Weekend Warm-Up: ABC Saturday Night Showcase Tips Off

Jason Lake

Thursday, January 19, 2017 3:38 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 3:38 PM UTC

The usual suspects have been destroying the NBA odds this year. Three highly profitable teams will be in action over the weekend – plus the Warriors and the Cavaliers (tricked you).

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Making NBA picks is all about exploitation. If the betting market weren’t filled with casual fans, there would be no profit margin. Crunching the numbers and projecting final outcomes is a great way to establish baseline expectations; the juicy games are the ones where recreational bettors, for whatever reason, have vastly different expectations. Here are some very juicy games for you to check out this weekend.

Friday: Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

People just don’t appreciate Rockets GM Darel Morey and what he has done for the franchise. It’s the analytics. Morey uses data to help drive his decisions, and as will be made abundantly clear on Friday we’re living in a post-truth world. Also, people expect too much from the Warriors. This might be the best team in the league by a country mile, but the Dubs aren’t keeping up with the NBA odds.

Saturday: San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

The Cavaliers are having trouble meeting expectations, too. LeBron James has picked up his game, but he’s still on the downside of his career at age 32. And Kyrie Irving (-1.7 DBPM) is not the best point guard in the East – not even close. Meanwhile, down in San Antone, the Spurs are playing the same-old boring, successful basketball even without Tim Duncan. Kawhi Leonard is matching LeBron step-for-step this year, and Patty Mills is doing pretty much the same things as Irving. Yes, Patty Mills.

Sunday: Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors (6 p.m. ET)

Here’s the best point guard in the East. The Dinos' Kyle Lowry (+7.4 BPM) is playing better than ever, thanks to an increase in 3-point volume and accuracy. But it looks like he won’t even get voted onto the All-Star team. That’s what you get for playing in a foreign country. Then again, the Suns aren’t really on anyone’s radar screen – or television screen. Looks like the flu bug is working its way through the Phoenix dressing room, so that might give the Raps the extra ATS edge they need.

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