1-0 Tuesday. 46-49-1 overall.
Heat (+8) @ Sixers (209)
Pick: Sixers -8
The Sixers annihilated Miami in Jimmy Butler’s return to South Philadelphia last month. Veteran guard Goran Dragic played in that game for the Heat and had 18 points. The Yugoslavian will sit on Wednesday with a groin injury and wing player Justise Winslow will also not suit up tonight for Miami. Between Dragic and Winslow, the Heat are missing 28 points per game against a team that already defends well in the Sixers. Philly laid an egg on Sunday in Brooklyn, getting blown out by 20 points by the Nets. Another egg would be the only way the Heat hang around in this one. The Sixers don’t lay eggs at home as they remain undefeated at Wells Fargo Center, a streak that would be nice to have on the line on Christmas Day against Milwaukee. For at least tonight, it stays intact and the Sixers win by double digits.
Hornets (+3.5) @ Cavaliers (212.5)
Pick: Cavaliers -3.5
It’s not every day we’d suggest laying points with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, against the Charlotte Hornets off a win makes sense to back the Cavs as a short home favorite. I didn’t think I’d ever be using a look ahead angle when handicapping Charlotte this season, but that’s fair to wonder now with the Hornets just one-half game out of a playoff spot. The weekend the Hornets host Utah and travel to Boston. Given the success they’ve had early in the season, who can blame them for getting excited for an opportunity to prove themselves against some better teams? Whenever the clear worse team is favored, the better team getting points can be trappy and that’s what we think is going on here.
Grizzlies (+6.5) @ Thunder (219)
Pick: Grizzlies +6.5
Here we go again with the Oklahoma City Thunder laying more than two possessions. The Thunder were playing catch up most of the way on Monday against Chicago and the Bulls own ineptitude was the only reason Oklahoma City got all the way back. Memphis comes in playing pretty well and appears to be undervalued in this spot. Ja Morant and company have won four out of five and in the one loss they only failed to cover the spread by one point. For a young team like Memphis, those kinds of small spurts of better play could spark longer stretches of confidence which we’d like to think keeps them in more games. We’re expecting them to keep this one within six.
Warriors (+9.5) @ Trail Blazers (221)
Pick: Trail Blazers -9.5
Since we were keeping a close eye on Portland’s game on Monday, having bet it under the total, the rally from the Trail Blazers in the second half was telling. After trailing by eight at the intermission, Portland had a big third quarter and eventually won in the closing seconds in the desert by a final of 111-110. That kind of come-from-behind win on the road can be galvanizing for an underachieving team like the Trail Blazers. It’s a sign that they’re still playing hard for one another and not throwing in the towel when they’re one run away from getting back in the game. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony were three of the game’s four leading scorers on Monday and against a Golden State team devoid of any high-end talent, all three players should be able to have big nights again. After tonight’s game against Golden State, Portland hosts Orlando, Minnesota and New Orleans. Wins in all four games would get the Trail Blazers within one game of .500 and probably push them into a playoff spot in the West. This feels like the get-right week for the Trail Blazers so we’d expect a blowout from them on their home floor on hump day.
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