After a couple of days full of blowouts, tonight figures to deliver more competitive games. We have a seven-game slate and all of the spreads are single-digits!
WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC
OVER 226.5 TOTAL POINTS (-109)This game is a clash of styles. The Wizards play at the fastest pace in the league and Magic play at the slowest pace in the league. Something has to give, and I am leaning towards this game being played at Washington’s pace. When these teams met earlier in the year, a total of 146 points were scored. It was easily the highest scoring game the Magic have played in this season. They ended up having to play to the Wizards’ style to keep up. Washington’s games are averaging 241.5 points per game this season and eight of its last 10 games have totaled more than 226.5 points.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS VS. DETROIT PISTONS
CAVALIERS +2.5 (-109)Against the spread, the Pistons have been miserable. They have a 7-11-2 ATS record and have really struggled to compete when going on the road. Playing away from Detroit, the Pistons have a 1-9 record. The common belief was that the team would improve when Blake Griffin came back from offseason knee surgery. This seemed logical, but it hasn’t been the case. So far, not only has Griffin played poorly, Andre Drummond’s production has been hampered from playing with the All-Star. The Pistons are 3-7 since Griffin was activated. Even though the Cavaliers are an easy matchup, it’s hard for me to say the Pistons should be favored against anybody on the road. Detroit has lost games to the Bulls, Hornets and Hawks. The Cavs should probably be slight favorites because of the home-court advantage.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS. HOUSTON ROCKETS
ROCKETS -5.5 (-110)The Spurs are one of the worst teams in the NBA and the oddsmakers are yet to catch up. They have a 7-14 record despite playing one of the easiest schedules in the league. To show how San Antonio is being overvalued, it is being listed as -275 to miss the playoffs. 538 has the Spurs with a less than 1% chance to make the playoffs. This team is toast and LaMarcus Aldridge is out due to a thigh injury.
On the other side of this game, the Rockets are feasting on bad teams. Houston is yet to lose a game to a team with a record under .500 and each of its last 10 wins have come by at least seven points. Usually, when the Rockets win, they win big. It’s also going to be fun to see what James Harden does for an encore after he scored 60 points on 24 shots in his last game.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS VS. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
CARMELO ANTHONY OVER 15.5 POINTS (-107)So far, so good for Carmelo Anthony with the Blazers. He’s averaging 17.7 points per game even though it had been over a year since he last appeared in an NBA game when he was signed by Portland. Even though efficiency figures to be a problem for Melo going forward, I don’t expect it will stop him from shooting. He has a usage rating over 20% in every game he’s played in and he hasn’t been shy to continue firing in the games where his shots weren’t falling. It’s also encouraging how many minutes the Blazers have been willing to play him. Melo played 37 minutes last game. Combining the minutes with his usage gives him a good chance to hit the over for his points total. Anthony has scored at least 19 points in each of the last three games.
PARLAY OF THE DAY
HOU/DAL MONEYLINES (+125)Above, I made the case for the Rockets covering the spread against the Spurs. They haven’t lost to a team with a record below .500 yet and I don’t think it will start tonight. I am parlaying them with another team from Texas. Behind MVP candidate Luka Doncic, the Mavericks are on the come up. They have won seven of their last eight games including a massive win over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Tonight Dallas plays the Pelicans, who are on a five-game losing streak.
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