Any time the Grizzlies can get in a defensive battle where they have to grind out victories, then they like their chances of winning that game. That’s exactly the type of game that they played in Los Angeles earlier in the week, which resulted in a three-point win. They tend to control the game when they play at home, so expect this to be a similar style of game.
Jeff Green has proven to be a solid acquisition. He had molded well with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and plays within himself. Sometimes players try to do too much when they go to a new team, but Green hasn’t done that. He found his role on the team and has given them a solid player to build on the depth that they already have.
Depth is something that coach Doc Rivers addressed earlier this season, but he is still searching for it. Blake Griffin may not score a ton of points every night, but he does get double teamed a lot, which opens things up for other players. Without Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers haven’t been as much of an offensive threat.
Los Angeles played Memphis well at home, but they face a much more difficult task on the road. Chris Paul has to be the guy to generate offense with DeAndre Jordan and other role players. Jordan is capable of being effective under the basket, but the Grizzlies just have too many big men that will eventually wear him down over the course of the game.
These two teams are very familiar with each other after meeting in the playoffs in two out of the last three years. They could be on course to meet again in the second round of the playoffs this year if they keep on their current track. Memphis is running hard at the number two seed, while the LA Clippers realistically hope to get the three seed. Without Griffin, it will be tough to achieve that. Memphis is tough to beat at home and the shorthanded Clippers just won’t have any answers for them. Take Memphis for your NBA picks against the spread in this game. We think the Grizzlies will put together a dominant victory at home.
Sports predictions against the spread:
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Houston Rockets both appear to be surging at the right time. They are climbing up the standings in their respective conferences and are in good positions to be one of the top three or four seeds when they playoffs begin. It’s hard to say which team has the edge in this game because they are both loaded with talent. The Rockets have been reliant on James Harden quite a bit lately, while the Cavaliers are starting to spread things around a little more. Cleveland is more likely to get a higher seed because of the conference that they play in, but both teams are pretty even on paper. This should be a good matchup of cross-conference playoff contenders.
The Rockets have drawn some questions about how much they rely on Harden now. They are pretty much forced to since Dwight Howard has been sidelined. It may not be the best thing to run your entire offense through one player, but it is a luxury to have the NBA’s leading scorer on your team when one of your other stars goes down.
As long as Harden remains hot, there’s really no reason for Houston to change anything. Some teams will be able to slow him down a little bit, but you still have to put the ball in his hands and let him go to work. Cleveland may be one team that can slow down Harden, but he seems to elevate his game against quality opponents. Expect that to happen again when LeBron James is in town.
Houston may have one of the hottest individual scorers in the league right now, but Cleveland is one of the hottest overall teams in terms of scoring. They are finally starting to get the contributions from Kevin Love that they envisioned when they signed him in the offseason. The trio of James, Love and Kyrie Irving just may be too much for the Rockets in this one.
As good as Cleveland’s defense is, Houston’s defense isn’t a slouch either. They may not have their best defender, Patrick Beverley, available in this one, so the Cavs will have to take advantage when they can. If the Cavs are able to control the tempo and not allow the game to get into a shootout, then they have to like their chances of getting a big win on the road.
When making your NBA picks for today, you have to take a lot of things into consideration. The Cavaliers are one of the hottest teams overall in the NBA right now, but Houston has the offense to be able to beat them in a shootout. LeBron and the Cavs know that it will be tough winning on the road against a Western Conference contender, so they will be focused on playing their game and trying to take the crowd out of it early. Stopping Harden is the number one task for Cleveland. They may not be able to stop him completely, but we think they will do a good enough job to keep him under his scoring average. Cleveland will win another huge road game.
Point spread predictions:
The Phoenix Suns started off in the eighth position in the Western Conference leading into the all-star break. Now that we are just a week removed from the break, they find themselves three games back from the eighth spot and with two teams to leapfrog in the standings. One of those teams is their next opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder. These teams are definitely headed in opposite directions right now, and if Phoenix doesn’t turn things around quickly, then they could put themselves into a hole that’s too big to dig out of. You can guarantee the Thunder know the importance of this game and will be playing hard for their eighth straight win.
