Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 19 inclusive:
And down the stretch they come. We’ve only got 15 games or so left in the 2013-14 NBA regular season; by now, we should have a very good idea of what to expect from the teams involved. Maybe too good of an idea. If we cling too tightly with what’s been working thus far, we risk overlooking the ever-changing situation on the ground. Our latest tour of the NBA betting landscape starts with two Eastern Conference teams who have turned expectations on their heads lately.
York at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. ET, MSG)
So the Knicks (28-40 SU, 30-38 ATS) have made the Phil Jackson hire official, and they’re on a tasty seven-game winning streak at 6-1 ATS. They even took a bite out of the first-place Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, winning 92-86 as 1.5-point home dogs. Spike Lee is pleased. So am I. New York has given us plenty of opportunities to fade and to follow, depending on how healthy the team is. You know things are good when Amar’e Stoudemire (18.3 PER) is logging regular minutes in the starting lineup.
You know who the “1” is in that 6-1 ATS record? The 76ers (15-53 SU, 26-42 ATS). On March 10, they lost 123-110 to the Knicks as 15.5-point road dogs. Philly’s been covering some highly inflated NBA spreads lately at 4-2 ATS in its last six games. And on Friday, the Sixers will be getting 12 points at home. That’s a lot of points against a Knicks team that still has its flaws.
NBA Pick: Take the Sixers +12.5 (–115) at Bookmaker
New Orleans at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. ET)The Hawks (31-35 SU, 30-35-1 ATS) were in the soup for a while there, losing 14 of 15 games at 2-12-1 ATS. But a very important piece of their puzzle has returned: Pero Antic (12.9 PER). Atlanta’s starting center isn’t about to replace the production level of the injured Al Horford (22.0 PER), but Antic is a bull in the paint who can also shoot the three (37.4 percent), and the Hawks have won their last five in a row SU, including their last two ATS as 3-point puppies.
Antic wasn’t available the last time Atlanta faced the Pelicans (27-40 SU, 28-35-4 ATS). On Feb. 5, New Orleans went to the Dirty South and won 105-100 as a 2.5-point chalk. Anthony Davis (27.1 PER) had 27 points and 10 rebounds in that game, but he sat out Wednesday’s clash with the Toronto Raptors with an “upper respiratory infection” that appears to be working its way through the lineup. Or it could be “tankitis,” as the NOLA beat writers are calling it. Davis is expected to play Friday; but i like the way the NBA odds are shaping up for Atlanta.
NBA Pick: Take the Hawks –8
at Phoenix (10:00 p.m. ET)
It’s go time for the Suns (39-29 SU, 44-23-1 ATS). They’re a close ninth in the West, and they’re 3-2 SU and ATS since Eric Bledsoe (19.6 PER) returned to the lineup after missing 10 weeks with a knee injury. Bledsoe hasn’t always looked sharp, either, but he should round into form, just like Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo before him.
Detroit (25-42 SU, 28-38-1 ATS), meanwhile, has dropped six of its past seven games SU and ATS. That epic collapse against the Pacers may have been the final straw; the Pistons (+5 at home) were up 25 before losing 112-104 in overtime. They followed that up with Wednesday’s 118-109 loss to the Nuggets (–6), allowing Aaron Brooks to put up 27 points and 17 assists in place of the injured Ty Lawson. That’s what happens when your best player, Andre Drummond (22.4 PER) in this case, is out with a sore neck. Drummond’s status is questionable, but I’ll happily take Phoenix here.
NBA Pick: Take the Suns –9