Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to April 22 inclusive:
Like that great humanitarian Meat Loaf once sang, two out of three ain’t bad. Also, we’re gonna go all the way, tonight’s the night. We got two of Tuesday’s three NBA picks right; the Toronto Raptors joined the zigzag train, but unfortunately for us, so did the Indiana Pacers. Should we climb on board this popular NBA betting pattern? Not necessarily. Let’s just go out there, take it one game at a time, and the Good Lord willing, things will work out.
Indiana vs. Atlanta (7:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV)
Not only do the Pacers (57-27 SU, 39-44-1 ATS) and the Hawks (39-45 SU, 39-44-1 ATS) get one fewer day of rest than the other guys playing Thursday night, they also get the NBA-TV treatment. Indiana evened this series with a 101-85 victory, coming back from an 11-point first-half deficit to beat the basketball odds as 7.5-point home faves. The Game 3 NBA lines have Atlanta getting two points at home with a total of 186.
Our early consensus reports show an overwhelming majority of bettors on Indiana’s side. But I’m not in a hurry to bet on a Pacers team that’s still just 6-22 ATS since Feb. 25. Let’s see some consistency first. The Hawks are still wreaking havoc on the perimeter, shooting 10-of-29 in Game 2, and Roy Hibbert (13.5 PER) is still an offensive black hole in the paint. And as far as that zigzag goes, Marc Lawrence reminds us that it worked 55.4 percent in Game 3 from 1991 through last year’s playoffs. Dial it up.
NBA Pick: Take the Hawks +2.5 (–101) at Marathon
City vs. Memphis (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT)
The Grizzlies (51-33 SU, 37-44-3 ATS) looked like they were toast in Game 1, but they responded with Monday’s 111-105 overtime win over the Thunder (60-24 SU, 44-38-2 ATS), cashing in as 7-point road dogs. Thursday’s NBA odds board has Memphis as a slim 1.5-point home dog with a total of 190; again, the early consensus is on the favorites, who are getting 62 percent support as we go to press.
I’m generally inclined to go with the Thunder here. In addition to the Game 3 zigzag, there’s a solid NBA betting trend for No. 2 seeds at 63-45-8 ATS (58.3 percent) dating back to 2003. And I like what Oklahoma City was able to do in Game 2 despite the loss. The Thunder had the edge in turnovers and offensive rebounding, producing six more shot attempts than Memphis. They just didn’t make their shots on Monday. I’m betting that changes on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Take the Thunder –2 (+101) at Matchbook
Clippers vs. Golden State (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
Here’s a tricky spot. The Warriors (52-32 SU, 42-39-3 ATS) took Game 1, then they lost Game 2 by 40 points, falling 138-98 as 8-point puppies. Now they’re coming home, and guess what, they’re going to be small dogs just like Atlanta and Memphis. The NBA betting lines have Golden State getting 1.5 points with a total of 215. Is the betting public on the Clippers? Do bears frolic in the woods?
Normally I’d be inclined to go with the Clippers here, but because the Dubs got absolutely killed in Game 2, and only went to the free throw line 27 times compared to 35 for Los Angeles, I see the pendulum swinging once they get back to Oakland. By the way, Golden State is 16-8-1 ATS (66.7 percent) in the playoffs since 2003, and 96-60-5 ATS (61.5 percent) as a home dog in the regular season. Woof woof.
NBA Pick: Take the Warriors +1.5 (–102) at 5Dimes