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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

NBA Picks December 2012

The first month of the NBA season went pretty well, although I have kept my powder dry in the last three weeks as I was just hitting a poor run of form and decided it was better to take a watching brief rather than going 'chasing'.

It has been a very interesting start to the new season, particularly for a New York Knicks fan as myself with the team currently having the best record in the Eastern Conference and already knocked off Miami twice this season, once without Carmelo Anthony.

The Heat have actually been a little lethargic at times to open the season with the knowledge that they can likely beat 85% of the teams in the NBA with a little burst of quality and they have sleep-walked through the majority of games and are doing just enough to win.

However, they are at least winning, while the LA Lakers have made a horrible start to the new season. Injuries are hurting them and exposing a roster that doesn't have a lot of depth and I think they will likely go through more teething problems before things settle down. I still think the Lakers will make the Play Offs, but they don't look the team to beat in the Western Conference... That remains the Oklahoma City Thunder who have suffered no noticeable hangover from losing in the NBA Finals last June and the fact that they have lost James Harden just days before the new season began.

This is still very early in the new season and the NBA is currently playing second fiddle to the NFL and the season won't settle down into a real shape until the new calender year.

December 11th
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: The New York Knicks may have the best record in the Eastern Conference at this early stage of the new season, but one result that would have grated on the management and the fans would have been the loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the season.

The chance for redemption is high in this one for the Knicks as they are playing the better basketball of the two teams. I also think the Knicks will not be overlooking this game for the visit of the LA Lakers on Thursday night and they have won 3 of their last 4 road games since the loss in Brooklyn.

The Nets have just been off in recent games with 3 consecutive home losses, and I just think the scoring power of the Knicks carries them over in this one and level the season series at 1-1.

December 12th
San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz Pick: The San Antonio Spurs are once again one of the hotter regular season teams a year after finishing with the Number 1 seed in the Western Conference and I think they will be too strong for the Utah Jazz in what is traditionally a difficult road game for teams.

However, the Spurs have won 3 of their last 4 games here in Utah and they have been scoring a lot of points coming into this one. Greg Popovich also seems to get the best out of his team when they are due to play on back to back nights, going 19-1 straight up in the first of those games, including winning 10 in a row.

San Antonio are 8-2 against the spread in that 10 game winning run and I think they improve that here.

December 14th
Both of the previous games I went with were a couple rolls of the ball away from being winners, but instead I got a push and a loser so decided to take off yesterday with the small choices I had.

Golden State Warriors @ Orlando Magic Pick: I like the Orlando Magic in the underdog role to keep this game close, even though they have been inconsistent all season.

However, I like the idea that Golden State Warriors could be on an emotional letdown spot following their shocking win over the Miami Heat a couple of nights ago. The Warriors have been very good this season, but it could be tough for them to keep their level up against a much weaker team than Miami.

Golden State have won 5 games in a row, but the last team to beat them was Orlando on the West Coast. The Warriors also have a shocking 1-10 run in the first of back to back nights play while Orlando are 7-4 in that same situation.

Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: The Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to be even more focused to right the wrongs of losing in the NBA Finals last season and are not missing James Harden nor suffering from any hangover from their defeat to the Miami Heat.

They have won 9 straight games, going 7-2 against the spread, and they have three days before they have to play again so they can focus completely on this game. The close win over the New Orleans Hornets will have focused them more and I think they take that out on the Kings.

Sacramento have been beaten comfortably in their last 2 games and I think the Thunder have too much scoring power for them. This is the last of a four game road trip and they may just be looking forward to playing at home and could be beaten with a bit of ease in this one.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets Pick: Denver are one of the best home teams in the NBA so I was a little surprised that they are only giving up 1.5 points in this one against a Memphis Grizzlies team that has lost 3 of their last 5 games in a very promising start to the season.

Much of Memphis' promising start has come from their games at home and although they have won at Oklahoma City, defeats at San Antonio and the LA Clippers suggests this will be another tough ask for them.

Denver did lose their last home game against the Grizzlies, but are 18-2 straight up against them in the last 20 times they have hosted them, while also being 13-7 against the spread so I'll back them here.

December 15th
LA Clippers @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: The LA Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles and it has been a long time since people could say that... They have been in very good form and the additional rest they have before this game should stand them in good stead for this one.

