The NBA season rolls on and we go straight in early on this time with a pick in order to try and take advantage of some poor lines early on.
WAS Wizards -2 to beat IND Pacers @ 1.73 (Pinnacle) – 3 points
The Washington Wizards come into the game tonight against the Boston Celtics after a tough trip against Toronto where they were duly beaten by 19 points by a tough Raptors team and will be looking for an immediate bounce back win. The best thing that they did last night was pack it in early in the 3rd so most of their key players could get rest with John Wall only playing 30 minutes.
The Wizards starting lineup could not find a double digit score last night and that was primarily due to the strong interior defense from the Raptors starting lineup who are really strong. Washington did have some strong contributions from Humphries, Porter Jr. and Andre Miller who were the only ones who scored over 10 points. The Wizards will look to take advantage of a slightly weaker match up against the Indiana Pacers who lost to Boston Celtics despite Celtics leading cutting a 7 point lead down to 3 points with less than 30 seconds to go.
The Indiana team will be a bit exhausted as they had majority of their starters like Copeland, Hill, Hibbert & Sloan play heavy minutes in this loss last night. The number of injuries are taking their toll on them, much like they are for the OKC Thunder. The Pacers have now lost Hill, Stuckey, West, George to injuries, all 4 of whom are part of their starting 5. While they have had strong contributions from Copeland and Sloan, it remains to be seen if they can do it night and night out especially against tough teams.
I expect the Wizards to erase last nights loss from their head and sneak through with a win tonight.
MEM Grizzlies -4 to beat MIL Bucks @ 1.68 (MarathonBet) – 3 points
Memphis Grizzlies were in the lead and looked set to cover the spread last night, but failed very late on. They should get back to better winning ways against a more struggling Bucks team who are not very good on the offensive end.
As mentioned Memphis have built most of their success on their defense holding down their opponent field goal percentage to under 40%. What also helps Memphis is that in the Bucks depend a lot of their offense inside the paint, scoring almost 50% from there, but against the big guys in Gasol, Randolph, Koufos and Tony Allen it will be much more difficult. Tony Allen is instrumental in leading this team in steals and is purely been in the team to drive their defensive abilities and is 4th in steals averaging 3 a game. Memphis have also add a new weapon this year in the 3 point shot going 50% from downtown last night from the shooting of Conley, Lee, Carter and Udrih.
The Bucks are among the bottom 5 in offense in the NBA which does not help their cause in this game against a Grizzlies side who are 1st in defensive points conceding 86.7 points per game only. The Bucks are also bad in turnovers per game, averaging 16 per game, which shows that they do not make good use of all their possessions. You cant really blame them as well, they are an extremely young team without any strong veteran leadership who has been even as a supporting cast on a championship winning team to help them and developing some strong work ethic.
Memphis have started off with a rocking 6-0 start, and I expect them to bounce back to cover the spread as all Bucks losses have been over 8 points.
MIA Heat -4 to beat MIN Timberwolves @ 1.68 (MarathonBet) – 3 points
The Miami Heat are going to come into this game absolutely pumped, after starting out 3-0 they went back to losing 2 back to back games and after getting 2 days rest now and in front of their home fans, you can truly expect a response from them. Chris Bosh has returned to his 24-10 mode from back in his Toronto days. What also has helped since LeBron has gone is that Dwayne Wade is back to being the main man in this team and that has helped his confidence as he has averaged 19 points per game this campaign.
Luol Deng is the replacement for James this season, and has so far struggled a bit to get his season up and running. This is primarily due to a nagging injury in his arm that he has been facing. He will be hoping the couple of days rest can help him turn it around especially in front of the home fans. Miami will also hoping to welcome back some questionable injured players such as Andersen, Granger, Haslem and McRoberts which should give them that much needed front court back up to Bosh to help them with the size.
The Timberwolves will be particularly disappointed because of the late loss last night. After leading for most of the game and by 3 heading into the last quarter, they really struggled to create too many players after PG Ricky Rubio went down with an ankle injury and is definitely expected to miss tonight. This young Wolves team will be a bit exhausted after losing that game in OT last night and literally never showed up in OT. Bulk of their scoring efforts will be on the hands of Pekovic, Young and Kevin Martin. Expect for Pekovic the other 2 played 40 minutes last night, and that generally turns out to be exhausting for many players especially on back to back nights.
I am expecting the exhaustion and the disappointment from last night, to effect the confidence of Minnesota and the Heat who are determined to turn it around to provide a beating tonight.