Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 17 inclusive:
I love it when a plan comes together. All three of my NBA picks from Friday’s betting calendar managed to cash in – hilarious, because I went 0-4 on Wednesday. There’s really no point in getting too worked up at either extreme. Most days are going to be somewhere in between, and if you’re decent enough at this sports betting thing, you might end up being right 55 percent of the time in the long run. Sure is fun to win, though. Let’s see what Saturday has in store.
So Hedo Turkoglu made his debut for the Clippers (27-13 SU, 23-17 ATS) on Friday, and his impact was minimal as expected: seven minutes, one shot, one made bucket, one rebound. More importantly, Blake Griffin (22.2 PER) took advantage of the New York Knicks and their latest injuries, scoring 32 points to lead L.A. (–4 away) to a 109-95 victory. Jamal Crawford (14.4 PER) also went on a tear with 29 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Well done.
Now the Clippers have to head on over to the Fieldhouse to take on the Indiana Pacers (31-7 SU, 26-12 ATS), who were idle on Friday and have only played twice in the past week. Nobody’s beaten up the NBA betting lines worse than the Pacers thus far. They’re 15-6 ATS at home, they’re completely healthy, and they're coming off a 117-89 de-pantsing of said Knicks (+9.5 away). Let’s see… 28 minus 14, carry the one… I’ll take Indiana.
NBA Pick: Take the Pacers –8.5 (–104) at Marathon
Philadelphia vs. Chicago (8:00 p.m. ET)
Both the 76ers (13-26 SU, 16-23 ATS) and the Bulls (18-20 SU, 17-21 ATS) lost on Friday, but the way they lost speaks volumes about the difference between these two teams. Philadelphia got destroyed 101-86 by the presumably coasting Miami Heat (–10.5 away), giving significant minutes to Hollis Thompson (9.4 PER), Brandon Davies (5.6 PER) and Elliot Williams (5.7 PER). Chicago beat the basketball odds as a 5-point road dog in a hard-fought 96-93 loss to the Washington Wizards.
One the one hand, this means that Philadelphia’s starters will be the fresher bunch going into Saturday’s tilt. But on the other, the Sixers are 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six games, while the Bulls are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight. And while this whole tanking narrative may be somewhat overblown, one of these teams is headed for the draft lottery, and the other is fighting for a playoff spot. I’ll pick the second team, from the Second City.
NBA Pick: Take the Bulls –8 (–102) at Pinnacle
Milwaukee vs. Houston (8:00 p.m. ET)
Of course, when it comes to tanking your season away, the last-place Bucks (7-31 SU, 13-25 ATS) are the Michael Dukakis of the NBA. If there was any concern that the money parade would stop with the return of Larry Sanders (9.6 PER), fear not: Milwaukee is 1-9 SU and 2-8 ATS since Sanders made his season debut on Dec. 27. Remember, kids, if you get splashed with champagne at a night club, and you’re making over $3 million this year, buy more champagne.
The Rockets (26-15 SU, 20-19-2 ATS) have been doing just fine as far as the standings are concerned, but they’ve failed to generate much consistency against the NBA lines. Stupid injuries. Houston is 8-5 SU and 5-7-1 ATS since Patrick Beverley (12.1 PER) broke his hand; he could return at any time, although there’s probably no rush to get him in against Milwaukee. Oh well. Open wide and take your chalk.
NBA Pick: Take the Rockets –13.5 at 5Dimes