Portland (25-24) at Houston (27-24)
Houston has two of the best qualities in picking a bet on the total; they rank 27th in points allowed (102.9) and rank 2nd in offensive points scored (105.8). Portland has a near equally poor defense, ranking 20th in the NBA and they’re a flat-out lousy road team. This has the makings for a high scoring game.
These teams are very evenly matched, but Portland has had the upperhand in 2 previous meetings with the last meeting coming on November 16th in a 119-117 Portland victory in OT. We all know how explosive that LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland starting 5 can be while the Rockets possess one of the best scorers in the league in James Harden.
On a team with so much firepower, the ball has to be distributed evenly as LaMarcus Aldridge’s 20.7 points per game can attest to. I’ve always said that this is a 25 point scorer whenever he wants to be and in his last 2 games, Aldridge has taken more of a lead role, averaging 26 points and 11.5 rebounds on 23 of 40 shooting from the field. Look for Aldridge to feast off of the weak Rockets defense.
The Year of the Beard
When James Harden left OKC, a lot of people, including myself thought that it was a big mistake. It might be a mistake concerning his aspirations in winning a title but it certainly wasn’t a mistake in showcasing his skills and setting himself up for a big contract.
Harden is averaging 25.8 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. He’s also coming off of a 36 point effort against Miami.
This should be a close game but everything points to an over. The total can never be too high for these two clubs.
NBA Free Picks: Portland/Houston OVER 211.5
New Orleans (16-33) at Atlanta (27-21)
I look at the odds for this game and immediately wonder if there’s a key player that’s injured as the Hawks are just a 4.5 point betting odds favorite. Much to my astonishment, there are no key injuries.
Inexperienced With Missing Pieces
It sounds like a personals advertisment , but no, I’m referring to the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, the New Orleans Hornets.
The Hornets are coming off of a nice 93-84 victory over Phoenix, but we have to remember their opponent and the fact that the Hornets have won 3 out of their last 10 games and have been ineffective this season.
Some players on the Hornets squad have emerged as a force this season and it starts with point guard, Greivis Vasquez.
Vasquez can give the Hornets everything that they need; He can shoot, pass, and rebound the ball. He also possesses a size advantage in most matchups. Vasquez is coming off of another superb effort. He led the Hornets to a victory over Phoenix with 19 points and 12 rebounds. In order for the Hornets to have a legitimate chance in this game, he’s going to have to put up similar numbers and integrate offense slightly more into his game.
A Good Spot
Just 6 games above .500 and the All Star- Break coming up, the Atlanta Hawks need to win games such as New Orleans
They’ve been a very inconsistent basketball team all season, but have a major edge in experience at the key positions with Al Horford and Josh Smith. Add in the recent play of Jeff Teague, who is coming off of a 22 point, 13 assist performance in a victory against the Grizzlies, and Atlanta looks appealing with the small point spread at home for our NBA picks.
NBA Free Picks: Atlanta -4.5 at 5 Dimes