It’s hard to defend the Cleveland Cavaliers play last night. It’s even harder to defend their defending. They allowed open shot after open shot in their home loss to the hapless Denver Nuggets, who have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season. It’s easily one of the two or three most head-scratching results of the young NBA season, and unfortunately it handed us an embarrassing ugly loss. There’s no two ways about it, it’s been a rough start to the NBA season so far. But it is a long season and losing streaks tend to give way to better times if sticking to good money management and solid principles.
Either way, it’s time to get things rolling in the professional ranks, and there’s no better time to start than today. It’s a relatively light slate of action – perhaps the NBA is ceding some attention to the college guys, but there is a play on the board I really like.
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Today’s Free Pick:
New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings -3 (Total: 200)
Two of the more pleasant surprises in the NBA square off tonight in a matchup of the two best young big men in the NBA. It’s easy to forget Boogie Cousins just turned 24 years old as he’s entering his fifth season in the league. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis is widely heralded as the future “best player in the NBA” and is knocking on the door loudly in just his third season.
Both teams surround their franchise big man with some talent; New Orleans has the talented if not always cohesive mixture of J’Rue Holliday, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. Sacramento doesn’t have the depth of talent after losing Isaiah Thomas and replacing him with Darren Collison, but it does have better defined roles. Rudy Gay is their perimeter scorer, Collison is the floor general, and everyone else falls in line from there.
I understand why Vegas seems to think New Orleans is the slightly better team. Their metrics are better in every category. But I would caution you to consider the strength of schedule in the process. New Orleans got a little fat on a pair of home blowout wins over Minnesota and Orlando. Sacramento has played ten games, all against Western Conference opponents and none versus the Lakers or T’Wolves.
Now factor in the Kings are at home and playing against a team that played last night so will be coming on the road for the back-end of a back-to-back. That’s a lot to overcome; especially when Sacramento might even be the better basketball team right now.
I’ll take the Kings for the second straight time at home and look to replicate the result we got against the Spurs.