NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Tuesday.

The second seeds in the Western Conference could be looking to make a statement coming out of the NBA All-Star Break Tuesday night when those San Antonio Spurs (38-15, 20-7 away) pay a visit to the Los Angeles Clippers (37-18, 23-4 home) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has San Antonio as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -101.

Yes, we are well aware of the struggles that the Spurs have had with the better teams in the league so far this season as San Antonio is 7-11 vs. teams currently ranked in the Sagarin Top 10 and 31-4 vs. the rest of the league, which on the surface would be bad news tonight with the Clippers ranked third on Sagarin.

The Spurs are still second in the Western Conference, four games behind the top seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Clippers are officially the fourth seeds right now although they are in a three-way tie standings-wise with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, with all of those teams trailing the Thunder by six games and the Spurs by two games..

The good news for the Spurs is that one of their seven wins vs. the Sagarin Top 10 came in emphatic fashion 116-92 over these Clippers the last time these teams met back home in San Antonio on January 4th. Also no team figures to benefit more from the All-Star Break than the veteran Spurs, especially with their only All-Star representative Tony Parker seeing only 11 total minutes of action in that game.

Thus, the well-rested Spurs should be able to bring maximum effort to this contest, and the bottom line is simply that San Antonio playing its best game is better than the Clippers at their best. Say what you will about the Spurs feasting on the lesser teams in the league, but the bottom line is this team is seventh in the NBA in offensive efficiency and fifth in defensive efficiency.

If you want to look at that in terms of raw numbers, San Antonio is ninth in the league in scoring at 103.8 points per game and second in field goal percentage offensively at 49.0 percent, while also at the same time sixth in the NBA in points against at 97.5 per game and ninth in field goal percentage allowed defensively at 44.6 percent.

The Clippers closed out the first half of the season with a non-covering 122-117 win over the Trail Blazers that allowed them to catch Portland in the conference standings just in time for the break, but unfortunately the score of that game has been a microcosm of how the Clippers have been winning games this season, i.e., by simply outscoring opponents.

You see, the Clippers are second in the NBA in points scored at 107.0 per game and closing in on the Trail Blazers (107.9) in that area, but at the same time Los Angeles has often treated defense as an afterthought, and as a result ranks just 15th in points against at 100.6 per game. The problem there is that the Clips cannot simply rely on “Lob City” to beat a good, disciplined defense like San Antonio, and Los Angeles figures to have trouble stopping the Spurs’ offense.

With all of this in mind, we recommend backing what we feel is the better team getting points in this spot, making San Antonio your Underdog Value Play of the Day for Tuesday.


NBA Pick: Spurs +4½ (-101)

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