If it’s the finest NBA betting action you’re looking for, then the Eastern Conference has what you need – as long as it’s just about the money. Here’s the latest on four of the East’s prime fade candidates.
Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 5 inclusive:
So we have a new commissioner in the NBA. Adam Silver has officially taken over for David Stern, who steps aside after 30 years in charge. And what a 30 years it’s been. We’ve gone from the days of Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson, to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, to LeBron James. But I’m not hearing a lot of optimism about the NBA that Stern is handing over to his successor. If anything, there’s a worldwide shrug of the shoulders, and recognition that today’s NBA is in a shambles.
It’s a great league if you own a franchise, of course. And some of the players are making a ton of cash. But look at the latest Harris Poll numbers on which sport is considered most popular in America. Six percent of people said the NBA was their favorite. That’s down from 13 percent in 1998. The NBA used to be the No. 3-ranked league behind the NFL and MLB, but it hasn’t been that way since 2003. Auto racing (seven percent) is ahead of the NBA. And now the sheriff is handing his badge over to his deputy before skipping town. Happy trails.
Things are not looking good for the team LeBron left behind. The Cavaliers (16-33 SU, 19-20 ATS) lost 119-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, coughing up the cash as 7-point home favorites on the NBA lines. Another one for the good guys. The tired and injured Lakers were up 36-17 after one quarter; Kyrie Irving (20.1 PER) was benched in the third and finished the night with 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Cleveland is now 0-6 SU and ATS in its last six games. Fade at will.
Speaking of fades, the Sixers (15-35 SU, 20-30 ATS) are doing quite well in their race to the bottom of the Eastern standings – see how great the NBA is working, Mr. Stern? Philadelphia lost 114-108 to the Boston Celtics (–3.5 away) on Wednesday, falling to 3-14 SU and 5-11 ATS since Jan. 6. But apparently that’s not tanky enough; rumor has it the Sixers are looking to trade either Spencer Hawes (16.2 PER) or Evan Turner (13.6 PER), just to make themselves that much worse. Bless this mess.
When you’re losing to the Orlando Magic, you know you’re in trouble. The Pistons (19-29 SU, 20-27-1 ATS) went to the Magic Kingdom Wednesday night and got stuffed 112-98 as 2.5-point road faves. Cover your eyes, folks: Detroit is 5-13 SU and 6-12 ATS since Christmas. The Josh Smith (14.4 PER) deal has not worked out at all, and he’s on the books for another three years. So there’s talk that the Pistons will blow it up, trade Greg Monroe (17.8 PER), and rebuild around Andre Drummond (22.2 PER). Good thing the 2014 NBA Draft is so deep.
It’s doubtful anyone’s going to catch the Bucks (9-40 SU, 18-31 ATS) for last place. They’re by far the worst team in the league, but the NBA betting market has finally started to adjust – Milwaukee has covered each of its last three games, despite losing 99-90 to the Memphis Grizzlies (–12.5 at home) on Saturday and 110-100 to the Denver Nuggets (–11.5 at home) on Wednesday. This is despite half the team going on the injured list over the past 10 days. Or maybe because of. O.J. Mayo (11.1 PER) has missed the last six games, and his minutes have been soaked up by rookie Nate Wolters (12.8 PER), a second-round pick out of South Dakota State. Steve Lingenfelter says hello.