Cleveland  Boston 

Event Date: 05/19/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Cleveland Cavaliers have little margin for error as they attempt to begin digging out of a hole when they host the Boston Celtics on Saturday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. Boston won the first two games to improve to 9-0 at home in the postseason. Cleveland dropped the first two games by an average of 19 points and even a monster Game 2 effort by LeBron James (42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds) on Tuesday couldn't prevent a 13-point loss. Boston is 23-9 ATS in their last 32 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. while Cleveland is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games overall and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 vs. Eastern Conference.

Pick: Boston +6.5


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Cleveland 

Event Date: 05/13/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Cavs struggled to get by the Pacers in seven games, but they rolled over the Raptors in four straight in the second round. Boston needed seven games to get past Milwaukee, but then only needed five to get by the 76ers. The Celtics have been red hot at home (both in the regular season and in the playoffs). Cleveland is relies completely on LBJ, so it’ll be all hands on deck from the home side to slow down the Cavs’ superstar. Consider that the Cavs are 0-3 ATS this year already when playing with three or more days rest, while the Celtics are 4-1 ATS when playing with three or more days of rest.

Pick: Boston +2


Result: Won
 
Philadelphia  Boston 

Event Date: 05/05/2018
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Boston Celtics look to open up a commanding 3-0 series lead when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Philadelphia was in good position to even the series when it led Game 2 by 22 points but Boston rallied to post an impressive 108-103 victory. The Celtics appear to be in good shape as they are 36-0 all-time when holding a 2-0 lead in a seven-game series but it took a lot of work to overcome the 76ers' stellar start.

Pick: Boston +9


Result: Won
 
Utah  Houston 

Event Date: 05/04/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Utah Jazz have seized home court advantage from the NBA's best team this season and they'll try to make it hold up when they host the Houston Rockets today for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals. After losing all four regular-season encounters and then falling by 14 points in Game 1, the Jazz shot 51.8 percent and used a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter en route to a stunning 116-108 triumph in Wednesday's Game 2. Houston is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 vs. Western Conference, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games. While Utah is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

Pick: Utah +5


Result: Loss
 
Cleveland  Indiana 

Event Date: 04/29/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating; 2 Units

The momentum boost provided by LeBron James with a last-second shot in a Game 5 win did not carry over for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and now they are facing a do-or-die Game 7. The three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers will try to avoid a first-round exit when they host the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 today. Cleveland went into Indiana on Friday and got rocked 121-87 with a chance to close out the series. Indiana is 18-6 ATS in their last 24 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game, while Cleveland is 16-37-1 ATS in their last 54 home games.

Pick: Indiana +5.5


Result: Won
 
Golden State  New Orleans 

Event Date: 04/28/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The New Orleans Pelicans were surprisingly dominant in sweeping the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, but a much bigger challenge looms. The Pelicans will try to get an early advantage when they visit the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals today. New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis averaged 33 points on 57.6 percent shooting and 11.8 rebounds in the four-game sweep of Portland, and the team is not intimidated by facing the defending champs. New Orleans is 22-6 ATS in their last 28 games following a ATS win, 21-6 ATS in their last 27 games following a straight up win, and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 vs. Western Conference.

Pick: New Orleans +9


Result: Loss
 
Golden State  San Antonio 

Event Date: 04/16/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Golden State Warriors came into the postseason injured and slumping but quickly proved they can flip the switch to playoff mode with a dominating Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Warriors will try to keep the pressure on and get off to another hot start to make it a 2-0 cushion when they host the Spurs in Game 2 today. Golden State dropped 10 of its last 17 games in the regular season and struggled on defense but tightened things up that end and held the Spurs to 17 first-quarter points to establish a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in Game 1.

Pick: Golden State -9.5


Result: Won
 
Houston  Minnesota 

Event Date: 04/15/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston is led by superstar guard James Harden, who is the odds-on favorite to win his first MVP award this season after leading the league in scoring at an average of 30.4 points and adding 8.8 assists. The difference for the team this time around in the playoffs is that Harden has another future Hall of Famer in the backcourt with the addition of point guard Chris Paul, who is in awe of his teammate. Over is 11-3 in Timberwolves last 14 vs. a team with a winning straight up record, 12-5 in Timberwolves last 17 vs. NBA Southwest, and 15-7 in Timberwolves last 22 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

Pick: Over 215


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Miami 

Event Date: 04/14/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Philadelphia 76ers enter the postseason on a roll but will be without All-Star center Joel Embiid when they host the Miami Heat in Saturday's opening game of the Eastern Conference first-round series. Embiid missed the final eight games of the regular season with an orbital fracture but his absence didn't stop the 76ers from stretching their winning streak to a franchise-record 16 straight games. Embiid will likely wear a mask when he returns and his responses indicate that a Game 2 return is possible. The third-seeded 76ers are a feel-good story after losing more than 50 games in each of the previous four seasons.

Pick: Philadelphia -6


Result: Won
 
Portland  New Orleans 

Event Date: 04/14/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Portland features its own ego-free superstar in point guard Damian Lillard, who averaged 26.9 points during the third All-Star season of his standout career. The Trail Blazers are the third seed in the West, their best positioning since also being the No. 3 seed in 2000, when they reached the Western Conference finals before losing a seven-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers. Having home court advantage is big for a Portland team that won 21 of its last 24 home contests and is supremely confident inside the Moda Center. The Trail Blazers are hoping center Jusuf Nurkic will be up to the task of slowing Davis while also building on his career-best averages of 14.3 points and nine rebounds to go along with a career-high 27 double-doubles. Shooting guard CJ McCollum (21.4) is a strong scoring complement to Lillard.

Pick: Portland -222 ML


Result: Loss
 
Minnesota  Denver 

Event Date: 04/11/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Denver peaking at the right time, winning 6 straight after beating Portland on Monday night. One of those victories was a crucial 100-96 triumph over Minnesota when Nugget PG Jamal Murray had 22 pts. and C Nikola Jokic had 16 pts., 14 rebs. and 9 assists. Murray averaged 24 ppg and shot 48% from beyond the arc in the three games against the Timberwolves this season. One game separated five Western Conference teams in the 5-9 slots on Monday. Denver and Minnesota are fighting for one of those final playoff spots in the West, and Tom Thibodeau’s bunch would wrap it up with a win regardless of intervening results. The Timberwolves could possibly get in with a loss in this game provided they beat Memphis Monday, while the Nuggets will be in a must-win situation. Denver has covered 7 straight and 11 of its last 12 games in Minneapolis.

Pick: Denver +3.5


Result: Loss
 
Utah  Golden State 

Event Date: 04/11/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Can’t get too carried away with Warriors’ Sunday win over the Suns, as it marked only the 6th spread cover in the last 20 games for the depleted champs, still minus Steph Curry. But that was probably the last semi-dress rehearsal for playoffs, as it’s highly doubtful Steve Kerr risks any of his other starters in this finale that has no meaning for Warriors (locked into the 2 seed in West) but could have seeding implications for rampant Utah, which might still be able to pass Portland for the 3-spot in the playoffs. While the Warriors have been floundering, Jazz surging, with a 28-5 SU mark their last 33, and outscoring foes by almost 20 points per 100 possessions in the last 216 minutes when Donovan Mitchell, Jae Crowder, and underrated Royce O’Neale have been on the floor together. Utah also recently ripped an under strength Golden State by 19 at Oakland on March 25.

Pick: Utah -8


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Utah 

Event Date: 04/08/2018
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

These two just played in Salt Lake City this past Tuesday, but Utah has dominated the Lakers the past few seasons, winning 9 of the last 10 meetings and logging a 4-2 spread mark visiting Staples Center to face the Lakers. The Jazz cooled off against the points, but Utah was 25-5 SU in its last 30 prior to that April 3 date with the Lake Show. The Lakers are trying but aren’t healthy and had dropped 7 of their last 9 as injuries to swing man Brandon Ingram and PG Lonzo Ball took a toll. Jazz rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell has scored 24 ppg in March, and Rudy Gobert will be the most dominating defensive presence on the court by a margin.

Pick: Utah -8


Result: Won
 
Memphis  Detroit 

Event Date: 04/08/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Detroit was on fire against the points heading into the final two weeks of the season, covering 8 straight and 11 of 13 through April 2. See little point in over thinking things with Memphis side that lost 25 of its last 28 through April 3 and was 3-7 vs. the points in its last 10 at the FedEx Forum prior to hosting Sacramento two nights ago. First meeting was a Grizzly loss (but cover) on Feb. 1, and was the 2nd setback of what would eventually be a 19-game losing streak. That game marked Blake Griffin’s debut with the Pistons, and he delivered with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Griffin is injured now, but the Pistons have been mowing down teams without him, as PG Reggie Jackson begins to round back into form.

Pick: Detroit -6


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Dallas 

Event Date: 04/08/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philadelphia had covered 8 straight through April 2, six of those wins coming as a favorite of more than 7 points, while Dallas is just 4-9 this season as a dog of 9½ or more. This game will fall somewhere in that area, and trust Sixer side that’s still jockeying for playoff position over Mav side that’s been openly tanking for months. Philly was just getting its act together when these two met back on Nov. 28, as the Sixers held on for a 112-110 after blowing most of its double-digit 4th-Q lead. Sixer rookie Ben Simmons had a coming-out party in the first meeting, scoring 23 pts. while contributing 7 rebs., 8 assists and 3 steals to key the win. Good news for the Sixers is that G J.J. Redick, who didn’t play in the first meeting, is clicking on all cylinders now.

Pick: Philadelphia -13


Result: Loss
 
San Antonio  Portland 

Event Date: 04/07/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

These two split a pair played in Portland this season, with San Antonio covering both. The Spurs are surging to the finish line, winning 8 of their last 10 games SU and vs. the number, holding foes to 95.5 ppg and out-rebounding the opposition by 6 per game in that stretch. The same can be said for Portland, which was 26-8 SU from mid January through  April 2. Blazer G Damian Lillard has cooled off a bit lately, however, perhaps a bit distracted by an addition to the family (a brand new baby boy!). Lillard was shooting less than 40% over the team’s last 10 games at this writing, and the Spurs have won and covered 6 straight against Western playoff foes, including SU wins over Houston, Golden State, red-hot Utah and OKC

Pick: San Antonio -4.5


Result: Won
 
New York  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 04/07/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New York playing the 2nd night of a back-to-back set, both of which are home games for the Knicks. Given the recent N.Y. struggles at the Garden (dropped 14 of last 17 SU at home through April 2), and the Knicks record against Milwaukee (lost 4 straight overall, 1-5 SU L6 at MSG), have to lean to the visitor. The Bucks are likely safely in the playoffs, but would love to climb out of the 8th position to avoid Toronto, a team that’s beaten them 19 of the last 25 meetings. Milwaukee has covered 7 of its last 8 chances this season as road chalk, and PF Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 ppg, 11 rpg vs. the Knicks) has been backed up by F Khris Middleton (20 ppg on 52% vs. NY) and G Eric Bledsoe (21 ppg, 54% L10 through April 2).

Pick: Milwaukee -9


Result: Won
 
Utah  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 04/03/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Utah Jazz have their sights on a playoff berth as they look to continue their recent domination of the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on today. Utah, which is in sixth place in the Western Conference, will be seeking its sixth straight victory over the Lakers. The Jazz won 25 of their past 30 games and are just one game behind the fourth-place San Antonio Spurs but also just two games clear of the ninth-place Denver Nuggets in the tightly packed race. The Jazz won eight of the past nine meetings, including a 96-81 home victory on Oct. 28.

Pick: Utah -11


Result: Loss
 
Dallas  Portland 

Event Date: 04/03/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Portland Trail Blazers are headed to the playoffs for the fifth straight season and their focus has turned to securing the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Trail Blazers hold a three-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs with five to play as they open a four-game road trip with today's contest against the Dallas Mavericks. Portland has been on a scintillating eight-week stretch in which it has compiled a 19-4 record and the club took time to enjoy the clinching after Sunday's 113-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Pick: Portland -8.5


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 04/03/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Philadelphia 76ers aim to produce their longest winning streak since in 28 years on Tuesday when they put a 10-game run on the line against the visiting Brooklyn Nets. The winning streak matches one from the start of the 2000-01 season and is two shy of the 12-game string that the 1989-90 team put together. Ben Simmons continued to carry the load with Joel Embiid sidelined in the Sixers' 119-102 win at Charlotte on Sunday, finishing with 20 points and 15 assists as Philadelphia stayed within a half-game of Cleveland in the race for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Pick: Philadelphia -8.5


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 04/01/2018
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Thunder come in hungry after losing four of their last five. OKC will be especially motivated here after falling 126-125 in OT at home to Denver last time out. The Thunder outscored the Nuggets 35-22 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough in the end. Russell Westbrook was a bright spot in the setback with 33 points, 13 assists and nine boards. New Orleans has lost three straight, most recently falling to Houston, Portland and Cleveland. Jrue Holiday led the way in the 107-102 setback to the Cavs with 25 points. For the most part the Thunder have struggled for bettors this year, however note that they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five against good offensive teams which average 105-plus points per contest, while the Pelicans are just 17-20 ATS in front of the home town crowd this season and just 2-5 ATS their last seven when playing with one or less day rest.

Pick: Oklahoma City -1


Result: Won
 
Charlotte  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 04/01/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philadelphia cruised to three double-digit wins over Charlotte this season, with Joel Embiid scoring 22 ppg and taking 11 rpg with 2.3 blocks to lead the team. The Hornet defense hasn’t put up much of an obstacle for Philly, which has scored more than 115 ppg and shot 51% in posting 3 win-and-covers. The Sixers, who had won 6 straight prior to facing Denver Monday, are still fighting tooth and nail for the home floor. With the possibility of catching Cleveland for the third seed still on the table, the Sixers are motivated. Charlotte played last night in Washington, and the Hornets are just 3-7-1 vs. the points in their last 11 when unrested, and the Sixers are 6-2 SU L8 on the road prior to stop in Atlanta Friday

Pick: Philadelphia -2


Result: Won
 
Washington  Charlotte 

Event Date: 03/31/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Washington hasn’t been playing well in March, covering just 2 of its first 11 games this month. Wiz HC Scott Brooks will have to make some defensive adjustments after his team allowed Charlotte to score 128 ppg in winning first 3 over Washington this season. Hornet PG Kemba Walker scored 22 ppg in the series, and C Dwight Howard managed 18 ppg and 11 rpg in just 30 mpg, while 4 other Hornets scored at least 13 ppg. Brooks should strongly consider bringing back PG John Wall from the injured list soon, lest they dip lower in the standings and lose any serious chance of catching Philly and Indy for 4th-place in the East and the first-round home court edge. The Wizards are 8-21-1 vs. the number as home chalk!

Pick: Charlotte +5.5


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Toronto 

Event Date: 03/31/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The home team won and covered first two in series, and this is virtually a must-win game for Boston if it is to have any hope of capturing the Atlantic Division and the home court edge in the East. Toronto has cooled off since winning 18 of 19 SU from Feb. 2 through March 16. The Raptors were 0-6 vs. the number L6 and 2-3 L5, giving up 116 ppg and 50% in the last 5 prior to facing Denver on Tuesday. Raptor leader DeMar DeRozan has been a bit off against the Celtics this season, scoring a sub-par (for him) 19.5 ppg and shooting only 36%. Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas has had foul trouble against Boston bigs Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes, limiting him to just 39 total minutes, 33% and 4 ppg in first pair vs the Celtics.

Pick: Boston +4.5


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 03/30/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Milwaukee rode Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 33 pts. and 15 boards to a 98-90 win when these two met back on Nov. 11, with the Greek Freak easily counterbalancing the first triple double by L.A. rookie Lonzo Ball. The Lakers have been a tough cookie at home since early January, posting 12-2 SU and 11-3 spread marks in last 14 at home prior to hosting Dallas on Wednesday. L.A. has injury issues, with Fs Brandon Ingram (groin) and Isaiah Thomas a possible scratch due to a recurring hip problem, but rookies Kyle Kuzma and Ball starting to gain consistency. The Bucks haven’t played well on the road against decent teams this season, posting a 9-14 mark as a road dog of 1-6 points.

Pick: Los Angeles -1.5


Result: Loss
 
Cleveland  New Orleans 

Event Date: 03/30/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland had won five straight heading into Tuesday’s visit to Miami, as return of PF Kevin Love has been a positive. LeBron James has averaged 31 pts., 10 rebs. and 10 assists since the all-star break, but Love’s 20 ppg and 10 rpg in his first 4 back tipped the scales in the Cavs’ favor. Cleveland covered three straight as a home favorite after a miserable 6-23 run as home chalk over the first two-thirds of the season. In the first meeting between these two, New Orleans benefited from a triple-double from since-injured C DeMarcus Cousins, while LeBron James was outplayed by Anthony Davis, who had 30 pts. and 14 rebounds. The Pelicans also got 29 pts from PG Jrue Holiday that night. Cavs have some momentum and are battling to hold on to a home court in first round, so would lay price with Cleveland.

Pick: Cleveland -4


Result: Won
 
Sacremento  Indiana 

Event Date: 03/29/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

As Sacramento tanks away the rest of its season while giving “developmental time” (nice term for tank) to kids down the stretch, Indiana taking these games seriously as Pacers still have a shot at the 3 seed in the East with a strong finish. The gears have admittedly been grinding a bit on the attack end, as Indy has seen the league’s biggest drop in offensive efficiency (5.7 points per 100 possessions) since the All-Star break, with five different rotation guys (including Victor Oladipo) having shot less than 30 percent from 3-point range. But they made three of their five 3-point attempts in overtime on Sunday vs. the Heat, as they clinched a playoff spot. The latter must seem like pure fantasy these days to Kings fans.

Pick: Indiana -7.5


Result: Won
 
Memphis  Portland 

Event Date: 03/28/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating; 2 Units

It seems hard to remember, but Memphis was once good enough this season to win a game at Portland way back on Nov. 7, when David Fizdale was still coaching Griz and regarded fondly in the Bluff City, and Mike Conley (remember him?) scored 20 points. How a few months changes things. Now the only question is how much of a price we want to lay with the Blazers. Memphis entered this week having lost 23 of its past 24 games before a shock win vs. T-wolves, but the low point of the season came last Thursday in a franchise-record 61-point loss to the Hornets. This was the largest margin of defeat for any team since February 1998, and Memphis’ 55-point hole through three quarters was tied for the largest such deficit in the shot clock era.

