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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

NBA Picks January 2013

The first two months of the season have seen some familiar things, for example the San Antonio Spurs/Miami Heat/Oklahoma City Thunder being amongst the leading teams in their respective Conferences.

We have also seen the regularly slow-starting Boston Celtics, while Los Angeles seems to have flipped on its head with the Clippers looking dominant and the Lakers struggling to get things going. The last month will at least seen some positives for the Lakers as they have finally begun to look like the team they were expected to be in the off-season and they are beginning to move up the Western Conference standings.

The biggest disappointments so far have to be the Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks as injuries have taken their toll on their squads and both are going to be in a fight to make the Play Offs if they don't produce a better January.

We are still some six weeks until the All-Star Game, a game that represents a turning point for some of the better teams as they start getting themselves into Play Off mode, but this is still an important time for the not so good teams to at least get some momentum and keep wins ticking along. No one wants to put themselves in a position where they need long winning streaks in March and April to make the Play Offs.

January 1st
Philadelphia 76ers @ LA Lakers Pick: I think this is a good spot for the LA Lakers to finally get back above 0.500 as they can fully focus on the game with a couple of rest days coming up before a 5 game run against some of the best teams in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are on a 6-1 run and they are playing a Philadelphia team that have lost 8 of their last 9 on the road and who have to be a little weary during their current long road trip.

There seems to be too much scoring power in the Lakers Offense at the moment to think the 76ers will be able to contain them in my opinion.

January 2nd
New Orleans Hornets @ Houston Rockets Pick: The New Orleans Hornets put in a big effort last night before coming up short against the Atlanta Hawks and they have struggled in this spot previously. In fact, the Hornets are just 2-6 straight up in the second of back to back nights play and they have lost their last 3 against the spread.

Houston continue to churn out a lot of points in recent games and that makes me believe they will be too good for the Hornets and will be able to pull away in this game.

The spot is a good one for the Rockets who have been as productive at home as the Hornets have been poor on the road.

Brooklyn Nets @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: I backed against the Brooklyn Nets when they travelled to face one of the Western Conference powerhouses on New Year's Eve and they didn't show anything in that game to prevent me from backing the Oklahoma City Thunder in this one.

The Thunder are off a couple of blow out wins and I think there is every chance the Nets are just looking forward to getting back to the East where they will travel to face Washington and then host Sacramento, two much more winnable contests for them.

Oklahoma City look like a team with too much scoring power and while it won't be the 30 point beating the Nets took from San Antonio, I do like the Thunder to cover.

January 7th
Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks Pick: Being a Knicks fans means it can be hard to let my head rule my heart, but giving up 6 points to Boston who have the clear edge at Point Guard looks too much for me.

Boston have just picked up a couple of positive results in their last couple of games and they have a good record at Madison Square Garden. I think the Celtics will give New York a hard time, particularly with Avery Bradley giving them more defensive energy, and they should be able to keep this close.

San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Hornets Pick: The Spurs have beaten the Hornets twice this season, but only by a combined 9 points yet I do like them to win this one and cover the spread.

New Orleans struggle to score points Offensively and I think San Antonio have enough depth to out-score this Hornets team. It also seems a better spot for San Antonio as they face a team that put in a huge effort to eventually knock off the Dallas Mavericks last time out. The Spurs also have a couple of days to spare before they meet the LA Lakers.

I just see too much scoring from the Spurs against a New Orleans averaging 91.7 points per game.

January 8th
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers Pick: The Miami Heat are probably not going to really pick up the pace until after the All Star Game next month, but they should be fully motivated in this one against the Indiana Pacers.

We saw how chippy the Play Off series between these sides was and I think the Heat are too athletic for the Pacers. The penetration that LeBron and Wade can get should open up the three point range and as long as Miami concentrate defensively, I think they cover this spread, although it could be close throughout.

January 9th
Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls Pick: I am backing the Chicago Bulls in this game as they are well matched against the Bucks and I do think they will get a measure of respect back after blowing a 27 point lead in their loss against Milwaukee most recently.

