Swinging Johnson - NBA Record (10-11, -7.8 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
On Sunday night I wrote the preview on the Pistons/Clippers clash in LA and decided that the Pistons, as woeful as they are this season, were spotted too many points. I reluctantly grabbed the 14 point head start that the NBA odds makers were dealing and cast my lot with a poor team. I eschewed my daddy’s advice whose words reverberated in the aftermath of a poor choice. He said “never bet good money on bad teams.” Once again, Dad has proven to be much smarter than his son. Rest in peace you wonderful man.
Los Angeles Lakers (34-31 SU, 27-38 ATS)
Fans and pundits alike were more than happy to shovel dirt on the corpse of the underachieving LA Lakers when Kobe and company took an early season nosedive amid lofty expectations. But since February 1st the men from La La have gone a blistering 14-5 straight up but a mere 9-10 against the all-important number. Thus, most online sportsbooks were prepared for a Lakers surge and punters who tried to cash in have been left high and dry while the fans who root but don’t bet think everything is just swell.
LA has won four straight with their most recent victim being dispatched 106-97 last night in Orlando. There was no magic in Disney for the home team, but Dwight Howard returned to play against his former team and he clearly had an agenda. Howard dunked his way to 39 points and 16 boards amidst a chorus of boos and jeers every time he touched the ball. He made the fans pay for their disrespect as he dominated in the paint and hit 16 of 20 free throws in the 2nd half.
Atlanta Hawks (34-29 SU, 28-34-1 ATS)
The Hawks continue to spiral as they dropped their sixth in the last seven games last night when they couldn’t beat the Heat and were outgunned 98-81 in Miami. They have covered in only two of those games and are struggling to maintain their position as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Point guard Jeff Teague went down last night in the 3rd quarter with a sprained left ankle and his status is uncertain tonight. Despite their recent swoon the Hawks are playing pretty decent defense, limiting their opponents to 96 points in regulation. However, the points have been tough to come by and center Al Horford appears to be the only member of the Hawks interested in putting the rock in the hole. He has shot 60.7% and averaged 22.2 points per game over his last 13 games.
Both teams are playing back-to-back, so we can throw that angle right out the window. The Lakers barely eked out a victory a little over a week ago in LA when they managed a 99-98 win as 5 ½ point home chalk. Despite the fact that Dwight Howard has lost his last six consecutive games in Atlanta, we must remember this is his first time visiting Hotlanta in a Laker uniform.
While I realize the Lakers are 25th in the league in points allowed, I can’t help but think that stat bears little relevance against a team that can’t seem to score against anybody. Conversely, the Hawks have played tight defense even though they have not been winning games.
I don’t think the tight defense will matter here, as we don’t have to worry about anything but a straight up win because I see the Lakers as either one point favorites or even a pick’em in some shops. Let’s not overthink things with our NBA picks in this one boys. One team is rolling and the other team is getting rolled.
Free NBA Pick: Play the Lakers at a Pick for 4 units at BetOnline