Pick: Portland -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Phoenix  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 03/28/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Clippers have not taken a deep breath in blasting Phoenix three times already this season, and don’t expect that to change tonight in the desert. It’s hard to find a reason to back the Suns; into this week they had lost 11 straight overall, as well as the last 11 games they’ve played without Devin Booker (who has missed the last four). Given their remaining schedule (six of eight games against teams with winning records), they’re looking really good for being the first team to rank last in both offensive and defensive efficiency in a 30-team league in an 82-game season. I’d normally draw the line somewhere in the mid teens, but even that might not be enough to get us off of playoff-hungry LA here.

Pick: Los Angeles -10


Result: Won
 
Philadelphia  New York 

Event Date: 03/28/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philly has won all three previous meetings though failed to cover 9 ½-point spread at MSG on March 15. Joel Embiid played that night and scored 29 points for Sixers, and while he is probably due to take a rest over the final two weeks of the regular season, the schedule breaks kindly this week and he likely plays tonight. Philly now has a 7-game win streak after winning big vs. Denver on Monday, covering the last five of those, while “over” 5-1-1 those 7. The Knicks lead the group of tankers into this week solely because of their shocking road win against the Wizards on Sunday, but otherwise hard to find many takers at moment for New York.

Pick: Philadelphia -12.5


Result: Won
 
Houston  Atlanta 

Event Date: 03/25/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Houston Rockets set a franchise record for victories in a season by defeating New Orleans on Saturday and can reach the 60-win mark for the first time when they host the Atlanta Hawks today. James Harden bounced back from a rough shooting effort in a victory over Detroit on Thursday to score 28 points and hand out eight assists in the 114-91 triumph against the Pelicans. The Rockets' eighth consecutive win gave them a 4 1/2-game lead over Golden State in the race for first place in the Western Conference with nine contests remaining. Clint Capela dominated inside with 18 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots for Houston, which has matched the second-longest streak in franchise history with 15 straight wins at home. The Hawks are 1-3 on their six-game road trip and have lost eight of nine overall after falling 106-94 at Golden State on Friday.

Pick: Houston -12


Result: Won
 
Brooklyn  Cleveland 

Event Date: 03/25/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to put the pieces together as they get set for another playoff run and ran their winning streak to four in a row by trouncing the Phoenix Suns 120-95 on Friday. The Cavaliers will try to keep it rolling on the road when they open a three-game trip by visiting the Brooklyn Nets today. Cleveland, which will play five of its remaining 10 games against teams with losing records, is getting healthy as well and welcomed back Rodney Hood (back), Tristan Thompson (ankle) and Larry Nance Jr. (hamstring) in Friday's win and is just waiting on Kyle Korver (personal) and Cedi Osman (hip) to get back.

Pick: Cleveland -6.5


Result: Won
 
Sacremento  Boston 

Event Date: 03/25/2018
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Boston took no prisoners in first meeting, played back on Nov. 1, when the Celtics were in the midst of a quick start. Star PG Kyrie Irving was integral to the Celt victory with 22 pts., while G Jaylen Brown matched him in points while grabbing 6 boards. Irving is likely still out for Boston, but Brown should be nearly through with the concussion protocol by the time this one is played. The Celtics’ 24-10 spread mark away from home this season impressive, even more so if you consider they are 10-2 the last 12 through March 22. Celtic's HC Brad Stevens will remind his team of its 16-point loss in Sacramento last year.

Pick: Boston -6.5


Result: Won
 
Philadelphia  Minnesota 

Event Date: 03/24/2018
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philadelphia is 14-2 SU in its last 16 at the Wells Fargo Center. Philly notched a win at Minnesota in first meeting, overcoming an outburst by Timberwolf swingman Jimmy Butler, who scored 38 pts. in 46 minutes. Butler was matched by Philly C Joel Embiid (a stat-stuffing 28 pts., 12 rebs. and 8 assists) and G J.J. Redick (26 pts.), while overcoming an embarrassing 7 turnovers by rookie PG Ben Simmons. Minny has been sour on the road, going 3-14 SU and 4-13 vs. the number in its last 17 away from the Target Center through Monday night. Now Philly won’t have to deal with Jimmy Butler (knee surgery; hoping to return for playoffs).

Pick: Philadelphia -7.5


Result: Won
 
Houston  New Orleans 

Event Date: 03/24/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New Orleans has given Houston problems, covering 3 straight and 11 of the last 17 in the series. The Rockets are pushing for the best record in the league, and they’ve been tough to beat at home, winning 13 straight. However, Mike D’Antoni’s side was a much less impressive 5-10 vs. the number in its last 15 as a favorite at the Toyota Center prior to hosting Detroit on Thursday. Pelican PF Anthony Davis and PG Jrue Holiday have combined for 52 ppg against Houston this season, and N.O. is 7-1 SU and vs. the number in its last 8 on the road.

Pick: New Orleans +8.5


Result: Loss
 
Detroit  Chicago 

Event Date: 03/24/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Things haven’t worked out as anticipated for Detroit, as Stan Van Gundy’s team is just 3-13 SU L16 thru March 18, a streak compiled shortly after the trade for Blake Griffin. Griffin has scored 19.6 ppg on 42% shooting with a 5.4 rebound average. Not too bad, but well below his numbers in 20 games with the Clippers this season. Chicago playing pretty competitively in the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, covering all 4 with a 2-2 SU mark despite HC Fred Hoiberg “pulling his punches” and sitting some of his most productive contributors. The Pistons have covered just 3 of 15 chances this season laying 4 pts. or more at Little Caesar’s Arena, and they won’t get any sympathy from the refs after Van Gundy loudly and publicly called out the refs in a recent loss.

Pick: Chicago +11.5


Result: Loss
 
New York  Minnesota 

Event Date: 03/23/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minnesota has struggled lately, but the Timberwolves have had an extremely tough schedule. Now Tom Thibodeau’s troops are dropping in class after facing 8 straight foes that are in playoff position or strong contention. New York is definitely not in that category. The Knicks were 8-31 SU in their last 39 through March 18 and had won just 2 of their last 14 games SU (3-11 vs. the number) at Madison Square Garden prior to hosting the Bulls Monday. T-wolves rode Karl-Anthony Towns’ 23 pts., 15 rebs. and 9 assists to a 118-108 win in Minneapolis on Jan 12, on a night when since-injured Knick F Kristaps Porzingis contributed 17 pts. and 10 boards.

Pick: Minnesota -7.5


Result: Loss
 
Oklahoma City  Miami 

Event Date: 03/23/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

OKC has turned it up a notch at the right time, winning last 6 (5-1 vs. lien in those) into Tuesday‘s game at Boston. Thunder G Russell Westbrook continued to average a triple-double in the uptick, with his shooting efficiency amped up to 52% over the last 5 of those. And the addition of vet 6-9 G/F Corey Brewer has helped the locker room coalesce as well as giving OKC HC Billy Donovan additional options defensively. Brewer has been inserted as a starting guard and has helped defensively, logging 12 steals in wins over the Raptors, Clippers and Atlanta in a recent stretch. Miami was 10-3-2 vs. the points in its last 15 prior to visiting Cleveland Monday, but with C Hassan Whiteside possibly still out with a hip problem and G Dwyane Wade sidelined with a hamstring problem, look for surging Thunder to continue to jell

Pick: Oklahoma City -6


Result: Tie
 
Dallas  Utah 

Event Date: 03/22/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Utah Jazz had their nine-game winning streak halted and seek to start a new one when they open a three-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks today. Utah suffered a damaging defeat when it fell 99-94 to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday for just its third setback in the past 24 games. The stunning home loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA dropped the Jazz into eighth place in the congested Western Conference playoff picture with just 11 games to play. Dallas is coming off a 115-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday and dropped three straight games and 18 of its last 24. Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) will miss his second straight game.

Pick: Utah -8


Result: Loss
 
Charlotte  Memphis 

Event Date: 03/22/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

I'm not exactly enamored by the thought of laying points with Charlotte, effectively out of the playoff race and expending about as much energy on the defensive end as the Harlem Globetrotters. Fortunately for the Hornets, they are facing the NBA version of the Washington Generals in Memphis. Though the Grizzlies beat a non-tanking team (Denver) last Saturday to end a long losing streak, and Tyreke Evans has returned to active duty, it’s hard to find any silver linings in Memphis, though Dillon Brooks dropped 29 on the Bulls a week ago, which is a good sign for the developing rookie. Still, Charlotte okay as home chalk this season (16-11).

Pick: Charlotte -9.5


Result: Won
 
Orlando  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 03/22/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philly hasn’t had too much trouble this season with Orlando, winning and covering twice by handy margins at Wells Fargo Center. Still, the Magic has yet to stop playing hard for Frank Vogel, though sometimes it’s a bit difficult to watch; Orlando has been pretty brutal offensively, scoring just 94 points per 100 possessions over the last two weeks (with Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon both having missed the last five games). So there’s a good go-against case involving the Magic here.

Pick: Philadelphia -7.5


Result: Won
 
Houston  Detroit 

Event Date: 03/22/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

—It’s hard to remember, but Houston was at the tail end of its worst dip of the season (a 2-7 SU skid) when it lost by 7 at Little Caesars Arena on Jan. 6. That was also when James Harden was out in early January and before the bottom fell out of the Pistons’ season. Now the only question is how many points we feel comfy laying with the Rockets, who have not been all that reliable when asked to carry heavier prices at Toyota Center (just 6-13 laying 9½ or more at home). But it will take a lot of points to get interested in Detroit (and 12.5 isn't it), which entered the week having lost 13 of 16 SU and loser of 13 of last 17 vs. line.

Pick: Houston -12.5


Result: Loss
 
Sacramento  Atlanta 

Event Date: 03/22/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

This game features two teams with a combined 43 wins. While nothing to play for but pride, the Kings hold a +22 to +6 advantage on the power ranking indicator. Atlanta won the previous meeting this season as a home favorite, However, the Hawks are just 5-28 on the road this season and Sacramento has been playing better of the two teams lately. The Kings will win this one by a margin of six to ten points.

Pick: Sacramento -1.5


Result: Won
 
Orlando  Toronto 

Event Date: 03/20/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Not sure there’s ever a good time for Orlando to be catching Toronto. But tonight might be even worse timing than usual as Raps enter Amway Center in a bitter mood following their first SU loss in almost a month on Sunday vs. the surging Thunder. Toronto had little trouble in its last visit to this building on Feb. 28, winning handily by 13 when shooting 54% from floor. For Orlando, Evan Fournier remains out with a sprained MCL, and while he is talking of getting back on the court this season, that seems unlikely.

Pick: Toronto -10.5


Result: Loss
 
Minnesota  LA Clippers 

Event Date: 03/20/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

So far this has been Minnesota’s series this season, as T-wolves have won last three, including a pair at Staples Center vs. Clips. The T-wolves had a healthy Jimmy Butler for two of those, including a 112-106 win on Dec. 3 at Target Center when he scored 33. But there’s no timetable for his return from knee injury that Tom Thibodeau is only hoping will heal in time for the playoffs...if Minnesota gets there at all. The Wolves have mostly struggled in Butler’s absence and enter tonight having covered just 4 of their last 15. What a golden chance for Clips (still within striking distance of Minnesota entering the week) to help their playoff cause! T-wolves rank 27th in NBA defense in the nine games since the Butler injury.

Pick: Los Angeles +4.5


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 03/20/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Oklahoma City has ignited in the past couple of weeks with six wins on the trot. The trigger has been an unlikely source, Corey Brewer, who has provided energy and defense since his recent addition from the Lakers and has been a key cog in the uptick that Thunder rides into TD Garden...a surge that includes a Sunday win at Toronto, stopping the Raps’ 11-game SU win streak. Meanwhile, injuries are now decimating this Boston team (Kyrie Irving out for this one with knee problems again), which can now only hope to have everyone (except Gordon Hayward) healthy for the playoffs. (Marcus Smart may not return until late in the first or early in the second round.) Celtics have lost SU their last two at home and were humbled at New Orleans on Sunday.

Pick: Oklahoma City -4.5


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Charlotte 

Event Date: 03/19/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Philadelphia has scored 119 ppg and shot 54% in collecting a pair of double-digit victories at Charlotte’s expense earlier this month, and this will be the third meeting in 17 days between the two teams. The Sixers’ 6-10 PG Ben Simmons scored 16 ppg, snatched 8 rpg and dished 10 apg in those wins, while Hornet PG Kemba Walker (18 ppg, 40% FGs, just 2 rpg, 6 apg) and C Dwight Howard (held to 12 total rebounds over the two games) have been minimized by Philly. The Sixers are a dominant 20-9 vs. the points at the Wells Fargo Center this season, and Charlotte’s 7-15-2 spread mark on the road through March 12 dovetails the tech factors.

Pick: Philadelphia -8


Result: Won
 
Brooklyn  Memphis 

Event Date: 03/19/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Memphis has the lead in the race to the bottom of the overall standings, and Brooklyn isn’t far behind. However, while neither of these sides will be confused with a contender any time soon, at least Brooklyn isn’t totally pulling their punches (and players) in a blatant dive. The Nets have provided point spread value to bettors, logging a 34-23-1 spread mark from Nov. 6 through March 12, including covering 5 of the last 7 of those. Memphis had covered just 4 of its last 15 through March 11, and with C Marc Gasol’s minutes cut back to avoid injury and the mysterious rib injury that kept Griz G Tyreke Evans on the sidelines, points have been hard to come by at times for the league’s least efficient and lowest scoring attack. Griz’ starters were held to 46 pts. in Nets’ 98-88 win in Memphis Nov. 2.

Pick: Brooklyn -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Los Angeles  Portland 

Event Date: 03/18/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Portland played last night at home against Detroit, but the Blazers are 16-5 SU and 14-6-1 vs. the points in their last 21 chances when unrested dating back to New Year’s Day 2017. The Clippers are just 3-8 vs. the points in their last 11 at home, and the visitor has covered 5 of the last 6 in the series. The Blazers have done a nice job defensively on L.A. G Lou Williams, who shot just 29% in the first two games with Portland. Meanwhile, Blazer Gs Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for 46 ppg and made 48% of their shots from beyond the arc against the Clips.

Pick: Portland +2.5


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  Houston 

Event Date: 03/18/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston won and covered first 3 meetings with Minnesota this season, with the Rockets scoring 121 ppg and surviving some off shooting by leader James Harden (35% vs. Minnesota). It’s difficult to make a case that streak will end, especially considering Houston’s 22-10 mark laying points on the road and the Timberwolves’ 3-9 spread stretch from Feb. 25 through March 12. Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 25 & 14 against the Rockets this year, but T-wolf HC Tom Thibodeau had the services of Jimmy Butler for each of the first three. Houston’s Feb. 13 win snapped Minnsota’s 13-game home winning streak.

Pick: Houston -7


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 03/18/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto has been dynamite at home, winning 11 of last 12 SU and covering 7 of their last 10 prior to hosting Dallas on Friday, and has won 15 of its last 16 through March 12. Raptor G DeMar DeRozan continues to ignite his team, scoring 24 ppg since the all-star break, and running an offense that’s scored 115 ppg and made 13 treys per game since the break. The Thunder handed Toronto a 124-107 defeat in Oklahoma City on Dec. 27, when F Paul George poured in 33 pts. and Russell Westbrook added 30 (and 13 assists). Thunder C Steven Adams might be nursing a sore ankle, and consistent Raptors seem intent on maintaining the best record in the East.

Pick: Toronto -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Portland  Detroit 

Event Date: 03/17/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

An 11-game winning streak is apparently not something that earns a team a great deal of separation in the Western Conference, though the Portland Trail Blazers have certainly improved their outlook. The Trail Blazers will try to make it 12 straight and keep their firm grasp on the No. 3 spot in the West when they host the Detroit Pistons today. Portland's 11-game surge leaves it two games up on the fourth-place Oklahoma City Thunder entering play on Friday but still only 4 1/2 games in front of the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets tied for ninth. The Pistons' odds of making the playoffs are getting longer as they sit 5 1/5 games behind the eighth-place Miami Heat in the East heading into play on Friday. Detroit is not enjoying much success against West postseason contenders on the current six-game road trip and fell at Utah and Denver on the first two stops.

Pick: Portland -8.5


Result: Won
 
New York  Charlotte 

Event Date: 03/17/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Charlotte Hornets will try to extend the New York Knicks' misery when the teams meet today in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have lost nine straight after Thursday's 118-110 setback against Philadelphia, blowing a 13-point lead in the second half in their eight consecutive defeat at home. New York has not lost 10 in a row since a 16-game skid in 2014-15 and likely won't end this one until it can figure out how to make some stops, as opponents are averaging 118.6 points during the losing streak. The Hornets had no issues on the offensive end in a 129-117 win at Atlanta on Thursday. Dwight Howard finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds and is averaging 26.8 and 9.6 over his last five games for Charlotte, which snapped a four-game road losing streak with the victory.

Pick: Charlotte -6.5


Result: Loss
 
New Orleans  Houston 

Event Date: 03/17/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston knocked off potential West playoff opponents in each of the last two games, beating San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers at home, and will face three more on the road trip with stops at Minnesota and Portland after New Orleans. The road trip is the longest remaining excursion of the regular season for the Rockets, who play eight of their final 11 games at home. The Pelicans enter play on Friday in sixth place in the West, one game behind the fourth-place Oklahoma City Thunder but just 1 1/2 games clear of the 10th-place Denver Nuggets. New Orleans is not having much success against teams in the playoff race of late and dropped three of its last four, including a 98-93 setback on Thursday at a San Antonio squad that trails it in the West.

Pick: Houston -7


Result: Loss
 
Orlando  Boston 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Boston looks to catch Toronto in the division and conference, while the Magic try to avoid the basement in the conference. Boston holds a +26 to +7 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and are “burning hot” versus “ice cold down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. The Celtics also hold a 2-1 season series advantage. There is little indication that Orlando can pull off an upset in this one. I go with Boston in a double-digit victory.

Pick: Boston -6


Result: Won
 
Philadelphia  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The 76ers are among a six-team battle for third through eighth in the Eastern Conference, while the Nets have one of the worst records in the conference. Philadelphia has a surprising only slim +14 to +11 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator and are “average down” versus “ice cold up” on the Team Strength Oscillator. The 76ers have won two of three meetings between the teams this season. Another indication to bet on Philadelphia is they are fifth in Team Volatility and will be a home favorite. I see the 76ers winning this at home to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Pick: Philadelphia -8


Result: Loss
 
Toronto  Dallas 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Raptors come in with the best record in the Eastern Conference, while the Mavericks have been eliminated in the Western Conference. Toronto has a +28 to +22 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and +2.16 to -5.53 on the Team Strength Oscillator. Surprisingly, Dallas took the first meeting as a home underdog. I don’t see that same happening in Toronto. The Raptors will dispose of the Mavericks relatively easy to stay on top in the playoff race.

