Point Spreads Way Too Big to Ignore with Pistons, Magic

Troy Haliburton

Monday, February 26, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 4:17 PM UTC

Detroit and Orlando are big underdogs in games tonight against playoff contenders, but there are a few reasons bettors should be on their side when making their NBA picks.

Monday NBA: Pistons vs. RaptorsFree NBA Pick: Pistons +10.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Detroit (26-31-2 ATS) has lost five of its past six games and is watching its season slip away. The Blake Griffin trade looked as if it was going to save the Pistons, who won four games in a row after getting him from the Clippers. But since Blake’s former team played at Detroit on February 10, the Pistons have been in a major funk. Blake bears some brunt of the responsibility, as he is shooting only 39 percent from the field in his Detroit tenure.

There are still some elements to Griffin’s game that are endearing for the Pistons, and a large part of that is his ability to run the offense and set up Andre Drummond. Griffin is averaging 5.4 assists per game over his last 10 games and has been the focal point of the offense, which has been run out of the high post. Detroit can be successful with this style of play, but they need more depth to be able to stay in games when Drummond and Griffin are on the bench. Detroit’s bench was outscored 65-21 in an embarrassing 114-98 loss to the Hornets on Sunday.

Where Detroit is weak, Toronto is extremely strong. The Raptors (32-26-0 ATS) outscore opponents' benches by 8.6 points per game, the best differential in the NBA. Where Detroit can counter that is by switching up some of their rotations. On the Pistons bench is James Ennis, a new arrival from Memphis who is finally cracking Stan Van Gundy’s rotation. Ennis is a 3-and-D wing who can spot-up shoot and also can competently defend multiple positions. With my NBA picks, I'm thinking Ennis can find his groove tonight and Detroit can cover the double-digit point spread on the NBA odds board.

Monday NBA: Magic vs. ThunderFree NBA Pick: Magic +9.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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The Thunder (25-36-0 ATS) are in a precarious position, two games out of third place in the Western Conference playoff race yet only 1.5 games above the ninth seed. This game represents a critical point in the Thunder season. It is their lone home game over their next seven games, and most of their opponents -- Orlando included -- are outside the playoff hunt. Oklahoma City, a big home favorite on the NBA odds board, needs to win this game, but they have been struggling mightily since Andre Roberson was lost for the season. The Thunder keep trying to rotate different wing players into their lineup to replace Roberson, but none of those options seem to be the answer.

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I think Billy needs to eliminate the “developmental minutes” for Terrance Ferguson.

On/Off Net Ratings clearly spell it out:

Huestis +5.5
Abrines -6.9
Ferguson -15.4

Furthermore … Defensive Ratings when on court

JH: 101.9
AA: 106.9
TF: 112.5

— Andrew Schlecht (@AndrewKSchlecht) February 25, 2018

Terrance Ferguson is a promising prospect, but is too frail to compete on the defensive end and his jump shot is too inconsistent. Alex Abrines has the size to compete defensively, but lacks the foot speed to keep up with opposing shooting guards.

The Magic (27-31-1 ATS) have struggled after starting the season hot, but a large part of that is due to injuries. In one of those games early in the season, the Magic defeated the Thunder 121-108 as Aaron Gordon scored 40 points and took complete advantage of Carmelo Anthony at the power forward position. Gordon is back to playing inspired basketball and, with my NBA picks, I think he'll be enough of a mismatch against Anthony to lead the Magic to a cover in OKC.

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