Cavs vs. Hawks
Both teams have been playing somewhat well this season, and the NBA odds have the Hawks as -6 favorites here, with a total of 195. The spread is a wash to me, however the total seems to have some value hidden inside.
While the Hawks have been improving on defense since the beginning of the season, they still aren’t great at stopping opposing teams. The Cavs have some obvious offensive issues, however in their last two games, the Cavs have scored 97 and 98 points respectfully. They should at the very least get into the mid 90s this evening, which would suggest that the over is the play here.
Five of the last seven times these two teams have faced one another, the total has gone over. On top of that, four of Cleveland’s last five road games have gone over the total, and a big reason why has been the road defense of Cleveland. The Cavs are giving up over 103 points per game this season on the road, and I expect around that much for the Hawks’ scoring column tonight.
Neither team is very good in their defensive efficiency, while the Hawks are currently ranked 9th in the NBA in true shooting percentage, and 11th in possessions per game. The Hawks are making some big strides, and for this game at least, I think they will be in a higher scoring game. Look for the Hawks to force the Cavs to play their style of game, leading to the over having value.
My Pick: OVER 195
LA is waiting on the return of their chosen leader, Kobe Bryant, however it does not appear as if the chosen one will make his return to the court tonight in Sacramento. Besides, why would the Lakers debut him on the road, anyways? However Pau Gasol and Steve Blake look good to go tonight after suffering some minor injuries in the Lakers’ last game.
Another guy who looks good to return is DeMarcus Cousins, who miss the Kings’ game on Wednesday with a spraind ankle. However, all jokes aside, (Cousins joked he would be out for the season so he could get a return commercial) there will be no one to stop Cousins in this game, and it will likely lead to the over having some value.
The NBA odds for this one favor the Kings at -3 ½, but the total of 204 laid down by sportsbooks looks prime for an over bet tonight. The Lakers are giving up over 103 points per game this season, and when they go out on the road, it swells to 108 opponent’s points per game. This is mostly because the Lakers try and force their opponents to run with them, and I see that happening tonight.
The Lakers will try and force the pace of the game, and get the half-court Kings out of their comfort zone. While the Kings’ defense has been improving this season, they are still one of the worst teams in the NBA in defensive efficiency, ranking 28th through the first quarter of the season.
The Lakers currently rank 3rd in the NBA in pace, and while they may not be able to stop Cousins on the defensive end, they may be able to wear him down after he missed a game. Getting him running is the key to beating the Kings, as the big man still wears down easier than some. Look for a faster paced game with little defense, for our NBA picks we choose the over.
My Pick: OVER 204