This handicapper won a close game with our free NBA pick for Wednesday; we'll shoot for double our pleasure with a pair of NBA Plays of the Day for Thursday night.
Mavericks -3 vs. Kings
Dallas, coming off a tough loss at Golden State Wednesday night, makes the short trip to visit the Kings tonight.
The Mavericks had won three games in a row, but blew an early 22-point lead and lost to the Warriors Wednesday night 128-114. Dallas shot 53 percent from the floor in the first half, then, in the end, couldn't even hang on for the cover as an eight-point underdog.
The Mavs are now basically 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS since G Rajon Rondo suffered a broken nose.
Sacramento has lost nine of its last 10 games, after falling to Golden State Tuesday night 121-96. The Kings led by 10 in the first quarter, until the Warriors went on a 23-0 run to take a firm lead for good. Sacramento, as a 10-point home dog, got to within 11 points late in the third quarter, but Golden State then just re-engaged the gas pedal and pulled away.
So that's three straight games the Kings have come up short of the 100-point mark.
The Mavericks have taken the first two games this season between these teams, by scores of 106-98 and 108-104 in overtime. Sacramento actually led that first meeting by 24 points early in the second quarter, but Dallas roared back for the victory and even sneaked out the cover as a seven-point favorite.
The second meeting, just three weeks ago, was much closer, as neither team led by more than 10 points. That time the Kings hung on for the cover as five-point home dogs.
Bottom line here, Dallas is the better team, playing on the road, where the spread is more amenable. If this game were being played in Big D the Mavs might be favored on NBA Odds by eight or nine points. And while some amateur shrinks might think Dallas would be down after blowing Wednesday night's game, we don't buy into that. Honestly, we don't know how last night's game might affect the Mavs tonight, but these guys are pros, and our guess is they've already shrugged it off.
Free NBA Pick: Dallas -2.5 at BookMaker
Blazers -4 vs. Suns
Portland, struggling as of late, hosts Phoenix for a key Western Conference bout.
The Blazers had lost three games in a row, and eight of their last 10, but squeaked out a 103-102 victory at home over Utah Tuesday night. Portland, favored by eight points, led by nine with three minutes to go, but let the Jazz pick away and get within a bucket in the final seconds, pissing away any chance at the cover.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has lost four of its last six games, after blowing a late lead and losing at home to Memphis Monday 102-101. The Suns led that game by seven with just under two minutes to go, but gave up the last eight points.
Portland got some good news earlier this week with the return of C Robin Lopez, who had missed six weeks with a broken hand. In his first action back Lopez scored 11 points and grabbed six boards in 25 minutes Tuesday night. Earlier this season, when both Lopez and Aldridge were playing, the Blazers broke out to a 19-6 start, going 14-10-1 ATS.
The Blazers lost the most recent meeting with the Suns two weeks ago 118-113, but both Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge missed that game. Both will play tonight.
Phoenix has won seven of the last nine meetings in this series, but perhaps it's time for Portland to put the reverse on that situation. The Blazers rallied from way back to tie the Suns late in the game the last time these teams met, and they did that without two of their big men. With them, Portland should be able to take care of business tonight so add them to your NBA picks tonight.
Free NBA Pick: Blazers -4 at 5Dimes