Kings vs. Raptors Pick NBA – December 20th

Man, things are going good when you can bet on the Houston Rockets with reasonable confidence and extend your winning streak to eight straight NBA picks and a nice 15-2 ATS run overall. I am not a Rockets guy when it comes to wagering; you simply don’t know whether you are getting 40-point James Harden or if you are getting “check out this hilarious Vine” Harden-defense. It can be maddening at times, and they are one of the teams so mercurial I try to avoid them most nights. I like “handicapping” not “gambling.” Trying to predict which Rocket team will show up is more of the latter.

But last night, the rules were too strictly applicable. The Clippers were less than 24-hours removed from a tough, grinding, emotional loss to their rival Spurs. It was unlikely they were going to compete at a high level the following night. And they didn’t. The game was never close.

Our winning streak rolls on. Let’s see if we can stuff a few more presents in the stockings before the Christmas Eve night off in the NBA.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Sacramento Kings at Toronto Raptors -5

The Kings have actually been playing pretty competent basketball as the NBA’s most curious chemistry experiment continues in Sacramento. Rajon Rondo returned from his suspension for hurling a gay-slur at an official with a double-double, and it was back to business as usual in Sac Town. Boogie and Rondo and Karl… oh my! The circus continues…

Meanwhile, the Raptors continue to find themselves in the crazy muddle that is spots 2-10 in the Eastern Conference. One day, the look like a legit contender, the next, the may miss the playoffs. I still think this is one of the four best teams in the East, if for no other reason than their dynamite backcourt. And that backcourt is going to have even more pressure placed upon it as Jonas Valanciunas heads to the hospital today. Expect Bismack Biyombo to play around 30 minutes in his stead; a good defender but less-than-obvious offensive option.

I expect the Kings to suffer the sluggishness of a second straight East Coast road game, while the Raptors should get the bounce from a day off and returning home after a week on the road. If I can get the better team under those scheduling conditions and only lay four or five points in the process, I am in most every time.

The Kings are a miserable 2-9 straight-up away from home this season. Expect their misery to continue this afternoon in The North.

Free Pick: Toronto Raptors -5

Chris Scheeren / Author