Scoring hasn’t been the problem for the Suns on their recent skid. They have averaged well over 100 points in their last handful of games, but they’ve also given up that many. Phoenix fans are frustrated because they have the talent to score with some of the best teams in the league, but they just can’t slow anyone down.
The Suns won’t deserve to be in the playoffs if they continue at the rate they are going. Losing Goran Dragic at the trade deadline may have been the back breaker for their season. If they’re having trouble stopping other teams in the league, then this game could get ugly from the start with the way OKC has been playing.
Contrary to earlier this season, it doesn’t seem like the absence of Kevin Durant is affecting the Thunder this time around. Now that OKC is in playoff positioning, they are playing with a lot more confidence instead of panicking when things aren’t going their way. It also helps that Russell Westbrook is playing at an MVP level right now.
It certainly seems like the Thunder’s front office knew something that we didn’t about Durant’s latest injury. OKC made some bold trades at the deadline that really boosted their depth. Less than a week later, it was announced that Durant would miss time. Because of that, the Thunder are in pretty good shape to at least make the playoffs with or without Durant.
If the trends continue in this one, you can expect it to be a high scoring game. OKC has been scoring more points than anyone over the last couple weeks of the season, but the difference between them and the Suns is that OKC plays a little defense as well. Definitely take the over in this game and the Thunder winning outright for your NBA picks for today. If Phoenix decides not to play defense again, the Thunder are capable of putting this game away early. OKC will make another statement and increase their lead for the eighth spot in the conference standings.
Point Spread predictions:
The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks have expectations as high as the sky at this point in the season. Dallas has done everything they can to put a solid team on the court each night through trades and free agency. They are still waiting to see whether it will pay dividends, but they appear to be trending in the right direction. Atlanta, on the other hand, avoided its first three-game losing streak when they beat the Bucks in their last game. It took a 25-point beatdown from the Raptors in their previous game to really make them look at themselves in the mirror. Once they identified their flaws on the film, they were able to make some corrections and bounce back nicely.
The Hawks will have to face a Mavericks team that won’t be intimidated by their hostile environment. But don’t expect Atlanta to be timid either, since they have a solid record against the Western Conference. We will quickly see whether the Hawks are really back on track, or if they just happened to have a good game against the Bucks.
Paul Millsap took matters into his own hands against the Bucks and put up 23 points and 16 rebounds in the victory. Facing Dirk Nowitzki will be a little tougher in this one, but he should be able to control the aging veteran. Atlanta wants to avoid getting into a shootout with Dallas, but they would still like their chances even if that happened.
Dallas has seen their points per game total consistently drop over the last month or so. They have been one of the top two scoring teams in the league for most of the season, but now have fallen to fourth. That’s still not a bad place to be. Their focus on defense has made their offense suffer a little bit temporarily. Once they get comfortable with each other, expect the scoring to start rising again.
If nothing else, Amare Stoudemire proved that he could be a big contributor off the bench down the stretch for the Mavs. In his first game in a Dallas uniform, Stoudemire played 11 minutes and scored 14 points. If he can be that effective in such a short amount of time, then Dallas will have one of the deepest and most effective benches in the league as we head to the playoffs.
Both of these teams seem to play with a chip on their shoulder most of the time. In what should be a close back-and-forth game, we expect the Hawks to build on their confidence and get another huge win over a Western Conference contender. Dallas will be able to keep this one close based on the talent that they have, but the Hawks’ team chemistry will be on display and will overwhelm them. The Mavs may be a team to watch closely over the next couple of months, but we like the Hawks for our NBA picks for today. This game will come down to the final couple of possessions and end in a thriller.
