Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 18 inclusive:
It wouldn’t exactly be fair to call it a matador cover, but the Milwaukee Bucks did snatch a payday from the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. The Bucks went into The Showroom as 13.5-point underdogs, and they were down by 14 points in the final minute before making a couple of buckets and losing 114-104. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all.
This was still just the third time in 11 games that the Bucks (7-32 SU, 14-25 ATS) have beaten the basketball lines since Larry Sanders made his season debut, and now they have to make the short trip West to face the San Antonio Spurs (31-9 SU, 20-20 ATS), who were idle on Saturday. The Spurs are – oh my goodness – 16-point favorites on the early NBA lines with a total of 198. Would you like a red or a white wine with that chalk?
If it’s any consolation, San Antonio is 9-6 ATS dating back to 1994 when laying at least 16 points. Not that there’s anyone still playing from that ’93-94 squad – unless you include Dennis Rodman playing in North Korea. Having said that, Milwaukee is 2-1 ATS as a 16-point puppy or worse, although it hasn’t happened since 1996. Benoit Benjamin says hi.
If we open up our horizons a bit and look at the Spurs as double-digit faves, they’re just 5-7 ATS this year, including Wednesday’s 109-105 win over the Utah Jazz (+13.5 away). Ah, but Milwaukee is now 1-8 ATS as a double-digit dog this year, and San Antonio destroyed the Bucks (+11 at home) 109-77 back on Dec. 11. That’s the NBA betting trend I’m most likely to pull out from all of this point-counterpoint hoo-hah.
San Antonio Spurns
Can I just declare a moratorium on betting for or against the Spurs? San Antonio has gained zero “momentum” against the NBA odds this year, either as a follow or a fade candidate. But maybe, just maybe, things have changed now that the injury bug has caught up to the reigning Western Conference champs. Tiago Splitter (17.6 PER) and Danny Green (12.9 PER) are both out until February, Tony Parker (20.0 PER) is playing through a painful bruised shin, and the Spurs are on a 0-3 ATS mini-streak, their first streak of any kind since early December.
Parker was clearly in distress during the second half of Friday’s 109-100 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers (+5.5 away). He was a game-time decision then, and figures to be so again on Saturday after scoring just 12 points with four assists against Portland – although Parker insists he’ll play. And just to mess things up a bit more, Matt Bonner (11.3 PER) suffered a broken nose and is also iffy for Saturday.
Of course, if you don’t feel up to betting the NBA spreads, sportsbooks always have the total for you. People seem to be warming up these days to what used to be more of a fringe betting product for serious degenerates. The OVER is 24-15-1 for the Spurs this year and 14-7-1 at home, but with all these injuries, the UNDER has bagged the cash in four of their past five games.
The UNDER was also on a 4-1 streak for Milwaukee until that Rockets matchup (OVER 199.5). This has been a particularly tough slog of mostly road games for the Bucks since the holidays ended, with the occasional brief trip back home that has only added to their frequent flyer miles. I expect a whole lot of sloppy basketball from both sides on Sunday (7:00 p.m. ET).
NBA Pick: Take UNDER 198 (–105) at Pinnacle