Then you have teams that are looking to improve their lottery position and begin to tank during their final games with next season and holidays in mind.
All of this means you have to be careful when capping games before the Play Offs begin and try to get a feel for motivations of teams and what wins and losses mean to them at this late stage of the regular season.
Last season, this period of to weeks before the Play Offs proved troubling for me and hopefully I will be able to keep a little more focused this time around.
Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: I know there is still this race for the Number 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with both of these teams involved, but I have a feeling the Bulls are already looking to the Play Offs and will be happy as either the Number 6 or Number 7 seed.
They will be short-handed again tonight and I think Brooklyn are definitely playing the better basketball. Brooklyn are off a long road trip, but they were able to rest their starters in the win over Cleveland last night so I expect the Nets will be ready to go.
Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets Pick: The Denver Nuggets are on course to finish as the Number 3 seed in the Western Conference and I believe they want that position desperately to avoid what would be an incredibly tough First Round against either Memphis or the LA Clippers.
Denver have been incredibly tough at home and may be able to snap their two game losing run here against the Dallas Mavericks who have to be a little disheartened following their heavy loss at the LA Lakers in their last game.
That loss has really put Dallas in a tough spot to make it back to the Play Offs, and I think Denver will be too strong for them, even in the absence of Ty Lawson and I like the Nuggets to cover.
Tough start to the month with both picks falling by the wayside, both in difficult circumstances. Today, I have four picks from the NBA which can be seen in the 'My Picks' section as I haven't had the time to put down full reasons for them.
Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks Pick: The New York Knicks are looking to go into the Play Offs with some huge momentum behind them as they put their winning streak on the line against the Washington Wizards.
I have little doubt that Washington would be playing in the Play Offs if they hadn't had so many key injuries to open the season and they have certainly been ahead of the point spread more often than not. However, the Knicks do match up well against them, even without Tyson Chandler, and I think New York maintain their winning run.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat Pick: This looks like being one of the First Round Play Off match ups and that means the game here could be interesting to watch as neither team will want to give away their secrets. The Milwaukee Bucks can still catch up with the Boston Celtics for the Number 7 seed if they can finish the season strong so they will want to win this game, although that won't be easy against the Miami Heat with LeBron James in the line up.
If Milwaukee get hot from beyond the arc, I certainly can see them keeping this close, but too many times I have seen the Bucks fall apart on the road and I think the Heat can take this win with the cover.
Phoenix Suns @ Houston Rockets Pick: Houston are in a position to try and get their seed improved to Number 6 in the Western Conference and I have no doubt they will want to avoid both the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the First Round by overtaking the Golden State Warriors.
Facing the Phoenix Suns comes at the right time as the Suns are clearly playing out the string at the end of this season and Houston recorded a 20 point win over Phoenix here last month. I think the Rockets have too much scoring power for a Phoenix team that has not been performing on that side of the court and I think Houston can cover this big spread.
New Orleans Hornets @ LA Lakers Pick: The LA Lakers are in a desperate position when it comes to the Play Offs and they will certainly be looking to finish the season with 5 straight wins and hope the Utah Jazz can drop a couple of games to let the Lakers into the post-season.
A loss to the Clippers and a sweep in that series has hurt the Lakers, but they do play the New Orleans Hornets who have been struggling a little down the stretch and certainly have had some problems between some of the players and Monty Williams, the Head Coach. I just think the Lakers may rally in this one and cover the spread, although they may also have one eye on how Utah are getting on against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics Pick: There is a small chance that this could be one of the First Round match ups in the Play Offs, although I don't think the Boston Celtics are going to be worrying about improving from either the Number 6 or Number 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. That would mean they would avoid the Miami Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals, although Boston are still trying to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks in Number 8.
I think the Celtics will likely be a little too strong for Brooklyn in this game with the latter perhaps already looking to keep the troops fresh for the Play Offs with the Number 4 seed almost certainly wrapped up. Boston are back to full health, or as full as they are going to be going into the Play Offs and I think the Celtics win this one and cover the spread.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic Pick: The Milwaukee Bucks are backing into the Play Offs and will surely want to get some momentum ahead of the the likely First Round clash with the Miami Heat. The Bucks lost in Miami last night, but they have the scoring power, on occasion, to beat the Orlando Magic tonight.
Orlando have just begun to struggle as injuries have taken their toll on the squad over the season and I think they can't see the season end soon enough. There will be some motivation from the players that were traded from the Bucks to the Magic for JJ Redick, for example Tobias Harris, but I think the Bucks have enough three point scorers to pull away for the win.
San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets Pick: This is a game between two of the better teams in the Western Conference, but both teams will look a little different to how they want to go into the Play Offs as injuries take their toll.
However, Denver still have the athletic ability to make life tough for the older San Antonio Spurs and their home record is very impressive that I think the Nuggets pull away for the vital win that puts them a step closer to picking up the Number 3 seed in the West that is going to be very important.
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls Pick: The Chicago Bulls are just concerned with getting healthy for the Play Offs and they are missing too many important bodies to win this one in my opinion. New York are in great form and, even without Tyson Chandler, I think the Knicks are more motivated to win this game and should be able to do so while covering the spread.
Unlike Brooklyn here recently, I think if New York get a big lead, they are shooting well enough from beyond the arc to keep ahead of the Bulls and are unlikely to blow a big lead. Momentum is the key to the Knicks, who want the Number 2 seed, and I don't think Chicago will be that disheartened if they finish either Number 6 or Number 7 in the East and that means losing games down the stretch, so I can't see enough fight in them to take this one.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors Pick: I like the Oklahoma City Thunder to win this one in California as they have been playing in Play Off mode all month and definitely want to pick up the Number 1 seed in the Western Conference.
I also believe Golden State are motivated, but they may just have relaxed enough after securing their Play Off place on Tuesday to think they struggle to keep up with the Thunder. However, I do respect this Warriors squad that are capable of scoring plenty of points, particularly at home, although I do think the Thunder find a way to win and cover.
Not quite sure how the Knicks blew the lead they had last night... Two silly turnovers midway through the third changed the feeling of the game and gave Chicago the momentum to take over and eventually rally for the season sweep.
Been having a nightmare with my laptop this evening so only putting the picks up for the NBA games on slate tonight which can be found below.
MY PICKS: 04/04 Brooklyn Nets - 5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
04/04 Denver Nuggets - 7 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
05/04 New York Knicks - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
05/04 Minnesota Timberwolves - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
05/04 Utah Jazz - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
05/04 Golden State Warriors - 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
09/04 New York Knicks - 8.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
09/04 Miami Heat - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
09/04 Houston Rockets - 14.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
09/04 LA Lakers - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
10/04 Boston Celtics - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
10/04 Milwaukee Bucks - 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
10/04 Denver Nuggets - 3 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
11/04 New York Knicks - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
11/04 Oklahoma City Thunder - 4 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
12/04 Washington Wizards - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
12/04 Atlanta Hawks - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
12/04 Denver Nuggets - 3 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
12/04 Golden State Warriors + 7.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
April Update: 6-9, - 3.40 Units
March Final: 20-16-1, + 3.08 Units
February Final: 6-3, + 2.61 Units
January Final: 5-14, - 9.31 Units
Season 2013: 61-48-3, + 13.60 Units
Season 2012: 79-53-1, + 27.48 Units