If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Friday’s top NBA betting picks include the two hottest commodities on the market, plus a premium fade opportunity with everyone’s favorite Big Apple punching bag.
Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 23 inclusive:
As they say in the investing world, past performance does not guarantee future results. But there are no guarantees in life. Past performance is by far the most important thing to pay attention to if you’re going to bet on the NBA, and right now, we’re paying close attention to three teams in particular. Two of them have been making money hand over fist for their supporters, while the third has been an easy fade any time it runs into injury problems. This is one of those times.
Toronto at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. ET)
The Raptors (21-20 SU, 24-17 ATS) were featured in our latest Eastern Conference update after beating the Dallas Mavericks (+3 away) 93-85 Wednesday night. They’ve had some ups and some downs lately, going 2-3 SU and ATS after beating the NBA odds in 10 straight games. This isn’t just a simple market correction, though. The Raps had three uncharacteristically poor performances in those games. However, they were very lively against Dallas, so I’m willing to give them one more spin.
It helps that their next opponents are tanking the 2013-14 campaign. The 76ers (14-28 SU, 18-24 ATS) have enough talent in the starting lineup that opponents can’t dismiss them – just ask the New York Knicks, who lost 110-106 on Wednesday as 8.5-point home faves (more on them later). But Philly has almost nothing in reserve, and Toronto has an excellent bench thanks to the Rudy Gay trade. This is where sharp NBA betting happens.
NBA Pick: Take the Raptors –6.5 at The Greek
Oklahoma City at Boston (7:30 p.m. ET)
Meanwhile, out in the Western Conference, Kevin Durant (30.9 PER) is en fuego, and his Oklahoma City Thunder (33-10 SU, 25-18 ATS) have won each of their last five games SU and ATS. This won’t last forever, so take advantage while you can. Everyone else aside from Russell Westbrook (21.5 PER) is healthy, and his substitute, Reggie Jackson (16.7 PER), is getting a little better every day – don’t forget, this is just his third year in the NBA.
The Celtics (15-29 SU, 22-21 ATS) aren’t nearly as tankalicious as the Sixers – in fact, they’re 6-3 ATS in their last nine games despite winning just twice. This pick is more about how insanely hot Durant is right now. But the C’s have done most of their ATS damage on the road; they dropped two of three in their most recent homestand, and Rajon Rondo is going to drag their overall performance down until he plays his way back into game shape.
NBA Pick: Take the Thunder –6.5 at Guardian
Charlotte at New York (7:30 p.m. ET)
The Knicks (15-27 SU, 16-26 ATS) have been a terrific moneymaker this year, cashing in repeatedly with a full lineup, and falling apart whenever they’re missing key players. You might not think Amar’e Stoudemire (16.5 PER) and Kenyon Martin (11.9 PER) qualify on that front, but without those power forwards, New York doesn’t have much tall timber beyond Tyson Chandler (17.1 PER), and it shows. The Knicks are the anti-Thunder at 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five.
Charlotte (19-25 SU, 24-18 ATS) is sneaking its way back into playoff contention, posting back-to-back wins with Ramon Sessions (15.5 PER) taking over the point for the injured Kemba Walker (18.0 PER), and Jannero Pargo (21.9 PER in limited action) heating up off the bench. The Bobcats fall into much the same bucket as the Raptors, being a young team from a small market that nobody cares to take seriously. But NBA odds makers know to take new Toronto GM Masai Ujiri seriously, and they do the same for new Bobcats GM Rich Cho, who’s part of the reason the Thunder (and the Portland Trail Blazers) are doing so well these days. Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain.
NBA Pick: Take the Bobcats +4.5 at BetDSI