0-1 Sunday, 101-98-2 overall.
Trail Blazers (+6.5) @ Magic (221)
Pick: Trail Blazers +6.5
For the second time in less than a week, I find the Portland Trail Blazers being undervalued sans Damian Lillard. The superstar guard should return to action at some point this week, but remains sidelined with a groin injury. Portland was catching 10 last Thursday in Indiana and stayed inside the number for almost the entire game and we cashed with minimal sweat. It’s a similar handicap for us tonight as the Orlando Magic just don’t feel like a team worth trusting laying this kind of number. The Magic have been favored by at least six points 11 times this year. They are 5-6 ATS in those 11 games. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but if you hit 6 out of every 11 bets against the spread, you’re doing pretty well. After winning three in a row last week, Orlando closed out the week losing by one in San Antonio. If you look at the Magic’s results this season, you’ll find a lot of short streaks in both directions which would explain their 27-33 record and bottom tier playoff seed right now. They aren’t the kind of team that responds well after a tough loss like the one they suffered on Saturday so considering they’re laying over two possessions on Monday night, it certainly feels steep. There’s a tax applied to Orlando tonight in this number based solely off Lillard’s absence. It’s not one we’re going to pay.
Jazz (-9.5) @ Cavaliers (222.5)
Pick: Over 222.5
This total has been bet up a couple points and it’s a move I agree with. Cleveland is going nowhere fast and often times those teams tend to check out on the defensive end as the season nears its conclusion. When those teams are playing playoff teams, like the Jazz, then the heavy favorite often can win the game without its defensive intensity level being too high. Both of these factors point to the over. Here are some recent games Cleveland has played that further illustrate that point with the total result included:
February 29: 113-104 loss at Indiana – Over 215.5
February 24: 125-119 OT win vs Miami – Over 221.5 (222 total points at the end of regulation)
February 22: 124-105 loss at Miami – Over 222
There is an under against Philadelphia included in Cleveland’s recent total results but remember the Sixers are down Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons right now. Utah is healthy and any time you can get a win this time of year without expending a ton of energy on the defensive end of the floor, you might as well take it. I’m not sure if the Jazz cover, but I think they score at least 115 which should be enough to get the total over 222.5.