Nets vs. Cavs
There have been some “mini-tanking,” or “micro-tanking,” rumors floating around recently, and they have mostly been pointing at the Nets. However, why would they not want to move down in the seeding? The Nets lost last night to the Knicks, and that put them in a unique position tonight. Because of it, the Cavs are -6 favorites in the NBA Odds, with a total of 200.
Brooklyn is now only a game up on the Wizards for the 6th seed, but the benefits of the 6th seed are much greater than the 5th. If the Nets lose tonight, and the Wizards win, Brooklyn would fall to the 6th seed, and out of playing in Chicago in the first round. Going to Toronto is an easier challenge in Brooklyn’s eyes. Considering Chicago beat them in the playoffs last season as a road team, it doesn’t surprise me at all. However it also means that they could have a meeting with the Heat in the 2nd round. However the Heat would have to lose tonight, or the Pacers win in order for Miami to be locked in at #2. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on the final day of the season in the East.
All of this aside, the Nets don’t want to win this game, and I see them micro-tanking their way to the 6th seed by sitting or limiting a lot of players tonight. The Wizards have to win to avoid being overtaken by the Bobcats, (Charlotte would have to beat Chicago at home) and Washington is a solid favorite tonight in Boston because of it. Because of the very unique situation of the seed battles in the East, this gives us a great opportunity to fade Brooklyn. The Cavs have been playing a little better recently, and they can beat a Brooklyn team that will likely be resting most, if not all of their starters.
NBA Pick: Cavs -6
Warriors vs. Nuggets
This may be one of a minority of games tonight that don’t have any playoff implications whatsoever. That hopefully means it will be easier to handicap, and with the Warriors already down Andrew Bogut for the playoffs, they won’t be taking any more chances tonight.
Because of this, the NBA Odds have the Warriors as +8 ½ underdogs to the Nuggets, with a total of 210 ½. Even though the spread is enticing, the total looks like a much better wager between these two teams. In a game that doesn’t mater, the over has to have some value.
I think you have to completely throw Golden State’s defensive numbers out of the window for this one. Andre Iguodala looks like he’ll miss again, and obviously Andrew Bogut will be out. I doubt David Lee pushes it even though he is coming off a hamstring injury, and for the dynamic duo in the backcourt, even though Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are young, there is no need to risk injury for them tonight in a meaningless game.
Therefore, assuming the bench is shortened significantly tonight for Golden State, the over looks like a great play for our basketball picks. Their defense will be nowhere near what it was with the starters in, and for Denver, they have given up almost 110 points per game in their last ten. Don’t expect the defense to be very good on either side.
NBA Pick: OVER 210 ½