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 BOS Celtics @ 1.67 (Bet365) – 3 points
BOS Celtics -2 to beat WAS Wizards @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 3 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
The Washington Wizards are right up there in 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference behind the Toronto Raptors because of the 2 games in hand that they have. They are looking to continue their run of 4 successive victories to try and extend that run to 5 games. They have played well in their run beating Lakers, Nuggets, Heat and Pelicans which are 4 decently good teams. They have been ably led by the likes of Beal and Wall in the backcourt. The starters which include Nene, Pierce and Gortat are also averaging in the double digits. From the bench the Wizards can call on experienced hands like Butler, Humphries, Miller and promising youngsters like Otto Porter and Seraphin; who have chipped in well equally.
The Celtics have overly relied on Rondo with the assists while Jeff Green, Bradley and Sullinger have chipped in well in terms of scoring. Celtics have been poor against good defensive teams as was seen when they matched up against San Antonio, Chicago, Portland and Memphis. Tonight taking on Washington who is the best defensive team in the East and the top 5 in the NBA keeping opponents down to under 95 points per game, it will be a tough ask. Boston are giving up 106.6 points per game who are the 3rd worst in the NBA after Lakers and Timberwolves.
Wizards will be looking for this victory, which will put them 0.5 game back behind the Raptors; and they are looking to win this conference after a string of solid performances all campaign. Wizards to take this one in my opinion.
OKC Thunder -7.5 to beat DET Pistons @ 1.67 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
The OKC Thunder are looking more like the team that did well last season with the return of Durant and Westbrook. While they both struggled to get the rustiness out of their system, the win last time around at Philadelphia should give both confidence as both Westbrook and Durant played 30 minutes. Durant struggled shooting 3-11 but Westbrook was on fire knocking down 27 points along with 7 assists.
The supporting crew for the Thunder got a lot of minutes in their absence and have set up themselves to do well now with Lamb, Jackson and Ibaka specially looking to be more successful to make this team stronger. The Thunder also have some other players who can chip in including Morrow, Adams, Perkins and now with a lot of catching up to do after going 6-13; will need all the help they can get.
The Detroit Pistons for my eyes are the worst team in the NBA. Not for the fact they have the worst record, but they are playing the worst and have spent a lot of money establishing that bunch of players. Coach Stan van Gundy also stated in a press conference a few days ago that the team were playing rubbish and not hard enough; and I think he might even rotate the squad especially after the demoralising OT loss to Philadelphia last night by a score of 108-101.
Detroit are bad in most statistical categories; 3rd worst offensive points, worst field goal percentage, 2nd worst in FT %; bottom 10 in 3-point percentage. Things cannot get any worst for this team, unless there is some major blockbuster trade; and the only tradable pieces look to be Monroe, Drummond, Caldwell-Pope.
The Thunder are on the way up, and both Durant and Westbrook will be hungry to secure victory for the team tonight, and I expect them to dish out a beating to the Pistons especially since they are really low in confidence.
ATL Hawks -4 to beat DEN Nuggets @ 1.67 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Atlanta Hawks are in the middle of a 5 game winning streak beating some really good teams in Brooklyn, Miami and New Orleans along with lower end teams like Boston and Charlotte; and will be looking forward to taking on the offensive minded Denver Nuggets, which will push them also on to score more points.
The Hawks starting 5 might not get you all riled up, but their performances as a team is really what has stood out. The 5 of Teague, Korver, Caroll, Millsap and Horford have all averaged double digits. Jeff Teague is the one who is having a stand out year scoring 18 points per game and 7 assists along with Millsap averaging 17 points and 8 boards; make the team ultra competitive against even some of the best sides. At home Atlanta are absolutely ferocious going 8-2 against all opposition, and will look to continue that record come this game against a Nuggets side who hate playing on the road.
The Nuggets have found a lot of success against poor defensive teams such as Phoenix, New York, Utah etc; but struggled against teams like Portland, Washington etc. Ty Lawson has been the major stand out for this team. After having a poor start to the season, he has stood up to be counted while now averaging 17 points and 10 assists. Other than Afflalo and to a certain extent Chandler, the rest of the team has been extremely disappointing especially Faried and Gallinari; who were big scorers, but have failed to turn up this campaign.
Nuggets tend to concede over 105 points per game due to poor defense, and I expect similar points to be scored by the Hawks while covering the spread tonight. This spread would have landed in all of Atlanta’s wins this season.