Is the East back to their standard “JV” label? Agreed, the conference is deeper than ever and probably far better than the West if you look at teams five through thirteen. But if we are measuring strength at the top, the absolute dismantling the Warriors traveled to Cleveland and Chicago to lay down has righted the universe to its natural state.
If you are measuring conferences on title contenders, the liberal scorecard is 4-1 West. If you want to judge more tightly, it is 3-0 West. I’m giving the Clippers a punchers chance and still not ignoring the Cavaliers completely, though it has grown apparent that someone is going to have to do the dirty work of eliminating the Warriors for them prior to the Finals.
Meanwhile, my snake-bitten January got even crueler with a half-point missed cover last night as the Nets missed a late shot and the Cavs held the half-point cover. No fun.
Let’s get it back on track tonight with a long-overdue NBA winner.
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Today’s winning pick:
San Antonio Spurs -14 at Phoenix Suns
I know. Laying 15 on the road in the NBA seems insane. But frankly, everything about this 2016 Spurs team is a little insane. How about the fact they currently own a 15.3 point differential, on pace to be the best in NBA history by nearly three full points. To put that in statistical context, that would be taking an NBA record that has stood for over 40 years and beating it by 25%. They have already been double-digit favorites a whopping 19 times this year, and it hasn’t mattered. They are a dazzling 14-5 ATS in those games. They are 29-13 ATS on the season, unheard of for a team already so highly regarded and are in the midst of a current 12-game winning streak.
They are visiting a team that has recently more resembled a group of guys at the Y who can’t wait to lose so they can get picked by a different team; one NOT full of dudes they can’t stand playing basketball with. Not surpringly, some pretty lousy numbers have resulted. They have lost six straight games and are just 17-26 ATS on the season. Their last meeting was a 112-79 defeat in San Antonio, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an equally embarrassing result tonight.
Laying 14.5 is a lot… until you realize that is LESS than the Spurs average win margin. Now add in the Spurs are well-rested, healthy, ostensibly playing their full roster, and facing one of the worst and most dysfunctional teams in the NBA, and… well, 14.5 seems more than reasonable.
I’ll take the Spurs tonight in a late-night TNT romp over the hapless Suns.