Chicago have opened up 2013 in good form, winning at Miami, while Milwaukee have an awful record when playing on the second of back to back nights play.

Tiredness could set in for the Bucks as the game goes on and I think the Bulls will do enough to cover the 5.5 points.

January 22nd
Orlando Magic @ Detroit Pistons Pick: I have taken another couple of weeks off from the NBA picks as it was a tough start to the month and I felt I wasn't capping things correctly.

I am back with a couple of picks today, the first being the Detroit Pistons to cover the spread against the Orlando Magic. Both of these teams have losing records, but momentum is certainly with the Pistons and I think they can roll to another win on their home court and progress beyond 0.500 that they are at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Confidence is higher in the Pistons locker room I would feel, and Orlando could easily be looking to getting back home where they host Toronto and Detroit in the coming week. With the Pistons moving on to face Chicago and Miami, they should be focused on picking up a win here to build on their recent run ahead of facing two of the better teams in the East.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: Firing Scott Skiles seems to have fired up the Milwaukee Bucks and I think they are in a good spot to cover the spread against an under-achieving Philadelphia squad.

The 76ers put in a huge effort at San Antonio yesterday and they have lost their last 7 games when playing the second of back to back nights scheduled, losing those games by 13 points per game.

Milwaukee have been playing inspired basketball under Jim Boylan and they are scoring plenty of points- neither side has another game scheduled until later in the week so should fully concentrate on this one... The difference may be the fatigue, both mental and physical, that Philadelphia could be suffering from their efforts last night and so I like the Bucks to cover.

January 23rd
LA Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies Pick: It's been a pretty crappy season for the LA Lakers and it may just get a little worse before it gets better for them as they visit the tough Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis have struggled Offensively, failing to exceed 85 points in 6 consecutive games, but they are facing a team in disarray and have a real chance to put a marker down for their ambitions in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are completing a road trip here before heading back to the Staples Center and they may just be looking ahead to that time where they can rediscover some semblance of form. Instead, I'll take the Grizzlies to extend their road woes with a win and a cover.

January 24th
Toronto Raptors @ Orlando Magic Pick: I am taking the awful Orlando Magic in this one, because the spot looks a good one for the team as they are facing Toronto off a couple of big performances against the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat.

Toronto beat the Lakers and then took the Heat to Overtime last night and there is little doubt that they could be flat in this one against an opponent they won't really care about. The Raptors also return to Canada after this one.

Orlando have been terrible Defensively in their last 14 games so it is a risky proposition, but it looks an appealing spot to ignore.

January 25th
Milwaukee Bucks @ Cleveland Cavaliers Pick: The Milwaukee Bucks look the better team in this one and Cleveland could have a slight letdown following a good win over the Boston Celtics.

The Bucks have the back court duo of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis that could win the battle with Kyrie Irving and that could prove to be the difference. Milwaukee have also dominated the recent series between the teams and look worth backing to cover the spread.

Houston Rockets @ New Orleans Hornets Pick: Both teams have been struggling Defensively while proving more than capable of performing Offensively and that should lead to a high-scoring game between them in this one.

New Orleans are looking to improve Defensively, but that won't be easy against this Houston team that is very productive through James Harden. There is every chance both teams score triple digits in this one and that should lead to the total points being surpassed.

Utah Jazz @ LA Lakers Pick: I like the Utah Jazz to at least keep this game close as the LA Lakers are still trying to get on the same page with one another after yet another 4 game losing streak.

Rumours are that Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant got into some sort of altercation in a team meeting on Wednesday and the All-Star Center is set to miss this game after re-injuring a shoulder in the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Jazz have also won the last 4 in the series between the teams, including 3 of their last 4 at the Staples Center. There is every chance they can become the latest team to expose the poor Defensive schemes used by the Lakers and keep this close at the very least.

January 27th
Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics Pick: Miami are definitely playing the better basketball of the two teams at the moment, but that form can go out of the window as this rivalry will inspire Boston to up their own game.

