1-0 Monday, 108-102-2 overall.
Timberwolves (+12.5) @ Rockets (247.5)
Pick: Timberwolves +12.5
I don’t care how bad the Minnesota Timberwolves are. There is no way on the planet I can lay 12.5 with the Houston Rockets right now. I’m not saying this bet is a lock to win either, but the recent performance from Houston certainly does not warrant the Rockets as this hefty of a favorite against anyone on any court. The Rockets just got blown out by 20 points at home by the Orlando Magic. Prior to that they lost in Charlotte against the lowly Hornets. In case that’s not enough, earlier in March the New York Knicks beat the Rockets. None of these teams that have recently defeated Houston are particularly good at basketball in case you were wondering. There’s a real possibility the Rockets end up in the seventh slot in the Western Conference playoffs and get the Clippers in the opening round. They’ve lost four in a row and while one could argue this is a get-right spot for Houston, it won’t be me. Often times betting bad teams at the end of the season is going to be centered more on fading the opponent of said bad team. That’s what we’re doing here.
Suns (+4) @ Trail Blazers (232.5)
Pick: Trail Blazers -4
Portland’s quest for the eight seed in the West is likely to fall short. It seems like Memphis would really need to dip in order for any other team to sneak in and even if the Grizzlies open the door, it would likely be the Pelicans or surging Kings to take advantage instead of the Trail Blazers. Having said that, we do get Portland laying a short enough number tonight in a revenge spot against Phoenix to where we are interested. The Suns just beat the Trail Blazers by 10 in Arizona last week. With both teams likely headed for the lottery, motivation down the stretch will be a key factor in handicapping each one. Phoenix is comprised of mostly young players and would probably be the more likely team to check out at this time of year. Portland has several veterans that figure to at least play hard until the playoffs are not mathematically possible. Couple that with the revenge element for the Trail Blazers and we’ll back the home chalk in the Pacific Northwest tonight.
Nets (+11) @ Lakers (223)
Pick: Nets +11
I always like to bet on teams shortly after coaching changes in the middle of the season. Brooklyn and Kenny Atkinson recently parted ways and while the Nets did not cover in the first game after the change, they did pick up a victory against Chicago on Sunday. With the playoffs all but a lock for the Nets, staying in the seventh slot and therefore avoiding Milwaukee in the first round becomes the next step for Brooklyn if it wants to revitalize what’s otherwise been a mediocre season. Regardless of the opponent, the Nets are likely to be eliminated in the opening round. Once a coaching change is made, it’s clear that roster changes could be next. Considering the two stars for Brooklyn, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, will not be on the floor in the final month of the regular season and in the postseason, the Nets could certainly look different on opening night next season. They’ll already have a new coach and now the players must fight to prove they belong in smaller roles along Durant and Irving. What better way to prove that than to perform well against the best team in the West?