Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to April 21 inclusive:
Curse you, zigzag pattern. You caught me in both of Monday’s Game 2 matchups in the first round of the NBA playoffs; the Memphis Grizzlies (+7 away) beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-105 in overtime, and the Los Angeles Clippers (–8 at home) embarrassed the Golden State Warriors 138-98 to even their series. Not all that surprising to see the Clippers bounce back, but Memphis? Hmmmm.
We’ll revisit those guys later. For now, we’ve got three more Games 2 to take care of on Wednesday, starting with the two-time and defending World Champions.
Charlotte vs. Miami (7:00 p.m. ET, TNT)
The Heat (54-28 SU, 37-43-2 ATS during the regular season) drew first blood in this series, taking Game 1 99-88 as 10-point home favorites. Wednesday’s NBA odds board has the Bobcats (43-39 SU, 47-32-3 ATS) getting 10.5 points with a total of 186; our consensus reports show the public split fairly evenly at this price. But there are key injuries for both teams that make it difficult to approach this game with any certainty.
You’ve probably heard about Al Jefferson (22.6 PER) and his plantar fasciitis. Jefferson has been in a walking boot since Sunday’s Game 1 loss, and while it was assumed he’d be able to play through the pain again on Wednesday, it’s possible Jefferson might not even attend the shootaround. Meanwhile, Miami’s Mario Chalmers (14.0 PER) is questionable for Game 2 with a bruised knee. Jefferson is easily the more important player here, so I’ll risk the Wrath of the Zigzag and fade Charlotte.
NBA Pick: Take the Heat –10.5 (+105) at Matchbook
Dallas vs. San Antonio (8:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV)
Well, somebody had to be on NBA-TV. The Spurs (62-20 SU, 45-37 ATS) rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Mavericks (49-33 SU, 44-38 ATS) 90-85 in Game 1; Dallas still got paid as a 9.5-point road dog, but Sunday’s performance was strong enough to move Wednesday’s NBA betting line to San Antonio –8, with a total of 198. Not that often you see a big change in the lines from Game 1 to Game 2.
I’ll take it. The Spurs were one of the hottest teams down the stretch, finishing the regular season on a 22-4 SU run at 18-8 ATS. And now that we’ve reached the playoffs, Tim Duncan (21.3 PER), Tony Parker (18.9 PER) and Manu Ginobili (20.0 PER) can all get more minutes as Gregg Popovich – your 2014 NBA Coach of the Year – tightens his rotation. Too bad one of these teams has to lose, though.
NBA Pick: Take the Spurs –8 (–104) at Marathon
Portland vs. Houston (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
Shall we make it a chalk trifecta? The Rockets (54-28 SU, 40-40-2 ATS) are steaming after losing Game 1 122-120 in overtime, burned by a phantom foul call on Dwight Howard (21.3 PER) in the dying moments of the extra frame. The Trail Blazers (54-28 SU, 44-38 ATS) beat the NBA lines as 5.5-point road dogs; on Wednesday, they’ll be getting six points with a total of 214.5. Our consensus reports have 62 percent of early bettors on Houston.
Those bettors will be pleased to learn that Patrick Beverley (12.4 PER) has been cleared to play Wednesday after an MRI on his sprained knee revealed no significant damage. Beverley had to leave Game 1 late, allowing Portland’s Damian Lillard (18.6 PER) to drive to the hoop and make the winning foul shots. Looks like a good zigzag spot to me.
NBA Pick: Take the Rockets –6 (–105) at Pinnacle