However, the Heat have the added motivation of performing at a high level for Ray Allen, who will be making his first return to Boston since leaving in the off-season, and we have seen how Miami reacted to LeBron James' first game back at Cleveland.

I would not at all be surprised if Allen sinks a couple of big threes to ice the game late on and I like the a motivated Heat in this one.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ LA Lakers Pick: Oklahoma City have looked a little weary as their 6 game road trip comes to an end at the Staples Center, but they have dominated the LA Lakers in recent games in the series and I think they carry that on here.

I know the Lakers looked better in their win against Utah, but this is the team with the best record in the NBA that they are facing and I think their defensive schemes will be pushed to the extremes.

This game is arguably more important for Oklahoma City to prove to the NBA that they are the real deal in the Western Conference and I think the win and cover.

New Orleans Hornets @ Memphis Grizzlies Pick: The Memphis Grizzlies have picked up some real momentum in recent games and they have found their Offensive groove, which doesn't bode well for teams taking on one of the better Defensive teams in the NBA.

With that momentum, the Grizzlies should take care of the New Orleans Hornets who have come off the boil following 7 wins from 9 games and they struggled to score points against Houston last time out.

Memphis have dominated the recent series and should be able to win the game and cover the spread.

January 28th
Indiana Pacers @ Denver Nuggets Pick: I've had a terrible week, but hoping the next two picks will turn things around when it comes to the basketball picks.

I like the Denver Nuggets to cover in this game against Indiana as the Pacers are concluding a four game Western Conference road trip and may be focusing on heading back home.

It is already tough to play at the Pepsi Center against this Denver team that has plenty of Offense and that could be the difference again.

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz Pick: I do like the way the Houston Rockets play, but this is a really tough road game for them against the Utah Jazz and I believe the home team will have a little too much and win the game and cover the spread.

The status of Gordon Hayward is a concern for the home team, but they have been very solid in front of their own fans all season, while Houston have recently come off a long losing run and may not be quite ready to win here.

There could be a lot of Play Off implications resting on which of these teams wins the season series, which stands at 1-1 at the moment, but Utah have been solid when hosting Houston in recent games and should be a little too good again.

No more picks this month after a terrible run of form, although my frustrations just boiled over after watching the way Denver screwed the pick... Andre Iguodala decides easy lay ups are no longer for him as the Nuggets are outscored 19-6 in final 6 minutes. It wasn't just the fact he missed easy buckets, he then misses all FOUR free throws only to then score his one free throw with 0.4 seconds left to win the game.

I feel I have lost my edge a little this last week and I am not entirely sure why, although teams blowing big leads have just about got the better of me (Denver and Milwaukee just two off the top of my head that had double digit leads by the middle of the third quarter and won by 1 and lost by 3 respectively).

Some of the picks felt and looked right, but the players failed to perform (how did the Heat lose to Rondo-less Boston and Oklahoma City lose to the terrible LA Lakers?)

The season has still been positive but this last week makes me think it is time to take a break and just follow the games before getting back involved. Will be back probably just the week prior to the All-Star game for February picks.

MY PICKS: 01/01 LA Lakers - 8.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
02/01 Houston Rockets - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
02/01 Oklahoma City Thunder - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
07/01 Boston Celtics + 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
07/01 San Antonio Spurs - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
08/01 Miami Heat - 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
09/01 Chicago Bulls - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
22/01 Detroit Pistons - 5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
22/01 Milwaukee Bucks - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
23/01 Memphis Grizzlies - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
24/01 Orlando Magic - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/01 Milwaukee Bucks - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/01 New Orleans Hornets-Houston Rockets Over 200.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/01 Utah Jazz + 5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
27/01 Miami Heat - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
27/01 Oklahoma City Thunder - 3 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
27/01 Memphis Grizzlies - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/01 Denver Nuggets - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/01 Utah Jazz - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

January Update: 5-14, - 9.31 Units

December Final17-7-1, + 9.19 Units
November Final13-8-1, + 8.03 Units

Season 201330-15-2, + 17.22 Units
Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

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