Pick Pistons to 'Cover' on Road vs. Spurs

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 3:45 PM GMT

The Spurs were struggling ATS heading into the All-Star break, but after completing a nine game road trip that showed some imrovement. Let's see what the NBA odds are saying about this rematch that the Pistons won two weeks ago.

On Wednesday night in the NBA it might be challenging to find two teams as different when you consider the simple word – team. For those making NBA picks, San Antonio fits the word “team”, never making excuses for injuries or other problems and always having the next player up prepared to play and succeed. Detroit on the otherhand would not fit the definition of “team” and basketball bettors making sports picks would rather pass or play against the Pistons most often.

Detroit has Patchwork Roster by Choice

The Pistons are undesirable 23-34 record (25-32 ATS); yet still maintain slight playoff hopes in the ninth position in the Eastern Conference, trailing Carolina by four games in the loss column. Having lost five of sixth suggest the betting odds are certainly not with the Detroit and there problems are doubled by having the wrong mix of players.

In the off-season, owner Tom Gores said it had to be “the playoffs or else…” not finishing the sentence and leaving open several possibilities.

The Pistons brought in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to go along with young talented players like power forward Greg Monroe, center Andre Drummond and six-year veteran Rodney Stuckey.

The problem with both these acquisitions is neither is a team player. Smith was always a player that needed the ball in Atlanta and sometimes he was brilliant and other times not so much. If Monroe and Drummond are to reach their true potential, playing alongside Smith hardly seems to be the right fit.

Jennings might lead Detroit in scoring but he is a volume shooter who is as bad a fit as there is for a point guard in the NBA. Jennings has always been delusional about his own shooting abilities and you do not need to look any further than his 39 percent career shooting percentage. This year it has sunk even further to 37.6 percent which is next to last among point guards who play the position basically full time.

Now consider Jennings is sixth in his position in shot attempts and you can understand why the Pistons offense bogs down. In fact lately, head coach John Loyer has used backup Will Bynum to run the team at crunch time nearly as much as Jennings because he brings a passion and effort that ignites the team, which has to make owner Gores cringe since he’s paying Jennings five million more than Bynum this season.

Pistons Not Firing on All Cylinders When Needed

Coming from the Motor City, if the Detroit basketball franchise was a car, it would have a broken clutch, because the Pistons are dead last in the Association in points scored in the fourth quarter at 22.4 per game.

This relates to what was written above about unstable point guard play and the lack of offensive continuity and makes it hard for NBA basketball handicappers to consider backing Detroit with any regularity.

San Antonio Back Home and Hopefully Getting Healthier

All things considered, the Spurs Rodeo Trip was a success. For the nine-game trip, San Antonio was 6-3 (5-4 ATS) and kept their lead in the Southwest Division over Houston and is still in second in the Western Conference behind front-running Oklahoma City.

While many might think of the Spurs as an old team because of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, they have several young players who are among their top players, yet they have all been afflicted by injuries.

To date, San Antonio has played 56 games, but the combination of the three players already mentioned plus Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green has managed to miss 70 games and that number will continue to rise with Parker out with “various maladies”.

Yet somehow, someway, the brilliance of Gregg Popovich enables a Patty Mills to run the Spurs from the point for 18 minutes a game and to this juncture not be too badly and the much-traveled Boris Diaw is having one of his best seasons in the last several years, averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.4 blocks during 25.1 minutes, all very important for team which is relatively thin in the frontcourt.

However, all the injuries have mattered when brought to light studying the NBA odds and sports betting material.

San Antonio is just 18-8 at home (10-16 ATS), which places them on pace to have their worst home mark in four years during the regular season when they were 29-12. Consider last year they lost at total of eight home games making it to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

The Spurs have not played since last Friday and are 4-1 (3-2 ATS) when off for three or more days and will want to start building momentum in their own building.

Betting Odds and Scheduling

The overnight line on this non-conference clash had the Spurs as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 209. Within the hour of the sportsbooks release, the number was up to 10.5 points.

After this conflict, Detroit will be off until Saturday when they play at Houston and that will be followed by three home contests. The Pistons are 12-13 ATS on the road (10-15 SU) and are 15-17 ATS with a day off, losing by less than a point a contest (0.7).

San Antonio will play five of the next six at home and each contest will come with at least with one day off. The toughest tasks are home games with Dallas (3/2) and Miami (3/6).

Head to Head Meetings

Detroit won the previous tilt 109-100 at home as 3.5-point underdogs and they are 4-2 ATS when visiting the Southwest since 2008.

The Choice

Because it’s the NBA, strange occurrences are frequently the norm, thus I’ll take a flyer on Detroit with the points because they have competitive on the road the Spurs have been less dominant at home.

NBA Free Pick – Detroit plus the points

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