Since there are only two games in the NBA to bet on tonight we've got space to fill, so we'll take a shot at both games with picks against both spreads and totals.
Rockets -2/209 vs. Thunder
OKC has Kevin Durant back, after he missed six games with that sore ankle. On the season the Thunder are 10-4 straight-up but only 5-8-1 against the spreads when Durant plays. Last time out, six days ago, OKC beat Utah 99-94, but couldn't cover at -11. Just before that the Thunder got upset at Sacramento 104-83, losing outright as seven-point road favorites, and just before that they lost at Golden State 117-91, whiffing on the spread as four-point road dogs.
In fact, OKC hasn't covered a spread since the day after Christmas, when it beat Charlotte 98-75.
Houston, meanwhile, just had a four-game winning streak snapped by a 120-113 loss at Orlando Wednesday night. The Rockets shot 51 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over 21 times.
Oklahoma City has leaned toward the UNDERS by a 9-5 margin in games Durant has played this season, even though those games have averaged 206 total points. That seems to indicate NBA oddsmakers have been posting the totals on those games a bit on the high side.
Houston has leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 23-16 margin, as Rockets games have averaged 200 points.
So far the most common two-pick combination on Thunder games this season with Durant has been the opponent and the UNDER, which has occurred five times in 14 contest. The most common combo on Houston games has been the Rockets and the UNDER, which has happened 13 times through 39 games.
Also, the total on this game opened at around 206, but was quickly bumped to 209. We don't mind going against the betting blow.
So our NBA predictions goes with Houston and the UNDER for our two-pick on this contest.
Free NBA Picks: Rockets -1.5 and UNDER 209.5 at 5Dimes
Cavaliers -6/204 vs. Lakers
It looks like both LeBron and Kobe might play tonight, so this one might be worth staying up late to watch.
Cleveland, the preseason favorite to win the NBA championship this season, has lost six in a row and fallen below .500 at 19-20. The Cavs got LeBron back last time out, after he missed eight games with some aches and pains, and still lost at Phoenix 107-100.
On the season Cleveland is now 13-26 ATS, playing way below betting expectations on an almost-nightly basis.
LA, meanwhile, has lost two in a row and four of its last five, after falling at home to Miami Tuesday night 78-75. The Lakers shot just 32 percent from the floor Tuesday, with Kobe “leading” the way, hitting just three of 19 shots.
But while LA is 12-27 overall, it's also a respectable 18-18 ATS, 7-8 ATS as a home dog.
Cleveland has played eight UNDERS in a row, and on the season has tilted toward the UNDERS by a 26-12 margin, as Cavs games have averaged 200 points.
LA has played six UNDERS in a row, and on the season is 18-21 on the totals, as Lakers games have averaged 207 points. Obviously, they've been tagged with some high totals.
Hmmm. Cleveland games are averaging 200 points, LA games 207, and the total on tonight's game sits at 204. See, it's not too hard to make totals, is it?
The most common two-pick combination on Cavs games this season has been their opponents with the UNDER, which has happened 20 times through 39 games. LA's most frequent combo is also the opponents and the UNDER, which has happened 11 times through 39 games.
We haven't backed the Lakers yet this season, but in believing they might shoot the ball a little better than 32 percent tonight, and that Cleveland might be a tad overrated on the betting line, we'll take the home dog as our NBA pick teamed with the UNDER.
Free NBA Pick: LA +6.5 and UNDER 204 at Bodog