Pick: Toronto -10.5


Result: Loss
 
Oklahoma City  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

In this match up, both teams are battling for playoff position in the Western Conference. The Thunder have a +24 to +20 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator.  Winners of the first two meetings this season, Oklahoma City is “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator versus “average up” for the Clippers. Another indication to go with the Thunder is that Los Angeles is sixth in Team Volatility.  The Clippers will be a road underdog, so the Thunder should walk away with their third head-to-head victory this season without defeat.

Pick: Oklahoma City -4.5


Result: Won
 
Golden State  Sacremento 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Golden State continues to look up at the Rockets in the Western Conference, while the Kings are among the worst in the league. The Warriors are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator, while the Kings are 3-7 in their last ten and are “average” status. The Warriors have a 2-1  series lead this season. Sacramento is tied for ninth in Team Volatility, meaning they generally lose as an underdog and win as a favorite. All signs point towards the Warriors to cruise in this one to keep pace with the Rockets.

Pick: Golden State -9.5


Result: Loss
 
Los Angeles  Miami 

Event Date: 03/16/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Heat enter as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and the Lakers are out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. However, Los Angeles has won seven of their last ten games and took the first meeting between the teams as a road underdog. Miami has slight edges in both the Power Ranking Indicator (+19 to +15) and on the Team Strength Oscillator (“average up” versus “average”). Los Angeles is tied for ninth in Team Volatility and should be a slight home favorite, so I see the Lakers edging the Heat to take the season series, 2-0.

Pick: Los Angeles -4


Result: Loss
 
Utah  Detroit 

Event Date: 03/13/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

If Stan Van Gundy’s job prospects in Detroit for next season are really hinging upon the Pistons making the playoffs, then get ready to see SVG on ESPN or TNT in 2018-19 as it looks as if his team is going to fall short. As of yet the Blake Griffin addition has not translated into enough wins; Detroit is just 2-10 SU and vs. line last 12 into Bulls game on March 9, not the sort of return on investment that was expected after adding big Blake from the Clips. Would rather back Utah, revving up again with four SU wins in a row thru March 8 after a brief lull following the All-Star break, and already a winner vs. Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Jan. 24 at the outset of what would become an 11-game Jazz SU win streak into All-Star break.

Pick: Utah -8.5


Result: Won
 
Atlanta  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 03/13/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Oklahoma City is 15-6 ATS in their last 21 games when their starting 5 players combine for more than 160 minutes of the previous day. While Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss, and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. In addition, Oklahoma City is 1-3 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Atlanta and 19-8 ATS in the last 27 meetings overall.

Pick: Oklahoma City -6


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  Charlotte 

Event Date: 03/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Keep an eye on the injury report, as Anthony Davis had to leave the last two of New Orleans’ 10-game win streak thru March 8 (the second time, March 7 at Sacramento, exiting in 3rd Q after rolling an ankle). With the ”Uni-Brow” entering the MVP discussion by scoring nearly 40 ppg during the uptick, his presence is obviously important. But unless Davis is definitely out, have no interest in bucking the hot Pels, who were not only scoring almost 125 ppg in the win streak, but playing some defense, as they’ve posted top ten numbers on stop end during the ascent. New Orleans also in a stretch of 8 of 9 at home that can help solidify a playoff berth in West, something that appears increasingly out of reach in East for the Hornets, whose 4-game skid thru March 7 has effectively knocked them from serious playoff contention

Pick: New Orleans -4.5


Result: Loss
 
Brooklyn  Toronto 

Event Date: 03/13/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Expect Toronto to at least be on the alert for this matchup vs. Brooklyn after sleepwalking its way to a narrow 114-113 OT escape in last meeting on Jan. 8. But overlooking Nets might have been understandable after Raps won by 33 in previous meeting on Dec. 15 north of the border when Toronto shot almost 56% from floor and DeMar DeRozan scored 31. Brooklyn slumping again into March (1-13 SU last 14 into last Thursday vs. Hornets) though Nets covering some inflated numbers lately (5 of 6 into Charlotte game). Toronto’s recent 14-game streak thru March 8 (13-1 SU, 10-4 vs. line) a bit more impressive as Raps bearing down to secure top East seed in fast-approaching playoffs.

Pick: Toronto -8.5


Result: Won
 
Chicago  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 03/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

While Clips still scratching and clawing to get into West playoff mix, Bulls simply headed full speed into the draft lottery. Chicago needed an even-worse Memphis to slow the rapid descent in March 7 Bulls win, but Fred Hoiberg’s bunch had lost SU in 14 of previous 17, and the arrow has been pointing straight down since Niko Mirotic’s trade to the Pelicans signaled surrender for this season. Absence of Robin Lopez for Bulls has meant that Hoiberg is forced to use Cristiano “Ronaldo” Felicio, who recently recorded a woeful -17 point differential in just 25 minutes of floor time against the Mavs on March 2. Too many reasons to go against the Bulls to shy away from playoff-chasing Clips, who won and covered 5 of 7 on most recent road trip.

Pick: Los Angeles -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Houston  San Antonio 

Event Date: 03/12/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Like much involving Houston this season, battles vs. San Antonio have turned into a Rockets party, with Houston winning and covering handily in first two meetings. This is what Rockets have admittedly been doing against almost every foe lately, as SU win streak had mushroomed to 17 in a row (13–4 vs. line) thru March 8. Meanwhile it is not inconceivable that Spurs could miss playoffs as they are having trouble finding traction with Kawhi Leonard still sidelined (though perhaps back soon) and various nagging hurts (Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge) elsewhere on roster. Coach Pop looking for answers, as usually-stout SA defense has fallen off, giving up 6 more points per 100 than their season average in recent 3-8 SU skid. Transition defense in particular was an issue during this stretch. Getting Rudy Gay back is not going to help on the stop end, but Pop needs his shot creation until (if) Leonard returns.

Pick: Houston -11.5


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  Golden State 

Event Date: 03/11/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Tough stretch of games for Golden State, which is coming off San Antonio and a visit to sizzling Portland. With a day off to prep and two days off after this, expect a top effort from Warriors, who are trying to make up ground on Western Conference-leading Houston. Minnesota has become a target since the injury to star swing man Jimmy Butler, but Tom Thibodeau’s team was struggling long before the injury. Minnesota is just 2-8 vs. the number in its last 10, giving up 115 ppg in that span. And Minnesota dropped its last 5 against the points facing playoff-positioned teams.

Pick: Golden State -5


Result: Loss
 
New York  Toronto 

Event Date: 03/11/2018
Event Time: 11 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New York snapped its 8-game series losing streak against Toronto on Nov. 22, but the Raptors avenged that result with a vicious 113-88 shellacking that was one of a pair of one-sided Knick losses sandwiched around that win this season. Seven Raptors have scored in double digits in the series against New York this season. The Knick problems are well-documented, with a 1-11 spread mark in its last 12 prior to facing Milwaukee on Friday. Raptors have given top effort every night in chase for the best record in the East.

Pick: Toronto -9.5


Result: Won
 
Boston  Indiana 

Event Date: 03/11/2018
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Boston Celtics have suffered only a three-point loss at Western Conference-leading Houston since the All-Star break, winning their other six games in that stretch by an average of 14 points. They will look to stay hot and keep close in the race for the top spot in the East when they host the Indiana Pacers today. Boston got past Minnesota on the road 117-109 on Thursday to clinch a playoff spot. Boston is 2 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto and comfortably ahead of a six-team pack fighting for the rest of the playoff spots, a group that includes the Pacers. Irving averages 24.8 points on 54.5 percent shooting, 6.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds since the All-Star break for the Celtics.

Pick: Boston -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Oklahoma City  San Antonio 

Event Date: 03/10/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Will take any points with San Antonio side that’s 2-0 as a dog against OKC this season. The Spurs have their problems, losing 8 of their last 11 into Thursday vs. Warriors to fall from 3rd to 5th in the Western Conference pecking order, and C Pau Gasol didn’t play at Golden State due to a shoulder injury. However, definitely distrust OKC side that’s been outscored 111-107, is allowing foes to shoot 48%, and has made just 32% of its treys since the all-star break. Mix in fact that the Thunder is just 7-16 vs. the number laying points at home and you have a case. With Carmelo Anthony and Paul George shooting a combined 38% over the team’s last 7 games, it’s no wonder HC Billy Donovan appears frustrated at times.

Pick: San Antonio +5


Result: Loss
 
Miami  Washington 

Event Date: 03/10/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

This is a quick turnaround from Tuesday’s series meeting in Washington when the Wizards took a 117-113 decision in OT at the Capital One Arena behind the sharpshooting of Bradley Beal. Beal sank 12 o 16 attempts, including 6 of 7 on his threes to secure the victory. Miami was down 9 at the half but mounted a comeback thanks to bench efforts by Dwayne Wade (team-high 22 pts.) and Tyler Johnson (21). The Wizards played in New Orleans last night, but they are 9-5 the last 2 seasons on the road in 2nd of back-to-back games.

Pick: Washington +5


Result: Loss
 
Memphis  Utah 

Event Date: 03/09/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Utah has been on a tear since the last week in January, as the Jazz have won 16 of their last 18 SU and are 11-6-1 vs. the number since winning in Detroit Jan. 24. One of the wins in that run was a 92-88 victory at the FedEx Forum on Feb. 7. The Jazz didn’t cover that trip to Memphis, as vet F Derrick Favors, C Rudy Gobert and super rookie Donovan Mitchell combined to make just 6 of 21 shots. A 29-point effort by Jazz PG Ricky Rubio and a 28-12 edge in free throws made was enough to get the win, and the Jazz held a 10-point lead with 31 seconds left before Dillon Brooks and Mario Chalmers hit late treys to claim a backdoor cover. Utah is in a dead heat with the Clippers and Denver for the final playoff spot, so they desperately need this win with a trip to red-hot New Orleans scheduled for Sunday.

Pick: Utah -9.5


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Houston 

Event Date: 03/09/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The two conference leaders collide. The first meeting went Toronto’s way, with the Raptors making 53% of their shots, while making Rocket kingpin James Harden work for his 38 points, as he was 8 for 25 on the night. Harden also had an embarrassing 9 turnovers! Rocket G Eric Gordon hit only 3 of 12 shots, and key Houston all-star Chris Paul didn’t play that night. The Rockets have won 17 straight games and are 9-1 SU and 10-0 vs. the points in their last 10 on the road, and are 36-2 with Harden and Paul in the lineup together. Toronto unlikely to duplicate its 14 of 30 performance from beyond the arc in Houston, and Paul’s added presence this time around can’t be minimized.

Pick: Houston -2


Result: Loss
 
Denver  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 03/09/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Lakers have been playing very well, logging an 18-8 SU mark since Jan. 7, but recent injury to swing man Brandon Ingram is a worry for HC Luke Walton. That being said, Denver is 1-6 vs. the points overall in its last 7, including 4 straight spread losses at the Pepsi Center. The Lakers have benefited from the return of PG Lonzo Ball, who’s made 50% of his treys over the past 5 games, and blending in of Isaiah Thomas (19 ppg & 6.8 apg off the bench in L5Gs) are solid buy signs. Denver has given up 116 ppg and 51% in its last 10 games.

Pick: Los Angeles +7


Result: Loss
 
Golden State  San Antonio 

Event Date: 03/08/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The intrigue is quickly leaving this rivalry that once had the ability to captivate NBA Nation. Not so this season, with focused Golden State rolling to a pair of easy wins and covers vs. the ever-depleted Spurs, who now might be looking at LaMarcus Aldridge on the shelf with ankle problems to go along with Kawhi Leonard (might return sometime in March) and perhaps even Paul Gasol. Warriors have played in some breathtaking spurts since the All-Star break as they ramp up for another run at the ring, and even at full strength Coach Pop would be hard-pressed to change this season’s series dynamics.

Pick: Golden State -11


Result: Loss
 
Sacremento  New Orleans 

Event Date: 03/07/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Not the Boogie Cousins reunion as earlier meetings this season but some interesting stuff nonetheless as the road dog has won outright all three match ups, including a pair of surprise Sacramento successes at Smoothie King Center. That was all, however, before Pelicans began to ramp things up a few weeks ago, with SU win streak at 7 after win at Spurs on Feb. 28, and Anthony Davis scoring almost 40 ppg during that stretch. For those considering a contrarian vote on Kings, note that into last week the bottom seven teams in the NBA had combined to lose 41 straight games, with Sacramento’s latest SU skid at five straight into March. Scoring 127 ppg in their uptick, hard to see Pelicans getting outgunned by this Kings lot at Golden 1 Center.

Pick: New Orleans -5.5


Result: Won
 
Milwaukee  Houston 

Event Date: 03/07/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

This could prove rather entertaining as was the 115-111 Houston win (but Milwaukee cover) at Toyota Center back on Dec. 16. James Harden (scored 31) and the Greek Freak (added 28) put on a good show that night, when Harden needed help from Chris Paul (scored 25) to help Rockets survive. Since then, however, Milwaukee has jettisoned HC Jason Kidd, and interim Joe Prunty finding it a bit harder against improved opposition in recent weeks, as Milwaukee had dropped 4 of 5 SU into March. Meanwhile Houston 20-9 as road chalk after last night's demolition of Oklahoma City.

Pick: Houston -6


Result: Won
 
Detroit  Toronto 

Event Date: 03/07/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Just as the vultures were starting to circle at Little Caesars Arena as the Blake Griffin experiment seemed to be going off the rails and likely taking Stan Van Gundy’s job with it, Detroit circled the wagons for a home romp past the Bucks on Feb. 28 to maintain a playoff pulse. But replicating that sort of effort against a Toronto side that blasted Pistons by 27 in their last meeting (pre-Griffin) on Jan. 17 might be a tall order for Detroit, which among other things has not made much of a fortress out of its new arena (just 13-18-2 vs. line at home). That recent W vs. the Bucks was also only the third Pistons cover in last 18 vs. line, making some Detroit die hard's wish for the days of Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley.

Pick: Toronto -5.5


Result: Loss
 
Portland  New York 

Event Date: 03/06/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Portland caught the Knicks during the height of “Kristaps mania” back in late November but still beat NY at MSG by 103-91 count. Porzingis tried his best that night (scoring 22) but Knicks couldn’t do anything about Damian Lillard who burned them for 32. Sobering for NY is that in rematch, Porzingis is out and Lillard very much in the Portland fold. At one point this season we would have been interested in giving Knicks a shot in dog role, but probably not now on heels of 1-9 spread skid into March. Meanwhile Portland had dropped just 5 of last 17 vs. line into last Thursday’s game vs. T-wolves.

Pick: Portland -9


Result: Won
 
Dallas  Denver 

Event Date: 03/06/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Home team has won first three meetings to date this season, though Dallas covered in each of those. But things a bit different since the last time these two tangoed on Jan. 27, as Paul Millsap has returned to active duty for Denver and the Mavericks’ season has continued to go south, with SU losses in 15 of 19 heading into last Friday’s game vs. the Bulls (which is solace for those who don’t like Mark Cuban, knowing the Dallas owner will be obliged to watch). Hard to find many silver linings at moment for Mavs, who rank 28th offensively in their recent slump. Further, their three small guards--- Dennis Smith Jr., Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea--have shot a combined 38 percent during skid, while Smith ranks as the league’s least effective shooter (minimum 100 shots) over the last month. Moreover, their latest starting lineup (with Barea and Smith in the backcourt) has allowed 117 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks. Otherwise, all is fine in Big D. Playoff hungry Nuggets can’t afford to blow games like this one.

Pick: Denver -5


Result: Loss
 
Toronto  Atlanta 

Event Date: 03/06/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

It’s been like stealing candy from a baby for Toronto against Atlanta this season, and Raps have romped to three DD wins and spread covers at Hawks’ expense. Not sure that changes here, as Atlanta playing for some date down the road (2021? 2022?), with Mike Budenholzer turning over more playing time to young guys; John Collins now in the starting lineup and Isaiah Taylor saw a big minutes bump in February. Meanwhile Toronto looking to solidify its hold as the top seed in the East and had lost SU in just 1 of 10 into last Friday vs. the Wiz. Still, expect Dwane Casey to keep an eye on the defense, as the starting lineup allowed an alarming 115 points per 100 possessions in a recent four-game stretch. That should require some fine tuning and should keep Raps sharp enough to hammer Hawks again.

Pick: Toronto -12.5


Result: Won
 
Oklahoma City  Houston 

Event Date: 03/06/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston might relish the revenge role, which it used to its advantage in recent beat down of the Clippers at the Staples Center. Now the focus is on an Ok City side that won on Christmas at the Peake when Russell Westbrook (scored 31) outgunned James Harden. But Houston was minus Chris Paul in late December and with Paul in the fold the Rockets had unfurled a 14-game SU win streak into last Saturday vs. Boston (Paul only missed one of those 14 games). And Thunder now minus defensive ace Andre Roberson. Ok City remains a risky investment, dropping 9 of last 12 vs. line into March, and if GM Sam Presti can’t find another wing on the buyout market, erratic Thunder might find itself in a struggle just to get out of the first round of playoffs.

Pick: Houston -5


Result: Won
 
Utah  Orlando 

Event Date: 03/05/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Utah hit one of its high notes earlier this season on the same night Orlando might have touched a low when Jazz romped by 40 at Amway Center on Nov. 18. Utah “D was smothering that night, holding Magic to 38% FG shooting. Things have gotten a bit better for Orlando since, at least vs. spread (14-6 last 20 thru March 1), though Magic was on a 6-game SU skid heading into last Friday’s game vs. Pistons as return of both Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic to active duty hasn’t translated into wins. Meanwhile Utah has not regained the momentum it had before All-Star break when uncorking 11 wins in a row, dropping 2 of 3 SU and vs. spread since into last Friday vs. Twolves. Utah was, however, able to get well in recent win streak vs. teams at Orlando’s level, and the first meeting suggests some problematic fundamental match ups here for Magic.

Pick: Utah -9.5


Result: Won
 
Chicago  Boston 

Event Date: 03/05/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

After losing by 23 to Chicago when the Bulls were heating up (remember those days?) in mid December, Boston avenged that loss twelve nights later on Dec. 23 when rolling by 25 at TD Garden. All Celtic starters scored in DDs that night led by Kyrie Irving’s 25 points. Chicago since is heading full-speed into the draft lottery with latest skid at 5 games into last Friday vs. Dallas. Bulls’ Zach LaVine is showing some offensive promise, scoring 17.7 points per game and shooting 39.5% from three since his return in Chicago. However, it’s the other end of the floor that’s a concern — the Bulls are 8.2 points per 100 possessions better defensively when LaVine sits. One of many issues Fred Hoiberg won’t be solving anytime soon.

