The regular season is beginning to wind down now and the Play Offs are beginning to take shape. The coming two weeks will start to ensure teams are beginning to separate from others and perhaps even start locking down spots in the Conferences.
Some things are already clear- the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors will battle each other for the Number 1 Seed in Western Conference in regular season games against one another. The race for the Number 1 Seed in the East also looks like one that will come down to the wire between the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
We might already be down to ten realistic contenders for the eight places in the Eastern Conference and Washington have to arrest their slide if they are also not be pulled out of contention.
The Western Conference is probably already down to the nine teams fighting for the eight spots available in the post-season. It isn't clear which of the teams will make those spots outside of the top five teams but it does look like the scrap for those bottom Seedings in the Conferences will go down to the wire.
Chemistry is all important at this stage of the season with the Play Offs just around the corner and that has seen March being taken very seriously by teams who have less than a quarter of their regular season to be played.
Monday 14th March
The Atlanta Hawks blew out the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night to ensure the week was a very positive one and put the month of March in a strong spot for the picks. I am hoping to keep the trend going this week and there are plenty of games scheduled for the week that can hopefully be researched well enough for another strong week of picks.
Dallas Mavericks @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: The Charlotte Hornets have been a team that has been very good to me in the last couple of weeks and I have to keep riding them on their current hot streak. The Hornets have not just moved into a healthy position in the Eastern Conference Play Off spots, but are now only 1.5 games behind Number 3 Seed the Boston Celtics after winning seven in a row.
They have won all five games during their current home stand and three of those wins have come against teams in the Play Off spots. Charlotte have been scoring plenty of points as they have been given help from a number of players, but the key remains Kemba Walker.
Now they are favoured to beat the Dallas Mavericks who are slipping in the Western Conference Play Off picture and they are now just 2 games clear of the Utah Jazz. While Charlotte have been winning, Dallas have lost five straight games and failed to cover the spread in each of those losses.
Defensively they have struggled for stops and Charlotte did beat them by fourteen points on the road earlier this season. While Dallas do have an impressive 7-2 record against the spread in their last nine in Charlotte, the Hornets are playing too well at this moment and I expect them to cover in another home win on Monday.
Detroit Pistons @ Washington Wizards Pick: This is a really big game for both the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards when it comes to deciding Eastern Conference Play Off places. It is arguably bigger for the Wizards who are currently Number 10 in the Conference and 3.5 games behind the Pistons who are the Number 8 Seed.
Washington have been sloppy in their five game losing run- they've lost one game by a point, another in Overtime and another when blowing an eight point lead going into the final Quarter. The last of those was at Denver on Saturday against a team that played their reserves through the Fourth Quarter but still beat down on Washington who couldn't buy a bucket.
The Wizards have a losing record at home so even hosting this game might not change their trend, although I think the Pistons might be a little over-rated at this moment. Detroit have won three of four games, but they were fortunate to come back against the Philadelphia 76ers with another poor Defensive performance and that continues to be a concern for Stan Van Gundy.
Detroit do have a solid 6-2 record against the spread in their last eight visits to the nation's capital, but the Wizards have won four of the last five at home against them including three in a row. I think Washington find the scoring to win this one too and I will back them to cover the points in a victory.
Tuesday 15th March
The Charlotte Hornets have been good to me over the last couple of weeks so I am not going to criticise them for losing one game, especially as they are still in a good place.
Washington at least got the job done on Monday with a total and utter humiliation of the Detroit Pistons at home to reignite their Play Off push.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: The two worst teams in the Eastern Conference meet on Tuesday and I don't want anything to do with the spread. Instead I am looking at the total points line and feeling that it might be too high for these teams who have Defensive issues, but also struggle for Offensive consistency.
Out of the two teams, Philadelphia are almost in full tank mode to try and get into position for yet another high pick in the NBA Draft. It doesn't make sense for Brooklyn to do that considering they are handing their First Round pick over to the Boston Celtics and that might be highlighted by the respective recent performances.
Philadelphia might be short-handed for this one with a number of injuries in the rotation, while Brooklyn have been inconsistent at both ends of the court. The under total play has come out for both of these teams more often than not when it comes to playing as the home favourite/road underdog respectively, while none of the three games this season have surpassed 201 total points.
It could easily be a game where neither team plays much Defense, but I think this number looks too high to me especially when you think the Under is 8-0-1 in the last nine meetings between these teams.
