It’s the final day of the unofficial first-half of the NBA season for all but four teams, so let’s take stock of where we stand.
In the Eastern Conference, it’s been a two-team race from the outset, and it’s hard to see things changing before the end of season. If anything, with the trade deadline looming it’s possible you’ll see a few of the middle-of-the pack teams in the East be sellers as opposed to buyers (or at the very least, stand pat), so it’d be nice if we could just fast-forward to the inevitable Pacers v. Heat classic. It’s been very fashionable to bash the East, and while it might be a little contrite, it’s been a pretty good betting strategy as well. In terms of records ATS, only five of fifteen teams have a winning record; Indiana is the best at 32-19, followed by Toronto (29-20-1), Charlotte (29-22-1), Washington (27-23-1) and Atlanta (26-24). Everyone else? Big losers.
In the West, it truly has been the varsity to the East’s JV. Nine teams are over .500 ATS, nine teams are over .500 straight up, and three teams that are NOT; New Orleans, Denver and Minnesota, are at least good ballclubs. Even Utah and Sacramento have talent and show flashes of competence. Aside from the Lakers, every team in the West would be home favorites against any Eastern Conference team other than the Big Two.
Everyone’s first half MVP is Kevin Durant, but the exciting thing about the second half and the Playoffs is that we could see both Durant and Lebron have to go through the “next two” on theballot; Alderidge and Paul George in the conference semis. It’s going to be a great finish to the regular season, so enjoy the breather of the All-Star Break, let’s see if I can snap the skid heading into the break, and let’s have a really strong second half of the year!
Today’s Free Picks:
Philadelphia 76’ers at Utah Jazz -7.5 (Total: 203.5)
Is it just piling on at this point to point out that Philadelphia is fresh on the heels of one of the worst back-to-back performances in the modern history of the NBA? No team, since the Sixers 25 years ago, had lost consecutive games by more than 40 points. At one point in the Clippers game they found themselves down 89-34!!?!
I am sure at some point pride kicks in and you at least put up a fight, but I think they are going to get rolled up again tonight. The Jazz have been good at home, and as I’ve pointed out frequently on this column, since their 0-12 start and the healthy insertion of Trey Burke, this is actually a pretty decent basketball team.
Philly has lost seven straight and only twice by less than 14 points. They are 1-6 and 2-8 in their last seven and ten games ATS. Meanwhile, Utah is fresh off a home win over the Heat and is 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home games.
Give me Utah to continue piling on the biggest dumpster fire in the NBA.