Take the Spurs –1.5 vs. Warriors for NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:15 PM GMT

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The San Antonio Spurs have taken over first place in the Western Conference, and they’ve been pounding the NBA lines ever since the end of their annual Rodeo Trip.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 19 inclusive:

84-68-2 ATS

23-20-1 Totals

So this is what the San Antonio Spurs look like. They’ve got all their players back in the lineup, and lo and behold, they’re back on top of the NBA standings at 52-16 (36-32 ATS) after winning 12 straight games at 9-3 ATS. The beatings continued Friday night with a 99-79 victory over the Sacramento Kings (+8 at home) that saw six different Spurs score in double figures. This is a team on a mission.

Fittingly enough, their mission is in California. They’ve got a Saturday night date with the Golden State Warriors (44-26 SU, 33-34-3 ATS), who have won eight of their last 10 games, but have also dropped the cash in four of their last five. The overnight NBA betting lines have this matchup as a pick ‘em with a total of 208, up from 206.5 at the open.

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Come on You Spurs
Wait a tic – haven’t the Warriors been going UNDER a lot lately? Indeed they have, although that wasn’t the case in Thursday’s 115-110 win over the Milwaukee Bucks (OVER 206). Milwaukee did its best San Antonio Spurs impersonation, putting seven players in double figures for scoring, including all four reserves. It is quite a good impression: You’ve got players from the States, Argentina, Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Georgia, … what, you mean all NBA teams are like that now? Oh. Cool.

Anyway, San Antonio has the OVER at 7-5 during this winning streak and 14-8 since the start of February, so I’m not so inclined to bet the UNDER in this situation. I’m a lot more intrigued by that pick ‘em. I like the idea of taking San Antonio while the taking is good. Golden State may have the benefit of a day’s rest, but the Spurs basically went 11-deep against Sacramento. Tim Duncan (21.3 PER) led the team with 34 minutes. And it’ll only be their fourth game in eight days. They’ll be fine.

It’s not like they’ve been tested much. The NBA schedule makers must have taken pity on San Antonio for having to endure that Rodeo Trip from Hell every year, because they lined up a series of tasty cupcakes for the Spurs. Eight of these 12 straight victories have come against losing teams. Did I mention that this winning streak started right after the Rodeo Trip ended?

 Compare 2013-14 NBA Championship Betting Futures

General Soreness Warriors
Here’s another Spurs imitation for you: The Warriors have had their ups and downs this season, much of that related to who’s in and out of the lineup. The latest casualties are Andre Iguodala (13.3 PER), who’s being rested until at least next week with tendinitis in his right knee, and Jermaine O’Neal (14.7 PER), who’s sat out the past two games with “general soreness” and remains iffy to get any minutes on Saturday.

We were able to make some money earlier in the season when Iguodala was injured. He’s a big, big reason the Warriors have improved to No. 3 in the league in defensive efficiency (yup, still one spot ahead of San Antonio), and Golden State went 5-7 SU and 4-7-1 ATS when Iguodala missed a dozen games with a bad hamstring. His defense would have come in handy against the Bucks.

As for O’Neal, he’s still good at clogging up the lane, and he can still grab rebounds (9.7 per 36 minutes, including 3.5 on the offensive glass). Nothing wrong with 13.8 points per 36 minutes, either. Golden State could use some of that on Saturday. I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s not forthcoming.

Special Update: San Antonio has moved to –1.5 on the overnight line.

NBA Pick: Take the Spurs –1.5