This game has the potential to be a great regular season game on Tuesday night. The Washington Wizards have plenty to prove, and can make a huge statement with a win over the best team in the Western Conference. Golden State has played better and more consistently all season, but playing at home will surely help the Wizards. The Warriors haven’t been dominating opponents lately like they did earlier in the season. They may have a case of overconfidence, but they have enough talent to win games even when they don’t play their best.
The Warriors found out what it’s like to not have their best player. Stephen Curry sat out of their last game against Indiana because of an injury. That game resulted in a loss. Klay Thompson did his best to pull out the slack with his 39 points, but it wasn’t enough. If Curry isn’t able to play again when they go to Washington, then they will have to figure out some way to generate offense outside of Thompson.
This is the second road game of six in a row for the Warriors. They are currently 19-8 on the road, so it will be interesting to see how they finish on this road trip. If anything, their average road record shows that they can be beat. Knowing that, the Wizards should come out with a ton of energy, especially if Curry is sidelined again.
Washington has lost three games in a row and continues to slide down the standings. They just haven’t been able to figure out their offensive woes lately, which has to have them nervous about this game. The Warriors are the highest scoring team in the league, so they will have to get out of their funk soon to be able to hang in the game.
The Wizards are playing like a team that’s happy to be in position to make the playoffs, rather than a team that desperately needs to move up the standings. John Wall hasn’t been as efficient on offense, but he has been getting other guys involved with his high assist total. The Wizards need him to take over games at times, and this would be the perfect opportunity for him to do that.
The Warriors have been atop the NBA for most of the season against the spread. This game hinges on the status of Stephen Curry, though. If Curry plays, we are going to take the Warriors for our NBA picks against the
The Cleveland Cavaliers offense has caught fire and there hasn’t been many teams that have been able to slow them down over the past month or so. They haven’t scored fewer than 97 points dating all the way back to January 13th. They will now travel to Detroit to face a Pistons team that has played some pretty good defense at times this season. Detroit is coming in with all kinds of confidence after beating the Bulls and the Wizards in their last two games. Those are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but they also know that the Cavs are playing probably the best basketball in the conference right now.
The Pistons made some surprising moves by trading away two starters at the trade deadline. It hasn’t mattered in their last two games as they have played suffocating defense, and not allowing more than 91 points in either game. They will have a tough time replicating that effort when LeBron James and the Cavs come to town.
The prize of Detroit’s trade deadline deals is Reggie Jackson. Jackson has the potential to be a solid player in the NBA, but he never really got to showcase his talents in OKC behind Durant and Westbrook. It may take him a few weeks to get used to his new team, but expect this deal to be one that works out very favorably for the Pistons.
The Cavaliers have been playing like a team that wants to be a top seed in the playoffs. They are close to surpassing Chicago for the second seed and are only a few games away from Toronto. LeBron is healthy and the rest of the players seem to be buying into their roles. We are seeing that as they become more comfortable and seemingly scoring at ease.
Playing the Pistons shouldn’t be too much of a challenge as long as they are able to match their intensity. It’s tough for any team to beat three out of the top four teams in a conference, but Detroit is making a serious push for the playoffs. The Cavaliers just have too many weapons, though, so don’t expect them to win their third game in a row.
The Cavaliers have been trending upward against the spread over the last month. They didn’t start out the season very well, but have been dominating opponents recently. Detroit has been in a similar situation as well. Both teams are slightly below .500 against the spread right now, but we expect them both to get closer or above .500 over the next month. We like Cleveland for your NBA picks against the spread in this game. Detroit will play good defense, but it won’t be enough to slow down Cleveland’s star-studded lineup. Expect the Cavs to come out on fire and put this one away early in the game.
NBA predictions against the spread:
Thursday night is a great time to sit at home and watch some quality basketball after the all-star break. With two great games on between Western Conference contenders, this one has the potential of being highly entertaining. The Los Angeles Clippers destroyed the Spurs before the break, but haven’t looked the same since. San Antonio, meanwhile, has proved that it may have just been an off night and have bounced back nicely. The Spurs are back on the road in Los Angeles to continue their annual rodeo road trip against the Clippers.
