Thunder vs. Cavaliers Pick NBA – December 17th

The train kept on rolling last night as we stacked another easy winner thanks to the Pacers and their rude homecoming reception for former coach, Rick Carlisle. The Pacers performed exactly as projected; way too much for the fading Mavericks, and they rolled to another home win to push their season mark to 9-3. I accidentally overstated the run I am personally on yesterday, adding a premature victory, but it is NOW 12-2 over the last 14 picks ATS with only three losses the entire month of December. Let’s keep the good times rolling…

Speaking of which, perhaps the Warriors loss (and subsequent four days rest) was all they needed to get back to dominance. They absolutely dazzled against the poor Suns last night, raining threes mercilessly, delivering dazzling passes and spectacular assists, and once again looking like the greatest thing ever placed on hardwood. You can credit the Bucks with delivering the Warriors their only loss. I’m giving the credit to the NBA schedule makers… Eight days until LeBron and Steph on Christmas. Eight days until LeBron and Steph on Christmas…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers -3

This is just about as good as it gets (aside from, ya know, Christmas Day). OKC with Durant and Westbrook visiting LeBron and Love and the Cavs is pretty great. Both teams are starting to play very well to make things even more fun. The Thunder have won six straight and gone 4-1 ATS in their last five outings. They have a road win at Memphis and a home and home over Utah to go with home wins over Portland and Atlanta. They’ve won eight of ten overall.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has been making me some money recently. Shumpert is not the heralded player that Kyrie Irving is, but his return might have been more of an injection of success than Irving’s will be. Shumpert’s status is uncertain tonight, but I am reading more that he WILL play than he won’t. You MIGHT WANT TO HOLD until word is certain, as Shump gives them defensive toughness and athleticism on the perimeter, and they have been blanketing teams since his return. They have smoked Boston and Orlando and I think his addition would be perfect timing before a matchup with the perimeter-centric Thunder. I personally like Cleveland tonight even without him, so I am happy to cash it at -3. If he is ruled IN, that number could widen a bit, so use your own discretion…

A lot of the Vegas money is going OKC’s direction. Predictive analysis from a couple reputable computer sim models have this game 104-95 in favor of the Thunder. I disagree steadfastly. Two big factors: One, this game is in Cleveland. Two, OKC played last night, Cleveland did NOT. No way am I betting against LeBron at home against a team on the back-end of a back to back. No way. Not doing it. Never gonna happen. Shumpert or no Shumpert, I am not violating one of the most trusted wagering principles in NBA betting AND going against LeBron at home in a national television game.

I’ll take the Cavs laying the slim three points tonight.

Free Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -3

Chris Scheeren / Author