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NBA Picks November 2017 (November 13-19)

The NBA season has begun in decent fashion for the NBA Picks I have been making and last week proved to be another with a winning record. ...

Monday, 13 February 2017

NBA Picks 2017 (February 13-16)

The first two weeks of February have proved to be pretty good even though I've had a couple of bad breaks last week with teams blowing 20 + point leads when being asked to cover less than 4 points on the spread. Even then, two winners over the weekend has pushed the numbers in a positive direction for the month.

Now we go into a short week which is going to end with the All-Star Game on Sunday and all the activities around that event. It means we only have Monday-Thursday games in the regular season before a one week break for all the teams when trade talks will likely heat up.

There have been a couple of interesting moves made, notably the one between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers which has seen Mason Plumlee move to Denver and Jusuf Nurkic and a First Round pick going in the other direction. That suggests Denver believe they can secure a top eight finish in the Western Conference and Portland may be thinking of getting ready for a much better effort next season, although the trade is yet to be confirmed at the time of writing.

Picks for the next few days will be in this thread before a new thread next week will cover the remaining days of February.

Monday 13th February
Philadelphia 76ers @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: It looks like the Philadelphia 76ers have decided to trade in Jahlil Okafor with the big man sitting out games prior to the All-Star Break in anticipation of a move away. Much of that is down to the emergence of Joel Embiid, but the 76ers are without their new Star who has an injury as they try and stay in touch with the Play Off places in the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers had been on a really poor run, but they have won back to back games coming into Monday's tilt at the Charlotte Hornets and that has highlighted the improvement so many of their players have made. Confidence levels are much improved from the start of the season and players are showing they can step up when they need to and make the big plays to close out games.

This all bodes well for the future of the franchise, but getting into the Play Offs this season still looks a long shot. The Charlotte Hornets, on the other hand, were very much expected to finish in the top eight of the Eastern Conference and have been underachieving with nine losses from their last ten games leaving them 1.5 games behind the Detroit Pistons in the Number 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Hornets have really had some problems Defensively, but they could get their Offensive production going against the 76ers who have been allowing teams to shoot efficiently from the floor. Even with that in mind, this still looks a big number for a team to cover when they have lost so many games in recent weeks and I am not sure Charlotte have enough Defensively to do that.

Without their big men, rebounding has been an issue for Philadelphia, but Charlotte are just 3-9 against the spread this season when favoured by 6 or more points. If the Hornets dominate the boards by a huge margin, they can pull away from the 76ers, but I think this is a team that is short of confidence and that will likely mean another tight game so taking the points looks appealing.


Oklahoma City Thunder @ Washington Wizards Pick: The emotion of facing Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors at home has to have taken something out of the Oklahoma City Thunder tank ahead of the All-Star Break. They would have preferred a much easier game than facing the Washington Wizards who they beat in Overtime earlier this season and who have become one of the best home teams in the NBA.

It isn't just at home where Washington have been producing wins as they have done that in sixteen of their last nineteen games to move up to the Number 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have bounced back from an Overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers by winning two games in a row and they were off over the weekend which should have given John Wall the time he needs to make sure he is on the court on Monday.

Scoring points has not been a problem for the Washington Wizards and that is going to give the Thunder something to think about as they look for more production to go alongside Russell Westbrook. No matter how much Westbrook wants it and carries his team, there is little doubt he needs some help and that will be the case on Monday when facing a back court of Wall and Bradley Beal.

Oklahoma City have lost five of their last eight road games and it won't be easy to pick themselves up from the disappointment of losing at home to the Warriors two nights ago. The size of the Thunder means they always have a chance to play teams close because of their strength on the boards, but slowing down a fairly efficient shooting team is more of an issue for them.

Washington have been a very strong favourite to back when favoured by less than 6 points this season and I do like them at home in this spot. It just wouldn't be a huge surprise to me if the Thunder come out a little flat and I will lay the points in this one and look for Washington to earn a measure of revenge for an earlier loss to the Thunder on the road.


Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets Pick: I am not a big fan of laying double digit points in the regular season, but the Golden State Warriors have covered for me twice in the last few days and I want to stick with them. They did have a huge game at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday which was one they wanted to win for Kevin Durant, but this is a team looking at the bigger picture and I am looking for the Warriors to go into the All-Star Break with some momentum behind them.

Laying double digits on the road is a big ask for most teams, although I do think the Denver Nuggets are potentially shorthanded for this one after making a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee. It is unlikely he will be able to suit up for this one, while the Nuggets also have had their issues with the Warriors like many others in the NBA have done.

The Nuggets do have a decent recent record against the Golden State Warriors against the spread, but two of their last three losses to them at home have come by at least 13 points. This is also a Golden State team that have been winning plenty of games by wide margins of late and have been shooting the ball well enough to think they can expose a Denver Defensive unit that have struggled on that side of the court.

Rebounding might be an area where Denver can win, but if they can't make stops then it becomes much more difficult to stay with the Warriors in this game. My concern is that the Warriors have not been a team that has covered as a double digit favourite too often this season, but that is balanced out by Denver being 1-3 against the spread as the double digit underdog.

Golden State are also 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games in Denver and I am looking for them to put one more big win on the board before returning home for their final game in the 'first half' of the season.


Atlanta Hawks @ Portland Trail Blazers Pick: The Atlanta Hawks have been sitting since blowing a huge lead in the loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the players have to be chomping at the bit to get back on the court. Losing that game in the fashion they did at Sacramento is going to hurt, and things won't get any easier when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on the road on Monday.

It is hard to know where the Trail Blazers are heading this season having traded away Mason Plumlee for a younger player to the team directly above them in the Western Conference Play Off standings. Perhaps the mindset is already looking ahead to next season, but Portland remain a tough proposition at home even if they have dropped four of their last six games overall.

That run includes three losses in their last four games here as the Trail Blazers continue to try and find some consistency at the Defensive end of the court. Losing Plumlee may mean a loss on their rebounding ability against an Atlanta team that are strong on the boards and I do think the Hawks are going to be able to challenge them and provide problems all over the court in this one.

Atlanta have not been good as a small underdog this season, going 1-4 against the spread when being given less than 3 points, but Portland haven't exactly lit things up when set as a small favourite either. The Hawks do match up well with the Trail Blazers though as they are 9-3 against the spread in their last twelve games in Portland while they have won four in a row overall and twice in a row in visits to The Moda Center.

The manner in which the Hawks blew their game at Sacramento does temper enthusiasm, but Atlanta were in a strong position in that game and should have won. This time I will take the points with the road underdog and look for the Hawks to earn the upset.


Tuesday 14th February
Monday proved to be a good day for the picks, but hopefully there will be some love for these on Tuesday too.

Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls Pick: There are some big trade rumours heating up around the Toronto Raptors who clearly need help if they are going to close the gap on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Serge Ibaka could be the big name being brought into Toronto to provide an upgrade at one of the Forward positions, but for now the Raptors are going into the All-Star Break with what they have.

At least they have found out they need reinforcements now rather than after the trade deadline has passed. The Raptors have fallen off the pace in the Eastern Conference and now they are fighting for a top four position in the Conference which is a huge surprise. Another late collapse saw Toronto lose to the Detroit Pistons last time out and they have now dropped four of their last six games.

With that in mind it might be a surprise to see the Raptors as a pretty big road favourite to win at the Chicago Bulls, but the latter are shorthanded with the likes of Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler expected to sit until after the All-Star Game. Rumours persist that Chicago will be a trade player in the coming days too, but for now they are going to have a difficult time dealing with the Raptors with four players out of the rotation including their top two.

The Bulls have not responded well to missing their top players as they have been blown out three games in a row while allowing at least 115 points in each of those losses. Those blow outs have been on the road so there is an expectation that being at home will certainly aid Chicago in putting in a fuller performance, but this still might not be enough against a high-scoring Toronto team.

Toronto have not covered in any of their last five games in Chicago, but I will look for them to take out this big number and I will lay the points.