The Spurs had no answer for the big three from Los Angeles when they played at the end of January. Blake Griffin had 31 points and 13 rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 19 rebounds and Chris Paul had 20 points. They won’t have to deal with Griffin this time around, so they should be able to have more success under the basket.
The second half of the season is where the Spurs have shined in the past. They have the chance to do that again and instantly move up a spot in the Western Conference with a win over the Clippers. A healthy Spurs team can be dangerous, and it appears that they are finally getting to full strength after the break.
Losing Blake Griffin at this point in the season is a tough break for the Clippers. They have played some tough games all season, so it’s unfortunate that they are losing him on the stretch run. With other teams hot on their heels, they won’t have time to feel sorry for themselves. San Antonio definitely won’t be feeling sorry for them.
The LA Clippers likely won’t be able to make up any ground without Griffin. They do have enough talent on their roster to make sure they don’t lose much ground though. They will have to figure things out quickly, as five of their next six games are against teams currently slotted for a playoff berth. It may be time for Chris Paul to step up and take control of the team in Griffin’s absence.
San Antonio has always been a good bet down the stretch. The Clippers have been exactly the opposite, however. It seems like every year the Clippers come in with high expectations and then falter down the stretch. It appears that this year is no different, so the Spurs are a great pick for your NBA picks for today. Look for San Antonio to take advantage of Griffin’s absence and overwhelm the Clippers. Revenge is usually not a good motivator in the NBA, but you know the Spurs remember the whipping that the Clippers gave them on their home court. Expect a much different result in this one.
Sports betting predictions against the spread:
The first game after the all-star break features what could be the most intriguing teams to watch the rest of the season. The Dallas Mavericks are serious about making a run to the title this season, and they are proving it with the acquisitions they have made since the offseason. In addition to adding Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons over the offseason, they added Rajon Rondo in November and most recently added Amare Stoudemire to shore up their bench. They are a middle-of-the-pack team in the Western Conference right now, but could be on the rise if they find some chemistry. They definitely have the talent to make a run, and it starts against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder are a team to watch because they are finally getting healthy. Their core pieces from the team that went to the Western Conference Finals a year ago is still in tact, so they know what it takes to get back there again. Kevin Durant appears to finally be healthy, so if that remains to be true, then OKC could make some serious moves.
In some ways, both of these teams are looking to prove that they should be taken seriously in the conference. Dallas has flaked out over the years in the postseason and OKC hasn’t been able to get over the hump. If the all-star game is any indication, it appears that Russell Westbrook is more than ready to put his team on his back and get them into playoff positioning.
The core of the Dallas Mavericks would probably be good enough to get them deep in the playoffs. Adding a guy like Stoudemire to back up Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki is just a bonus. Stoudemire hasn’t had a particularly productive season, but he’s also been playing for New York. Now that he has a strong supporting cast on his side, it will be interesting to see how he will fit in.
Dallas will definitely have the size advantage against the Thunder. OKC probably has the best one-two punch with Durant and Westbrook, but the Mavericks have the deepest team for sure. It wouldn’t be a surprise if either team won this game, but you have to give a slight edge to the Thunder because they are at home and have to play with urgency the rest of the way.
Being on the outside of the playoff picture at the all-star break may not be a bad thing for OKC. They know that they will have to be one of the best teams in the league for the rest of the season in order to lock up a playoff spot. With that said, take the Thunder for your NBA picks against the spread for this game. They should be a solid pick the rest of the way, but especially at home. These teams could eventually face each other at some point in the playoffs, so the stakes will be high in this game. Oklahoma City will shake off the rust from the break and get started on the right track.
