Hawks vs. Celtics
Boston comes into this one as a -2 ½ favorite in the NBA Odds, with a total of 201 for this matinee game. While the Hawks are probably still reeling from the loss of Al Horford, I think the Celtics’ physical defense can come in and cover this game at home.
Without Horford, the Hawks have been forced to platoon many different big men into that spot, and so far, there hasn’t been much consistency. Pero Antic and Elton Brand have taken over a majority of Horford’s minutes, and with either one, the Hawks are losing valuable post scoring and defense. Although the Celtics don’t have many dominant big men, they have enough to cause the Hawks problems tonight, and to get the cover.
The Hawks are also dealing with an injury to DeMarre Carroll, who did not make the trip to Boston. While this probably isn’t the biggest injury, his presence defensively would have been welcome tonight against Jeff Green, who has been leading the Celtics in scoring with over 16 points per game. Look for him to have a huge game this afternoon.
Boston has won and covered their last three meetings with the Hawks, including a 94-87 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta about a month ago. If the Celtics can beat up on Atlanta when Horford is healthy, I think they can cover -2 ½ at home.
NBA Pick: Celtics -2 ½
Kings vs. Rockets
Sacramento is coming into this game after a close loss to the Spurs on Sunday, and after having the day off yesterday, they are back in action against the Rockets tonight. The NBA Odds have the Rockets as -9 ½ favorites, but I am more focused on the total, which is sitting at 213 points. We all know about the Rockets’ ability to score, however not only are they one of the faster paced teams in the league, but they are very efficient with their scoring.
The Rockets rank 3rd in the NBA in offensive efficiency, and subsequently the Kings rank 28th in the league in defensive efficiency. These two teams playing one another should result in a higher score, and despite the high total, I think the over has the value here tonight.
James Harden will be no match for whoever is charged with defending him, and the same could be said about Dwight Howard defending DeMarcus Cousins. Both of these guys are going to give one another some trouble tonight, and as long as they both aren’t in foul trouble, they both should raise the score some for us.
Howard and Cousins didn’t face one another much last season, as Cousins missed two games against the Lakers. Being on the road, I think the Kings’ defense is going to give up at least 110 tonight, if not more. With the Rockets averaging 102 points per game given up, and the Kings giving up nearly 107 points per game on the road, I see the total going over tonight for our NBA picks.
NBA Pick: OVER 213