Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 5 inclusive:
Is it possible the MVP race hasn’t quite been sown up yet? We all figured Kevin Durant was going to win, and I suspect that’s still the game plan. But after LeBron James scored 61 points earlier this week against the Charlotte Bobcats, all of a sudden there were murmurs that James had worked his way back into the race. A race that doesn’t exist, of course. You don’t vote for who wins the marathon, and you don’t announce your vote 18 miles in.
I still wouldn’t bet on King James retaining his MVP crown. But I would bet on the following three games in our latest Picks of the Day odyssey. Let’s start with the most profitable team in NBA betting this year.
Detroit at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. ET)
Okay, so the Pistons (24-37 SU, 27-33-1 ATS) aren’t crushing the basketball lines. But they do have the OVER at 43-18. You won’t find anyone performing that well against the NBA spreads, fade or follow. I tried jumping on the bandwagon this past Monday when the New York Knicks were in town, and naturally, the game turned into a bricklayer’s convention. New York shot just 38.6 percent from the floor. Detroit wasn’t exactly sharp either at 42.2 percent.
I think the Timberwolves (30-30 SU, 31-29 ATS, UNDER 30-27-2) make better dance partners for the OVER in this matchup. Instead of the tortuous soul drain that is the Knicks offense, the Wolves give us one of the fastest paces in the league – third fastest, in fact, at 99.9 possessions per game. And these two teams went OVER when they met in December. I’ll take another one of those.
NBA Pick: Take OVER 218.5 (–105) at Pinnacle
Indiana at Houston (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Pacers (46-15 SU, 33-27-1 ATS) are at it again. They fell 109-87 to the Bobcats (+4.5 at home) on Wednesday, their fifth ATS loss in a row and 15th in their last 21 games. Hope you’ve been enjoying this as much as I have. Not in a malicious way, I mean. Although there’s already a fair bit of deliciously negative chatter surrounding Evan Turner, who has a 12.5 PER in his six games as a Pacer. That’s only down a shade from his 13.2 PER as a member of the awful Philadelphia 76ers, though. Indiana knew what it was getting.
Houston (42-19 SU, 32-27-2 ATS) knew what it was getting in Dwight Howard: Excellence. Last year’s Least Favorite Player in L.A. has seen his production levels rise back up to 22.0 PER, and Howard has managed to stay healthy enough this year to start all 61 of Houston’s games thus far – sore back and all. The Rockets have most of their players together now, they’re 13-2 SU and 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games, and they’re my NBA pick for this matchup.
NBA Pick: Take the Rockets –4.5 (–105) at BetOnline
Atlanta at Golden State (10:30 p.m. ET)
It’s a fire sale, folks. The Hawks (26-33 SU, 27-31-1 ATS) have lost 12 of their last 13 games at 1-11-1 ATS. Their frontcourt has been reduced to tatters thanks to injuries, and as we go to press, this matchup is being circled, presumably as we await word on whether Paul Millsap (19.8 PER) will be able to play. He’s missed the past five games for the Hawks with a bruised right knee – Atlanta is 1-4 SU and ATS during his absence. The lone win was over the Knicks. Golden State (38-24 SU, 30-29-3 ATS), meanwhile, is 7-2 SU and ATS in its last nine games. Let’s go ahead and dial this one up.
NBA Pick: Take the Warriors