Pick: Boston -7.5


Result: Won
 
Miami  Phoenix 

Event Date: 03/05/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Miami didn’t need Dwyane Wade when it beat Phoenix by 11 in the desert back on Nov. 8. All Heat needed that night was Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, who combined for 52 points as Miami exploited the burnable Phoenix defense with 53% FG shooting. Now Wade is in the fold and Miami seems energized, undefeated last six vs. line into last Thursday vs. Lakers, and turning around what had been poor spread fortunes at AA Arena in process. Suns did break a 10-game SU losing streak when topping white-flag-waving Memphis on Feb. 28, but Suns a bit nicked up with Tyson Chandler (neck) and T.J. Warren (tailbone) hurting late last week.

Pick: Miami -9.5


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 03/04/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn has been a fairly sold play when getting some points on the road this season, racking up a 15-8 mark getting 4 pts. or more away from home. The Nets have been getting better scoring recently with the return of D’Angelo Russell (17 ppg L5Gs) and an uptick in performance from Allen Crabbe (also 17 ppg L5). The Clippers have covered 5 of their last 6 games, but all 5 of those “Ws” have come on the road. L.A. was just 2-4 SU and 1-5 vs. the points in its last 6 at Staples Center prior to hosting the Knicks on Friday. The first game was just 2 weeks ago (Feb. 12), and 7 Clippers scored in double figures, but some of those guys won’t be available this time around.

Pick: Brooklyn +8


Result: Won
 
Milwaukee  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 03/04/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Milwaukee Bucks are sinking in the Eastern Conference with four straight losses. One of the teams taking advantage of that swoon is the Philadelphia 76ers, who jumped in front of the Bucks in the standings and will try to make the advantage even larger when they visit Milwaukee today. The Bucks looked set to make a big move in the East after earning an overtime win at East-leading Toronto coming out of the All-Star break but have since fallen to four straight playoff hopefuls, including a 103-96 setback to the Indiana Pacers at home on Friday.

Pick: Philadelphia -1.5


Result: Loss
 
Dallas  New Orleans 

Event Date: 03/04/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Davis will try to lead the Pelicans to an eighth straight win when they visit the Dallas Mavericks today. Davis stepped up his level of play when All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury and was rewarded with a Western Conference Player of the Month Award for his work in February. Davis averaged 35 points and 13 rebounds in February and finished it off with his ninth double-double of the month in a 121-116 win at San Antonio on Wednesday. New Orleans entered play on Saturday a half-game behind four teams tied for the No. 3 spot in the West and overcame double-digit deficits in each of its last three triumphs. The Mavericks are not enjoying quite as much success and are still looking for their 20th win after dropping six of the last seven games.

Pick: New Orleans -3.5


Result: Won
 
Cleveland  Denver 

Event Date: 03/03/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland was 7-23 vs. the points at the “Q” this season prior to hosting Philly on Thursday, and that’s probably enough right there to favor Denver. The Nuggets won last night at Memphis, but Denver is 10-4-1 vs. the points in 2nd of back-to-back games on the road dating to last season. The Cavs are a perfect 4-0 SU and against the number on the road since making their moves at the deadline, but still can’t get it together at home (1-3 vs. the points) or on defense (allowed 114 ppg at home since trade)

Pick: Denver +4.5


Result: Won
 
San Antonio  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 03/03/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Spurs have won eight of the past 10 against the Lakers but Los Angeles beat the Spurs on Jan. 11 in the two teams' first meeting of the season and has now won two straight against San Antonio. The Lakers have won 16 of their last 23 games and have already eclipsed their win total from all of last season. Los Angeles has captured three straight games on the road and may just make it four in a row against a less than 100 percent San Antonio team. Take the points.

Pick: Los Angeles +5


Result: Won
 
Portland  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 03/03/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Portland will be gunning for its 5th straight win-and-cover effort against Oklahoma City. The Blazers have won 7 in a row against OKC at the Moda Center, and they were a sizzling 11-1 SU and 9-3 vs. the points in their last 12 home games prior to hosting the Timberwolves on Thursday. Blazer G Damian Lillard was on fire in February, scoring 31.4 ppg, while C.J. McCollum has scored 22 ppg in the last 5. OKC played in Phoenix last night, and the Thunder are just 14-22 vs. the number after a SU win

Pick: Portland -4


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Houston 

Event Date: 02/28/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Round Three of the Chris Paul reunion, though Paul has only played in one of the two previous Rockets-Clips meetings this season, both won by LA. In the game Paul played, James Harden didn’t, so with them both on the floor would have to like Houston’s chances to gain revenge, especially considering how Harden scored 51 in the Paul-less loss at Toyota Center back on Dec. 22. Rockets less likely to hit those flat spots down the stretch as they battle with Warriors for best record in West and home edge in playoffs, which could be a very big deal by the time we get to late spring.

Pick: Houston -8.5


Result: Won
 
Denver  Houston 

Event Date: 02/25/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Houston Rockets are bridging the All-Star break with an 11-game winning streak but are about to begin the toughest part of the remaining schedule with 10 of the next 13 on the road. That stretch begins with a high-altitude back-to-back, starting with a visit to the surging Denver Nuggets today. The Rockets, who head to Utah on Monday and will play 12 of the next 13 games against teams with current winning records, are trying to hold off the defending champion Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference. Houston didn't show any rust out of the break on Friday, when it enjoyed one of its few home games over the next month by breezing past the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-102. The Nuggets are tied for the second-longest winning streak in the West at four in a row and are trying to emerge out of a pack of teams tightly grouped from third through tenth in the standings.

Pick: Denver +5


Result: Tie
 
Charlotte  Detroit 

Event Date: 02/25/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Detroit is two games under .500 and sitting in the No. 9 spot in the East with 24 games remaining in the regular season, 15 of which will come on the road, and suffered a 110-98 home loss to the Boston Celtics coming out of the break on Friday. The Hornets are trying to play their way into the playoff race as well and used a three-game winning streak to pull within 2 1/2 games of the Pistons. Charlotte did not show any sluggishness coming out of the break and followed a 111-96 win over Brooklyn on Thursday with a 122-105 pasting of the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Pick: Charlotte -4


Result: Won
 
Phoenix  Portland 

Event Date: 02/24/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Portland Trail Blazers attempt to complete a four-game season sweep of Phoenix when they visit the sinking Suns today. Portland has scored an average of 118.7 points while winning this season's previous three meetings, and that includes a 124-76 romp over Phoenix in the season opener Oct. 18. All-Star point guard Damian Lillard has scored 25 or more points in each of his last seven games against the Suns and he tuned up with 24 in Friday's 100-81 road victory over the Utah Jazz. Phoenix suffered a 128-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday for its eighth straight setback and 16 in its past 18 games. The Suns clinched their fourth consecutive losing campaign with their latest loss and are tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the NBA's worst record.

Pick: Portland -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Utah  Dallas 

Event Date: 02/24/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Utah Jazz will look to start a new winning streak when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. Utah won a season-best 11 straight games prior to the All-Star break but struggled offensively Friday when it dropped a 100-81 decision to the Portland Trail Blazers. Dallas is 7-22 on the road this season and figures to face long odds against the Jazz in a road back-to-back while Utah is playing consecutive home games on its back-to-back.

Pick: Utah -9


Result: Loss
 
Memphis  Cleveland 

Event Date: 02/23/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland has been ignited by trade, as newly acquired Gs Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood combined for 30 ppg and shot 57% off the bench after being acquired. Larry Nance Jr. pulled down 6.5 rpg as a reserve as well, and James looked like a newly-crowned King with 30 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 12.8 apg since the trade prior to facing Washington last night. The Cavs haven’t been great when unrested on the road this season (1-3 vs. points), but also-ran Memphis is coming off a long layoff (on the beach in the Bahamas?). Cleveland has been working to integrate its new parts and the clash last night will sharpen their game.

Pick: Cleveland -5


Result: Won
 
Detroit  Boston 

Event Date: 02/23/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Visitor has won 7 of last 9 in this series SU, and Detroit has been in a point spread tailspin since Christmas. The Pistons are just 8-14 SU in 2018 and only 3-13-1 vs. the number since mid-January. Boston struggled into the break, losing its 4 of its last 5 SU, but the losses were against revitalized Cleveland, Toronto, the Clippers and Indiana. Detroit traded its most explosive weapon against Boston (Tobias Harris, 25 ppg vs. Celtics TY), and the shine is off the Blake Griffin apple a bit. Pistons covered just 1 of Griffin’s first 8 games with the club

Pick: Boston -1.5


Result: Won
 
Dallas  Sacremento 

Event Date: 02/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The off season can’t come soon enough for either of these teams, especially Dallas, as Mark Cuban’s “creative tanking” should net Mavericks a high draft pick and a chance to re-make the roster when properly cleared of excess salary. Until then, Mavericks might be hard to watch, especially with Harrison Barnes still nursing a bad ankle, and Dallas having lost 9 of last 11 SU into Golden State on Feb. 8. Kings already won once as a dog at Big D way back on Oct. 20, when now-departed George Hill led Kings with 21 points. Arrival of Iman Shumpert from Cavs at deadline (part of the Hill deal) at least prevents a net-loss for Sacramento, whose recent form hasn’t been too bad (4-3 SU last seven, 5-2 vs. line last eight, both thru Feb. 8). Dave Joerger still using a heavy-rookie starting lineup, but vets like Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos remain to do heavy lifting for Sacramento.

Pick: Sacremento +6.5


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Miami 

Event Date: 02/13/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto was comfy enough with its current composition to stand pat at the deadline, which fellow East contenders Cleveland and Boston did not; we’ll see if the Raptors come to regret their relative inactivity. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade has made a feel-good return to Miami with hopes of rekindling past glories, and his form in Cleveland has been good enough to suggest he can help the Heat. No matter, Toronto will be on alert after getting dumped by underdog Miami in Heat’s last visit to Air Canada Centre on Jan. 9, when Raps (minus Kyle Lowry that night) hit barely 38% from floor in bitter 1-point loss. Expect them to do a bit better in rematch, especially considering recent form that including three thumping wins and covers in a row on recent home stand into Feb. 8 game vs. Knicks

Pick: Toronto -7.5


Result: Loss
 
Milwaukee  Atlanta 

Event Date: 02/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Bucks have caught a bit of an updraft since the return of Jabari Parker and won 7 of 8 SU into last Friday vs. Heat, albeit vs. a mostly-forgiving schedule. That latter dynamic, however, remains in place for visit of lowly Hawks, who while not an automatic go-against on the road (where indeed they have a winning spread mark) have still won only 5 of their first 26 SU away from Philips Arena thru Feb. 7. And not even home court could help Atlanta in first meeting back on Oct. 29, when the Greek Freak and Khris Middleton combined for 60 points in 117-106 Milwaukee cruise.

Pick: Milwaukee -7.5


Result: Loss
 
Indiana  New York 

Event Date: 02/11/2018
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New York’s loss of PF Kristaps Porzingis was a major blow to a Knick team that already had more than its share of problems. Porzingis scored 40 pts. and had 6 blocks in his only appearance vs. the Pacers this season, which was a 108-101 Knick victory back on Nov. 5. Pacer PF Thad Young scored 19 ppg and shot 73% vs. the Knicks this season, and Indy made more than 50% overall in the series. Assuming Pacer G Victor Oladipo (24 ppg, 49% on the season) is over his illness, look for Indiana to pad its 27-19 mark the last 2 seasons as Bankers Life Fieldhouse chalk.

Pick: Indiana -8.5


Result: Loss
 
Atlanta  Detroit 

Event Date: 02/11/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Detroit had Saturday off to shake off trade revenge game against the Clippers, and win or lose, would favor Piston side that looked much-improved on acquisition of PF Blake Griffin. Detroit has won 4 of 5 against the Hawks over the past 2 seasons, including a 105-91 victory in most recent encounter, which was played in Atlanta. Griffin had 26 pts., 10 rebs. and 10 assists in his only game against the Hawks this season, while C Andre Drummond had 39 boards in the two Detroit wins against Atlanta this season. .

Pick: Detroit -3.5


Result: Loss
 
Portland  Utah 

Event Date: 02/11/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Utah has won its last 6 on the road SU and covered 8 of its last 11 as a visitor, including recent SU wins at Toronto and San Antonio. That being said, the Jazz haven’t had much success at the Moda Center, losing 7 of their last 8 in Portland SU, dropping the last 4 against the number. However, this is the first meeting in Portland this season, and the Trail Blazers haven’t been nearly as good at home as they had in recent years, logging a 7-13-1 spread mark as host prior to facing Charlotte on Thursday. Jazz Gs Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell combined for 58 pts. in Jazz OT win back on Nov. 1.

Pick: Utah +3


Result: Won
 
Boston  Cleveland 

Event Date: 02/11/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

This grudge match might get even more ugly after Kyrie Irving’s social media post showed him laughing at a house burning down after the Cleveland-Laker trade shook up the trade deadline. Irving will have to step up his game against the Cavs, however, as he shot just 42% and scored only 16.5 ppg as the two teams split the first two (although the Celtics covered both). Prefer to take a lead with refreshed, new-look Cavs, who are 4-2 as a road dog, the only category in which they’ve had a winning mark.

Pick: Cleveland +5


Result: Won
 
Golden State  San Antonio 

Event Date: 02/10/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

These two Western powers are both leaking a little oil of late. Golden State is just 1-3 SU in its last 4 and have covered only 2 of its last 9 games prior to facing Dallas on Thursday. San Antonio is 3-3 SU and 2-4 vs. the number in its last 6. The Warriors have held the upper hand against the Spurs, winning 6 straight with a 5-1 spread mark dating back to March last year and including a series sweep in last year’s playoffs. Look for that trend to continue, especially with F Kawhi Leonard still out with a quad and PG Dejounte Murray joining him on the sidelines.

Pick: Golden State -10.5


Result: Won
 
Brooklyn  New Orleans 

Event Date: 02/10/2018
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New Orleans was just 1-4 SU and vs. the number in its first 5 games playing without injured C DeMarcus Cousins, and Brooklyn has been a big winner as an underdog (27-15 vs. the points). The Pelicanx defense suffered with Cousins sidelined, as they gave up 115 ppg and 48%, up sharply from seasonal averages. NO played last night in Philly, while the Nets are rested and have covered 14-7-1 since late December and 8-4-1 vs. the number in its last 13 at the Barclays Center. 

Pick: Brooklyn +2.5


Result: Loss
 
Chicago  Washington 

Event Date: 02/10/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Have little interest in backing Chicago side that was win less in its last 7 and had dropped 6 straight spread decisions prior to facing Minnesota last night. Rested Washington, conversely, shook off its 1-9 spread run by covering 5 of its last six, as G Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., and Markieff Morris have stepped up to replace output of injured PG John Wall. The Wizards have taken the last 4 vs. Chicago SU, and the Bulls have been outscored 112-102 in their last 5 games, shooting just 39% in that negative streak.

Pick: Washington -6


Result: Won
 
Chicago  Minnesota 

Event Date: 02/09/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Bulls are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak (1-6 ATS) and struggling big time without guard Kris Dunn who remains out with a concussion and note that they traded Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans last week. The Timberwolves are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up loss and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games playing on one days rest. They've covered the spread in four straight meetings with the Bulls and this will be a special game for Minnesota's Jimmy Butler who will pay his first visit to the United Center as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler has averaged 22.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists and should lead the Wolves to a comfortable win.

Pick: Minnesota -7


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  New Orleans 

Event Date: 02/09/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New Orleans rode PG Jrue Holiday’s 34 pts. to a victory (and a narrow cover) back on Dec. 10. Philly “big” Joel Embiid sat that game out with a back injury, and Pelican star C Boogie Cousins, who had 23 pts. and 9 boards in first meeting, has since been sidelined for the season. With Embiid playing at an all-star level, expect the Sixers to turn the tables on New Orleans. Philadelphia has covered 6 straight as Wells Fargo Center chalk, so have no problem laying the points with a Sixer team that has climbed to 4th in the league in efficiency differential.

Pick: Philadelphia -4.5


Result: Won
 
Boston  Indiana 

Event Date: 02/09/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Boston, which added C/PF Greg Monroe to shore up its front line, played last night in Washington. The Celtics have actually been a positive play at home when unrested, covering 12 of 19 chances over the past 3+ seasons. Boston has won 5 straight against Indiana, covering 4 of those meetings, and return to action of Celtic PG Kyrie Irving is a major relief to HC Brad Stevens. Irving scored 28 ppg and shot 54% in two meetings with the Pacers this season, and injury to Pacer PG Darren Collison will likely mean inconsistent Lance Stephenson will have to defend Kyrie. Boston 6-3 L9 laying single digits at home.

Pick: Boston -4


Result: Loss
 
Orlando  Atlanta 

Event Date: 02/08/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Home team has won last four in this series as the sides have split those matchups, though Atlanta covered the first two clashes this season. To back Hawks again, might want to make sure PG Dennis Schroder is beyond last week’s shoulder injury. Even if he’s okay, however, there is a case for Orlando, playing better lately and on an 8-1 spread uptick into February. Plenty of flaws on Atlanta side; Hawks played some decent defense for a stretch in early January, but remain the team that has seen the biggest increase (by a wide margin) in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Pick: Orlando -1


Result: Won
 
Philadelphia  Washington 

Event Date: 02/06/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Wizards though have flat out struggled in this spot at times for bettors this year, interestingly going just 10-14 ATS against poor defensive teams which allow 106 plus points per contest. The 76ers on the other hand have been “money in the bank” in this position, going 14-8 ATS at home this season and 20-13 ATS in their last 33 when playing with two days of rest.

Pick: Philadelphia -6


Result: Won
 
New York  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 02/06/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Milwaukee Bucks are winners of six of seven games since moving on from head coach Jason Kidd, but an injury to superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo could spell doom for the club. However, The Bucks hope to have Antetokounmpo available when they visit the struggling New York Knicks today. New York dropped its last three games and six of the last eight after squandering a late lead in a 99-96 home setback to lowly Atlanta on Sunday.

