Happy Halloween everyone! We dressed up as a loser for the very first time last night as The Beard (not a terrible Halloween costume by the way) drew a, what else, foul, in the final seconds of a tied game. He dramatically missed the first before sinking the second one and sinking the Mavericks for the second time this season with a 93-92 win. The Rockets won the game but came up short of the cover to snap our season-starting five game win streak. The night wasn’t a total loss however, as my World Series pick came to fruition to finish my postseason MLB coverage at a ridiculous 13-2-1 ATS. Not that it has anything to do with today’s column, but, well, I just felt like saying it one last time before vanishing from baseball for six months. Hopefully you’ll forgive the indulgence…
Alas, back on the hardwood, the Mavericks may have lost, but the most troubling result of the night might have been from a team that won. Sure, the Warriors are now 2-1 and a perfect 2-0 on the road, but yet another lackluster performance against a non-playoff team first NOLA, then Phoenix) was a pretty clear indication that despite the dazzling array of talent, this team is still a work in progress. And progress they must, as the schedule will ramp up very soon. They get the Blazers and Dame on Tuesday, a team and foe who have given them trouble in the recent past before an emotionally-charged matchup with the 3-0 Thunder on Thursday on TNT.
Let’s get back to our winning ways tonight by finding the hidden gem on the slim four-game NBA slate.
Today’s Free Pick:
Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors -7 (Total: 204)
With a small slate, let me start with process of elimination tonight. The Suns have been impressive in defeats to some of the best in the league, but play a back to back on the road tonight against the Clippers, who have looked excellent. Ten and a half is a pretty appropriate number. I’m staying away. Likewise for the Kings. They have been good this season but go on the road all the way to Atlanta and are getting a just-about-right seven and a half.
Which brings me to my easily favorite line of the night; Toronto where the motivated Raptors have been lying in wait since a tough 94-91 Kyrie-Three ball dagger loss to the Cavs on Friday night. The Raptors are the reigning two seed in the East, on three days’ rest, and are playing at home against a non-playoff team who is travelling to the Eastern time zone. There’s a LOT to like about this scenario from a wagering perspective.
The Nuggets won last year both times against Toronto, but I am looking at that as more of an anomaly than a sign the Nuggets “have their number.” It’s a small sample size, and the much larger sample size says that the Raptors are excellent at home, the Nuggets are poor on the road, and the Raptors are the much better team in general.
This game also has the easy potential to eclipse the conservative 204 point total, but my favored play is on the Raptors to handle their business at home and get a relatively easy win against an opponent they should beat.