It was a nice Sunday in NBA action, going 2-0 with our picks. The Thunder won and covered exactly as predicted – it was a close one throughout with them getting just enough to cover the eight points at home. Meanwhile, the Pelicans did as predicted – went on the road to beat the struggling Knicks, but it happened at quite a cost. Anthony Davis injured his hand in the game and is expected to miss some significant time. It is an injury the Pelicans can ill-afford as Davis is playing at a First Team All-NBA level and they are still on the outside of the playoff picture. If he misses significant time, it might be too much for the Pels to overcome…
Speaking of overcoming obstacles, the Pacers began a daunting week on the road with an impressive win at the Clippers. It moved Indiana to a ridiculous 15-1 and kept them on pace to post the best record in the history of the NBA. I’m not suggesting they are nearly THAT good, but if they could follow it up with at Portland, I’ll start to entertain the notion that we might have something REALLY special brewing… I’m not TOUCHING that game, as they are on the back end of a back-to-back, on the west coast and playing their second straight game against an elite opponent. But, given the season they are having right now, I’m afraid to bet against them.
Let’s get to today’s free picks.
New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls -6.5 (Total: 192)
It’s a battle of varying degrees of devastation. Chicago’s loss of Derrick Rose is more crushing, as it is a more severe and season-ending injury, but the loss of Anthony Davis is fresh. As in, less than 24-hours ago. That’s tough to rebound from in any circumstance, but even more difficult with the back-end of a back-to-back on the road.
I’m not in love with this Chicago team without Derrick Rose, but in truth, they could still be the third best team in the East, even ravaged by injuries. They may lack offensive talent, but they can still get out and guard you. And that’s exactly what they will do tonight.
I like an ugly, grinding slug-fest tonight and would be surprised if this game gets close enough to 192 points to make me sweat. I’ll take the UNDER tonight.
Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards -6 (Total: 196.5)
One thing young teams rarely do well is win away from home. The Magic are no exception. They stole a few wins early, but are just 1-5 on the season away from the Amway Center. Meanwhile, Washington has cobbled their way back to respectability and are just one game under .500 after a disastrous start. I’m going to assume Bradley Beal plays tonight, and with that I am going to assume the Washington backcourt eats up the Magic.
Six points isn’t cheap to lay, but I like the Wiz by double digits tonight at home.