There's a lot of low totals in the NBA tonight and for good reason. Let's take a couple of these games and translate them into a couple of "W's" for profit as it's time to beat the books for this Monday.
Philadelphia 76'ers (10-38) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-20): The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
I love to pick on the SIxers as their defense and overall team production is simply abysmal. The Sixers, who rank 30th in the league at just 89.6 points, are facing back to back tough teams.
They hung tough against an Atlanta Hawks team that just can't lose, but in the end, lost to the Hawks 91-85 and now they must face Lebron James and a Cleveland Cavaliers that have found themselves, having won 10 straight games.
As a double-digit favorite, I expect the Cavs to have this game in hand by the 3rd quarter the latest and that means that we can see a lot of backup players playing in the final quarter. What does this mean? This means that we'll see some sloppy garbage time play and it should contribute to an under where the betting odds are concerned.
Cleveland is coming off of a 106-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love had a little extra motivation as he faced his former squad, but I don't see him having the same motivation against a bottom feeder such as the Sixers.
Love averages 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season, but he hasn't been able to find the correct chemistry with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving and that's why the Cavs have been underachievers.
You can expect James to look for his offense in the first 3 quarters of this game against a vulnerable Sixers squad with Michael Carter- Williams, who is in a sophomore slump, and then take a seat. The Sixers do have players such as Robert Covington that have stepped in and done a decent job, but the level of opponent is very high for Philly in this game and the Cavs have been on fire as of late.
Don't expect much in the form of efficiency on the offensive end from Philly in this game as they're a very poor shooting squad. Cleveland will win their 11th straight tonight quite easily while holding the Sixers to a low scoring output. Place your NBA pick under on a rather high total for a Sixers game.
NBA Pick: Under 193 at 5 Dimes
Memphis Grizzlies (35-21) vs. Phoenix Suns (28-21): Low Total For a Suns Game?
You look at the total in this game and immediately realize why it's so low for a Phoenix team that like to play fast-paced, high scoring games. They're playing the best defense in the league in the Memphis Grizzlies and the Grizzlies can make even the best offenses look bad. The Grizzlies made OKC look bad in their last game as they held Durant, Westbrook, and company to a mere 74 points in an easy 85-74 victory.
A major reason for their incredible defense is the presence of big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Both of these players take up a lot of room in the paint and make it difficult for their opponent to score on the inside. Along with that, Randolph has been on a major tear as of late as he's an automatic double-double every game, averaging 19.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game in his last 10 games. You add in the defense of players like Mike Conley Jr. and Tony Allen and the opposition is in for a long night.
Tonight, the Grizzlies will be tested as they face a Suns club which averages 106.8 points per game led by the trio of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and Markieff Morris.
Morris is coming off of a very solid 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 106-87 loss to Golden State. Everything in this game points to an over because the Suns defense is atrocious and they can put up points against most teams in this league. While this is true, Memphis is in a different category where defense is concerned and this game will finish under the total, played at a tempo that the Grizzlies prefer.
NBA Pick: Under 204 at 5 Dimes