Cleveland Cavaliers @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: Kevin Love could have a pretty serious injury which is worrying the Cleveland Cavaliers and I would suggest it would be one they won't be able to overcome to defend the NBA title they won last season. While LeBron James continues to push for the team to bring in more help to improve their fortunes, the Cavaliers may have to settle for being the best team in the Eastern Conference at best.

James won't be settling for anything but it looks a big ask for Cleveland if Love is a long-term absentee like the fear suggests he may be. The Cavaliers have been playing well in Love's absence though as they have won seven of their last nine games after a miserable January which saw them finish with a losing record. They are scoring plenty of points, but everyone connected with Cleveland will be looking to see an improvement Defensively to the levels they did show last season.

They can't come into this one underestimating the Minnesota Timberwolves who have won two of their last three games and tend to play much better at home. The Timberwolves continue to have issues Defensively which is going to be a problem for them against the high-scoring Offensive performances Cleveland have been producing.

Minnesota did shut down the Chicago Bulls in their last game, but that was a shorthanded opponent and this Cleveland team are much stronger even though Love is not playing. In fact Cleveland beat Minnesota easily enough at home last week when Love was sitting and I would expect the Cavaliers to do enough to get over this number too.

The Cavaliers are 8-3 against the spread in their last eleven visits to Minnesota and I will be looking for them to improve that number by laying the points.


Sacramento Kings @ LA Lakers Pick: The Sacramento Kings remain just outside the Play Off places in the Western Conference despite losing some key players to injury for the remainder of the season. DeMarcus Cousins is still around, but he continues to be cited for technical fouls which means he is one more away from another suspension and I am not surprised the big man is frustrated by that.

The Kings are looking to go into the All-Star Break still within range of the Number 8 Denver Nuggets and that means they need to win this game at the LA Lakers. Sacramento should be confident having won four of their last five games, although this young Lakers team have been a little dangerous in recent weeks with some wins over the likes of Denver, the New York Knicks and Milwaukee who are all higher in the standings than them.

What makes the Lakers dangerous is that they can score plenty of points, although they are still having their own issues Defensively. The Kings look like they can match up well with the Lakers at both ends of the court and they have the size to win the rebounding battle which can be key to extending a positive run when visiting the Lakers.

Sacramento are 7-2-1 against the spread in their last ten games against the Lakers and they have covered on their last four visits to the Lakers. It also should be noted that the Lakers are just 3-6 against the spread when hosting a team with a losing record this season and they are 3-5 against the spread when set as the favourite.

I am not sure the Lakers deserve favouritism in this game and I like taking the points with the Sacramento Kings in this one. The Kings have not played well as the small underdog this season, but I think they have some momentum behind them and can knock off the Lakers as long as they are not focusing on the trip to Golden State on Wednesday.


Wednesday 15th February
It has been a very solid week so far for the NBA Picks, but there are still two days to go before the All-Star Break as I look to put some more winners on the board.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics Pick: The injury to Kevin Love in Cleveland might just have opened the ears of the Boston Celtics who can now sniff an opportunity to perhaps secure the Number 1 Seed in the Eastern Conference. It is beginning to look more and more like the Celtics are going to miss bringing in anyone new before the trade deadline, but this Boston team are good enough to challenge in the Eastern Conference against any team other than a healthy Cleveland team.

Boston have won ten of their last eleven games and are looking to go into the All-Star Break with two more wins which will close the 2.5 game gap to the Number 1 Seeded Cavaliers in the Conference. There is no doubting that this is a Celtics team full of confidence and they are taking on a Philadelphia 76ers team who continue to play without Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor.

Even without those two players, one through injury and one through trade talks, the 76ers have won three games in a row although none against a team flying as high as the Celtics. The 76ers did snap the long winning run of the Miami Heat, but that was a tired team and they are unlikely to benefit from that against the Celtics.

In saying that, Philadelphia have shown they can be competitive even without Embiid who has sparked their successes this season and given the fan base something to get excited about for the first time in years. Now that confidence from Embiid seems to have seeped into the other players on the roster and this looks a lot of points on paper for the 76ers to be in receipt of on Wednesday.

