Take Griffin-less Clippers -7 Our Sharp NBA Pick Over Hornets

Jason Lake

Saturday, January 9, 2016 1:48 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 1:48 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Clippers have gone 6-0 SU and ATS without Blake Griffin. That's a hot NBA pick for Saturday's game against the visiting Charlotte Hornets.

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NBA Pick: Clippers -7
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 7: 12-11-1 ATS, 4-1 Total

 

There must be something in the water in Los Angeles – besides chlorine and pharmaceuticals. The L.A. Lakers have been pounding the pay window since the holidays wrapped up, and the L.A. Clippers are the hottest NBA pick in the land at 6-0 SU and ATS in their last six games. Impressive. Even more impressive: the Clippers won all these games without Blake Griffin in the lineup. He's out for at least one more week with a torn quad.

Next up for the Clips is a Saturday matinee (3:30 p.m. ET) at Staples versus the Charlotte Hornets, who have hit the skids at 2-8 SU and ATS over the past 10 games. The Hornets (17-18 SU and 16-18-1 ATS) are 6.5-point puppies on our NBA odds as we go to press; no totals available yet, though, and it took a while for the spread to pop up Friday afternoon. Something's afoot.

 

Which Brings Us Back to Toe
Perhaps it's the right foot of Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum (17.2 PER, +2.6 BPM). He's listed as questionable for Saturday after missing the last three games with a sprained toe; Charlotte lost all three of those games at 1-2 ATS. Batum is the team's second-best active player after PG Kemba Walker (20.5 PER, +3.4 BPM), so his status is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Even with Batum in the lineup, Charlotte lost 122-117 to the Clippers (+2 away) on December 30. That was the start of a five-game losing streak for the Hornets, and not coincidentally, that was the first game that center Al Jefferson (17.8 PER, –1.1 BPM) missed after his right knee started acting up. Turns out it was a torn meniscus. Charlotte already started the season behind the 8-ball when SG Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (15.1 PER, –0.8 BPM last year) dislocated his shoulder during an exhibition game. Jefferson's injury could be the killing blow.

 

Don't Use the Force
The Clippers (23-13 SU, 16-17-3 ATS) picked a very good time to lose their second-best player. Each of their six opponents during this winning streak is below .500 at press time, and Jefferson wasn't the only injured big man L.A. didn't have to face. PF Derrick Favors (23.6 PER, +3.5 BPM) was out for the Utah Jazz when they fell 109-104 to the Clippers (–2 away) on December 26.

We're not about to tell you the Clippers are in better shape without Griffin (23.6 PER, +4.3 BPM), but they should have more betting value. He's an All-Star who's being treated like an MVP; teammate Chris Paul (23.6 PER, +4.8 BPM) is still the superior player at this point. Meanwhile, Griffin's absence means center Cole Aldrich (19.0 PER, +2.8 BPM) is finally getting a chance to put in some minutes off the bench. We'll buy that for a dollar, Batum or no Batum. Preferably no Batum.

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