NBA: 76ers (-1.5) Vs Suns $
The Suns continue to play well rolling up another nice win last night in Chicago, although they conceded the cover in the last couple of minutes. Playing in Chicago and then in Philadelphia, the very next night will be a major challenge even for the first place Suns. The Sixers also won in Chicago in their last game out but the biggest difference is they had an extra day off in between to travel back to Phila and rest up.
I like the way the Sixers are playing right now. They currently sit in fifth place in the NBA Eastern Conference but are only two games out of first where I suspect they will finish the regular season. Joel Embiid is playing great and is now the odds on favourite to win the MVP. Matisse Thybulle looks ready to return to the court with his shoulder injury. I would love to see the Sixers add one more shooter and get rid of the Ben Simmons distraction. That may be the one missing piece this team still needs to push into the playoffs this season.
The Suns are still a great team but this is a bad matchup and schedule for them tonight. They still hold a high premium on the point spread which makes them difficult to bet. I will be looking for spots to fade the Suns as they head into the playoffs. This looks like a good spot to do just that.
NBA: Celtics (-5.5) @ Nets $
Talk about two teams moving in opposite directions. The Nets and Celtics now have nearly identical records as the into the second half of the season. But if you look more closely, the Nets have lost eight games in a row and are suffering from significant injuries. In contrast, the Celtics have won 5 in a row and are completely healthy. Which team would you want to bet on?
In fairness, the NBA line maker has finally started to reward the Nets with extra points to compensate for their recent ineptitude. Just a few weeks ago, the Nets would have been more than five-point favourites instead of five-point home dogs against the Celtics.
James Harden missed their last game on Sunday in Denver and may have to sit out this game as well. Kyrie Irving is also obviously out as they return home to New York. Who are the Nets when you remove all the members of their ‘big three’? They are nothing more than a mishmash of journeymen and marginal role players. Essentially they turn from an elite team into the Orlando Magic. The drop-off is that steep.
The only option here is to take the hot team to get an easy win against a bunch of scrubs.
NBA: Grizzlies (-7) Vs Clippers $$
Norman Powell and Robert Covington made their Clipper debuts on Sunday against the Bucks. Powell played well knocking down 28 points in just 24 minutes. Lost in that stat line is the fact the Clippers lost the game by 24, giving up 137 to the visiting Bucks. I actually like this deal for the Clippers as Powell should fit in nicely in LA. Any trade that includes getting rid of Eric Bledsoe and his big contract should be considered a win.
The Clippers pulled off a nice comeback win against the Lakers without Lebron James in their game prior to that, a performance I have file in the “so what” category. The Lakers aren’t exactly good at the moment and the Grizzlies will pose a much more difficult challenge. I give the Clippers credit for being clutch ballers and have actually performed well above expectations this season considering the loss of their two best players. But the truth is this team is not very good.
The Grizzlies continue to be my favourite NBA team to back this season. The talent gap between these two teams is enormously large like the grand canyon. I was excited to see this line at just seven points at writing as I suspect it will be higher by tip-off.
NBA: Magic (+3.5) @ Trail Blazers $
I do not understand what the Trail Blazer management was thinking about getting rid of Norman Powell essentially in exchange for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe isn’t even healthy and will miss his Blazer debut with an Achilles injury. This seems like a white flag to me from the Blazers and I suspect it will not be the last move they make prior to the impending NBA trade deadline. Could we finally see Damian Lillard make his departure from Portland? Maybe, I’ll be watching closely.
I am not a fan of the Magic, but this may be an opportunity here to defeat an already demoralized team. Powell was the heart of this team for weeks while they played reasonably well without their big star in Lillard. It is hard to focus on good basketball when everyone is looking behind them wondering who could be next out of town. Besides the Blazers are another team deep into the injury list and will be playing mostly a skeleton crew tonight.
This could be a rare road win for the Magic.
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Legend $$ – two unit bet $ – one unit bet
NBA odds provided by Odds Shark. Posted lines are of writing time.