Free NBA Picks: Spurs Focused On Winning Tonight vs. Pelicans

Jason Lake

Thursday, March 3, 2016 1:23 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 1:23 PM UTC

The San Antonio Spurs keep winning, and the NBA odds just can't keep up. Maybe the New Orleans Pelicans will find a way to slow them down Thursday night.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of March 2: 26-30-1 ATS, 6-1-1 Total


Yawn, the San Antonio Spurs won again. They beat the Detroit Pistons like a drum Wednesday night, pulling away in the second half and covering as 11-point home faves in a 97-81 victory. That's four straight SU and ATS for San Antonio. At this rate, it could be the Spurs (51-9 SU, 38-22 ATS) who end up breaking the NBA record of 72 regular-season wins, and not those other guys from Golden State.

Okay, probably not – that would require the Spurs to win each of their last 22 games, if I'm doing the math right. But it could happen. The next step comes Thursday night at the Squishee King Center, where they'll face the New Orleans Pelicans (23-36 SU, 25-24 ATS) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT. The Pellies were also in action Wednesday, losing a tough one to the Houston Rockets, 100-95 as 6-point road dogs. Hopefully by the time you read this, there will be some lines up on our NBA odds board, but all's quiet as we go to press.


The Mayor of Simpleton
Speaking of math, we've been using the Simple Rating System a lot lately, across all sports. It's not something you can auto-pilot your NBA picks with, but it does give the handicapping process some backbone. The folks at Basketball-Reference think San Antonio (+11.19 SRS) is the best team in the league; New Orleans (–2.49 SRS), not so much. Give the home side around 3.5 points, turn the crank, and the sausage comes out Pellies +10.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, they've got Trump favored by eight points – sorry, San Antonio by eight. Their system is a mash-up of Elo team ratings and Nate Silver's relatively new CARMELO player ratings, and it takes things like rest and travel into account, so we expect their kayfabe lines to be a bit different than what SRS gives us. More accurate? We won't judge here at the ranch. But if New Orleans ends up getting more than 10 points when the real lines come out, that means we've got two sources telling us to grab them Pels.

Let me backtrack for a moment. The numbers aren't telling us to do anything; as I said, they're just a friendly guide. We're still all about exploiting the marketplace here at the ranch, and the Spurs are almost everything you could ask for in that regard. They bore everyone to death except their own fans, and even some of them fall asleep during games. According to the public money charts, more people have bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder this year, and they're 24-35-1 ATS. We'll go out on a limb and recommend the Spurs blindly for the purposes of this article, but you should definitely wait and see how the odds comes out – and which players, if any, these two teams decide to give the night off.

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NBA Pick: Spurs -8.5
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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