Pick: Milwaukee -1.5


Result: Won
 
Sacramento  Chicago 

Event Date: 02/05/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

That Bulls uptick for much of December and January now looks a memory as Chicago endured a rough patch at the end of January, losing five in a row SU and failing to cover the last four of those (some by hefty margins) into February. Chicago will be selling at trade deadline and put Nikola Mirotic on the shelf before dealing him to the Pelicans, but more could be on the move before next Thursday. The same might be said of Sacramento, where some of the Kings’ vets (George Hill in particular) could also be targeted. Interesting angle worth noting is that Sacramento entered February 10-2 in games it led entering the 4th Q, and Kings just completed a 3-3 trip to the South, so there is some life at Golden 1 Center. Sacramento also owns a win over Chicago back on Dec. 1 at United Center when Kings shot 53% from floor, though that was before Mirotic reappeared and Bulls began an uptick...all now in the rear view mirror.

Pick: Sacramento -2.5


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Memphis 

Event Date: 02/04/2018
Event Time: 12 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto was just 1-4 vs. the number last 5 at home prior to hosting Portland on Friday, and Memphis has been on fire against the number since Boxing Day, logging a 13-4 spread mark in its last 17 after close loss at Detroit Thursday. Grizzlies were leaning on swing man Tyreke Evans, who scored 19.5 ppg, grabbed 5 rebs., and dished 5 assists, but he’s on the move and reportedly won’t play for the Grizzlies again while whatever trade is arranged. Memphis C Marc Gasol (18 ppg, 9 rpg) was enjoying the support, but PF JaMychal Green is expected to return to action this weekend. Raptors might be caught looking ahead to hosting Boston on Tuesday. Raptor Gs DeRozan (42% L10Gs) and Lowry (38% L10) on a cold shooting run despite DeRozan’s player of the month award for January.

Pick: Memphis +11


Result: Loss
 
Brooklyn  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 02/04/2018
Event Time: 12 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks picked on the Brooklyn Nets in recent years, a trend they will try to maintain when the teams clash in New York on Sunday afternoon. The Bucks have won nine in a row over the Nets - including four straight on the road - and Antetokounmpo was unstoppable in a 116-91 rout of Brooklyn a little over a week ago. The 23-year-old All-Star had 41 points on 14-of-20 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds and seven assists in that meeting, one of four double-doubles he has recorded in the past five games. The latest was a 29-point, 11-rebound performance and the decisive layup with 1.9 seconds left in Friday's 92-90 home win over New York, Milwaukee's fifth victory in six games since firing head coach Jason Kidd.

Pick: Milwaukee -4.5


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  New Orleans 

Event Date: 02/03/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New Orleans is coming off a game last night in Oklahoma City, while rested Minnesota had the night off after hosting Milwaukee Thursday. The Timberwolves have won 10 straight home games, covering the last 8 games played at the Target Center. HC Tom Thibodeau’s Minnesota side is a triple-headed offensive beast, with G Jimmy Butler 24 ppg in his L6Gs), F Andrew Wiggins (20 ppg L10) and C Karl-Anthony Towns (20 ppg, 12 rpg this season). New Orleans had given up 113 ppg in last 5 prior to visiting run-and-gun OKC last night, while the Timberwolves have held last 8 visitors to the Target Center to 99.7 ppg.

Pick: Minnesota -8


Result: Won
 
Sacremento  Dallas 

Event Date: 02/03/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Sacramento is 6-2 SU and 7-1 vs. the points in last 8 against Dallas, including a 93-88 defensive tussle on Oct. 20. King PG George Hill had 21 pts. on 9 of 12 shooting in that victory, the only win in the Kings’ miserable 1-8 SU start to the season. Sacramento had a massive 57-36 edge on the boards that night, and youngsters De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield weren’t even making the major contributions they are now. Fox scored 14 ppg and dished 5.2 assists in January, while Hield is shooting 48% (42% on treys) over his last 5 games. Kings, who played Golden State last night, have been relatively unaffected

Pick: Sacramento +5


Result: Loss
 
Cleveland  Houston 

Event Date: 02/03/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston G James Harden had a triple double in Nov. 9 meeting in Houston, with his 35-11-13 night besting LeBron James’ effort (33-4-7). There’s little percentage in backing Cleveland, which is just 15-35 against the number, has covered just 4 of its last 23 games, has just one more SU win than Miami and Indiana, and finds itself in a dogfight for home court position in the playoffs. The Rockets have the second-best record in the NBA. Houston began its four-game road trip with a 102-91 win at San Antonio on Thursday behind another stellar effort from All-Star guard James Harden.

Pick: Houston -3


Result: Won
 
Cleveland  Detroit 

Event Date: 01/30/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Detroit Pistons are mired in an eight-game losing streak and shook things up in a big way by acquiring Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers. It is unknown whether or not Griffin will make his club debut in Tuesday's home against the Cleveland Cavaliers but the Pistons will be counting on the five-time All-Star to help spring a turnaround. Meanwhile, Cleveland is seeking its first three-game winning streak since mid-December and had dropped 10 of 13 games before beating the Indiana Pacers on Friday and posting a 121-104 win over the Pistons on Sunday in the front end of the home-and-home set. The Cavaliers won the past three meetings by an average of 25.7 points.

Pick: Cleveland -2


Result: Loss
 
Chicago  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/28/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Chicago has won both of first 2 meetings with Milwaukee by similar scores, upsetting the Bucks twice as a medium dog. Bull PFs Nikola Mirotic and his former sparring partner Bobby Portis have combined for 37 ppg and 18 rpg against Milwaukee this year. It would help the Bull cause if PG Kris Dunn can recover from his concussion, as he’s missed the last 3 games through Jan. 25. Dunn scored 18.5 ppg and shot 55% vs. the Bucks this season, and Chicago HC Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t mind if Giannis Antetokounmpo rested his balky knee, as the “Greek Freak” scored 28.5 ppg on 63% shooting while pulling down 11.5 rpg in first two in series.

Pick: Chicago +3


Result: Loss
 
Houston  Phoenix 

Event Date: 01/28/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston has toyed with Phoenix the last few seasons, winning 6 straight and 13 of the last 15, with an 11-4 spread mark. The Rockets are rested and have a healthy back court again, and every win is crucial if they are to catch defending champ Golden State. Houston was just 2 games behind the Warriors prior to Thursday’s action, and the pace at which Phoenix plays is just what the doctor ordered for the Rockets to succeed.

Pick: Houston -13.5


Result: Loss
 
San Antonio  Sacramento 

Event Date: 01/28/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Friday marked the opener of a five-game home stand for San Antonio, which still owns an NBA-best 20-4 mark at home. The Kings are just 8-19 on the road but two of those wins came in the last two games, making the team 2-2 on a six-game trip that ends in New Orleans on Tuesday. Sacramento is giving longer looks to its younger players and was led by the likes of Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox while closing Thursday's 89-88 win at Miami on a 17-4 run.

Pick: San Antonio -11


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 01/27/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minnesota G Jimmy Butler has missed time nursing a knee injury, as he sat out three straight and was iffy for Golden State Thursday. Brooklyn was 11-2-1 vs. the number prior to visiting Milwaukee last night, and playing the 2nd of back-to-back games has been a profitable situation for the Nets this season, as Kenny Atkinson’s team has covered 6 of 9 when unrested. The Timberwolves have been a poor home favorite the last few seasons (26-37-1 L3Ys), and Brooklyn is a snazzy 24-11-1 vs. the points as a dog this season. The Nets out-rebounded and outshot Minnesota in 98-97 Brooklyn win on Jan. 3, overcoming not only Butler’s 30 points., but 19 turnovers of their own.

Pick: Brooklyn +10.5


Result: Loss
Miami  Charlotte 

Event Date: 01/27/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Terrible spot for the Hornets here as they're coming off a 121-110 triumph against the Hawks Friday night. Charlotte is 1-4 ATS in its last five games playing on no rest and 2-8-1 ATS in its last 11 games following a straight up win (4-10-1 ATS its last 15 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points).

Pick: Miami -4


Result: Tie
 
Detroit  Utah 

Event Date: 01/24/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Jazz still minus Rudy Gobert and losing contact with the edge of the West playoff picture (Utah was five games out of 8th place as of Jan. 18). This stretch vs. middling opposition might be Utah’s last chance to climb into the playoff picture, and if they’re hanging on fringe of race into February, could pull the trigger on a deal (Niko Mirotic from Bulls is one reported target). Detroit, however, was actually in an East playoff position at mid January, and only four teams have a bigger home-road NetRtg differential than the Pistons, who have been 8.8 points per 100 possessions better at home than on the road. Good news for Detroit, then, that it’s currently in a stretch of 13 of 15 at friendly Little Caesars Arena, where Pistons have beaten Spurs and Rockets in recent weeks.

Pick: Detroit -2


Result: Loss
 
Atlanta  Toronto 

Event Date: 01/24/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Toronto Raptors are likely looking forward to a long stretch loaded with home games, but they first must get past an improving Atlanta Hawks team on the road today night. The Raptors, who are 17-3 at home, will play 10 of 13 in Air Canada Centre beginning with Friday's matchup against Utah, and they hope to head to Toronto on a good note. Their two-game road trip began with a 115-109 loss at Minnesota on Saturday, the squad's fourth loss in seven contests following a 17-3 run. Toronto won its first two against Atlanta by an average of 23.5 points, but the Hawks are on their best run of the season with four victories in six games, the latest a 104-90 triumph over the Jazz on Monday. Dennis Schroder had 20 points as Atlanta improved to 3-2 on its current six-game home stand.

Pick: Atlanta +6


Result: Loss
 
Atlanta  Utah 

Event Date: 01/22/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Utah Jazz have struggled to score points all season, but enter the start of a three-game road trip Monday at the Atlanta Hawks following one of their best offensive performances. Rookie Donovan Mitchell continued his emergence with 23 points in Saturday’s 125-113 victory over the Clippers, helping the Jazz set season highs in points in a quarter (39) and a half (76) despite missing guard Rodney Hood due to a leg injury. The Jazz are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points and 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings versus Atlanta.

Pick: Utah -2.5


Result: Loss
 
New Orleans  Chicago 

Event Date: 01/22/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both finished with over 20 points against Memphis but they were able to let Holiday be the go-to guy for much of the night and the star tandem finished with a combined 26 shots - nearly 10 below their norm. Davis had 27 points and 16 rebounds and Cousins recorded 25 and 11 in a win at Chicago on Nov. 4.

Pick: New Orleans -6


Result: Loss
 
Dallas  Washington 

Event Date: 01/22/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Dallas owning Washington lately vs. Wiz the way the Cowboys have been beating the Redskins the past couple of years. Mavs won their third straight in series (all as a dog!) when rolling comfortably by 14 at Cap One Arena on Nov. 7, a night in which Scott Brooks’ bunch was at full strength with John Wall and Bradley Beal each scoring 23, but unable to keep pace with Dallas and Harrison Barnes, who scored 31. Mavs continue to offer great spread value, on an 18-8 spread run into Jan. 20 vs. Blazers, while erratic Wiz were working on a 7-game spread skid into last Friday’s game at Detroit. Washington notorious for playing to level of opposition...and sometimes it bites Wiz.

Pick: Dallas +2


Result: Won
 
Denver  Portland 

Event Date: 01/22/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Denver will be especially motivated to atone for a 108-100 setback to lowly Phoenix in its latest action. Jamal Murray had 30 points, including going five of eight from range in the loss to the Suns. Even though the Blazer have a three game win streak that three-game win streak includes victories over light weights Phoenix, Indiana and Dallas. Note that over its last nine games Portland has won three straight, lost three straight and then won three straight again. Additionally the Blazers are just 3-4 ATS already this year after playing three consecutive home games, while the Nuggets are 4-3 ATS this season off an upset loss as a favorite and 6-4 ATS vs. the division.

Pick: Denver -3


Result: Tie
 
Boston  Orlando 

Event Date: 01/21/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics hit a bit of a snag recently with losses in back-to-back home games and need a win over the visiting Orlando Magic today to avoid being swept on the three-game home stand. The Magic are sitting at the bottom of the East and are losers of eight of nine after a comeback effort fell just short at Cleveland on Thursday. Boston coach Brad Stevens called out his team's effort on the offensive end after Thursday's 89-80 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but guard Marcus Smart would like to see the team put in a better effort on both sides of the court. The Magic don't have an offensive big man in the middle with Nikola Vucevic (broken hand) out but still managed to knock off Minnesota on Tuesday and battle all the way back from a 20-point halftime deficit in Thursday's 104-103 loss to the Cavaliers. Boston took the first two meetings this season by an average of 15.5 points.

Pick: Boston -10.5


Result: Loss
 
Detroit  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 01/21/2018
Event Time: 4 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn snapped a three-game skid with a 101-95 triumph over Miami its last time out. The Nets are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win, 4-0 ATS in their last four road games overall and 13-6 ATS in their last 19 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. They'll be seeking revenge for a 114-80 loss to the Pistons home in Brooklyn on Jan 10. and are a solid 19-11 ATS in revenge spots this season. The Pistons are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400 and once again asked to cover too many points here IMO, particularly the way they've played of late.

Pick: Brooklyn +6


Result: Won
 
Houston  Golden State 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Although Houston dodged a bullet in getting a virtual slap on the wrist for the fracas in Los Angeles against the Clippers, but losing Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green will handicap the Rockets nonetheless. Those two have contributed 27.3 ppg and 8.4 rpg in the past 10 games, and it’s usually no fun playing the Warriors shorthanded. Golden State is 21-3 SU on the road, including a 124-114 victory at the Toyota Center Jan. 4, which was the last meeting with the Rockets. The Warriors have won and covered 9 of last 11 in Houston!

Pick: Golden State -3


Result: Loss
 
Utah  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Los Angeles has dominated the series in Utah, winning 11 of the last 13 visits to the Vivint Smart Arena. The Clippers have won 6 in a row SU, covered their last 5 and have had two days off. Utah hosted New York last night, and the Jazz have been a tough cookie in this scheduling position, covering 15 of the last 22 at home when unrested. Clippers shot 50% against Utah this season, but LA G Austin Rivers (21 ppg, 55%) and Patrick Beverley (19 ppg, 50%) are out, forcing Lou Williams into the starting lineup. Williams has scored just 14.5 ppg and shot only 37.5% against the Jazz.

Pick: Utah -1.5


Result: Won
 
Charlotte  Miami 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Charlotte has won seven of its last 11 games after enduring a 3-12 stretch that included a 104-98 loss to Miami at home Dec. 15. That was part of a 14-4 surge for the Heat, who have since stumbled with two losses in three games to begin their five-game road trip. They built a 10-point halftime lead before running out of steam in Friday's 101-95 loss at Brooklyn on Friday.

Pick: Charlotte -5


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The 76ers are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 vs. NBA Central. While the Bucks are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Philadelphia and 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. In addition the road team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.

Pick: Milwaukee +7


Result: Loss
 
New Orleans  Memphis 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The New Orleans Pelicans have two All-Star starters in their front court but are just two games above .500 entering today's home contest against the Memphis Grizzlies. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are hoping to get their team in position to make a strong playoff push with the season past the midway point. Memphis is showing signs of life with three consecutive wins - its first such streak since a 3-0 start to the season - and Friday's 106-88 victory over Sacramento matched its largest winning margin (18) of the season, which also occurred against the Kings

Pick: Memphis +9


Result: Won
 
Cleveland  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 01/20/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland backers probably no longer have money to play with after the Cavs have covered just 2 of 17 games since Dec. 10. Cleveland is just 3-8 straight-up in its last 11 games and has been outscored 112-104 ppg in that downturn. The Cavs clearly need the help they thought they’d receive from Isaiah Thomas, but he’s shooting just 31% (18% from 3-point range) in his last 4 games after some “fool’s gold” performances when he first returned from the hip injury that sidelined him until earlier this month. OKC has been playing much better, as Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have combined to shoot 47% and score 63 ppg in January.

Pick: Oklahoma City +3


Result: Won
 
Denver  Phoenix 

Event Date: 01/19/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Denver has toyed with Phoenix lately, with the Nuggets winning and covering 7 straight, including a 134-111 decision earlier this season at the Pepsi Center when Denver G Gary Harris scored 36 pts. on Jan. 3. The Nuggets are coming off a competitive but very disappointing loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers, a result that dropped Denver just off the pace in a five-team game of musical chairs for the 5th-8th seeds in the West. Phoenix, meanwhile, has covered just 2 of its last 8 and Jay Triano’s squad seems content to make sure Sun G Devin Booker (27 ppg L10) and F TJ Warren (23 ppg L10; iffy with a back injury) get their points.

Pick: Denver -9


Result: Loss
 
Toronto  San Antonio 

Event Date: 01/19/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

San Antonio has won 5 straight against Toronto, but Spurs’ road record (11-14 SU, 9-15-1 vs. the points) is far from impressive this season. Despite stubbing their toe a few times with recent losses to Golden State and Miami, the Raptors own the second-best home record in the league, and are playing at a much higher level than when these two met back on Oct. 23. Raptor G Kyle Lowry got off to a very slow start this season, and C Jonas Valanciunas was injured and didn’t play in first go-round. Looks like the Spurs will be without F Kawhi Leonard for a while, as his thigh injury remains a problem. That’s not good for the Spurs.

Pick: Toronto -5.5


Result: Loss
 
Detroit  Washington 

Event Date: 01/19/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Washington has been point spread poison the last few weeks, as the Wizards have dropped 7 straight against the number. The Wizards’ defense has been missing in action in the downturn, yielding 112 ppg. Washington won the first two meetings with Detroit this season, once without star PG John Wall, but both of those results came at Capital One Arena. Now the series shifts to Detroit’s new Little Caesar’s Arena, where the Pistons have been surging in the last several weeks. Detroit is 5-1 SU and has covered 3 of its last 4 at home, including wins against Western reps San Antonio and Houston.

Pick: Detroit +1


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 01/18/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Sixers blew a 22-point first-half lead to the Celtics in London, with Boston eventually winning, 114-103 (that's a 33-point turnaround). Boston's victory gave the Celtics 13 wins in their last 14 games against the Sixers, including seven in a row at TD Garden. This contest marks just Boston's third game in the last 12 days, so the Celtics are also very fresh. Lay the points!

Pick: Boston -4.5


Result: Loss
 
Cleveland  Orlando 

Event Date: 01/18/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Orlando is just 1-6 ATS this year off an upset win as an underdog and only 3-5 ATS in trying to revenge a home loss against an opponent, while Cleveland is 2-1 ATS in its last three after four or more consecutive SU losses. The Magic are just 5-19 on the road this year. Despite their recent struggles the Cavs are still 15-5 at home.

