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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

NBA Picks December 2014

I took a few weeks off from the NBA Picks because I was busy with work and haven't been able to devote the time to look through the picks, although continued to watch as a fan of the sport. Unfortunately, being a New York Knicks has not been much fun of late to the point of thinking it isn't fair to those going to the O2 Arena in London to watch them play next month at big prices.

But people will pay to watch a one off regular season NBA game in London and the tourists keep flocking to Madison Square Garden to see probably the second worst team in the League in front of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Carmelo Anthony looks hurt and people are already questioning whether he should be shut down and sent for surgery on his knee and the Knicks should begin putting themselves in a strong position for the NBA lottery. To be absolutely honest, they are trying to win games at the moment and look set to have one of the worst records in the NBA so I don't even think they need to start 'tanking' to get a decent Draft pick.

That is a shame for Knicks fans everywhere, but I always felt things were going to get worse before they got better as Phil Jackson will need time to turn the roster around. Mismanagement over the years has left the Knicks in this position and the trade for Carmelo Anthony, as much as I love the player, saw New York give up too much.

Gotham still has a chance to send the Brooklyn Nets to the Play Offs in the weak Eastern Conference, although the rumours suggest the likes of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez are all available for trade. If they are to move on, the Nets look to be a team that could rebuild for the rest of the season and might be another team that underachieves.

The Western Conference again looks to be the stronger of the two and many of the teams look to have made very good starts to the season. However, all of this is so early in the season and many players don't believe the NBA really starts going until after the All-Star Game and definitely not before the Super Bowl. That is also the time when fans will really turn their eyes to the NBA once football season is over, but this is a key time for teams to get the kinks out of their system.

Tuesday 16 December
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Sacramento Kings Pick: The Oklahoma City Thunder are back to full health and that has seen them get back into the Western Conference Play Off mix, although none of the players are getting ahead of themselves. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back, the Thunder have won 8 of their last 9 games and 6 in a row heading into Sacramento to take on the disillusioned Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins has gone down with a viral infection which has kept him out of the team as Sacramento have dropped 3 in a row ahead of this game. The bigger news was the firing of Mike Malone which seemingly came out of left field amidst rumours that the owners want a 'unique' brand of basketball including using just 4 players on Defensive plays.

The Thunder are confident at the moment and should have too much scoring for Sacramento and 5 of their last 6 wins have come by 9 points or more. Oklahoma City are 3-1 against the spread in their last 4 road games here and I like them to cover the spread in this one.

Wednesday 17 December
I might be a New York Knicks fan, but the game in London is becoming less and less appealing as the weeks go on- that game is scheduled for next month, but the Knicks look worse than advertised and the Milwaukee Bucks were expected to be another lottery team.

I have been keeping an eye on Carmelo Anthony's status with suggestions he may need to go in for surgery, while the unfortunate injury to Jabari Parker means one of the more exciting prospects in the game will be missing for the Bucks. If Anthony also misses out, this game really won't be one that would appeal to me, especially not since I've seen the Knicks at Madison Square Garden back in April.

Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers Pick: The Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing much better at home than on the road and I think they can have a statement win over an in-form Atlanta Hawks team.

There is no doubt that the Hawks are not as good on the road and LeBron James has dominated them for the most part in his career. Atlanta have a strong recent run based on beating teams with losing records and Cleveland are definitely a step up in terms of competition.

The Cavaliers have won their last 6 home games by an average of over 14 points per game and I will back them to cover this spread.

Houston Rockets @ Denver Nuggets Pick: Going to play the Denver Nuggets on the road is a tough test for any team as shown by their 5-2 record against the spread versus teams with winning records at home.

However, the Nuggets are going to be short-handed again against the Houston Rockets and the Rockets won't have a better chance to snap their recent poor run here. Houston beat the Nuggets at home on Saturday and have Dwight Howard in the line up again and I expect them to have too much Offense for the Nuggets to deal with.

The Rockets are 8-2 on the road this season and they have won 6 of their last 7- I would expect the shorthanded Nuggets to challenge them for a while, but tiredness in the altitude may help Houston overcome them.

Thursday 18 December
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls Pick: Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are both doubts for this game, which means the Knicks are likely to be very short-handed at the Chicago Bulls.

On the other hand Joakim Noah should return for the Bulls and they have more of an Offensive output thanks to Derrick Rose being joined by Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol. I expect the Bulls to stifle New York with their Defensive capabilities, especially if Camelo and Stat are out, and Chicago can cover a big number.

11 points is a lot, but Chicago can make the Defensive stops and then move clear as the game goes on as long as they are not looking ahead to their Friday tilt in Memphis against a very good Grizzlies team.

Friday 19 December
The big news in the NBA on Thursday was the conclusion of the Dallas Mavericks trade with the Boston Celtics which has seen Rajon Rondo join one of the Western Conference leading contenders. The Mavericks have gone 'all in' with this trade as they look to return to the NBA Finals and win the Championship they last took in 2010.

I am not sure what this does for Dallas to be honest- they have lost a key contributor off the bench in Brendan Wright and some Draft picks, but Mark Cuban clearly wants to win now and they might be one of the three favourites to win the Western Conference. In saying that, this is a loaded Conference from top to bottom and looks to be a boom or bust play.

Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat Pick: The Miami Heat have been banged up and that has seen them fall under 0.500 and could be in a tough position to match the hot Washington Wizards.

The Heat have been blown out their last two home games and the Wizards have every chance of covering the six point spread.

LA Clippers @ Denver Nuggets Pick: The Denver Nuggets are getting healthier, but the LA Clippers are playing at a good level to see them off here on the road. I like the Clippers to go into Denver and follow Houston's lead by winning this game by at least four points.

Saturday 20 December
San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: Two triple overtime games in three days and now having a back to back at the Dallas Mavericks... Is this not the position where Gregg Popovich will rest some of his big name players?

I think so and Vegas clearly thinks so with the huge number in favour of the Dallas Mavericks, but I do think the home team can cover with the excitement that has come with the signing of Rajon Rondo.

Thursday 25 December
Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks Pick: The New York Knicks have been competitive and rarely blown out, but continue losing games at an alarming rate and this Christmas Day opening game doesn't look the best on paper.

They look to be overmatched by the Washington Wizards who are one of the leading contenders in the Eastern Conference and this young team can showcase their talents on the big stage.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Miami Heat Pick: LeBron James returns to face his former team the Miami Heat, but a number of his former team-mates are going to be missing in this game.

The Heat have really been hit through the season by injuries and James will want to show he has made the right move by joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. I think Cleveland will prove to be too strong and cover the points in this one on the road as the Heat might not have the Offensive power to keep up with them.

MY PICKS: 16/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 7 Points @ 1.92 William Hill (1 Unit)
17/12 Cleveland Cavaliers - 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet365 (1 Unit)
17/12 Houston Rockets - 1.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
18/12 Chicago Bulls - 11 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
19/12 Washington Wizards - 6 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
19/12 LA Clippers - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
20/12 Dallas Mavericks - 10.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
25/12 Washington Wizards - 5 Points @ 1.85 Coral (1 Unit)
25/12 Cleveland Cavaliers - 5.5 Points @ 1.92 William Hill (1 Unit)

December Update: 3-6, - 3.31 Units

November Final14-11, + 1.70 Units
October Final2-4, - 2 Units
Season 201516-15, - 0.30 Units

Season 201458-72-1, - 16.86 Units
Final Season 2013105-93-3, + 10.49 Units
Final Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

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