April 11th 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Saturday and Sunday's picks will be posted at 5:00 PM ET.
There are two bets risking 4% tonight.
#1: Take Philadelphia 76ers at +15 spread against Memphis Grizzlies risking 2%
It's near the end of the basketball season and both of these teams couldn't be further from opposite ends of the spectrum. The Memphis Grizzlies are in a battle for one of two remaining spots in the Western Conference playoff picture while the 76ers have had a very disappointing season.
The Grizzlies have long been a team that has relied on its defensive presence. They are not a team that is built around offense. Offense in their system is secondary. They win games on the defensive side of the ball by getting stops at critical moments while make their shots down the stretch. This has been a team that has gone on massive scoring droughts and even when they have manage to gain a big lead, they often times let teams back into the game due to their inconsistencies on the offensive side.
Philadelphia on the other hand is somewhat the opposite of Memphis. Their offense has not been all that bad, they have managed to put points on the board but it has been their defense, or should we say lack of, that has been the reason for their struggles this season. Their inability to create stops has been their downfall and that will more than likely be the case again tonight. That being said, the odds-makers have been spotting the 76ers a lot of points recently and in turn Philadelphia has been kind to their backers. The 76ers have covered in 5 of their last 6 games.
We are not saying that the 76ers are going to win this game or that they will even contend for the outright win. At this point in the season however the Grizzlies really have no business laying this kind of a number. They do need wins to keep pace in the playoff hunt, however they also need to stay healthy as well. We all saw how Marc Gasol missing a few games during the middle of the season affect the production of this team, it would more than likely be the same if Zach Randolph got injured. The Grizzlies main goal at this point is to secure wins but to do so while remaining injury free. If they end up with a big lead late in the game it wouldn't surprise us to see David Joerger pull some of his starters to ensure that they remain injury free. At this point it's about wins, with little concern of by how much. Memphis has nothing to gain from winning this game by 16 points vs. 12 let's say.
Memphis has not historically been good when laying this many points, even at home. It's happened once this season and they failed to cover the spread. Over the last 3 seasons they are just 2-4 when laying more than 12.5 points and just 4-9 ATS dating all the way back to 1996. They are simply not a team built to cover huge numbers. Meanwhile Philadelphia has been stellar this season when receiving between 12.5 and 18 points as they are 5-2 ATS this season and 7-3 over the last 3 seasons.
As we have stated before, there is a lot that can happen in a basketball game when being spotted this many points and a backdoor cover is a viable option here. Philadelphia has found way to keep within the numbers lately and we think they do it again tonight. Take the generous points.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Memphis is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Philadelphia.
- Memphis is 12-21 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record this season.
- Philadelphia is 4-2 ATS as a road underdog of 12.5 to 15 points this season.
#2: Take San Antonio Spurs at -3.5 spread against Phoenix Suns risking 2%
We have said it all season, the Spurs are a great team. They are timeless. Even with all of the veterans and older players on their roster, they still manage to keep up with and even outperform some of the younger talent in the league. The Spurs are also a team that has evolved. Even after watching last night's game, this is a team that was once known for playing within a system and now they are playing with what seems like controlled reckless abandon. They are distributing the ball and finding the open man with ease. They are active on defense and playing extremely well in transition. this is a team that has numerous perimeter players who not only shoot the 3 ball but they do so at an alarming percentage. This is a team that is also incredibly deep. Depth is not something that every team has but the Spurs have loads of it. We saw last night that Tony Parker sat out. One of the announcers at the end of the game said something that stuck with us. "No Parker, No Problem". That's because Patty Mills is showing that he is a suitable replacement for Parker and can make plays of his own. He was instrumental in last night's victory. Guys like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, these guys could all be the starters or even "main guys" on numerous other teams, they are that talented. There is a reason why the Spurs own the league's best record and it's thanks to Popovich and their depth.
The Spurs have nearly sewn up the #1 seed in the West and are so close to securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Thunder are still within striking range and have what should be an easy win tonight as they are at home facing the New Orleans Pelicans. We expect the Spurs to eventually let their foot off the gas before the playoffs and we half expected them to last night, but that obviously was not the case. Tonight's game however is a game that the Spurs have had circled on their calendars since Feb 22nd. You see, it was the Phoenix Suns who handed the Spurs arguably their worst loss of the season this year, a 106-85 beatdown out in Phoenix! They are not a team that gets beat very often let alone by 20+ points. Even though they have already beaten Phoenix twice this season, that last meeting in February is the one that stands out and that they will want to avenge and we expect that they will do that tonight.The Spurs aren't often listed as this short of a favorite at home, so there is value presenting itself there. In fact, over the last 3 seasons the Spurs have only been a home favorite of 3 or less points 8 times. Of those 9 times they have gone 6-2-1 in this particular situation.
The Suns should be motivated coming into tonight's game especially given that they may face this team in the first round of playoffs. Phoenix is currently in a 3 way fight for the final 2 playoff spots in the Western Conference. A win tonight would obviously help their case, but tomorrow's game is arguably the most important of the season when they travel to take on playoff rivals Dallas Mavericks! That game tomorrow could ultimaty be the deciding factor of what team makes the playoffs and which team watches the playoffs from home. The Suns would no doubt like another win over the Spurs this season but tomorrow's game is what will be on their minds most and if they fall behind by double-digits tonight, we can see them give up to save energy for tomorrow.
Both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are likely to miss tonight's game, but as we saw yesterday there is a bevy of talent that is more than capable of filling in for injured players. This is a chance for guys like Patty Mills and Boris Diaw to step up and take control and leave an impression on both their teammates and Gregg Popovich. Distribution of the basketball and unselfish play have been key for the Spurs and we expect to see a lot of that tonight. Last night, on the road the Spurs managed to connect on 16 of 34 from downtown. They hand out a lot of assists while Phoenix does not. The Suns have not been known for their stellar defense and we all saw how that worked out for the Mavericks last night. If the Suns put up little resistance, there is not much a team can do to stop the Spurs.
Once this game is over we expect the Spurs to perhaps take it a bit easy but at this point in time we feel that they will be out to atone for their most embarrassing loss this season with a resounding win in front of their home crowd and to clinch home court advantage and the #1 seed. Lay the small points with the Spurs.
Other notable facts to consider:
- San Antonio is 6-3 against the spread versus Phoenix over the last 3 seasons.
- San Antonio has won and covered 4 of its last 5 games on the second night of a back-to-back!
- Phoenix is 1-6 in its last 7 games when playing on the road against San Antonio.
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