Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 26 inclusive:
Well, that was certainly an epic encounter Wednesday night between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers needed the win at home to keep the Heat from moving within a game of first place in the Eastern Conference, and they got it, prevailing 84-83 in an exciting back-and-forth affair. Ah, but more importantly, it was Miami beating the basketball lines as 2-point road dogs. Nickels, nickels, nickels. That beautiful sound of plinking nickels.
Miami may have gotten paid on Wednesday, but the defending champions are still knee-deep in the red, and the Pacers are now 35-36-1 ATS on the season after getting paid just twice in the past month. If you want to make some cash betting on basketball in the Eastern Conference, you’ll have to look a little further down the standings. Let’s take the Learjet 60XR to the Carolinas and see what’s been happening lately in Bank Town.
It’s hard to believe this is the 10th season for the Bobcats (35-37 SU, 41-28-3 ATS), who will become the Hornets once the season is over, and are already selling tons of Hornets-branded merchandise. But let’s take a moment to pre-emptively remember the ‘Cats and what they’ve done this season. This is one of the most profitable teams in the league from an NBA betting standpoint, combing the power of a small-market, sad-sack franchise with the quiet awesomeness of Al Jefferson (22.4 PER) and the mad hops of Kemba Walker (17.1 PER).
Now it’s all about the playoffs. Charlotte is 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS in its past nine games, inching closer to the Washington Wizards for sixth place in the East and a chance to avoid Indiana and Miami in the first round. Gary Neal (13.9 PER) is out a couple of games with knee and ankle issues, but the Bobcats are otherwise healthy and loaded for bear. Bet accordingly.
Fans of the Bulls (40-31 SU, 35-36 ATS) nearly choked on their deep-dish pizza when they heard that Derrick Rose was back at practice, but alas, the former MVP is restricted to non-contact drills and still isn’t expected to come back at any point this season. Too bad; Chicago’s been having issues with the NBA betting lines at 4-2 SU and 1-5 ATS over the past six games.
But maybe it’s just as well. Rose (9.9 PER) was pretty bad during his brief 10-game run this year, and the Bulls have found some tremendous chemistry with their seven-man rotation – eight if you include Tony Snell (7.7 PER). Chicago even gets to enjoy three full days off before playing the slumping Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Just what the doctor ordered at the tail end of a crazy season.
We certainly hope you’ve been riding the Bucks (13-58 SU, 32-39 ATS) over the past couple of months. Sure, they’re still bad at basketball. Monday’s 106-98 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers was their eighth loss in a row. But Milwaukee is 5-3 ATS during this losing streak, not to mention 17-8 ATS since the start of February.
The more the Bucks get injured, the further out of whack the NBA odds become. Ersan Ilyasova (13.8 PER), Nate Wolters (12.8 PER) and O.J. Mayo (11.3 PER) all went on the shelf this past week, but it’s not like they were putting up great numbers this year – not like Ramon Sessions (20.6 PER), who’s absolutely crushed it since coming over from Charlotte in the Neal trade. Small-market, sad-sack, quiet awesomeness. Get them while they’re awful.