Pick: Cleveland -10


Result: Loss
 
Chicago  Miami 

Event Date: 01/15/2018
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Miami has already taken a pair of similar looking scorelines (97-91 & 100-93) vs. Chicago, though Heat wasn’t able to cover either. Both of those meetings were pre-December and when Bulls were struggling badly, and though Chicago slowed down around Christmas-time, it did recover for a win at MSG vs. the Knicks on Jan. 10. Still, without worrying about a bigger price, might back Miami, which began to surge at about this same time a year ago. Offense has been a struggle most of the season for the Heat, but they’ve scored 114 points per 100 possessions (with six guys averaging double-figures) while winning six in a row SU thru Jan. 11 to climb all of the way into fourth place in the East, with several of Erik Spoelstra’s charges (Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic, and Kelly Olynyk) all coming up big lately.

Pick: Miami +1.5


Result: Loss
 
Detroit  Charlotte 

Event Date: 01/15/2018
Event Time: 12 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Detroit has been on a bit of an updraft, and the Pistons have been a percentage play as home chalk the last few seasons (43-29-1 in role). Charlotte might get a psychological lift from potential return of HC Steve Clifford from personal leave, as he has been cleared to start coaching again sometime this week, and Dwight Howard gives the Hornets a foil to help contain Detroit pivot Andre Drummond. Howard out rebounded Drummond 15- 13 in first meeting, but the Pistons made 9 fewer turnovers than the Hornets, while holding Charlotte to 39.7% shooting. Yield to Charlotte’s poor road mark (5-13 SU, 4-9-1 as road dog)

Pick: Detroit -3


Result: Loss
 
Miami  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/14/2018
Event Time: 1 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Miami took 3 of 4 against Milwaukee last season, as defensive intimidator C Hassan Whiteside grabbed 14.3 rpg and blocked 2.3 shots per game. Still, the Heat’s leading scorer against the Bucks was G Dion Waiters LY (23 ppg), and he didn’t make the recent Miami road trip to Toronto and Indiana due to an ankle issue, while PF Justise Winslow has been out for weeks (also an ankle injury). Perhaps MMA-trained PF James Johnson can intimidate Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it’s more likely the “Greek Freak” uses style and speed to win the battle. Miami is 5-13-2 vs. the points at American Airlines Arena this season. 

Pick: Milwaukee +2


Result: Loss
 
Washington  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 01/13/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Both teams played last night, and while the Nets are on a 9-5 spread run when unrested, Washington is just 6-13 vs. the number at the Capital One Arena in 2nd of back-to-back games. The Wizards have been underachieving since the first week of December, covering just 5 of 16 games from Dec. 9 through Jan. 11. First two series meetings went Brooklyn’s way this year, with the Nets taking a pair of home decisions on Dec. 12th and 22nd with 8 players averaging double figures against the Wizards, led by F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (18.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 50%) and 2nd-year pro G Caris LeVert (16.5 ppg, 65% FGs). No guarantee Washington G John Wall and Bradley Beal can regain form that fueled string of 7 straight series victories heading into this season.

Pick: Brooklyn +10


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Golden State 

Event Date: 01/13/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto pushed Golden State to the limit in first meeting, held back on Oct. 25, when Steph Curry and Kevin Durant had to nail a couple of late shots to hold off the Raptors. Now the scene shifts to the Air Canada Centre, where the Raptors had their 14-game home winning streak snapped the other night against Miami. Golden State is coming off a game last night in Milwaukee, and, with Curry’s ankle potentially still a bit tender, motivated Toronto should finally step out from under 10-year shadow that’s seen the Raptors lose 15 of the last 17 against the Warriors.

Pick: Toronto +4.5


Result: Won
 
San Antonio  Denver 

Event Date: 01/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Denver is coming off a game last night at home against Memphis, and the Nuggets have had little luck against San Antonio over the last 4-5 years. The Spurs have won 13 of the last 14 covering double-digit spreads in the last 3 meetings at the AT&T Center. The Nuggets have had some luck in 2nd night of back-to-back games on the road the last few years (12-7 vs. spread), but Denver is in a point spread trough while San Antonio had covered 9 of 12 prior to visiting the Lakers Thursday. Spurs are 14-4 as home chalk this season.

Pick: San Antonio -7


Result: Won
 
Chicago  Detroit 

Event Date: 01/13/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

It appears that “Cinderella” Chicago had its carriage turn back into a pumpkin when the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve, as the Bulls have lost 5 of 7 SU, including 3 straight at the United Center, since Dec. 31. Always-under-pressure Detroit HC Stan Van Gundy has kept the wolves at bay, as the Pistons came off a 7-game mid-December losing streak to win 6 of last 11 and maintain playoff position as Philly and New York faded. Piston leading scorer F Tobias Harris is pumping in 21.4 ppg and shooting 51% this month, while C Andre Drummond returned after sitting out 2 of 3 to start the month and grabbed 34 rebounds combined at New Orleans and Brooklyn. Chicago has allowed 122 ppg in January, and hasn’t held a team below 111 since Christmas.

Pick: Chicago -1


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 01/10/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

This has been maybe the most exciting match up of the season to date in NBA, with three meetings decided all by 4 or fewer, and each of those also “over” in the process. T-wolves have also covered all three of those clashes. Moving forward, we’ll see how Minnesota adapts without injured PG Jeff Teague. The issue isn’t replacing Teague with Tyus Jones in the starting lineup, but rather the loss of one of the few players that has Tom Thibodeau’s trust. The Jones-at-point-guard starting lineup was a plus-48 in its 44 minutes over two games without Teague last week, but the Wolves were outscored by 37 points in 52 minutes with at least one reserve on the floor, with their bench being primarily responsible for a recent loss in Milwaukee. Their depth will continue to be tested as they play a league-high 17 games in January, but with Jimmy Butler carrying a bigger load, T-wolves like their chances.

Pick: Over 212.5


Result: Loss
 
Golden State  Denver 

Event Date: 01/08/2018
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Warriors get an opportunity to avenge one of their most stunning defeats in recent years today. Golden State had won an NBA-best 11 straight games when the Nuggets came to town on Dec. 23 and clobbered them 96-81. It not only was the Warriors' most lopsided home loss of the season, but also the second-largest margin of defeat in a home game in Steve Kerr's four years as head coach. Also, the 81-point total was the Warriors' lowest at home in the Kerr era. Don't worry about the number in this one!

Pick: Golden State -10.5


Result: Loss
 
Indiana  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/08/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Milwaukee won first meeting in series this season, taking a 122-101 decision on Wednesday at home. The “Greek Freak” had 31 points. and 10 rebounds, 5 assists, a couple of blocks (you know...the usual) to take over the game, and Buck G Khris Middleton broke out of a mini-slump with 27 points. on 9 of 14 shooting to chase the Pacers out of the building. Indy G Victor Oladipo didn’t play in that one, but he was targeting a return from injury Saturday against Milwaukee. Indy C Domantas Sabonis had a career-high 24 points. in first meeting, playing 33 mins. off the bench, and feel Indy might be more intense on defense in rematch after allowing 59% Wednesday.

Pick: Indiana -1.5


Result: Won
 
Brooklyn  Toronto 

Event Date: 01/08/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto has won 9 straight against Brooklyn, compiling a 7-2 spread mark in that run (4-0 at the Barclays Center). Brooklyn has been covering some games lately (4 straight prior to facing Boston Saturday), but the red-hot Raptors were on a 15-3 SU run and had covered 3 of last 4 as road chalk prior to visiting Milwaukee Friday. With G DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry playing at the top of their game, and Serge “I-block-a” is an intimidator in the paint, while C Jonas Valanciunas can do it at both ends. With Miami up tomorrow, Cleveland and Golden State after that, the Raptors will do a workmanlike job on the out manned Nets

Pick: Toronto -7


Result: Loss
 
Portland  San Antonio 

Event Date: 01/07/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Blazers fell just short when they hosted the Spurs earlier, losing by two. They are 4-1-1 ATS the last six times that they attempted to avenge a home loss. During that stretch, Portland is also 5-0 SU and 3-0-2 ATS, after allowing 90 or fewer points. Even with the earlier win here, the Spurs are still only 7-12-1 ATS on the road.

Pick: Portland -1


Result: Tie
 
Minnesota  New Orleans 

Event Date: 01/06/2018
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minnesota took first two meetings in this series this year, winning twice at New Orleans. The Timber Wolf G Jimmy Butler and F Andrew Wiggins combined for 44 ppg and Minnesota shot 54%. New Orleans had won 10 of the previous 12 before those meetings, and the Pelican “big three” of C DeMarcus Cousins, PF Anthony Davis and PG Jrue Holiday acquitted themselves well, combining for 67 ppg and shooting 49% as a group. Minnesota is just a 33% play as a home favorite this season, so favor Pelicans to fight back.

Pick: New Orleans +1.5


Result: Loss
 
Washington  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/06/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Washington has won and covered 3 straight vs. Milwaukee and is 9-4 against the number L13 in the series. Both are coming off games last night, the Wiz in Memphis while the Bucks hosted Toronto. Wizards G Bradley Beal led the way with 23 pts. in Washington’s 99-88 victory at Milwaukee in first meeting of the season, and Markieff Morris (+22 differential) did a nice job defending Giannis Antetokounmpo (8 of 21 shooting, “just” 8 rebs.) and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 18 pts. off the bench (entire Buck bench scored 16).

Pick: Washington -4


Result: Loss
 
Chicago  Portland 

Event Date: 01/01/2018
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

While some expected Chicago to disappear again after lopsided loss at Boston on Dec. 23, Bulls bounced back to beat the Bucks and Knicks to extend their spread uptick to 11-1 last 12 into last Friday’s game vs. Pacers. Return of Niko Mirotic and his ability to co-exist peacefully with Bobby Portis has keyed ascent that’s also reflected in various stats, as Chicago was league’s most improved team (both offensively and defensively) in December, 15.2 points per 100 possessions better for the month (plus.1.6) than they were through November 30 (minus-13.6). Meanwhile Portland continues in an uneven pattern, with Damian Lillard’s recent hamstring woes the last thing Blazers need right now.

Pick: Chicago +1


Result: Loss
 
Toronto  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 01/01/2018
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Toronto Raptors ran into a little speed bump on the road, but they've been unbeatable at home of late. The Raptors will go for their 12th consecutive home win when they ring in the New Year by hosting the Milwaukee Bucks today. Toronto won 12 of 13 before stumbling on the road last week with losses at Dallas and Oklahoma City, but the team had no such trouble in its return home as it blew past the Atlanta Hawks 111-98 on Friday.

Pick: Toronto -6


Result: Loss
 
Los Angeles  Charlotte 

Event Date: 12/31/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

First meeting went Charlotte’s way, as the Hornets dealt the Clippers loss No. 8 of a 9-game streak on Nov. 18. HC Doc Rivers will have a talk with his son about that game, as Clip G Austin Rivers had as many turnovers as hoops or assists in a 3-of-14 shooting night. Rivers has been on a good run of late, scoring 23 ppg and shooting 48% in his last five games through Dec. 28. It appears Blake Griffin will be back this weekend for the Clippers, and must note LA was forced to start Sindarius Thornwell at guard that night due to back court injuries, allowing Charlotte’s Kemba Walker to score a game-high 26 points. The Clippers are healthier now and are 6-3 SU with Milos Teodosic at PG.

Pick: Los Angeles -2.5


Result: Won
 
Washington  Chicago 

Event Date: 12/31/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Chicago’s recent winning ways have included road success, as the Bulls have covered six of their last seven away from home. Chicago covered both trips to Washington last season, and Bulls are getting stat sheet-stuffing contributions from G Kris Dunn, who’s scored 15 ppg with 4.4 rpg, 7.8 apg and 2 spg in December. Washington is just 5-10 as Capital One Arena chalk this season, and Chicago is rebounding well with return of Mirotic (out rebounded by 3 per game in November but out rebounded foes by 2 per game in L10).

Pick: Chicago +7.5


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  New York 

Event Date: 12/30/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New Orleans playing unusual set of home games on back-to-back nights, while rested New York is coming off Thursday’s visit to San Antonio. The Pels covered three of their first four this season when unrested, and must note the home team is 23-10 vs. the points in New York Knick games this season. The Pelicans took care of the Knicks twice last season, with PF Anthony Davis scoring 31.5 ppg and taking 18 rpg. New Orleans didn’t have the services of C Boogie Cousins for either game last season and still won and covered both against the Knicks, with NY leader Kristaps Porzingis held to 15 ppg and 33% by Davis. Three of the top four Knick scorers in the series from last season are no longer with the team. Pels 12-2 L14 “over” prior to facing Dallas last night (9-1 L10 at Smoothie King Center).

Pick: Over 217


Result: Loss
 
Miami  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 12/29/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

With return of C Hassan Whiteside from a knee injury against Orlando, Miami regained a key piece. However, Heat G Dion Waiters (14.3 ppg) is down 2-3 weeks with a sprained ankle, and Miami will likely be without starting F Justise Winslow (only minimal practice work Thursday) and tough guy F James Johnson (iffy with an ankle). However, series tech trend favors Miami, which is 15-2 SU and has covered 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Nets. Brooklyn has dropped 6 of its last 8 against the spread, and has been sloppy in December, committing 15 turnovers per game. Nets on 12-4 “under” run; Heat “under” 20-8 L28.

Pick: Under 206


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 12/27/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The recent trend to note with New Orleans is its string of eleven straight “over” results thru Dec. 21. What gives? Pels rank 27th defensively in the fourth quarter and 30th defensively over the last three weeks. Even over that 11-game stretch, they’ve allowed a reasonable 105.7 points per 100 possessions with both Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis in the game, but they’ve been pretty dreadful defensively with one or both off the floor. Nets trending the other way lately (“under” 8-1 last nine thru Dec. 21), but Brooklyn defensive efficiency numbers have dropped off into mid-December, so another high-scoring New Orleans game could be in the offing.

Pick: Over 221


Result: Won
 
Dallas  Toronto 

Event Date: 12/26/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Toronto earned a win in 12 of its last 13 games and just swept a home-and-home set from an up-and-coming East team that was awarded a Christmas showcase with a pair of wins over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors are averaging 111.3 points and lead the East in point differential (plus-8.9) as they prepare to face a Dallas squad that owns the worst record in the West. The Mavericks are making a one-game stop at home before three straight on the road and just finished losing at a pair of East teams, including a 112-107 setback on Saturday at the only team in the NBA with a worse record -- the Atlanta Hawks.

Pick: Toronto -5.5


Result: Loss
 
Oklahoma City  Houston 

Event Date: 12/25/2017
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston’s long win streak had to end sometime and the Lakers finally caught the Rockets flat last Wednesday. But James Harden & Co. had won 14 in a row SU prior (covering nine of those) and have been a lot better bargain than OKC, which has put forth the occasional big effort but still entered last Friday’s game vs. Atlanta having covered just 4 of its last 18 games. Chris Paul could miss this one for Houston with a groin strain, and while Rockets have only lost once with Paul available, they were winning a lot before he returned to active duty in mid-November, too. Curiously, Thunder have seemed to rise to occasion vs. the better teams this season, but have not been executing at the same level as Houston, which also took out OKC on playoffs last spring.

Pick: Houston -2.5


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Washington 

Event Date: 12/25/2017
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The home team has won 11 straight in this series, and Boston is 9-0 SU and against the point spread the last 9 hosting the Wizards. The Celtics haven’t been covering a lot of numbers lately, but Washington had dropped 5 of 6 against he spread prior to visiting Brooklyn on Friday. Wiz G Bradley Beal is nursing a gimpy ankle, while Boston might have PF Marcus Morris back in action after he sat out 7 games (thru Dec. 21) with a sore knee. Celtics tied for league lead in defensive efficiency, and Celtic PG Kyrie Irving shifted into high gear, scoring 27.5 ppg and shooting 51.3% in first 10 games in December. 

Pick: Boston -4.5


Result: Loss
 
New York  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 12/25/2017
Event Time: 12 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Christmas extravaganza begins! The Knicks and Sixers kick off the 12½-hour NBA holiday feast for hoops junkies, and have to look at the home team in this one. The host won all four encounters last year, and the New York is 13-5 vs. the points at Madison Square Garden (7-1 as a favorite). Knick F Kristaps Porzingis returned to action on Thursday, and should be good to go considering the Knicks have had two days off. Philly C Joel Embiid should be available, which is a plus for the Sixers, but Philly is just 2-10 against the points in its last 12 games through Dec. 20.

Pick: New York -2.5


Result: Loss
Milwaukee  Charlotte 

Event Date: 12/22/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Charlotte ace G Kemba Walker’s shooting woes are becoming a worry for Hornet stand-in HC Stephen Silas. Walker is shooting just 36% overall and 27% on threes this month. Interestingly, Charlotte is just 3-7 SU and against the points since HC Steve Clifford decided to step away from the team for health reasons. Milwaukee has won 8 of 10 at home SU and covered 3 of L4 at the Bradley Center, including beating Cleveland on Wednesday, while the Hornets have covered just 3 of 13 road games. Home team won and covered first 2 in series this season and Walker was held to 6-15 shooting first trip to Milwaukee.

Pick: :Milwaukee -5


Result: Tie
 
Cleveland  Chicago 

Event Date: 12/21/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Finally, after losing all four vs. Bulls last season, and failing to cover first meeting of this term at the “Q” on Oct, 24, Cavs finally let Chicago have it by 22 at United Center on Dec. 4 when shooting 52% from floor. But still a bit reluctant to lay heavy points with LeBron & Co. at home, where Cleveland was just 3-12 as chalk prior to hosting Lakers last Thursday. And Chicago has made a move in the past week with four SU wins and five covers in a row thru Dec. 14. Even as Cleveland was compiling its recent 13-game SU win streak, it was not always covering numbers (Cavs in fact only 2-5 vs. spread last seven thru Dec. 13).

Pick: Chicago +10.5


Result: Won
 
Washington  New Orleans 

Event Date: 12/19/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: @ Units

All of a sudden, New Orleans games have resembled indoor track meets, with Pels scoring 108 or more in last eight thru Dec. 14, and “overs” nine straight into Dec. 15 game vs. Nuggets. New Orleans had a 30-point scorer in each of its first five December games, with Rajon Rondo registering a 57/9 assist-turnover ratio, E’Twaun Moore and Dante Cunningham combining to shoot 26-for-41 from 3- point range, and their opponents shooting pretty well too. Now Anthony Davis has returned to the fold, so the points should continue to flow. Fortunately for Wiz, John Wall has been activated after recent knee injury, and if Wall is at full strength, this could turn into quite a fireworks show at Cap One Arena.

