Free NBA Picks for Clippers vs. Bobcats

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:34 PM GMT

The feisty Charlotte Bobcats have just lost Kemba Walker for the next two weeks. Does that make them more likely to beat the NBA odds in Wednesday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers?

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 20 inclusive:

49-37-1 ATS

13-10 Totals

Another one bites the dust. After a decade spent mostly in the lower regions of the Eastern Conference standings, the Charlotte Bobcats (18-25 SU, 23-18-2 ATS) have been pleasantly mediocre this year. They’re even in the No. 8 seed as we go to press. But Charlotte has just lost a key player in point guard Kemba Walker (18.0 PER), who sprained his left ankle in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Miami Heat. Walker’s expected to miss the next two weeks after Sunday’s MRI revealed no further damage.

Could this be exactly what Charlotte needed? From a basketball betting perspective, that is. The Bobcats have been slowing down of late, going 3-6 SU and ATS to start the New Year. But in their first game since Walker’s injury, they upset the scorching-hot Toronto Raptors (–4 at home) 100-95 on Monday afternoon. Now Charlotte’s about to welcome the Los Angeles Clippers (29-14 SU, 25-18 ATS) to The Cable Box this Wednesday night, and the early NBA odds have the Clippers laying five points with a total of 196.5.

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Ramon Holiday

You’re not going to get very far in the NBA these days if you don’t have quality reserve point guards. Look around the league: the Oklahoma City Thunder are rolling with Reggie Jackson (16.1 PER), the Clippers themselves are leaning on Darren Collison (16.7 PER), and even the Los Angeles Lakers have been getting paid with Kendall Marshall (13.9 PER). Who’s the man subbing in for Walker? None other than Ramon Sessions (15.9 PER).

You might remember Sessions from his previous tours of duty with four other NBA teams; unfortunately, that included a miserable 2011-12 playoffs (8.2 PER in 12 games) with the Lakers. Sessions hasn’t started a game ever since – until Monday, that is. He tamed the Raptors with a very efficient 23 points in 34 minutes, sinking 10 of his 11 free-throw attempts. And Jannero Pargo (11.5 career PER) stepped right into the back-up role with 11 points in 14 minutes, including 3-of-4 from long range.

Of course, you’d rather have Walker in there if you want to win more basketball games. But we’re talking ATS here, and Sessions is one of those guys the NBA betting public just doesn’t value highly enough. He’s smart, he makes plays, he attacks the basket, and he makes his teammates better around him. Pargo, meanwhile, has good wheels, plays hard-nosed defense, and can hit the three (38.2 percent last year). This could be a very profitable two-week stretch for Charlotte.

Alternating Currency

Having said that, the Clippers have to comply on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET), and it’s hard to tell exactly what they’re going to do these days. L.A. has put together one of those infernal zigzag patterns, which reached nine games in Monday’s 112-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons (+3.5 at home). I don’t recommend following that pattern blindly and pencilling in the Clips for an ATS loss against Charlotte. This waywardness speaks more to their inconsistency against the NBA lines; L.A. hasn’t strung together three straight ATS wins or losses for a month now.

But the Clippers have driven the OVER to an 8-2 record in their past 10 games, including four in a row going into Wednesday matchup. And the OVER is 9-2 in Charlotte’s last 11 after starting the season at 11-20-1. These are the NBA betting trends I trust the most for this particular matchup. Again, though, keep an eye on the ‘Cats for the next couple of weeks, and be ready to pounce.

Special update: The total was up to 200 by the time we went to press.

NBA Pick: Take OVER 200 at The Greek