A nice Christmas blizzard forced the cancellation of last night’s Chicago at Indiana game, so our win streak also remains frozen at 13 games ATS. The game will be made up later in the season, which depending upon each team’s star’s return date, could wildly swing the complexion of a pivotal division game. With Derek Rose expected to return before Danny Granger, you can bet the Pacers are in the commissioner’s ear trying to get the make-up date fast-tracked.
In the meantime, let’s focus on tonight’s small but interesting NBA slate with a TNT doubleheader featuring the top two teams in the league (unfortunately, they don’t play each other…)
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder -10.5 (Total: 207.5)
Oklahoma City has had the best record in the league for most of the season, but the 14-game win streak by the Clippers currently has them a half-game back. Oklahoma City had won nine games in a row prior to their current two-game losing streak. Their losses came at Minnesota and then the Christmas Day loss at Miami. I imagine they will get back to their winning ways tonight, but 10.5 is a lot of points to lay down.
Dallas is finally showing the cracks of trying to maintain competitiveness without their franchise, Dirk Nowitski. They have lost six of seven games and are a miserable 4-12 on the road. I don’t see any way they win tonight in Oklahoma City, especially considering they have lost eight of their last nine to the Thunder and most of those were WITH Dirk.
They gave up 129 points to their Spurs in their last game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunder approaches that number tonight. I would rather not lay ten points in an NBA game, but I think OKC comes out and simply hammers them tonight. Swallow the big number and back the far superior team.
Free Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -10.5
Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers -8.5
Another hot team at home, another large spread. This one is a little more palatable at 8.5, but still a pretty steep price to pay against a reasonable opponent, and certainly one that has been known to ramp it up for big games.
During the Clippers current 14-game win streak, they have covered in a whopping 12 of 14. The number starts creeping larger and larger, but so far, Chris Paul and the deepest team in the league just keep on covering it. Even better, the Clippers have covered six of their last seven meetings against Boston.
The Clippers have won by double-digits in their last six games and eight of their last ten. They are not just winning, but are winning comfortably. Scanning most major lines and wagering sites, most pundits and handicappers are leaning Boston. However, I am going upstream on this one, and riding the hot horse. Boston had an emotional showing on Christmas Day, but now they have to fly all the way out West and try to derail the hottest team in sports. I don’t think it’s happening.
Once again, I’m swallowing the points and going with the hot team.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -8.5