A 6-0 day on Monday (my second undefeated day since this series started less than a week ago) puts my record at 19-3 ATS. I honestly didn’t expect to be doing this well, but I’ll keep this series going as long as I keep making great picks. Let’s hope for the best today.
Nets +18.5 over Bucks
The Bucks probably are 18.5 points better than the Nets, but it’s too big of a spread to give a team that doesn’t need to win this game. I doubt the Bucks will empty the bucket just to embarrass and decimate a potential first round playoff opponent. If Giannis plays over 30 minutes, I’d be stunned.
Mavericks -5.5 over Kings
After two close losses, the Mavericks need to get back on track and they’ll get the chance to do so against a struggling Kings team. Certainly neither team had played as well as they would’ve liked to so far, but Dallas has looked better in their losses and it’s unlikely a team this talented would let themselves fall to 0-3.
Suns +8.5 over Clippers
The Suns have looked really good in the bubble and 8.5 points is just a little to enticing to pass up against a Clippers team that’s still missing Montrezl Harrell. Lou Williams will make his return, but should be more than a little rusty after 10 days stuck in quarantine. Look for Phoenix to at least keep it close.
Pacers +1.5 over Magic (Bet of the Day)
Both teams have played well, but the Pacers and TJ Warren have been a tad more impressive. I find it odd that the Magic are favored. With Jonathan Isaac out for the season, they’ve lose their luster as a feel good bubble story and a team on the rise, even if Isaac was only a bench player for the time being. At the very least, it should demoralize the Magic and take away one of their top defensive options to matchup with the scorching hot Warren. Take the Pacers and the points.
Heat +3.5 over Celtics
The Celtics have struggled so far in the bubble and a lot of it has to do with Kemba Walker’s minutes restriction. Until that is lifted, the Celtics will have a tough time closing out games. Miami has the defenders to keep up with Tatum, Brown and Hayward. Usually, Kemba Walker would be the difference maker against a Miami team with Goran Dragić and rookie Kendrick Nunn defending him, but if he’s limited again, Boston will have no such advantage once the 4th quarter rolls around.
(Editor’s note: If I had known Jimmy Butler would not play, I would’ve taken Celtics -3.5. Obviously the Heat not having their best player changes this. However, bettors can’t pull out of their picks just because of an injury, they have to stick with them. So, I digress and I’ll stand by my pick.)
Rockets -3.5 over Trail Blazers
Jusuf Nurkic will likely feast on the Rockets small lineup, but Houston has defeated better bigs than him with their super duper small ball lineup. Zach Collins and Nurkic (and Carmelo Anthony for that matter) aren’t built to defend on the perimeter. With James Harden and Russell Westbrook isolating against Lillard and McCollum all day, the Rockets should have an easy time scoring off drive and kick actions. No amount of Jusuf Nurkic hook shots over PJ Tucker will allow the Trail Blazers to keep up.
Photo: (Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports)