This is an important time for teams who are battling for their Play Off spots with much likely to be decided as we enter April and then teams will look to sit players and get them ready for the post-season.
The first couple of days of this week had a few games scheduled, but nothing jumped off the page when it came to picks which means I have actually had a few days off from the picks. However the first day of the week that I am making picks has seen a number of the games leap of the page and hopefully get this week trending in a positive direction immediately.
Wednesday 23rd March
As I have said above, the first couple of days of the week didn't really have anything that appealed to me and even those that made the shortlist were a little hit and miss.
I would like to get the positives out of this week and finish with a winning record after going 0.500 last week.
Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards Pick: On Monday the Washington Wizards secured a big win at the Atlanta Hawks, but their Play Off future is far less promising than their visitors. With twelve regular season games to play, Washington are still 1.5 games behind the Number 8 Seed in the Eastern Conference and know their fate is not entirely in their own hands.
This game is still no less important to the Atlanta Hawks as it is to Washington with the Hawks capable of finishing as high as the Number 3 Seed if they play well, or down at Number 6 if they struggle to find their form.
Form is marginally better for Washington at the moment, and the key for their improvement has been the better Defensive performances. John Wall has made it clear that the Offense can take care of itself, but Washington have to keep performing well Defensively if they are going to sneak into the Play Offs.
Atlanta do have a very good recent record in Washington where they are 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six here. This is likely to be as close as their game earlier in the week but I think Washington can make it two in a row against Atlanta and I will take the point for the home underdog.
Toronto Raptors @ Boston Celtics Pick: The Toronto Raptors are not going to be dragged into the battle for the Number 3 Seed that is developing behind them in the Eastern Conference. Instead they are looking up at the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Raptors try and steal the Number 1 Seed for the Play Offs with just 1.5 games separating the top two teams in the Conference.
It is also a very important game for the Boston Celtics who have won back to back games after a poor run of form saw them slip from the Number 3 Seed in the East. Now they are one of four teams separated by just 0.5 games between the Number 3 and the Number 6 Seed in what is a big game for both teams on Wednesday.
I am leaning towards the underdog Toronto Raptors who have been winning games against teams that are going to be playing in the post-season in recent games. The Raptors have a strong 9-5 record against the spread when set as the road underdog this season and they have a backcourt that can match up with Boston's who are still missing Jae Crowder.
Boston have been strong at home against teams with winning records as they have gone 10-6 against the spread in that spot. However, Toronto have covered in three straight games against them and they are also 3-1 against the spread in their last four in Boston. The Raptors have been playing very well and look to be highly motivated and I think they can make the points count in this one.
Orlando Magic @ Detroit Pistons Pick: The Detroit Pistons are trying their best to overcome the Chicago Bulls for the Number 8 Seed in the Eastern Conference, but they will need help. It also means they cannot afford to drop silly games like this one when they host the Orlando Magic who have lost four in a row, all against teams currently in the Play Off spots in the Eastern Conference.
Most of those losses have been very competitive so the Detroit Pistons have to be careful, while the trade made by these teams just before the trade deadline should keep both teams motivated.
Detroit have won three in a row and can't afford to overlook Orlando to their next game against the Charlotte Hornets. They have managed their games when hosting those teams with losing records this season as the Pistons have gone 10-3 against the spread in that spot, while Detroit are 16-6 against the spread as the home favourite this season.
That becomes 7-1 against the spread when favoured by 6.5 points up to 12.5 points at home and Detroit have gone 4-0 against the spread in the last four against Orlando. Each of those wins have come by double digits and I can see this powerful Offensive unit coming together to help Detroit cover the number.
I don't think Orlando will roll over and Brandon Jennings could have a big game returning to Detroit. However, I am expecting the Pistons to pull away in the second half and win by at least ten points.
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls Pick: There is almost nothing separating the four teams fighting it out for the last two places in the Eastern Conference Play Offs. That makes every game important for those teams, but losing to teams with losing records can be fatal at this stage of the season.
The Chicago Bulls have a home and home series with the New York Knicks and will be expecting to win both to keep the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards at bay. The team have begun to get healthier at just the right time although it has been said that Chicago will keep their players on limited minutes to make sure they are ready for the Play Offs assuming they make it.
Chicago have gone 3-1 against the spread in their last four home games against the New York Knicks who are now looking ahead to the off-season. The Draft doesn't mean as much with the Knicks losing their First Round Pick to the Toronto Raptors, but New York are beginning to play out the string.
The Knicks have lost three of their last four games and have failed to surpass 94 points in any of their last five games. I do say that Chicago have been a poor home favourite to back, but they look to be in a good position with the players back to health in the rotation to continue their dominance of New York.
It is a big number, but if New York continue to be Offensively challenged I can only see the Chicago Bulls pulling away in the second half and I will look for them to cover this number.
Thursday 24th March
A very difficult Wednesday with the picks all having their chances, bar the Chicago game, and ultimately missing out with poor second half efforts. That happens, but I also have to say the Thursday options are not great and I will bypass any picks on this day.
Friday 25th March
There are plenty of games to be played on Friday as the regular season moves another day closer to the end and the start of the Play Offs fast approaches.
Charlotte Hornets @ Detroit Pistons Pick: The Detroit Pistons have just managed to break free from the Chicago Bulls at the bottom of the Eastern Conference Play Off picture. To remain there they have to beat one of the hottest teams in their Conference in the Charlotte Hornets who are chasing down the Number 3 Seed and a First Round home series.
There is every chance the Hornets can do that with a strong end to the season and in the form they have been displaying in the last few weeks.
One of the key differences between the teams is the way Charlotte have played Defensively compared with the Detroit Pistons. That can easily mean the Hornets are able to ramp up the pressure on the Pistons with their own Offensive work finding a groove and being able to produce a few more stops.
Charlotte are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games against the Pistons and have beaten them twice this season already. I will take the small points on offer for the road team to keep the momentum behind them against the Defensively challenged Detroit Pistons.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Atlanta Hawks Pick: The Milwaukee Bucks have some talent that will see them improve next season, but they will be disappointed that they are missing the Play Offs this time around. That has seen Jason Kidd change tact and use the remaining games as an opportunity to give different starting line ups a look.
It isn't the best way to get ready for the Atlanta Hawks who are chasing the Number 3 Seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks have won six of their last seven games and many of those games have resulted in some comfortable margins which makes them a big favourite to win this one.
Milwaukee have lost four of their last five games and three of those losses have come by at least nine points. They have played well in Atlanta where they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games, while the Hawks were beaten by Milwaukee last month here.
However I think they can earn some revenge with motivation higher and Milwaukee off a big effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Kidd perhaps using his time to get next season on track, Atlanta might be able to pull away if they are shooting the three as well as they were last time out against Washington and I like them to cover.
Saturday 26th March
I will just have the picks up for the Saturday games with time an issue for the full breakdown of them.
MY PICKS: 23/03 Washington Wizards + 1 Point @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
23/03 Toronto Raptors + 2 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
23/03 Detroit Pistons - 7 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
23/03 Chicago Bulls - 8 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
25/03 Charlotte Hornets + 2 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
25/03 Atlanta Hawks - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
26/03 Chicago Bulls - 5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
26/03 Charlotte Hornets - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
March 14-20 Final: 4-4, - 0.36 Units
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: 119-109-7, + 0.10 Units