With about five games left in the regular season, it looks like the Virginia Cavaliers will be headed to a regular season ACC Championship. This may come as a surprise to some people, but Virginia has done more than enough this season to prove that they belong at the top of the conference. With Duke, Notre Dame and North Carolina all in the conference, it’s really impressive that they only have one loss through 25 games this season. They still have a couple of tough games left on the schedule, but it’s hard to imagine them losing more than one of them.
Even though Virginia has dominated all season, they have been a little vulnerable recently. They barely squeaked out victories against Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Louisville in the last couple of weeks. Louisville is a pretty impressive team, but the other two opponents should have been a cakewalk. They have three more winnable games before finishing the season with tough road tests at Syracuse and Louisville.
Elsewhere in the conference, Notre Dame is trailing Virginia by two games. It will be hard to make up that ground considering the schedule that is left to be played. The Irish are a solid team when they play their best, but they’ve faltered at times, including a 30-point loss against Duke.
Speaking of Duke, it seems like they are getting hot at the right time. There have been times throughout the season where we thought the Blue Devils wouldn’t be that good, but now they are on a winning streak and could be a big-time threat to beat Virginia for the ACC Tournament Championship. Duke gave Virginia their first loss of the season, so they definitely have the capability of doing it. If they are able to go through the conference tournament unblemished, you have to think they will be a one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
A lot would have to happen for the Louisville Cardinals to ascend to a one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they have a good enough team to shock some people. They would definitely have to win the rest of their games to be considered, but don’t sleep on the Cardinals when making your NCAA basketball picks.
Sports picks insiders reports that unless some kind of disaster happens, we should be looking at at least one team getting a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament out of the ACC. If things shake out the right way, there could be two, but don’t bet on that happening. Virginia is your chalk pick to win the ACC Tournament and get the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, we are predicting they get upset at least once or twice before March Madness begins. When it comes to the tournament, look at the matchups that Louisville gets. The Cardinals always seem to surprise people around tournament time, so they could win you some money this time of year.
The NBA all-star weekend is in the books. We saw some good shows on Saturday in the skills competitions, three-point contest and dunk contest. The All-Star game wrapped up the weekend on Sunday with the highest scoring game in the history of the contest. There were some surprises during the weekend, but we also saw some all-stars dominate their respective contest like many sports bettors predicted.
In somewhat of a surprise, Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets won the skills competition over Brandon Knight of the Milwaukee Bucks. A lot of the money was on Knight to win, but it was the defensive specialist Beverley that ultimately pulled it out. Also, Chris Bosh and his team won their third straight Shooting Stars competition.
The main events of the weekend were the Three-Point competition and the Slam Dunk competition. Most years, the dunk contest had the most hype and intrigue, but that wasn’t the case this year. There were more known players in the three-point contest, so there was a lot of interest in that competition.
Stephen Curry showed why he is a potential star in this league for years to come. He hit thirteen consecutive three-pointers at one point in the final round of the contest to take home the crown. His fluid shooting motion and execution left no doubt that he was the best shooter on that night. He beat out other notable competitors like his teammate Klay Thompson and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving.
The dunk contest made headlines because of the show that 19-year old Zach Lavine put on. He came out confident as the favorite heading into the contest, and he didn’t disappoint. Afterwards, he was still feeling confident enough to say that he would beat LeBron James in a dunk contest. It would be interesting to see how many sports bets would be placed on Lavine winning that potential matchup.
NBA picks experts report that finally, the All-Star game wrapped up the weekend on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. It was clear to see who took the game seriously and who was out there just because they were voted in. Count MVP Russell Westbrook and his 41 points as a guy who was excited to be there. The Thunder have been heating up lately and Westbrook made a statement that he is going to make sure that continues.
The All-Star game doesn’t mean a whole lot when it comes to the regular season, but you can tell which players are playing at their best right now. LeBron James also played an inspired game. It’s no coincidence that the players from the hottest teams in the league played well in the All-Star game. That could be forecasting what will happen for the rest of the season. Be sure to keep an eye on the Thunder and Cavaliers when making your bets the rest of the season.