This has admittedly not been a great year for NBA picks at TSG. That being said, the site as a whole did deliver some solid picks across the board and we had some hot stretches at times. After a mild break, we’re back to the grind on Monday night to help bettors close out the regular season with some wins.
From there, the plan is to march into the 2018 NBA playoffs and secure some more wins.
It’s very important to note how tricky the final few days of the regular season can be in the NBA. There are some teams jockeying for playoff positioning, some still trying to find their way to the playoffs and others just playing spoiler. There are a lot of teams just waiting for the year to end, too.
This leads to a lot of inactives and on Monday I think the Clippers are in danger of being severely under-manned when they host the New Orleans Pelicans.
The big question NBA bettors need to answer, of course, is if the Clips can dig deep and beat a +8.5 spread. Let’s break this matchup down to find out:
New Orleans Pelicans (-8.5, -106) @ Los Angeles Clippers (+8.5, -113) Total: 224 (-105/-115)
L.A. is already down some key bodies, as Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari will not suit up for this game. Jawun Evans had even previously been ruled out for the remainder of the season, while key guards Lou Williams and Austin Rivers have both been ruled out for tonight’s home tilt as well:
Lou Williams (ankle) ruled out Monday. https://t.co/xOmaqBzh1Z
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) April 9, 2018
This is bad news for a Clippers team that recently got eliminated from playoff contention. With both of these guys are out, Los Angeles will be severely over-matched up front against Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday, while this is still a matchup Anthony Davis could feast in.
DeAndre Jordan really couldn’t stop The Brow in previous meetings this year (Davis averaged 30 points and 13 rebounds across three meetings), but coach Rivers has suggested he may “take it easy” on his star veteran center to close out the season.
Again, this doesn’t sound good for the Clips.
Los Angeles has been a pretty feisty group on the year. They started the season hot and even after trading away Blake Griffin, they remained a highly versatile and competitive unit. Unfortunately, they’ve been hit hard by the injury bug.
Patrick Beverley went down for good early in the year, Avery Bradley didn’t last long after the Blake Griffin trade and Gallo has been in and out of the starting five all year long.
Tobias Harris, Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan have remained a quality trio for this team, but all could easily end up being limited or even held out tonight.
Because of this, I don’t think you can trust L.A.’s respectable 42-38 against the spread record. That’s compounded by the fact that the Clippers weren’t even that great ATS as home underdogs (5-7) and that was when they were actually somewhat healthy on the year.
The Clips began the year as a solid defensive team, but they eroded on that end of the floor during the second half of the year. The Clippers now operate the league’s sixth fastest offense, but rank just 19th in defensive efficiency.
Normally that wouldn’t be a problem at home against the Pelicans, who are tied for the #1 pace in the league and might be worse defensively.
The Pelicans are clearly the better team right now even if both teams were at full strength and the gap could be quite large on Monday night. On top of that, the Pels have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the past two months and come into tonight’s showdown (won three in a row, 6-4 over their last 10) in great form.
In addition, the Pelicans are playing for a playoff spot and are in a heated race to get there. The Utah Jazz just claimed their spot, while New Orleans is left to fend off four other teams with a nearly identical record. With a massive tilt against the San Antonio Spurs on the horizon, the Pels know they can’t afford to trip up here.
I think New Orleans comes out focused and dominates this game. Anthony Davis is a man possessed these days and the Clippers really don’t have anyone that can stop him. With L.A. destroyed by injuries and having nothing to play for, the Pels should find a way to cover what really is a solid -8.5 spread tonight. If you want even that price, though, now is the time to pounce.