Last night was a tough loss to swallow in the NBA, as Portland tallied 68 points in the second half and a late flurry stole away my UNDER win, pushing the total one basket too high. Tonight, with a full slate of NBA action, we will try to bounce back with a pair of picks.
So let’s not waste any time today and dig right in…
Today’s Free Picks:
Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic -2 (Total: 194.5)
This season has started off in nightmare fashion for the playoff-hopeful Cavaliers. Led by a healthy Kyrie Irving and the addition of #1 pick Anthony Bennett and the acquisition of Andrew Bynum, the Cavalier faithful though they could make some noise in the Eastern Conference. They’ve made some noise alright, but it’s been mostly a giant THUD. They are just 8-13 despite winning four of their last five games. It’s important to note ALL four of those wins were at home. Tonight, they head on the road.
Orlando has a similar record but it FEELS a lot more optimistic in Orlando, where they were expecting bad things. Victor Oladipo has been light-years better than the aforementioned #1 pick Bennett, and coupled with Aaron Afflalo, there are some signs of life in O-Town. The Magic are a respectable 5-5 at home, but the stat that tips the scales for me is that the Cavaliers are an abysmal 1-10 on the road.
Yes, the Cavs have been playing better but be wary of the bad team on a home-aided, bad team-fueled winning streak. Tonight, they pack their bags and I think they arrive to a loss.
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors -3 (Total: 210.5)
The Warriors played one of the more thrilling games of the season two nights ago, capped off with a Steph Curry buzzer beater against the Mavs. Meanwhile, the Rockets played last night in Portland, falling 111-104 to the Blazers. Tonight, they load it up yet again to try and win the back end of one of the most difficult back-to-backs in the NBA this season.
It seems like a ton to ask, despite the Rockets complete dismantling of the Warriors last week in Houston. Beware – it happens all the time in the NBA; one team looks dominant at home and then when the location flips, the result is radically different. I don’t think it will be as extreme as the Warriors running them out of the gym tonight, but I do think the change of venue plus the fact the Rockets are playing road games on consecutive days are enough to give the Warriors the edge.