Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 13 inclusive:
I trust you’ve been fading the Philadelphia 76ers (15-49 SU, 23-41 ATS) this season. If not all season long, then at least since Thanksgiving. The Sixers are 14-34 ATS since the turkey hit the table. They are making an absolute mockery of the NBA, losing 18 straight games at 4-14 ATS in a brazen attempt to finish last in the league and maximize their chances of winning the draft lottery. As long as that’s how the NBA is going to operate, every day will be Thanksgiving for handicappers.
We’ve also been making some good coin fading the Indiana Pacers (47-17 SU, 33-30-1 ATS) the past month or so. They’ve tripped over the NBA betting lines in each of their last eight games, falling to 5-18-1 ATS since Jan. 22. But the insertion of a certain ex-Sixer into the rotation could be enough for Indiana to cover that massive 16.5-point spread on Friday’s NBA odds board.
Deal or No Deal
Andrew Bynum (15.2 PER) never played a game for the 76ers. But he was an instrumental part of the team’s failure last year. After five excellent, but injury-shortened seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bynum was sent to Philadelphia as part of the four-way trade that brought Dwight Howard to L.A. That was one of the worst trades in NBA history, at least from Philadelphia’s point of view. Not only did Bynum sit out the entire season with knee problems, the Sixers also sent Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, and Nikola Vucevic, Mo Harkless and a first-round pick to the Orlando Magic. But hey, at least Philly also got Jason Richardson in return. He’s missed all of this season with knee problems.
Bynum only had one year left on his contract at the time of the trade, and he was able to land a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, but Bynum was suspended on Dec. 28 for “conduct detrimental to the team,” meaning he forced his way out of town. Cleveland curiously traded him to the Chicago Bulls along with a slew of draft picks for Luol Deng, and the Bulls immediately waived Bynum for salary cap relief. So Bynum can claim to have ruined both the Sixers and the Cavs – and perhaps the Lakers as well.
Now Bynum has a chance to be Indiana’s savior. Picked up for pennies on the dollar as a depth player, Bynum finally made his Pacers debut on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics, and he nearly put up a double-double in just 16 minutes off the bench, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds in a 94-83 victory. Just one problem: Indiana was favored by 12 points at home.
Turner the Burner
This is still a very hopeful sign for Pacers supporters. Team president and living legend Larry Bird recently criticized them for not playing hard enough, and the deadline deal that sent Danny Granger (10.4 PER) to the Sixers for Evan Turner (11.9 PER) wasn’t bearing much fruit. But Turner also had one of his better games with Bynum in the lineup, scoring nine points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting while also dishing out three assists in 23 minutes.
There’s not much for fans at the WFC to cheer for these days, but you can imagine they’ll be at their vocal best when Bynum and Turner visit on Friday (7:00 p.m. ET). Too bad their team will be busy punting the game. The Sixers are 8-25 ATS at home this year, 8-16 ATS against winning teams, and 2-3 ATS when getting at least 14 points. A mouthful of chalk is definitely a possibility here, but it’s a risk worth taking.
NBA Pick: Take the Pacers –16.5 at The Greek