’d put a lean Utah’s way, especially getting 3.5 points. In fact, I’ll make that my bonus pick at the bottom of the page because it is SUCH a good line, Utah +3.5. But there is one game I like even more tonight, so let’s get into that right now.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers -4.5
The Pacers enter on a three game losing streak, so is there cause for concern in Indy with Frank Vogel’s small-ball All Stars? Well, considering they lost @Portland on the back of a back-to-back, @Utah in their third west coast game in four days and then at home to the Golden State Warriors, panic might be a little overstated. This is still one of the best teams in the East and had reeled off six games in row before their struggles including wins at Washington and LAC. They have already gone into Miami and won this season against a healthy Heat team. They will be looking for similar success tonight at home.
The Pacers are 6-3 at home and a perfect 5-0 at home against the East. Meanwhile, the Heat, whom I wrote about earlier this week having an insanely home-tilted early schedule, are just 204 on the road and got blasted the night before last in Charlotte – a similar type team to Indiana. I am just not ready to bet Heat games on the road until the show me they are better than an average NBA team away from home. And average NBA teams lose more road games than they win, especially at quality opponents and opponents NEEDING a win like Indiana does tonight.
I think Indy comes out ready to stop the bleeding, as well as fresh from having two consecutive nights off at home. Miami, meanwhile, enters 0-2 on the week and looking less than great in their last two games. Deng has been hurt and Whiteside looks doubtful tonight after missing practice yesterday with an injury. Even if he plays, I like the Pacers, but without him, a huge home edge to Indy tonight. I’ll swallow the four and a half and back the better team at home.
*** BONUS PICK: Oklahoma City Thunder -3.5 at Utah Jazz
This line is too good to ignore. Utah getting three and a half at home against an OKC team on the abck-end of a back to back? Take the points, and I’m not opposed to a Jazz money line play if you find good value near +150. OKC is just 9-13 ATS on the season and has a losing 4-5 road record straight up.
Love the value of the young Jazz tonight on some fresh legs.