Generally speaking, this handicapper likes taking good NBA teams on the road, because the NBA odds are more amenable. That's the case with our NBA pick on Friday night.
Friday's NBA odds market opened the betting on this game with San Antonio favored by nine points, the total offered at 200. Our guess would be the Spurs will get bet up during the day, so bettors who like them might want to get down early on this one.
San Antonio (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) upped its most recent winning streak to six games with a 109-98 victory over Denver Wednesday night. The Spurs only led the Nuggets by seven points at the half, pushed that to 17 late in the third quarter, but let Denver hang around, and eventually missed on the cover as 13-point favorites.
On the night San Antonio shot 49 percent from the floor, hit nine of 18 shots from 3-point land and held the Nuggets to just 39 percent shooting, but gave up 17 offensive rebounds, leading to just enough Denver second-chance points to decide the cover.
Near the other end of the spectrum New Orleans (1-11 SU, 3-9 ATS) owns a five-game losing streak, after going down at Oklahoma City Wednesday night 110-103. But to this handicapper's chagrin the Pelicans hung on to cover as 12-points underdogs. Shorthanded New Orleans led the Thunder by seven after one quarter, only trailed by three with just over three minutes to go in the game, but couldn't quite pull off the upset.
The Pelicans shot 45 percent from the field Wednesday, and only committed 11 turnovers.
New Orleans has got to be the most banged-up team in the league right now; they were down five guys who should be playing heavy minutes, and now F Anthony Davis has missed recent action with a sore hip and shoulder. The Pelicans have suited just nine guys a couple of times recently.
San Antonio had taken five games in a row from New Orleans, but the Pelicans took the season series last year three games to one. Unfortunately, we can't take much from those games from a handicapping perspective, because most of the guys who did most of the damage for New Orleans in those games won't be playing tonight.
San Antonio is 6-4 on the UNDERS this season, as Spurs games have averaged 193 points.
New Orleans is 7-5 on the UNDERS, even though Pelicans games have averaged 210 points.
Spurs F Manu Ginobili (12 PPG) has missed recent action with a sore hip, and he's probably out for tonight, too. But San Antonio is so good and so deep, his absence doesn't affect our pick on this game whatsoever.
San Antonio is once again operating like a well-oiled machine, while New Orleans is half the team it should be. Also, the Pelicans gave a big effort Wednesday night, and might be ripe for a letdown. We'll take the Spurs as our NBA pick, on the road, where the spread is probably a bit more amenable. As for the total, this game could see some considerable garbage time, which might give it a good chance of going OVER.
NBA Picks: San Antonio -9 & OVER 200 at 5Dimes