The Clippers have been playing very effectively defensively and I think they can make enough stops to let their Offense take over this game. The Bucks played last night and they are just 1-6-1 against the spread in their last 8 games when playing the second of back to back nights play.

LA have not played well here in Milwaukee in recent games, but I think the Clippers have enough on both sides of the court to think they change that here.

December 20th
Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: The Miami Heat continue to sleep-walk through games at times this season, but they should be focused to play the short-handed Dallas Mavericks after losing the NBA Finals in 2011 to this team.

The Heat have beaten Dallas in the two games since those Finals, but the Mavericks are definitely a better team at home than they are on the road so it won't be easy. However, the spot looks a good one for the Heat to have a statement win on national TV and I think they cover the spread.

December 22nd
Utah Jazz @ Miami Heat Pick: The Miami Heat are in a good spot here as they managed to rest their starters in the blow out of the Dallas Mavericks and have a few days to prepare for their next game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Miami have been playing better defensively and I think they make life tough for Utah in this one, a team that may be looking forward to ending their Eastern road trip and heading back home.

Utah are also just 2-9 in their last 11 games when playing the first of back to back games and they are just 1-9-1 against the spread in those games.

LA Lakers @ Golden State Warriors Pick: The spread shows how close the layers think this game will be, although I am of the belief that the Golden State Warriors will be a little too good for the LA Lakers and win the game.

However, instead I am going to back the over 208.5 total points in this one- the over is 6-3 in the last 9 at Golden State between these teams and both have been scoring plenty of points but also struggling in defensive situations.

I am expecting both sides to crack the 105 point mark to see this one go over the total points.

December 23rd
Minnesota Timberwolves @ New York Knicks Pick: I like the New York Knicks to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves who will be missing Kevin Love in this game.

The Knicks have been very strong at the Garden and I think the Minnesota team could be a little flat after snapping the Oklahoma City Thunder winning streak. This is also a road game between home games and I think New York's scoring power will be too much to overcome.

December 25th
Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: I am taking a couple of underdogs to give themselves Christmas cheer in the NBA, starting with the Boston Celtics as they visit Brooklyn to take on the Nets.

Boston should be fired up after getting into a series of pushing matches with the Nets in their last meeting, one which saw Rajon Rondo ejected and then suspended. This veteran squad is also looking to avoid their longest losing run on the road since 2007.

I also don't trust Brooklyn who have struggled in the role of favourites and who are struggling to put teams away with consistency.

New York Knicks @ LA Lakers Pick: I am also backing my favourite team, the New York Knicks to at least push the LA Lakers in this game.

Carmelo Anthony will likely have a big game to 'impress' former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni and I also think there is more chemistry in the New York team at this moment in time. Granted, the Lakers have won 4 in a row, but they could easily have lost the last 2 games and I think the Knicks impose their slower tempo on proceedings while also being able to deal with the Lakers Offense having seen it for some time in New York.

I would be surprised if this isn't close until the final buzzer so the points look healthy.

Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls: One of the hottest teams in the NBA at the moment, the Houston Rockets look like they are being given a lot of points in this one and I think the highest scoring team in the League keeps it close against one of the premier Defenses in the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago have been playing well despite laying an egg in the blow out loss at Atlanta, but that was a bad emotional spot for them. I think they will put in a huge effort in this one, but Houston are scoring too many points to be given this head start and I'll take them to cover.

December 26th
Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: I like the home team's chances of covering the spread in this one as I think the personnel, particularly Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, do provide a match up problem for the Brooklyn Nets' best players in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

Brooklyn also took a bit of a beat down mentally from the Boston Celtics and have been awful against Milwaukee recently. In fact, they have lost 12 in a row in the series with 6 defeats in a row when they have visited the Bucks.

All of those 6 wins have come by at least double-digits and I think Milwaukee are too good for them here.

Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: This is a terrible spot for the Houston Rockets as the game is sandwiched between the Christmas Day game at Chicago and the visit to the San Antonio Spurs, but 5.5 points head start does look a touch high.

Houston are playing with a lot of momentum and they have the scoring power to at least keep this game close. They also have a decent record at Minnesota, despite losing their last game here, and I think the youthful nature of the Rockets team will be enough to see them through this one.

