Everyone loves an underdog, so we’re putting three of the biggest dogs in the yard into Sunday’s NBA picks. And nobody’s barking more loudly than the Philadelphia 76ers on the road in Cleveland.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 27: 61-58-5 ATS, 6-11 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
As we go to press, NBA underdogs have a slight edge at 537-525-22 ATS this season. That’s 50.56 percent, not nearly enough to make a profit as blind NBA picks, but still better than throwing darts at a board. It’s also a typically reliable performance level for underdogs over the years.
If you add this simple betting angle to your arsenal, your NBA picks will have that much more chance of succeeding. So let’s trot out three of Sunday’s biggest underdogs. Many handicappers bet underdogs exclusively in any sport they play, and each of these three puppies has some good things going for it above and beyond the NBA odds.
L.A. Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets (3:30 p.m. ET, YES)
The Lakers (19-52 SU, 33-34-4 ATS) had been doing very well for handicappers, but the money train has slowed down lately: Los Angeles is 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in its last six games, following a zigzag pattern that’s “due” to land on an ATS win this Sunday. Perhaps the Purple and Gold will have some more value now that Jordan Hill (16.5 PER, minus-1.9 BPM) and Carlos Boozer (16.7 PER, minus-2.8 BPM) have been held out in back-to-back games. We’ve got L.A. getting seven points as we go to press.
Possibly taking away from that value: the Nets (31-40 SU, 34-36-1 ATS), who are on a surprising upswing at 6-2 SU and 5-2-1 ATS after honking five straight. That puts Brooklyn within half a game of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. But Deron Williams (15.2 PER, minus-0.4 BPM) and Thaddeus Young (17.7 PER, plus-0.2 BPM) are both questionable for Sunday – scratch that, Young is officially out with a hyperextended left knee.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Lakers
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New Orleans Pelicans (4:00 p.m. ET)
It’s been a season to forget for the Timberwolves (16-56 SU, 32-39-1 ATS), but they’re starting to put things together again at 2-4 SU and 4-2 ATS in their past six games. While just about everyone on the roster is injured, the Wolves still have Gorgui Dieng (17.3 PER, plus-2.9 BPM), and they still have Andrew Wiggins (13.5 PER, minus-2.2 BPM), who’s on a heater right now with four 20-point efforts in his last five. Minnesota’s also getting 12 points in this matchup.
The Pelicans (38-34 SU, 40-32 ATS) are three games out of a playoff spot in the West after a disappointing 2-5 SU and ATS slide. At least Anthony Davis (31.1 PER, plus-6.9 BPM) is playing again. If you’re a basketball fan, it should be interesting to watch Davis and Dieng collide under the Minnesota basket, like matter and anti-matter, or Coke and Mentos.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Timberwolves +12 at Pinnacle
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (4:30 p.m. ET)
Praise be, another chance to follow the 76ers (18-55 SU, 37-34-2 ATS). They’ve been one of our favorite basketball picks at 5-8 SU and 8-5 ATS over their past 13 games, 12 of those as the underdogs. Plus, it’s another chance to look at Nerlens Noel (15.0 PER, plus-0.9 BPM) and his tremendous hi-top fade. Perfect hair forever.
We don’t have anything bad to say about the Cavaliers (47-27 SU, 37-37 ATS). But they’re laying up to 17 points in this matchup. The last time they played this game on Feb. 2, Cleveland was a 17-point home chalk, and the Sixers got paid in a 97-84 loss. And that was before the big trade that sent Michael Carter-Williams (12.9 PER, minus-1.2 BPM) and K.J. McDaniels (10.8 PER, minus-2.4 BPM) packing. We’re not saying you should take Philly at +1400 on the moneyline, but we do like these basketball odds.
Free NBA Pick: Take the 76ers