Philadelphia have to be strong on the boards to challenge Boston, but I can't ignore the Celtics being 4-10 against the spread when hosting a team with a losing record this season. The Celtics are 0-8 against the spread when favoured by 8 or more points this season too and the two previous games between these teams this season have been decided by a combined five points. I will look for the 76ers to cover with the points on Wednesday although they will have to weather the storm at times.


Milwaukee Bucks @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: When Jabari Parker went down with a season ending injury, the feeling was the young Milwaukee Bucks might struggle to stay with the Play Off race in the Eastern Conference. The initial reaction to his injury was not a good one for the Bucks, but they have won consecutive games to remain just a game behind the Number 8 Seeded Detroit Pistons.

Both wins have come against teams higher than the Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, but Milwaukee can't afford to slow down in their final game before the All-Star Break as they face the Brooklyn Nets. Winning this game will keep the Bucks moving in the right direction and they are a big favourite to do that.

Brooklyn have dropped twenty-four of their last twenty-five games and they have lost thirteen in a row heading into this game. Rumours surround Brook Lopez and whether he will be moved on before the trade deadline, but this is a season where Brooklyn are just transitioning and look set to have a very nice pick in the Draft.

The Nets have been competitive though and their last eight losses have come by single digits which suggests they can give Milwaukee something to think about. However only three of those losses have come by less than six points and Milwaukee have won and covered in their last three visits to the Brooklyn Nets.

With Milwaukee shooting the ball as efficiently as they are at the moment, I think it might be tough for Brooklyn to stay with the Bucks right to the end. I will lay the points in this one and look for the favourite to have a little too much for their opponents.


Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets Pick: This is a big game at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with the Number 8 Seed in the Play Offs likely to be fought out between a number of teams. At the moment it is the Denver Nuggets who hold that position in the standings, but the Minnesota Timberwolves are still hoping they can get back in the mix by beginning to close this 4.5 game gap to the Nuggets.

Both teams have just come off a big game in their final one before the All-Star Break. The Denver Nuggets were shorthanded but still blew out the Golden State Warriors on Monday, while the Minnesota Timberwolves came up short against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

Playing in a back to back is a tough schedule spot for the Timberwolves, but it looks like Denver will still be missing some key players. The Timberwolves have also been pretty good in back to back spots this season and this is a young roster who should be able to produce one more big effort in this road setting.

The rebounding is where Denver are very strong, but they are missing some influential pieces of their rotation and are off an emotional win over the Warriors a couple of nights ago. Everything went down for them that day and it will be tough to replicate that level of performance against a team with a losing record and so the points being given to the Minnesota Timberwolves is appealing.

Minnesota haven't been good when visiting a team with a losing record this season as they are 3-8 against the spread in that spot, but they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five in Denver. The Nuggets have not covered in their last four games after a straight up win and this shorthanded team looks an uneasy favourite to me so I will take points on offer.


Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz Pick: Injuries are hurting the Portland Trail Blazers but they remain in a position to challenge for a top eight finish in the Western Conference. They will need to go back to the confidence that has helped them match up so well with the Utah Jazz in recent games between them to make this one a competitive game, and Portland could be catching Utah at the right time.

Utah have lost three in a row just before the All-Star Break and they were favoured in each game they were beaten. Two of those have come at home against the Boston Celtics and LA Clippers and while the Trail Blazers are not of that level, the Jazz could still be a little short of confidence.

On the other hand Portland have lost four of their last five games and were on the wrong end of a heartbreaker against the Atlanta Hawks a couple of days ago. The Trail Blazers do have the scoring power to hit the Utah Jazz who have just struggled Defensively in recent games and they also have the size to challenge Utah on the boards which is a reason they have matched up so well against them in the recent past.

As well as Utah have played as a small underdog, they are just 2-8 against the spread this season when favoured by 8 or more points. They are also just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven home games and the Portland Trail Blazers are 4-1 against the spread in the last five of this series. Even though Portland are shorthanded for this one, I like the Trail Blazers with the points.


Thursday 16th February
Only the Milwaukee Bucks blowing a huge Fourth Quarter lead prevented the picks going 3-1 on Wednesday and moving the positive vibes on another day. At least it wasn't a losing day and this week is going to produce a positive regardless of how things go on Thursday.