Hopefully the Rockets realise that beating a potential rival for a Play Off berth is enough to concentrate their minds between much more 'glamourous' games.

December 27th
Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: Dallas have been struggling all season and they are the kind of team that seems to drop their heads when they fall behind. That could be exposed by a powerful Offense like the Oklahoma City Thunder who will be looking to get back to winning ways.

The Thunder were involved in another loss to the Miami Heat on Christmas Day, but they have been very good at home and will be looking for their 11th win. I just think they have more chances to get things going in this one and I like their chances of covering this double-digit spread.

December 28th
Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons Pick: I just feel the absence of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen will inspire LeBron James to take the Miami Heat on his back and he will help them continue their recent dominance of the Detroit Pistons.

The Heat are playing as well as anybody in the NBA at the moment and they will want to prove they can get things going on the road and win their 3rd in a row on their travels. The spread looks a reasonable one for them to cover, even on the road.

Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers Pick: The Atlanta Hawks should be able to win their 4th straight at Cleveland in this one as they should have a big edge when it comes to the Center spot, while Josh Smith looked very comfortable in their win over the Detroit Pistons.

The Hawks should be a little more focused on the road against one of the poorer teams in the Eastern Conference than they were against Detroit and they will want to put the record straight after losing at home against Cleveland earlier this season.

Denver Nuggets @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: This looks the perfect emotional let down spot for the Dallas Mavericks who should have beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder last night and now play a team that had won 3 straight at the American Airlines Center before their last meeting here.

Denver should be much more confident from their beating of the LA Lakers in their last gmae and I just feel the Nuggets will be able to bring that in here and maybe take advantage of a tired Dallas team.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors Pick: The Golden State Warriors look like a team that will have too much scoring power for the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that may be over-rated from their one win over Memphis in their last game.

The 76ers have not been great on the road this season and could be short-handed which leaves me favouring the home side to cover.

December 29th
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets Pick: I just think this is a tough spot for the Houston Rockets who are playing their fourth game in five days and they are just off a tough loss at the San Antonio Spurs last night.

Oklahoma City haven't been playing that well, but they have players that can expose a Rockets Defense that allows a lot of points and they may just have enough to cover the spread.

December 31st
Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic Pick: I like the chances of the Miami Heat to turn around their recent road defeats in this one as they face a short-handed Orlando Magic team that are struggling to keep up with their opponents.

Orlando will make it a fight as this is an in-State rivalry, but there is too much in this Heat team to continue performing badly on the road and I like them to cover the big spread.

Atlanta Hawks @ Houston Rockets Pick: Both of these teams are capable of putting up big points and I think this will certainly be a high-scoring game.

However, I like the Houston Rockets to cover as I think the Atlanta team have played a lot of basketball while being short-handed and they have regularly struggled in visits to this part of Texas.

Brooklyn Nets @ San Antonio Spurs Pick: The Spurs have been playing as good basketball as anyone at the moment and I think they are too experienced for a Brooklyn Nets team that has struggled to find an identity.

The Spurs have dominated the Nets in recent games in the series and I think they get away from them in this one too.

MY PICKS: 11/12 New York Knicks - 3 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
12/12 San Antonio Spurs - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
14/12 Orlando Magic + 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
14/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 13 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
14/12 Denver Nuggets - 1.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
15/12 LA Clippers - 4 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
20/12 Miami Heat - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
22/12 Miami Heat - 9 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
22/12 Golden State Warriors-LA Lakers Over 208.5 Total Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
23/12 New York Knicks - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 Boston Celtics + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 New York Knicks + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 Houston Rockets + 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
26/12 Milwaukee Bucks - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
26/12 Houston Rockets + 5.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
27/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/12 Miami Heat - 6 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
28/12 Atlanta Hawks - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/12 Denver Nuggets - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
28/12 Golden State Warriors - 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
29/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 4.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
30/12 San Antonio Spurs - 6 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
31/12 Miami Heat - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
31/12 Houston Rockets - 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
31/12 San Antonio Spurs - 9 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

December Update: 17-7-1, + 9.19 Units

November Final13-8-1, + 8.03 Units

Season 2013: 13-8-1, + 8.03 Units
Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

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