Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to December 2 inclusive:
It’s like pickin’ cherries off a tree. Earlier this week, I recommended the Atlanta Hawks (9-10 SU, 11-8 ATS) in their matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, figuring that Atlanta’s younger and less-famous legs would hold up against a Spurs team that hasn’t been regularly beating the NBA lines for a while now. And sure enough, the Hawks covered when they lost 102-100 as 12-point road dogs. I get to eat dinner today!
Yeah, but that was just the Spurs. On Wednesday, Atlanta hosts the Los Angeles Clippers (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS), who are still a rising commodity in the Western Conference. The Clippers have won four of their last five games at 3-2 ATS, and they’re laying four points on the early NBA odds with a total of 203. Can the Hawks do it again? Of course they can. How likely is it? Ah, now that is the question.
Now that we’re almost at the quarter-pole of the NBA betting season, we’ve had multiple opportunities to gauge both of these teams, and we can start breaking the data down into specific components – starting with the home/away splits. The Hawks have performed better at Philips Arena, going 5-3 SU and ATS, while the Clippers are 4-4 SU and 5-3 ATS away from Staples Center. Even steven.
You can often find bigger swings in the home/away splits when you look at the NBA totals, and that’s the case for Wednesday’s contest (7:30 p.m. ET). The UNDER is 5-3 for Atlanta at home and 4-7 on the road; conveniently enough, Los Angeles has the UNDER at 6-2 on the road and 2-8 at home. I smell a basketball bet brewing here. Or maybe that’s dinner. Whoops, looks like I kept the home fries burning.
You wouldn’t expect the Clippers to have a very good UNDER record in general. They’ve got the No. 4-ranked offense in the league in terms of efficiency (107.0 points per 100 possessions) and the No. 19-ranked defense (102.3 points allowed/100). On top of that, the Clips run the eighth-fastest pace in the NBA at 98.9 possessions per game. But things change once they get out of Los Angeles:
Clippers at Home: 112.2 points scored, 102.1 points allowed per game
Clippers Away: 100.5 points scored, 101.5 points allowed per game
Let’s see… carry the one… that’s a swing of more than 12 points in combined score, and slides UNDER Wednesday’s posted total. How about the Hawks? They have the No. 16-ranked offense (100.6) and the No. 14-ranked defense (101.7) in the NBA, running the No. 11-ranked pace (98.1). Middle of the road stuff there. But look what happens with the splits:
Hawks at Home: 96.3 points scored, 95.3 points allowed per game
Hawks Away: 100.5 points scored, 102.9 points allowed per game
Once again, we’re looking at a 12-point difference, and the Hawks don’t even come close to 203 points combined at home. Maybe Atlanta does a better job of asserting its defensive identity at Philips. Maybe Los Angeles doesn’t feel the need to light it up away from Staples. Whatever it is, I like these numbers. Now if we can only get rid of those arena naming rights.
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The Clippers will find it a little harder to fill the net on Wednesday. Shooting guard J.J. Redick (20.1 points per 36 minutes), who was blending so well on the wing with his new teammates, is out for the next 6-8 weeks with torn ligaments in his right elbow and a broken right hand. Redick joins SF Matt Barnes (10.6 points, 7.7 rebounds/36) on the sidelines as he recovers from eye surgery.
Meanwhile, Atlanta SF Kyle Korver (11.7 points/36) remains day-to-day with sore ribs. He might return Wednesday; he might not. Even if he does, have you ever had a rib injury before? It’s hard to even breathe, let alone hit 3-pointers. Mmmm... ribs.
NBA Pick: Take UNDER 203 (–105) at Pinnacle