Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to April 24 inclusive:
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The 2014 NBA Playoffs have been an absolute pain in the derrière; in what is usually a chalk-friendly first round, the underdogs have gotten off to a 12-9 SU and 16-4-1 ATS start as we go to press. Bottom seeds are crushing top seeds. Louis Del Grande’s head is exploding again. What’s the best NBA betting strategy in this situation? Hmmm… how about taking the underdogs blind for now? We’ve got three home dogs on Saturday’s slate – four, actually, but we don’t have time for the early matinee between the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks (+2). Phooey.
Antonio vs. Dallas (4:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
Not only did the No. 8 Mavericks (50-34 SU, 46-38 ATS) grab the cash in Game 1 and Game 2, they nearly took a 2-0 series lead back to Big D. The No. 8 Spurs (63-21 SU, 45-39 ATS) needed a 15-0 run late in the fourth quarter to beat Dallas (+9.5 away) 90-85 in the opener. Then they turned the ball over 22 times and gift-wrapped the Mavs (+7.5) a 113-92 victory.
Saturday’s NBA odds board has Dallas getting 3.5 points with a total of 202. I had the Spurs pegged as a follow team in this series – they swept the regular-season series with the Mavs at 3-1 ATS, and they went into the playoffs on an 18-8 ATS run. But Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has done a good job sending his defenders out to the perimeter and adjusting to San Antonio’s pick-and-rolls. Mmmmm… rolls.
NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks +3.5 (–101) at Marathon
Miami vs. Charlotte (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
If this were a regular-season game, I’d be all over the Bobcats (43-41 SU, 48-33-3 ATS) and more than happy to fade the Heat (56-28 SU, 38-44-2 ATS). But I subscribe to the idea that Miami meant to play at three-quarters speed until the playoffs. The Heat (–10 at home) cashed in for us in Game 1 with a 99-88 victory, and things looked even better for Game 2 when Al Jefferson came up with plantar fasciitis. Then Jefferson dropped 18 and 13 on Miami (–9.5) in a competitive 101-97 loss.
Jefferson (22.6 PER) is officially questionable for Game 3, but he’s had three games to rest his foot, and he’ll be fine as long as he can put up with the pain. Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.0 PER), who pulled down three offensive rebounds in Game 1 and another three in Game 2, where he led all Charlotte scorers with 22 points. Good stuff.
NBA Pick: Take the Bobcats +5 (+100) at SBOBET
City vs. Memphis (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
There’s plenty to like about the Grizzlies (52-33 SU, 38-44-3 ATS) in general, but I wasn’t big on their chances in this series, partly because back-up guard Nick Calathes (12.3 PER) was suspended. But go figure, Beno Urdih (12.7 PER) was phenomenal in each of the last two games, scoring 26 points in 28 minutes as Memphis went back-to-back in overtime to take a 2-1 series lead at 2-1 ATS.
I’d say the Thunder (60-25 SU, 44-39-2 ATS) have shot themselves in the foot, but they’d probably miss if they tried. While Russell Westbrook (24.7 PER) had 30 points in Game 3, he needed 26 field-goal attempts to do it. Westbrook is 5-of-25 from long range in this series. And he has nearly as many turnovers (12) as assists (15). I’d avoid him like the plague until he gets over this speed bump. How long will that be? Probably not nearly long enough.
NBA Pick: Take the Grizzlies +3 (–105) at 5Dimes