In saying that of course I want to add a couple more winners to the board.

Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers Pick: The Indiana Pacers are limping into the All-Star Break having dropped five games in a row and giving up at least 110 points in each of those games. They were beaten for the second time in that run by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday despite the Cavaliers being on a back to back and once again the Pacers were unable to back up a decent start.

The recent negative run has seen the Indiana Pacers move down to Number 6 in the Eastern Conference standings and they are only 3.5 games clear of the Number 9 placed Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers are struggling on the Defensive side of the court and that could be a big issue against the Washington Wizards who have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the last six weeks.

A really strong run has moved Washington up to Number 3 in the Eastern Conference and this is a team that has clear intentions of improving on that. John Wall and Bradley Beal are a great back court tandem and the Wizards have a decent rotation which has allowed them to flourish and average 117 points per game over their last five games.

Scoring points isn't a problem for Washington, but they have also made enough key stops to pull away in games and they have been particularly solid at defending the three point shot. That is where they can get away from the Indiana Pacers in this one as Washington look to improve their 6-3 record against the spread when favoured by less than 3 points.

The Indiana Pacers are just 3-5 against the spread as the underdog being given less than 3 points, while Washington are 7-0 against the spread in their last seven games in Indiana. A rested Washington team can take advantage of an Indiana team that have not been that good in the second of back to back games and who were given a chasing by Cleveland on Wednesday. I will lay the points in this one.


Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls Pick: Playing on a back to back and having to travel for the second of those games is one of the tougher spots in the NBA no matter which team you are. However the Boston Celtics have a decent record in the second half of these games and they are a team with plenty of momentum behind them as they look to keep the pressure on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Number 1 Seed in the Eastern Conference.

Only 2.5 games separate Cleveland to Boston as the Celtics have been on a tear winning eleven of their last twelve games including the last four in a row. Since the surprising loss at the Sacramento Kings, Boston have scored at least 111 points in their next four games and have a deep rotation that all seem to know their role and little trade speculation is keeping them settled.

They are facing a Chicago Bulls team who just knocked off the Toronto Raptors, but I think that says a lot more about where the Raptors are right now. Jimmy Butler was back, but the Raptors were lethargic in the first half and gave Chicago belief, while Boston can match them on the rebounding stats which should prevent the Bulls being able to do the same.

The Chicago Defensive stats have not looked that good of late and they could be without Dwyane Wade again in this one to make sure the veteran can return immediately after the All-Star Break. With the way Boston are scoring points, I expect they can expose the Defensive issues and that gives them a chance for a rare cover here.

Boston are 3-9-1 against the spread in their last thirteen in Chicago, but this spread just looks out of sync to me and I am going to take the road underdog with the point on offer.

MY PICKS: 13/02 Philadelphia 76ers + 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
13/02 Washington Wizards - 5 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
13/02 Golden State Warriors - 11.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
13/02 Atlanta Hawks + 2 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
14/02 Chicago Bulls - 7 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
14/02 Cleveland Cavaliers - 4 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
14/02 Sacramento Kings + 1.5 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
15/02 Philadelphia 76ers + 10 Points @ 1.95 William Hill (1 Unit)
15/02 Milwaukee Bucks - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
15/02 Minnesota Timberwolves + 4 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
15/02 Portland Trail Blazers + 8.5 Points @ 1.95 Coral (1 Unit)
16/02 Washington Wizards - 2 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
16/02 Boston Celtics + 1 Point @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)

February 13-16 Update: 8-4-1, + 3.48 Units
February 6-12 Final8-5-2, + 2.41 Units
February 1-5 Final5-3, + 1.59 Units

February Update13-8-2, + 4 Units
January Final26-28-1, - 4 Units
December Final19-23, - 5.51 Units
November Final24-25-1, - 2.92 Units
October Final8-9, - 1.72 Units

Season 201758-62-2, - 8.64 Units

Final Season 2016150-143-7, - 5.37 Units
Final Season 2015109-108-5, - 6.91 Units
Final 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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