Friday February 8th 2013 - Posted 5:15 PM Eastern Time
Those who have been with us for awhile know that we are fairly conservative and selective picking only 1-3 games each night and risking a small percentage of our overall bankroll. On the other hand, on a rare night like this when we do see more value than usual, we're not afraid to take our chances and risk a bit more.
We see value in 4 games tonight and are risking a total of 12% of our bankroll. Two of the NBA picks are standard 3-unit plays while the other one is a 4-unit play on San Antonio Spurs. Our lone College Basketball play on Utah State is a below average 2-unit play.
#1: Take Washington Wizards at -1.5 spread against Brooklyn Nets risking 3 Units
I absolutely love this Washington team right now. If you have watched them play this season you are well aware that they are extremely athletic and much better than their record suggests. John Wall has been the spark that had been missing from this team early on in the season and right now they are playing like a playoff caliber team at home, even though there is no chance they will make the playoffs. A situation such as this does not happen very often; Washington had been beat up right out of the gate and lost something like their first 13 games of the season. They were criticized by the fans, by the media and even by other teams. They were stomped on and embarrassed on and off the court. Most of the time a team will simply "pack it in" for the season and simply go through the motions of playing the game...not this team however. The Wizards are playing as good as any team in the league and they have been competitive in almost every game, given their 30-17 ATS record. The Wizards have been especially tough at home this season where they are 15-9 ATS on the season.
The Nets were able to grab a road win last time out against Detroit 93-90 in a game that I felt Detroit let slip through their fingers. Statistically Brooklyn hold the a slight edge over the Wizards, however that doesn't take into account how well Washington has been playing as of late. These two teams have already faced each-other once this season back on Jan 4th where the Nets won 115-113 in a game that went to over-time. Washington has improved as a team since the first meeting and has knocked off some pretty hefty competition since then including the Thunder, Hawks, Clippers and Knicks all at home as well as the Nuggets out in Denver!
I would say that Wizards have an advantage tonight. Brooklyn is a team that likes to slow the tempo of a game down and grinds it out with solid defense, however as a team they struggle to get "easy buckets". Washington is a young and extremely athletic team and should run the court and simply outplay New Jersey. It's worth noting that the Wizards are also 12-0 ATS when revenging a home loss this season and 21-12 ATS when revenging a loss this season.
Some trends to consider:
Nets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Wizards are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games.
Nets are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Washington.
#2: Take Toronto Raptors at +7.5 spread against Indiana Pacers risking 3 Units.
Yes the Pacers have been playing extremely well as of late. Their league best defense has been nothing short of smothering this season while over the last week it seems that the Pacer offense has found its groove as well. Due to scheduling issues, this Pacers team was forced into the undaunting task of having to play 3 games in 3 nights and 4 games in 5 nights. The Pacers have covered 6 games straight and 8 out of their last 10. That is pretty impressive for a team that only averages 92 points per game. Tonight though is all about the wear and tear that playing basketball as much as they have in a short amount of time takes on a persons body. It is almost common place to "go against" or at least look strongly at a team vs. a team that is playing on the second half of a back to back. I'm sure a majority of people recommended a play on 76ers to cover the spread the other night against the Pacers for the simple reason of the Pacers playing 3 games in a row. In pre-game interviews, Paul George had talked about how everyone on the team was sore and tired but that when they got out on the court that none of that mattered. It proves that the Pacers are a mentally strong team however the physical aspect of over-exerting a persons body will eventually catch up to them and slow them down. I think that is exactly what happens tonight.
The big trade that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto has made this team relevant for the first time this season. They have lost 4 of their last 5 since the trade for Gay however and that is simply the growing pains of adding unfamiliar talent into the rotation. There is no doubt that Rudy Gay will make this team better, it is just a matter of chemistry right now. I am also not predicting that Toronto will win this game, even though they did defeat this Pacers team earlier this season, I am only predicting that they will do enough against a tired Pacers team to cover the spread. Only hope for Raptors is that this young group can find better chemistry and improve tonight. On the season Raptors are a decent offensive team averaging 97.5 points per game but the defense has let Toronto down. Raptors are ranked in bottom 10 in NBA defense allowing 99.3 points per game. Maybe Raptors can repeat their early season of upset this same Indiana team but Toronto defense will have to improve over recent bad outings.
The Pacers will win this game however I am predicting a low scoring affair. The Pacers team is tired so their defense may not be as stout as it normally is and will allow Toronto to stay close throughout. This number is just too big tonight.
Toronto is 10-1 ATS against Central Division opponents over the last 2 season.
#3: Take San Antonio Spurs at -5 spread against Detroit Pistons risking 4 Units
How can anyone really go against San Antonio at this point? The are 39-11 on the season (28-20 ATS) and the absolute best road team statistically in the league. They are just simply an offensive juggernaut. Matching them up against the Pistons, San Antonio simply dominates them statistically in all the critical areas of the game which include shooting, scoring and rebounding. The issue isn't just with the Pistons' lack of performance either; San Antonio is just simply "that good" and ranks second in the league in scoring as well as successfully putting away 3-point shots. Currently the Spurs are on an 11 game win streak and have not lost since Jan 11th at Memphis. San Antonio has also won it's last 4 road games all by no less than 5 points and those wins came over teams I feel are a class above the Pistons.
The Pistons are a team who basically can not get out of their own way and who give away opportunities. Statistically they are almost the worst team in the league when it comes to successfully making free throws which could become the difference in covering the spread tonight. The Pistons just do not have the veteran leadership on the team to compete with a team as "complete" as the Spurs. They are the elite of the elite and the Pistons will be simply outclassed in this game. The Spurs are averaging 104 points per game this season (103 on the road) and seem to have no problem on the offensive side of the ball no matter where they play. Against a Pistons team whose defense gives up more points than their offense scores, the Spurs should have no problem scoring at will. Lay the points.
#4: Take Utah State Aggies at -6.5 spread against San Jose State risking 2 Units
Neither of these two teams have been a good ATS bet recently. Utah State has covered the spread only three times in their last 10 games. The Spartans though are even worse, covering the points only twice in their last 10 overall.
Utah State is a team that was struggling to find themselves with all of the injuries that they had sustained. The Aggies appear to have turned things around after losing four straight, they have not only won their last two, but covered the points in each of those victories. Utah State is coming off back to back road victories both by a double digit margin. The Aggies blew out Seattle by 22 points on the road last Saturday and prior to that they defeated Idaho on the road by exactly 10 points. It's interesting that San Jose State has losses to both Seattle and Idaho this season. In fact, the Spartans have lost seven straight beginning with a loss against this same Aggies team back on January 11.
San Jose State is winless since they suspended their leading scorer James Kinney for violating team rules. Kinney was averaging over 20 points per game, but is listed as suspended indefinitely and hasn't played in any of the Spartans last seven games (all losses). Kinney played a major role in the Spartans offense and without him in the lineup this team has struggled offensively. Without Kinney, San Jose State has only broken 60 points twice. In their last 7 games the Spartans have scored 60, 37, 53, 54, 47, 48 and 63 points compared to the 70 or 80 that they were scoring with Kinney.
The Aggies have won each of their last 10 meetings with San Jose State and that includes back to back road wins both by double digits in their last two visits to San Jose. Utah State is only giving up about 63 points on the road as it is and given the Spartan's offensive struggles, I expect them to put up much less than that tonight. Given the current form as well as past history with these two teams I wouldn't be surprised to see Utah State with another double digit win tonight. Lay the points
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