Sacramento Kings @ LA Lakers Pick: There is considerable unrest at the Sacramento Kings and yet again this looks to be a summer when DeMarcus Cousins' future at the franchise will be questioned. No one should have any doubt that Cousins is one of the top players in the NBA, but the Kings have to find him a Coach that he can get on with after another falling out with George Karl.
That discord means the Kings are once again looking set to miss the Play Offs, but they can get the better of the LA Lakers for a seventh time in a row. The Kings have won all three previous games against the Lakers this season and have won two in a row at the Staples Center.
The concern has to be the really poor form that Sacramento have been showing especially as they are facing the Lakers who are 3-4 in their last seven games which is relatively good form. The Kings are also not a good road favourite to back, but their one success this season in this spot has come against the LA Lakers.
However Sacramento have a 5-1-1 record against the spread in their last seven against the LA Lakers and I think they can win this one having been in poor form against the better teams in the NBA. It won't come easy, but the Kings can battle through for the cover on the road for the second time against the LA Lakers this season and continues their strong run against them.
Wednesday 16th March
Another mixed set of results for the picks on Tuesday, but the positive side of things is I haven't had a losing day to damage the weekly totals too far.
Hoping for a better Wednesday with a couple of winners at least to get the month moving in the positive direction for a third week in a row.
Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards Pick: The bottom places of the Eastern Conference Play Offs are going to be fought over through to the end of the regular season. For the Washington Wizards to be involved in those battles, they have to win games like this one against the Chicago Bulls to keep in touch with the Number 8 Seed.
At the moment it is the Bulls who hold that position after Washington thumped the Detroit Pistons earlier in the week, a Pistons team that held the Number 8 Seed at that time. There are 2.5 games between these teams which highlights the importance for Washington to win the game and stay with the Bulls.
Jimmy Butler is back for Chicago which is a huge boost for the squad, but Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose look set to miss this one. The Bulls had lost six of eight before the stunning win at the Toronto Raptors, but Chicago are going to have to dig deep to beat a Washington team that are 13-6 against the spread in the last nineteen games between these teams.
Chicago have also been a poor road underdog to back when given 6 points or fewer as they are just 4-12 against the spread in that spot this season. There is no confusing Washington with a strong home favourite, but they have been better when favoured by 6 points or fewer and have also done well when revenging a loss as a favourite. I think Washington will get it done in this one and will back them to cover the points.
LA Clippers @ Houston Rockets Pick: I think the Houston Rockets have been a big disappointment this season, but they could be a dangerous lower Seed in the Western Conference. At the moment they are holding off the Utah Jazz for the Number 8 Seed in the West but there are only 2 games between them meaning every game is very important for Houston.
There isn't much love lost between them and the LA Clippers who visit off the back of yet another big defeat to one of the top teams in the NBA. After being blown out at home by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Clippers spent Tuesday being chased out by the San Antonio Spurs as they were blown apart in the Fourth Quarter.
It is looking increasingly likely that the Clippers will have to make do with the Number 4 Seed in the Western Conference and they have had a hard time as the road underdog of 3 points or less. Playing on a back to back hasn't suited them either and I think this game means a lot more to Houston and I expect the Rockets to at least play with that motivation behind them.
Houston have won four of their last five games to build some momentum behind them and they are 5-1 against the spread in the last six games against the LA Clippers. I just think the home team are in a better spot in this one and I will back the Rockets to cover the points.
Thursday 17th March
It was yet another mixed set of results for the picks this week on Wednesday, but I will go back for a couple more picks from the Thursday games.
I will add those to the picks section today as I haven't had the time with March Madness to put down my reasons today.
Friday 18th March
I can only say it is getting a little frustrating now... How did Washington blow their huge lead over the awful Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday?
That meant the picks go 1-1 for the fourth straight day and that is not really good enough for me. Hopefully I can get a little more consistency out of the last three days and keep this month trending in a positive direction.
MY PICKS: 14/03 Charlotte Hornets - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
14/03 Washington Wizards - 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
15/03 Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers Under 210 Total Points @ 1.90 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
15/03 Sacramento Kings - 4 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
16/03 Washington Wizards - 5 Points @ 1.90 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
16/03 Houston Rockets - 3 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
17/03 Toronto Raptors + 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
17/03 Washington Wizards - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
March 7-13 Final: 6-1-1, + 4.46 Units
March 1-6 Final: 8-7, + 0.32 Units
February Final: 21-27, - 7.77 Units
December Final: 27-21-3, + 3.67 Units
November Final: 27-22-1, + 2.69 Units
October Final: 5-4, + 0.57 Units
Season 2016: 115-105-7, + 0.46 Units