Wow. We came within a half-point of our second garbage backdoor cover loss of the week. So hopefully if you had the UNDER in last night’s Heat vs. Jazz game you also had it at 183.5. It closed a point higher at 184.5 (which is odd, as I would have expected it to constrict once Dwyane Wade was scratched) but it did dip under 183 at a few points during the day. IF you caught the line a point or two lower, than the useless buzzer-beating Jazz three pointer was far from meaningless…
Alas, I got the half point win to notch consecutive victories and will be looking to build tonight and see if we can make it three in a row. We have a crowded NBA slate to select from after just three games last night, so let’s dive in with a winning pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors -9
The Pelicans are off to the second worst start in franchise history and have been the most frequent (along with Memphis) target of “what is wrong with this team?” discussions. Well, the answer is simple. They aren’t healthy and their schedule has been BRUTAL. Yes, they are 1-8. But without Jrue Holliday and Anthony Davis in and out of the lineup, not to mention Tyreke Evans, they should expect to struggle. Also, keep in mind their losses include Golden State twice and Atlanta twice; the two conference regular season win leaders from last season.
Meanwhile, Toronto has an injury concern tonight as well as defensive stopper DeMarre Carroll is expected to miss another game. Subtract Carroll and the balance of power swings mightily in this game away from Toronto, even is Anthony Davis (questionable) is ruled out of the game, making nine points a pretty steep price for a team that has lost three of its last four games.
Keep an eye on the injury reports throughout the day. This current minus nine feels like it is predicted on Davis being out, so it is a good opportunity to lock in a favorable line in case he IS cleared to play late. Last season the Pels won both matchups with Toronto, AND Anthony Davis missed BOTH games. Meaning, they can beat the Raptors without him.
I am not predicting a road win for the Pelicans, but I love the nine points I can get, with or without Davis. Look for Jrue Holiday’s return to spark a stagnant offense and for Ryan Anderson to have another big game is he is asked to pick up the scoring slack for an ailing A.D.