NBA Picks ATS: Picking Every Game On Cyber Monday
NBA Picks ATS: Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is all about spending money online in an effort to get the best deal. Online shopping requires comparing prices from various websites, an activity that can be tedious and time-consuming, something that reading through these NBA picks against the spread will not do. Much like the research you might undertake before setting out on making your purchases, I’ve done the research and crunched some of the important numbers for you, thus giving you every chance to come out favorably with your selections in tonight's games on the hardwood.
No game tonight lacks a true storyline. In the first game of the day, a youngster looks to see how he stacks up against a red-hot guard that is winning games by himself these days. We’ve got three of the best teams (record–wise at least) in action today, with two of them playing against each other. We’ve also got two teams that will be without their best player squaring off in a game that could shine some light on the future, as both teams are still looking to fill the playoff promise that they came into the season with. Don’t forget about Dwight Howard and the debate as to who should be his starting point guard. The first game tips at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time with a new game beginning at least once an hour until 10:00 p.m., giving you a great way to spend the evening. Get your online shopping done early in the day and cut your losses with a successful night in the NBA.
Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards
The Pick: Magic 100-96
The Wizards have been playing well of late (4-1 over their last five games) and are riding the coattails of a red-hot John Wall. Their point guard is averaging 22.7 points and 10 assists over Washington’s last six wins, but “only” 17 and 6.5 in their last four losses. That kind of dependency on a single player scares me. Without the help of Bradley Beal on the perimeter, the Magic may chose to stick Victor Oladipo on Wall, a matchup that I think can limit the effectiveness of the Wizards' offensive centerpiece. If Orlando can play the Wizards evenly on the perimeter, they will win this game outright as they have a sizable advantage on the interior. Nikola Pekovic (15 points, 11 rebounds, 1.13 steals and 1.13 blocks per game) leads a paint presence for Orlando that ranks eighth in the league in rebound differential (+1.2) that should dominate the weak Washington front line (tied for 29th in rebound differential at -3.1). I like the scoring ability of Arron Afflalo and the defensive tenacity of Oladipo to cancel out the excellence of Wall, thus keeping this game close the entire way.
Fun Fact: The Magic have seven players averaging at least 10 points on the road, with Andrew Nicholson and E’Twaun Moore combining for 22 points on 58.1 percent shooting from the field.
New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls
The Pick: Bulls 92-89
This game had considerably more appeal less than two weeks ago as we were ready to see the future of the point guard position in Derrick Rose oppose the future of the center position in Anthony Davis. Due to injuries, however, we now have Kirk Hinrich leading the Bulls' backcourt and the underwhelming tandem of Jason Smith/Al-Farouq Aminu pacing the Pelicans' front court. Take the points.
The Bulls are also missing Jimmy Butler, and while I still buy their defensive fortitude, they simply don’t score enough to justify giving more than five points to any team in the league. With Davis no longer an option, the Pelicans will lean more heavily on the versatile Tyreke Evans and the scorching-hot Ryan Anderson, players that have skill sets that will give the Bulls' defenders fits.
Luol Deng is probably the best player in this game, and I like the ability of the Bulls to get the ball in the paint and make free throws (fifth best in the league), so I’ll say they win this game in the fourth quarter. But, the Pelicans have a real chance to win this game and a very good shot to keep it closer than seven points.
Fun Fact: The Pelicans defense is dead last in aFG% against, but the Bulls are 28th in offensive aFG%. Something has to give.
Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs
The Pick: Spurs 101-94
The Hawks are a good basketball team. Not San Antonio good, but still a viable NBA team that should never be a double digit point dog on normal rest. Al Horford and Paul Millsap are the two most efficient players on the Hawks in terms of PER, averaging almost 33 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and three blocks per game. Tim Duncan can defend one of them, but can Tiago Splitter or Boris Diaw slow the remaining big man down? Both Horford and Milsap average more minutes than any one Spur, magnifying what I expect to be an advantage for the road team.
In the backcourt, Tony Parker is as good as it gets, but don’t sleep on the ability of Jeff Teague.
Teague: 17.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and a 2.4 assists-to-turnover ratio
Parker: 18.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio
I’m not saying that Teague is on the level of Parker, but the difference isn’t as great as the name recognition may suggest. Kyle Korver is a key cog in this Hawks machine as he spaces the floor and gives their elite interior duo room to operate. The sharpshooter (ribs) should be available for this contest, making it increasingly difficult to guard Horford/Milsap. The high scoring Louis Williams and the increasingly impressive Cartier Martin are both also players who have much more upside than the backcourt of San Antonio.
The fact that the Spurs don’t get to the free throw line at all scares me long-term, especially when you’re talking covering a huge number. Manu Ginobili is beginning to resemble an aging star, and the Spurs have yet to find a replacement when it comes to rim attackers.
Fun Fact: Both of these teams rank among the bottom four teams in the league in offensive rebounding deferential.
Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz
The Pick: Rockets 108-95
Utah’s roster suggests a much better team than the 3-15 team we’ve seen during the first month of the season, but expecting a rookie in Trey Burke to flip the script immediately is simply unreasonable. The Jazz are the third-worst defense and the fifth-worst offense in terms of points per shot. The knock on Houston is their poor free throw shooting, but they average seven more points from the stripe than Utah despite the fourth worst FT% in the league. In fact, the Jazz are the only team to be shooting under 31 percent from distance and getting to the line less than 25 times per game. The NBA has become a game of who can make the most 3-pointers and get the most “easy points”, so until the Jazz reverse that trend, they are going to continue to lose, and lose big. The Rockets are shooting 38.1 percent from downtown and attempting over 33 free throws a night, a massive advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Burke’s potential, but the fact that Patrick Beverly will be seeing major minutes in the place of the injured (and defensively questionable) Jeremy Lin limits the rookie’s upside tonight.
Fun Fact: Despite averaging six more rebounds per game, the Rockets get out rebounded on the offensive end by 2.6 rebounds per night. The Jazz are +1.1 nightly.
Indiana Pacers at Portland Blazers
The Pick: Pacers 102-94
Both of these teams played last night, something that figures to benefit the Pacers in a big way. Portland relies heavily on star guard Damian Lillard, but he is shooting just 31.3 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from deep on the second night of a back-to-back. That number is concerning by itself, but it becomes lethal when you consider that the defenses that held him in check are far from the elite status of the Pacers. On the flip side, the Pacers' best player Paul George is averaging more PPS on the second night of a back-to-back than his season average.
Portland’s offense has been dependent on the 3-pointer (fourth in 3PM and third in 3P%), and while I very much think this offense can win 50 games in that fashion, they are going to have a difficult time beating top notch teams. Indiana’s defense ranks in the top four in 3PM and 3P% against due to their willingness to guard tight on the perimeter with the shot-erasing Roy Hibbert waiting the paint. The Pacers lead the league in aFG% against, 4.2 percentage points clear of the second best team. The Blazers like to get easy buckets and hoist up a bunch of open 3-pointers, neither of which is going to happen with consistency against the team I expect to be the no. 1 seed in the East.
Fun Fact: Over the past four games, the leading scorer on the team opposing the Pacers has totaled 73 points. The leading scorer opposing the Trail Blazers? 122 points.