Pick: Over 219


Result: Won
 
Washington  Cleveland 

Event Date: 12/17/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will carry their phenomenal run into a road-heavy portion of the schedule when they visit the Washington Wizards today. James recorded his third triple-double in four games and the 60th of his career in a 109-100 win over Utah on Saturday, the Cavaliers' 11th straight home victory and 17th in 18 overall contests.

Pick: Cleveland +2.5


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 12/15/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn has been on a very positive spread run (13-4 last 17 overall; 9-2 in last 11 on the road). At the same time, Toronto has won 8 straight against Brooklyn (6-2 vs. the points), while the Raptors are coming home to Air Canada Centre after spending 10 days on the road. Meanwhile, the improving Nets are out rebounding and out shooting their opponents over the last 10 games. Brooklyn played New York last night, but Nets covered 3 of first 4 when unrested. Brooklyn HC Kenny Atkinson is getting the most out of his team, and Nets are playing much-improved defense on the road, cutting 5 ppg of last season’s allowance.

Pick: Brooklyn +12.5


Result: Loss
 
Washington  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 12/15/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Clippers held on by a thread to beat Washington 113-112 on Dec. 9 in Los Angeles, but the lineups will be shifted in the Wizards’ favor this time around. Washington G John Wall has returned from an extended absence, while the Clippers will likely be without G Austin Rivers (concussion) and F Danilo Gallinari (glute contusion). The Clips will especially miss Gallinari, who was the top LA starter that night, scoring 25 points. On the plus side, LA welcomed back PG Milos Teodosic recently, stabilizing the position in the wake of injuries to Patrick Beverley and Rivers. Wizards can make the revenge angle work, but Scott Brooks’ crew hasn’t gotten much separation at Capital One Arena this season, logging a 3-8 mark as home chalk. “Under” might be a better option, as the Wizards went that way in 6 of their last 7 and the Clips are without Gallinari.

Pick: Under 208


Result: Won
 
Indiana  Oklahoma City 

Event Date: 12/13/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

It was one of those handful of nights in the first two months of this season that everything went right for Oklahoma City when it rolled past Indiana 114-96 at the Peake back on Oct. 25. Curiously, the one piece of the Thunder puzzle that didn’t contribute much was Paul George (check status with calf), who scored only 10 vs. his former team, though ‘Melo and Russell Westbrook each scored 28 to more than offset a big 35-point effort from Indy’s ex-Thunder wing Victor Oladipo. Since then, however, Oklahoma City has proven unreliable and took a 1-8 spread mark its last nine into Dec. 7 game vs. Brooklyn in Mexico. Meanwhile, Pacers had won and covered 8 of last 11 into last Friday vs. Cavs, as Oladipo has continued to fire away (27 ppg and 59% FG shooting last week). Will George’s return to his old stomping ground light a fuse beneath underachieving Thunder?

Pick: Indiana -1.5


Result: Loss
 
Dallas  San Antonio 

Event Date: 12/12/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

With a light now at the end of the tunnel regarding Kawhi Leonard’s lingering quad injury , San Antonio might finally be back to at full strength. In the meantime, Dallas continues to offer resistance vs. Spurs, covering first two match ups this season after taking 3 of 4 vs. number a year ago. Rick Carlisle again making lemonade from the lemons on his Dallas roster, as Mavs have won SU in 4 and covered spread in 6 of last 7 thru Dec. 7. Even at advanced age, Dirk Nowitzki learning some new tricks (he’s turned into one of the best screeners in the league this season!), and like a year ago, Mavss showing signs of ripening after a rotten start. Recent S.A. covers at Memphis and Ok City only upped Spur road spread mark to 4-7 this season.

Pick: Dallas +6


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  Dallas 

Event Date: 12/10/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minnesota cruised to a pair of win-and cover efforts against Dallas earlier this season, leading by 24 points. in the 4th Q before barely holding on for the cover with a 112-99 decision laying 12½ in Minnesota. The Timberwolves overcame a 12-point halftime deficit in Dallas Nov. 17, outscoring the Mavs 68-32 in the second half to pull away. Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 23 ppg on 57% shooting, while F Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points per game and shot 55% against the Mavs.

Pick: Minnesota -8


Result: Loss
 
Detroit  Boston 

Event Date: 12/10/2017
Event Time: 4 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Both teams coming off tough games, as Boston was in San Antonio Friday and Detroit hosted Golden State. The Celtics own the best spread record in the league, although they’ve cooled to 4-4 vs. the number in the last few weeks. Detroit has been reliable at home this season, settling in nicely at the Pistons’ brand-new Little Caesars Arena. Detroit put one of the blemishes on the Celtic record two weeks ago in Boston when Detroit F Tobias Harris made 11 of 16 shots and led all scorers with 31, while C Andre Drummond had 26 points. & 22 rebounds the 118-108 upset win. With Boston starters Jaylen Brown (eye) and PF Marcus Morris (soreness) not 100%, gladly side with home team.

Pick: Detroit +2


Result: Loss
 
Brooklyn  Miami 

Event Date: 12/09/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn probably more acclimated to the altitude in Mexico City than Miami after playing here on Thursday and seeing the sights yesterday. However, the Heat are stepping down in class after being beaten by Golden State and San Antonio in last two games. Miami has won 12 of the last 13 against the Nets, covering 10 of the last 11, but altitude might slow Heat in 2nd half, and C Hassan Whiteside didn’t make this road trip. Brooklyn has been on a roll of late, covering 8 of its last 9 overall and 8 of L9 away from home prior to facing Oklahoma City here Thursday. Addition of C Jahlil Okafor can’t hurt the Nets.

Pick: Brooklyn +2


Result: Loss
 
Los Angeles  Washington 

Event Date: 12/09/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

After starting the season 4-0, a series of injuries pushed Los Angeles into a 4-15 nosedive. Washington took a serious injury of its own, losing PG John Wall for an indefinite period with a knee injury, but the Wizards have won 3 of last 5 (4-1 vs. the points) and G Tomas Satoransky has contributed double figures in his share of Wall’s minutes, and is shooting 57% in the last 5 games prior to visiting Phoenix (50% beyond the arc). Conversely, when the Clips lost PF Blake Griffin, the bottom fell out and they’ve lost all four (1-3 vs. the number) since. If Wizards can win in Portland and Minnesota in the last week, they can put a torpedo in the listing Clipper ship.

Pick: Washington -2.5


Result: Loss
 
Portland  Houston 

Event Date: 12/09/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston finished 12-1 in November, partially fueled by return to action of PG Chris Paul. The Rockets were 8-0 SU and 6-2 vs. the number when Paul had played prior to visiting Utah on Thursday. Blazers have been headed in a downward spiral since making a quick start, logging a 5-14-1 spread mark in its last 20 games. Rocket leader G James Harden and HC Mike D’Antoni want to “make hay while the sun shines” and extend its lead over Golden State while Steph Curry is sidelined.

Pick: Houston -9.5


Result: Loss
 
Milwaukee  Dallas 

Event Date: 12/08/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Dallas hung a 32-point beat down on Milwaukee at American Airlines Center in first meeting this season, marking the Mavs’ 9th series win in the last 10 meetings. Dallas is playing well of late, posting a 4-3 SU record and 6-1 spread mark in its last 7. The Mavs are out shooting foes from beyond the arc lately and have covered L4 visiting Eastern Conference foes. The Bucks appear overrated based on their 6-11 spread mark since Halloween, and don’t fancy laying points with Jason Kidd’s bunch on revenge alone.

Pick: Dallas +7.5


Result: Won
 
Detroit  Golden State 

Event Date: 12/08/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

After beating Golden State back on Oct. 29, Stan Van Gundy’s Detroit side is 2-2 SU and 3-1 vs. the points in last 4 vs. the Warriors after losing the previous 9 straight in the series. This time around the Pistons catch G.S. without PG Steph Curry (out several weeks with an ankle injury), and possibly without PF Draymond Green (iffy with a sore shoulder). Revenge would work a lot better if Golden State was healthy, and the Pistons have covered 59% of the time at home the last 2+ seasons.

Pick: Detroit +6


Result: Won
 
Charlotte  Chicago 

Event Date: 12/08/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Charlotte has covered 7 of first 8 as a home favorite, with G Kemba Walker scoring 24 ppg this season at the Spectrum Center. The Bulls are just 1-12 SU on the road this season and are only 2-6 vs. the points in their last 8 as a visitor, and potential return of PF Nikola Mirotic isn’t going to turn Chicago around.

Pick: Charlotte -9.5


Result: Loss
 
New Orleans  Denver 

Event Date: 12/06/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

A little payback should be on the plate for New Orleans after being victimized by one of the season’s most puzzling scorelines on Nov. 17 at Pepsi Center when Nuggets dropped a 146-114 bomb on the Pels. New Orleans stopped playing “D” in second half that night when Denver rolled up 82 points en route to 63% FG shooting! All starters in double figures for Nuggets led by Jamal Murray’s 31 points. But that was one of the last games Paul Millsap was active for Denver, and minus him the Nuggets have absorbed some beatings on the road, losing by 30 at Houston and 29 at Utah. The Nuggets were bottom ten-ranked in both offense and defense in the first four games that Millsap missed, so Pels couldn’t have picked a better time to seek their revenge.

Pick: New Orleans -4.5


Result: Won
 
Boston  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 11/30/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Boston win streak had grown to a Bird-McHale-like 16 in a row into last Wednesday vs. the Heat. Though this one still intrigues a bit because of Philly’s stirring. Remember, the Celtic win streak began way back on Oct. 20 at Wells Fargo Center, when Boston tied up both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (each held to only 11 points) in 102-92 win. But a bit more characteristic production from Embiid and/or Simmons could get Sixers (7-2 as dog through Nov. 26) closer in rematch. 

Pick: Philadelphia +9


Result: Loss
 
Memphis  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 11/26/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn had a chance in the fourth quarter in each of its last three games - losses to the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Trail Blazers - but could not make the necessary plays down the stretch. The bright spot for Memphis continues to be center Marc Gasol, who showed off his wide range of skills with a career-high 14 assists on Friday. However, the Nets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.

Pick: Memphis -5.5


Result: Loss
 
Chicago  Miami 

Event Date: 11/26/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Bulls are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southeast and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference. While the Heat are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game, 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 vs. Eastern Conference, and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Central. To top it off, the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.

Pick: Chicago +7


Result: Tie
 
Minnesota  Phoenix 

Event Date: 11/26/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minnesota will remember the Nov. 11 loss in Phoenix and be out for revenge. Timberwolf defenders mostly stood and watched as Phoenix G Devin Booker and F T.J. Warren burned Minnesota counterparts Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler repeatedly, scoring 35 points. each in a 118-110 upset. Sun defense the worst in the league, allowing 116 points per game. Expect Minnesota coach Tom Thiboudeau to give his men an earful about defense before this one...but how many is too many?

Pick: Phoenix +11.5


Result: Won
 
Charlotte  San Antonio 

Event Date: 11/25/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Charlotte’s bench was outscored 64-16 in the Spurs 108-101 win-and-cover in first meeting, with Hornet leader G Kemba Walker being held to just 4 of 12 shooting. Spur HC Gregg Popovich put the “hack-a-Howard” plan into the mix, sending the Hornet pivot to the line 20 times (he made 10). Charlotte, which visited Cleveland last night, has been historically terrible vs. the number in the 2nd night of back-to-backs but covered first two this season. Revenge-minded Hornets catch Spurs walking off turkey dinner, and have Nicolas Batum available this time around. Spurs 1-6 vs. number on road thru Nov. 21, and have failed to cover 3 of L4 trips to Charlotte. 

Pick: Charlotte +2


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Orlando 

Event Date: 11/25/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Must be a little price sensitive here as, while Philly is a tremendous spread team (12-4 vs. number through Nov. 20), Orlando has been a solid winner as a road dog in recent seasons. Sixers have been favored by 7 or more once this season (a cover hosting Atlanta), but they catch the Magic coming off a game last night. Philly is rested, which means C Joel Embiid will be in lineup, and he, PG Ben Simmons (21 ppg, 9 rpg & 7 apg in L5) and F Robert Covington are a formidable trio. And Embiid will enjoy chewing up Magic Euro pivot Nikola Vucevic.

Pick: Philadelphia -6


Result: Won
 
Golden State  New York 

Event Date: 11/24/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Streaky Golden State had dropped 4 straight vs. the number prior to the Warriors’ visit to OKC on Wednesday, and G.S. is only 3-7 vs. the number in its last 10 laying double-digits at Oracle Arena. Couldn’t blame the defending champs if they relaxed a little against the lowly Bulls, who won just 3 of first 15 SU and failed to cover 5 of L6 before stopping in Utah Wednesday. Still, no-name Chicago will have trouble trading baskets and tend to self destruct quickly. Latest example was blowing a 19-point 3rd Q lead at the Lakers Tuesday. Warriors will force pace and score 120-125.

Pick: Golden State -19


Result: Won
 
Cleveland  Charlotte 

Event Date: 11/24/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland’s LeBron James appears to have tired of his team being criticized, and the Cavs ripped off 5 straight wins before hosting Brooklyn Wednesday. LeBron has made 50% of his treys in the run, and C/PF Kevin Love appears in vintage form and has averaged 20 & 10. The Cavs have had little trouble with Charlotte lately, posting 11-1 SU and 9-2-1 spread marks in last 12 against the Hornets. Hornet C Dwight Howard is coming off his best game in a while (25 pts., 20 rebs. vs. Minnesota), but Cleveland’s current form and Cav history vs. Charlotte tip scales.

Pick: Cleveland -6


Result: Loss
 
Boston  Orlando 

Event Date: 11/24/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Boston has been unconscious, including beating Orlando at the Amway Center as part of a 16-game winning streak heading into Miami Wednesday. That’s all well and good, but the numbers will begin to be stretched out on the red-hot Celtics, who’ve only been a double digit favorite once this season. Boston is just 6-14 laying more than 8 points at home over the last 2+ seasons, and Orlando has a history of success as a big road dog. The Magic are outscoring opponents 110-109 away from home this season.

Pick: Orlando +8.5


Result: Loss
 
Minnesota  Miami 

Event Date: 11/24/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Minny had been livening up, winning 8 of L10 (7-2-1 vs. points) before losing to Detroit and at Charlotte before hosting Orlando Wednesday. Miami was 1-3 SU and vs. the number prior to playing Boston, due to dips in production from Gs Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. Waiters certainly had no shooting problem in first meeting, making 14 of 28 shots in an OT Minnesota win in Miami. The Heat were without C Hassan Whiteside that night, allowing T-wolf counterpart Karl-Anthony Towns have a good night (20 pts., 12 rebs.) as did PG Jeff Teague (23 pts., 11 assists and 6 steals. Favor Minnesota to break out even though Whiteside will be ready

Pick: Minnesota -4


Result: Loss
 
Indiana  Toronto 

Event Date: 11/24/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

First meeting in a series that saw the host win and cover all 3 last year. Indiana’s personnel has changed, but the Pacers have been sharp the last week, winning and covering 4 straight with F Bojan Bogdanovic shooting 59% in his last 3. Indy has been off since Monday, enjoying an extended Thanksgiving break, and the Raptors are on a streak of their own, beating beat Houston, NO, NY and Washington before visiting the Knicks in a quick rematch Wednesday. 

Pick: Indiana +1.5


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Chicago 

Event Date: 11/22/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Chicago has its own talented rookie in forward Lauri Markkanen but his early season heroics haven't prevented the club from getting off to a porous start. The Bulls are a putrid 1-7 on the road after opening a four-game excursion with a 113-105 loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Pick: Los Angeles -5.5


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  San Antonio 

Event Date: 11/22/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Even with Kawhi Leonard’s status not expected to change for a while, Spurs were recording some better offensive numbers prior to Nov. 15 loss at Minnesota, scoring 111 points per 100 possessions over the previous seven games, with passing and assist numbers also up. After running more isolation than Pop wanted in first few weeks, the Spurs got the ball moving again, averaging 313.8 passes per game (same as the Warriors in that stretch) in recent 6-game home stand. But Spurs now back on the road, where they’ve dropped five straight spread decisions. Meanwhile in New Orleans, the Boogie Cousins/Anthony Davis pairing continues to thrive — they are both averaging more than 26 points and 11 rebounds per game (which is a historic pace for teammates, if they can sustain it). and Rajon Rondo has returned to the lineup.

Pick: New Orleans -1


Result: Won
 
Houston  Denver 

Event Date: 11/22/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Houston beat Denver all four last season, though Rockets couldn’t cover the last two meetings. Now with Chris Paul back in the fold, Rockets finally at full strength, though more than a few NBA insiders were wondering how Paul and “The Beard” were going to co-exist with only one ball on the floor. We’ll see. We’ll also see what Nuggets are made of in this schedule stretch with 15 of 22 on the road. But Mike Malone getting some better work in recent games from his bench, in particular the mercurial Emmanuelle Mudiay, who scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting, added seven rebounds plus five assists in an encouraging recent win over the Thunder on Nov. 9

Pick: Denver +10


Result: Loss
 
Minnesota  Orlando 

Event Date: 11/22/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Orlando back on the road, which proved a dangerous adventure last season but not so bad yet in the new term, with Magic a respectable 4-5 SU first nine away. And Minnesota looks like it might be a slump-waiting-to-happen; T-wolves are 26th in the NBA defense, which is 29th if you remove garbage time, suggesting things could go south in a hurry. The most concerning thing, however, is that Minnesota's defense is 10.9 points per 100 possessions worse when Karl-Anthony Towns is on the court.

Pick: Orlando +7


Result: Won
 
New York  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 11/20/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Clippers have fallen into an abyss in November, losing and failing to cover six straight, and eight of nine, into last Friday at Cleveland. Injuries piling up for Doc Rivers, with Patrick Beverley missing recent action due to a bad knee, fragile F Danilo Galinari (strained glute) on the shelf since early November, and preseason Euro sensation G Milos Teodosic still sidelined with ankle issues. Minus Gallinari and Beverley, Blake Griffin’s shooting stats have deteriorated to the point he recently recorded his worst shooting accuracy (just 31%) over a three-game stretch in his entire career. And in recent six-game slump, LA had the worst defensive numbers in league. Knicks now good enough to take advantage with Kristaps Porzingis (28.9 ppg) continuing to deal and increasing contributions from Euro rookie G Frank Ntilikina

Pick: New York -1.5


Result: Won
 
Toronto  Washington 

Event Date: 11/19/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Washington won in Toronto back on Nov. 5, which was the Wizards’ 6th cover in the last 7 visits to the Air Canada Centre in this visitor-oriented series. Will look that way again, as the Wizards are 5-1 vs. the number on the road this season and had won and covered 4 straight prior to hosting Miami on Friday. In first visit, Washington G Bradley Beal dropped 38 points on the Raptors, making up for the absence of all-star John Wall. Another star was Washington C Marcin Gortat (game-high 12 rebs.), who out dueled Euro counterpart Jonas Valanciunas, who was in foul trouble.

