Friday nights are usually pretty empty college basketball nights, and tonight is no exception. However, the NBA more than makes up for it with a bursting slate of games. There are twelve games to choose from tonight, so let’s jump right in with my three favorite plays of the night and get a profitable start to the weekend.
Los Angeles Clippers -7.5 at Cleveland Cavaliers (Total: 200)
The Clippers more than answered the bell last night, winning 99-91 in Indianapolis and snapping the Pacers five game winning streak in the process. Tonight would seem like an easier game by comparison, but they’d be wise not to take the Cleveland Cavs too lightly. Cleveland has won four of their last five games and their lone loss was a tough four point loss at Miami. And of course, they have Kyrie Irving blossoming into one of the best young players in the NBA.
The Cavaliers has covered nine of their last eleven games, meaning not only have they gotten a handful of wins but even in losing efforts they have played very tough. Add in the fact that the Clippers are on the back end of an east coast bask-to-back and those seven and a half points start to seem like a ton at home. I’m going to take a flyer on the Cavs tonight with the points.
Free Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers +7.5
Dallas Mavericks at Brooklyn Nets -3 (Total: 194.5)
I’m not sure why there is so much Vegas confidence in the Dallas Mavericks. They have lost three games in a row and are a pathetic 9-20 on the road this season. So why on earth are they only getting three points on the road?? Joe Johnson is listed as questionable, but is expected to play. Other than that, no significant injuries to report. So again, why the really low spread?
I dug into the numbers a bit, expecting to find some kind of trap lurking, but couldn’t. The Nets have dropped a few games recently at home, but they were to Memphis, Houston and San Antonio. They are still 20-12 at home, and are relatively healthy now. I like them at home laying just the three.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -3
Oklahoma City Thunder -1.5 at Denver Nuggets (Total: 220.5)
This is the back half of an awesome ESPN doubleheader (Miami vs. Memphis is the first one, Miami is laying 7 and it feels about right to me, hence no pick), and it should boast plenty of offense. The question is, can OKC do something only three teams have done this entire year, win at Denver and the mile-high altitude?? Denver has one of the most lop-sided splits in the NBA; 24-3 at home yet just 13-19 on the road. It is more than fair to say that this is a completely different team at home.
Obviously, Oklahoma City is the better team, but they have shown themselves to be vulnerable to playoff teams on the road, and tonight would seem to be the exact type test that fits the bill. It isn’t often you can get the Nuggets AND points in Denver. I’m going to take advantage of it tonight.
Free Pick: Denver Nuggets +1.5