There are a ton of NBA matchups tonight and that means an increased chance of cashing in on some of the appealing betting totals. Let's take a look as I'm already focused on a couple of games.
Atlanta Hawks (53-17) vs. Orlando (22-50)- total 201.5
Where's the Jacket?
I know the game is being played in a warm climate, but the Atlanta Hawks, who have had a storybook season, have cooled off in a major way. The Hawks are losers of 3 straight. Tonight, they face a Magic team with talent, but is going nowhere. Let's not forget that Orlando allows in excess of 102 points per game while the Hawks score over 102 point per contest.
"The Guy With the Funny Hair Dew"
It's the easiest way to identify him as Elfrid Payton has really stepped up his game as of late for the Magic. Now that Tobias Harris is out with an injury, the Magic have needed someone to fill in the gap and Payton has been a muti-dimensional asset to the Magic squad. We know that Vucevic and Oladipo will produce, but Payton has been the most improved player as of late.
In his last 10 games, Payton is averaging 14.3 points, 8.6 assists, and 6.5 rebounds per game. He's only 21 years old. Folks: He's only going to get better and I expect him to be effective at the point guard position, a position in which Atlanta lacks defense.
I really don't know how the Hawks got off to such a fast start. Now, it's starting to catch up with them. The team that meets them in the playoffs could move on.
In the meanwhile, Paul Millsap continues to grind away and provides his 17 points and 8 rebounds per game. Occasionally, Millsap will have a huge game, but he's simply a big-bodied blue collar worker that will give the Hawks every ounce of energy that he has.
When planning my NBA picks, I consider this total to be kind of low and I think that the Hawks are vulnerable on the defensive end. I also think that Orlando's defense is pitiful as displayed in a loss to the Denver Nuggets of all teams. Both of these teams have allowed 114 points or more in their last matchups against other teams. The over is the pick in this spot.
NBA Pick- Over 201.5 at 5 Dimes
K. Love Get's No Love?
I recently saw an Instagram picture of Lebron James' "Clique". It included 6 players. Even Timofey Mozgov was in it, but Kevin Love was nowhere to be found. A championship team doesn't need this type of dissension. Love has been making "Anti-Lebron" comments and that's just not the way a team works.
In reality, Love has been playing poorly and ever since the trade that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavs, Cleveland has been winning. I expect Love to move on next season unless Cleveland wins it all and he could still move on.
In the meanwhile, the Cavs get a tough matchup on the road against the defensive-oriented Memphis Grizzlies. While the Grizzlies have the better record and are at home, the Cavs are the 1 point betting favorite. This just tells you how great that Lebron James really is. James has made a point of involving other people and Kyrie Irving has fit in very well as the wingman. We remember Irving's 57 point performance which was a Cavaliers record. Except for Kevin Love, this team has all of the tools to win it all. The betting odds speak for themselves.
The total for this game is 194.5 due to the Grizzlies defense, but Lebron James can't be stopped on an average night. Look for the Grizzlies, who possess offensive firepower in Randolph and Gaso, to keep pace with the Cavs as this game eclipses the NBA Odds betting total.
NBA Pick- Over 194.5 at 5 Dimes