Pick: Washington +5


Result: Loss
 
Miami  Indiana 

Event Date: 11/19/2017
Event Time: 5 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

It looked like Miami was cruising to a cover back on Oct. 21, when the Heat opened up 21-point lead with just 16½ minutes to play, but the Pacers wouldn’t go away, closing the lead down to just 2 with 12 seconds left. Miami shot 51.7% led by Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters combined for 42 points and drained 17 of 29 FGs. Indiana G Victor Oladipo had 28 in that encounter, and Oladipo has been the best player for the Pacers all season, scoring 23 points per game and shooting a respectable 47.4%. Indy C Myles Turner was out of action in that game, but he’s returned in the last 10 days and is contributing 13 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game since his return. And Miami hasn’t covered in 7 tries at American Airlines Arena this season.

Pick: Indiana +5.5


Result: Won
 
Orlando  Utah 

Event Date: 11/18/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Orlando cooled off in losing final 3 of its 4- game Western road swing, but Magic are back at home, have had two days off and catch a cold Utah club coming off a visit to Brooklyn last night. Magic fans (and HC Frank Vogel) must be happy to see their team with a winning record after collecting an average of just 26 wins per season over the last 5 years. Meanwhile, Utah has some key injuries that potentially might hurt them badly. Defensive “plastic man” C Rudy Gobert is out, and point G Ricky Rubio is iffy with an Achilles problem (remember, backup PG Dante Exum is out for the year).

Pick: Orlando -6.5


Result: Loss
 
Atlanta  Boston 

Event Date: 11/18/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Atlanta has been much more competitive the last few weeks, covering 5 of last 6, as 7 players have averaged double-digit scoring and the team shot 49.4% in the last 5. Boston was put to the test in its Nov. 6 visit to Philips Arena, the two teams’ initial meeting this year. The Hawks dropped a 110-107 decision, but got the cover, with Atlanta holding a lead with under 2:00 remaining.

Pick: Atlanta +7


Result: Loss
 
Miami  Washington 

Event Date: 11/15/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Miami had a chance to pull off a winning road trip but dropped a 112-103 decision at Detroit on Sunday to settle for a 3-3 excursion. The Wizards are continuing to get better as well and picked up their third straight win with a 110-92 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday. Washington will play 11 of its next 14 games on the road.

Pick: Washington +1.5

 


Result: Won
 
Minnesota  San Antonio 

Event Date: 11/15/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Rematch of SA’s 107-99 opening night win and cover when Spurs were fueled by a LaMarcus Aldridge double double (25 &10). But still waiting for Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker to get back onto the court. Minny also 7-2 SU thru Nov. 9 in games when Jimmy Butler has made it on the floor, which he’ll have to be if T-wolves are to break recent slump vs. Spurs, who have won all five meetings since LY.

Pick: San Antonio +5


Result: Loss
 
Milwaukee  Detroit 

Event Date: 11/15/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Drummond scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter and Harris knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points as the Detroit beat the Bucks 105-96 snapping a three-game losing streak to their divisional rivals. But the Bucks are a significantly different team than they were Nov. 3. The day after that meeting, the Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe in a trade with Phoenix and have won three in a row since the veteran guard joined the team. Bledsoe is averaging 13 points despite shooting just 37.8 percent from the floor. Those numbers are pretty good when you consider that Bledsoe had gone two weeks without playing after having a falling out with the Suns.

Pick: Milwaukee -4


Result: Tie
 
New Orleans  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 11/11/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The slumping Clippers played last night in OKC, and they were just 1-5 vs. the number prior to that game. Note HC Doc Rivers’ crew is just 2-9 vs. the points in last 11 when un rested. New Orleans is rested after visit to Toronto Thursday, and the Pelican front line continues to produce big numbers, with C Boogie Cousins and PF Anthony Davis combining for more than 57 points per game and 26 rebound per game. Davis had made 65% of his shots in the 3 games prior to facing the Raptors, and L.A. is 4-14 vs. the points last 18 trips to New Orleans.

Pick: New Orleans -6


Result: Won
 
Portland  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 11/10/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Portland is just 1-5 as Moda Center favorite this season, and Brooklyn covered in Phoenix and Denver on back-to-back nights in last 2 games on this road trip. Head coach Kenny Atkinson is getting increased production from backup C Tyler Zeller of late, as he’s scored 14 points per game on 71% shooting in past 3 games, and G D’Angelo Russell has scored 21 points per game on 46% shooting in his last 4. Portland leader Damian Lillard has been missing his threes (just 19% last 3 games), while opponents shot 49% in last 3.

Pick: Brooklyn +9


Result: Won
 
Oklahoma City  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 11/10/2017
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Thunder have lost 4 straight after visiting Denver last night. Thunder’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony hasn’t achieved the desired affect, as ‘Melo appears to have lost a step and is shooting just 27% in the losing streak (which hasn’t dissuaded him from jacking up 15 shots a game in the run!). LA’s F Gallinari missed Spurs game after injuring his glut vs. the Heat, and he could be out again, but Clip F Blake Griffin’s numbers are better on the road than at home, and Oklahoma City could be gassed after playing in mile-high Denver last night.

Pick: Los Angeles +6.5


Result: Loss
 
Orlando  Boston 

Event Date: 11/05/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Orlando has already claimed some impressive scalps this season, including Cleveland and San Antonio in a hot start that saw the Magic win 6 of its first 8 SU prior to hosting Chicago Friday. Now the foe is the sizzling Boston Celtics, who’d won and covered 6 straight prior to visiting Oklahoma City two nights ago. Celtics won all 4 meetings with the Magic last season, covering 3 behind the play of then-guard tandem Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley. Those two are gone, as are Jae Crowder and C Kelly Olynyk. Those players were 3 of the Celts top 4 scorers in the series and all shot 50% or better. This is a different (and better) Magic team than the one that covered just 14 of 41 at home last year.

Pick: Orlando +3.5


Result: Loss
 
New York  Indiana 

Event Date: 11/05/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

New York beat the Pacers in 3 of 4 meetings a year ago, reversing a trend that had seen the Pacers win 10 of the previous 11 games in the series. Both teams famously lost all-star forwards to Oklahoma City in offseason trades, as first Paul George of Indiana (in July) and then Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks (in late September) were dealt to the Thunder. Now the Knicks are rebuilding around Kristaps Porzingis and the Pacers are pinning their hopes on G Victor Oladipo (24 ppg) and C Myles Turner (out with concussion).

Pick: New York - PK


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Memphis 

Event Date: 11/04/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Memphis, which lost PF JaMychal Green in the opener, could be without star PG Mike Conley. Conley is very iffy after missing the Orlando game with an Achilles problem. The Grizzlies have covered just 1 of last 5 games, while the Clippers are off to a strong start behind all-star play of F Blake Griffin (23 ppg, 8 rpg, 5 apg) and team defense limiting opponents to 100 ppg and 43%. Lean to Clippers side that’s 4-1 as a favorite this season. 

Pick: Los Angeles -6


Result: Loss
 
San Antonio  Charlotte 

Event Date: 11/03/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The San Antonio Spurs aren't playing like an elite team and attempt to halt a four-game losing streak when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. San Antonio was outclassed 112-92 by the Golden State Warriors on Thursday and looks to rebound against the Hornets, who have dropped 10 straight in San Antonio since posting a 92-85 victory on Nov. 15, 2006.

Pick: San Antonio -4


Result: Won
 
Orlando  Chicago 

Event Date: 11/03/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Aaron Gordon raised his level of play right along with the red-hot Orlando Magic and the former fourth-overall pick looks to continue his resurgence when the struggling Chicago Bulls pay a visit on Friday night. Gordon, who scored a career-high 12.7 points per game last season, is averaging 20.7 early on in 2017-18 and drained a decisive 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining in Wednesday’s 101-99 victory at Memphis. The Bulls are in rebuilding mode and their record shows it with one victory in the first six games and 100 or fewer points scored in five of the contests.

Pick: Orlando -8


Result: Loss
 
Golden State  Detroit 

Event Date: 10/29/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Golden State has had a stranglehold on the Pistons for years, winning 11 of the last 12 meetings. However, Detroit is a bit better set to fight back against Golden State this season with the return to full health of Reggie Jackson and the acquisition of defensive specialist G Avery Bradley. Those two will play key roles against the Warrior all-star backcourt of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Up front, F Tobias Harris is having by far his best season, scoring 24 ppg on 52% shooting, and at 6-9, he’ll make Kevin Durant work on the stop end. Points worth taking with live dog.

Pick: Detroit +13.5


Result: Won
 
Atlanta  Milwaukee 

Event Date: 10/29/2017
Event Time: 3 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Atlanta needs to regain services of PG Dennis Schroder and PF Ersan Ilyasova before I take a look at the Hawks. Sure, Atlanta has covered 5 straight against the “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, and this Hawk contingent bears little resemblance to the teams of recent seasons. Giannis has a better efficiency rating than LeBron James or Kevin Durant, and he’s powered the Bucks to a solid start. Conversely the Hawks had lost 3 straight with no covers prior to the Thursday-Friday back-to-back set with Chicago and Denver.

Pick Milwaukee -5


Result: Won
 
Charlotte  Orlando 

Event Date: 10/29/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Charlotte HC Steve Clifford has had Orlando’s number the last few years, winning 9 of last 10 meetings vs. the Magic and covering 8 of those. The Magic have started much better than expected, winning 3 of first 4 games (including a win at Cleveland!). Orlando has a poor man’s “big three” with Fs Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and C Nikola Vucevic all scoring more than 21 ppg in the early going, and Gordon and Vucevic are both taking down double-digit rebounds. Still, Charlotte has allowed just 97 ppg and is 3rd in defensive efficiency, compared with Orlando’s 112 ppg.

Pick: Charlotte -3


Result: Won
 
Sacremento  Washington 

Event Date: 10/29/2017
Event Time: 6 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Kings are trying to usher in a similar culture. Fox, the 19-year-old rookie, will start his first game, with the team announcing Saturday that forward Zach Randolph and point guard George Hill will sit out to rest. Fox has averaged a team-best 14.8 points and 5.0 assists in about 27 minutes a game in Sacramento's first five contests, four of which Sacramento had a chance to win. Fox had 14 points and five assists in Thursday's 114-106 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. He's also developed a chemistry with 25-year-old rookie guard Bogdan Bogdanovic in the two games since the Serbian rookie returned from injury. Bogdanovic has scored 22 points in two games and made 9 of his 22 shots. Skal Labissiere also is expected to get his second start of the season. Labissiere is averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in five games this season. Guards Buddy Hield (12.2 points) and Garrett Temple (10.0) and center Willie Cauley-Stein (11.2) also are all are averaging double-digits in scoring for Sacramento.

Pick: Sacramento +7


Result: Loss
 
New Orleans  Cleveland 

Event Date: 10/28/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Cleveland lost 2 of its first 3 SU without PG Derrick Rose, as 36-year-old third choice Jose Calderon doesn’t have a lot left. However, losing at Brooklyn should throw a little cold water in the faces of LeBron James and the Cavs. New Orleans’ star PF Anthony Davis injured his knee against Portland on Tuesday and might be iffy for this one, but Pel C “Boogie” Cousins could have a big game if he’s not on emotional empty after a personal vendetta game against his former employer Sacramento on Thursday night.

Pick: Cleveland -1.5


Result: Loss
 
Memphis  Houston 

Event Date: 10/28/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

These two just met Monday in Houston, where Memphis scored a 98-90 upset win. Rocket Gs James Harden and Eric Gordon combined to make just 7 of 23 three-pointers that night, and only one other Rocket cracked double-digits. Memphis C Marc Gasol was too tough for Houston counterpart Clint Capela, leading the Grizzlies with 26 points, and Rocket Fs Trevor Ariza (out with a foot injury) and Ryan Anderson were a combined 2 of 12, scoring just 7 points. The Rockets are now down two starters (PG Chris Paul & Ariza) and playing the 2nd night of back-to back sets.

Pick: Memphis -1


Result: Won
 
Portland  Phoenix 

Event Date: 10/28/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Phoenix brass fired Earl Watson just three games (all losses, including which was the worst in team history) into the season, replacing him with assistant Jay Triano. Then G Eric Bledsoe (2nd-leading scorer last year at 21 points per game) popped off, was essentially kicked off the team, and they will trade him ASAP. The result was Phoenix beating Sacramento and Portland, reinforcing the knee jerk reaction. Home games against the Kings and Jazz are one thing, going in to the Moda Center and coming out with a victory is a different matter. The Trail Blazers (3-1 SU, 3-0-1 vs. the points through Oct. 25) have picked up where they left off last season, with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combining for 47 points per game, and Lillard in particular garnering kudos for his defensive play. The Blazers lead the league in “efficiency differential” and 2nd in defensive efficiency. 

Pick: Portland -11.5


Result: Loss
 
Dallas  Philadelphia 

Event Date: 10/28/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

For all the hoopla surrounding Philly’s young bucks, the cold reality is that the Sixers were off to the same 1-4 SU start as “tanking,” aging Dallas, which ranks 29th in defensive efficiency. The Mavs have tortured Philly in the last 10 years, winning 18 of the last 22 meetings (12-9-1 vs. the points), but believe the table has turned for the Sixers, whose SU win at Detroit and competitive effort hosting Houston in its last two games are encouraging. Also, star Philly C Joel Embiid (and the rest of the Sixers) have had two days off since facing Houston Thursday and have a day off tomorrow, so it should be all hands on deck vs. the Mavs.

Pick: Philadelphia -110


Result: Won
 
Utah  Los Angeles 

Event Date: 10/27/2017
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Lots of hate between these two fan bases dating back to the days of Karl Malone and John Stockton. Utah has won 8 of the last 9 meetings with the youthful Lakers (only loss in Kobe farewell game), and catch L.A. coming off a home game against Toronto last night. Heading up to the altitude of Salt Lake City can be a difficult adjustment, and this will be the first such trip for key Laker rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. This will be a battle of tempo, as the Lakers set the second-fastest pace in the NBA, while the Jazz play at the second-slowest. It’s more likely the Lakers slow down and play the speed Utah prefers.

Pick: Los Angeles +11


Result: Loss
 
Orlando  San Antonio 

Event Date: 10/27/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Magic have their own big-time post scorer in Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 23.8 points on 59.7 percent shooting and 10.3 rebounds. Vucevic and frontcourt mate Aaron Gordon will try to make Aldridge work hard on the defensive end and lead Orlando to a fourth win in its first five games.

Pick: Orlando +5.5


Result: Won
 
New York  Brooklyn 

Event Date: 10/27/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Brooklyn is 3-1 SU and 4-0 vs. the points since season-opening loss at Indiana, but much of the Nets’ success has been due to sparkling play of G D’Angelo Russell (23 ppg, 47%), and Russell is out for this game with a balky knee. Winless New York is dropping in class after losing to OKC, Detroit and Boston, so Knicks will be thirsty for a victory with Cleveland coming up next.

Pick: New York -2


Result: Won
 
Detroit  Minnesota 

Event Date: 10/25/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Minnesota Timberwolves will try to rebound from an ugly home loss when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Two days after an impressive win at Oklahoma City, the Timberwolves returned home to sustain a 130-107 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, allowing the Pacers to shoot a franchise-record 66.7 percent from the floor and getting outscored 69-46 after halftime. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 points in the loss for Minnesota, which played without swingman Jimmy Butler (illness). The Pistons have exchanged wins and losses through their first four games and suffered through their worst offensive showing in Monday's 97-86 loss to Philadelphia. Langston Galloway made 3-of-4 3-pointers off the bench while the rest of Detroit's roster combined to hit 3-of-26 from beyond the arc.

Pick:  Minnesota +3


Result: Loss
 
Philadelphia  Houston 

Event Date: 10/25/2017
Event Time: 7 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Rockets are dealing with an injury to one of their point guards as well in Chris Paul, who went down in the season opener with a knee bruise originally suffered in training camp and is expected to miss at least another week. Paul watched as his teammates failed to reach 100 points for the first time on the young season and suffered their first loss, 98-90 at home to the Memphis Grizzlies, on Monday.

Pick: Philadlephia +4


Result: Won
 
Los Angeles  Washington 

Event Date: 10/25/2017
Event Time: 10 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

The Washington Wizards look to open 4-0 for the first time in 39 years when they continue a four-game road trip at the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Wizards are the only Eastern Conference team without a loss after beginning their trip with a 109-104 win at Denver, riding 83 points from a starting five that has found an early rhythm.

Pick: Washington -5


Result: Loss
 
Milwaukee  Portland 

Event Date: 10/21/2017
Event Time: 8 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Milwaukee has held an edge over Portland, covering 10 of the 12 meetings over the last six seasons, and last year the Bucks won and covered both games with accuracy from beyond the arc, making 43% of their treys. Milwaukee G Malcolm Brogdon (LY’s Rookie-of-theYear) shot 67% in the two games, and F Giannis Antetokounmpo stuffed the stat sheet against the Blazers (19 ppg, 10 rpg, 7 apg, 3 bpg) as usual. Portland was not a good road dog last season (11-17 vs. the points), so recommend home team and motivational specialist HC Jason Kidd. 

Pick: Milwaukee -2.5


Result: Won
 
New Orleans  Golden State 

Event Date: 10/20/2017
Event Time: 9 PM est
Pick: 

Rating: 2 Units

Reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green collected nine points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds on Tuesday but left before the start of the fourth quarter with a knee strain. Green underwent an MRI on Wednesday that came back clean, but he is not expected to play today. New Orleans' Davis collected 33 points and 18 rebounds on Wednesday while Cousins contributed 28 points, 10 boards and seven blocks, but New Orleans managed only 57 points in the final three quarters after coming out strong with 34 in the first. The Pelicans are missing their best ball mover in point guard Rajon Rondo, who is not expected back until late next month after undergoing hernia surgery. Golden State took the last 11 meetings in the series, including a first-round sweep in the 2015 playoffs.

Pick: Golden State -8

 


Result: Tie

Win:112 Losses:113 Tie:9

 

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