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December 30, 2015 (2:03 PM ET)

There are 3 NBA picks! Please scroll down to view them.

Two bowl selections were also released yesterday, two days in advance, for Thursday.


1) Take Brooklyn Nets at +7.5 spread against Orlando Magic for 3% of the bankroll.

Brooklyn will be in full on revenge mode in this contest as the take on the Orlando Magic. These two teams met back on December 14th in a contest where the Magic traveled to Brooklyn and completely embarrassed the Nets on their home court, winning in blowout fashion by 23 points. There is o question that the Nets players would like nothing more than to repay the favor to Orlando in this contest and should have an advantage as the Magic could be without their starting PG, Elfid Payton. Payton is currently dealing with a nagging injury and even if he does play, he will likely be doing so at less than 100%. That means that either Shabazz Napier or Victor Oladipo could take the role of playing the point. That is an unfamiliar role for Oladipo and has even shown his struggles at the position as he has been turnover prone when handling the ball.

The Nets should also come into this contest extremely motivated and full of confidence as they are coming off arguably their greatest win of the season. They managed to rally from 16 points down to upend the Miami Heat in their last contest. It was a confidence boosting win that showed their mettle, heart and determination to continue to fight, even when the odds were stacked against them. That could be the signature win and boost that they needed to go on a run and turn their season around.

The Magic are no doubt a solid team this season but we believe the market may have finally caught up with them and have pushed the spread too much in this contest. They have been a quality team against the spread this season, but that has also been when they had been installed as small favorites or underdogs. Rarely have they been asked to cover this kind of number. The Magic may be winning ball games, but there is a big difference between being competitive and winning ball games and winning ball games by a hefty margin. Not only do the Magic have to win this game, but they have to do so by three possessions! That may be too hefty of a proposition for this young team to handle.

Orlando has also been playing somewhat over their heads recently and we do expect their performance to regress much more towards their averages and that could start with this game tonight. The Magic have shot over 51% from the field in 4 straight games! That in itself is extremely unusual, even for the best shooting teams in the league and we expect them to cool off a bit tonight and shoot in the 40's. They've also been extremely fortunate when it comes to turnovers as they have only experienced 9 turnovers in 3 of their last 4 games! That is also something that we don't expect to continue, especially with Elfrid Payton either sitting out or getting only 23 minutes or so as he did ineffectively his last time out.

The Nets may be just 9-22 on the season and a poor team this year but they are a competitive team full of proud veterans that are good NBA players. They have actually been a money making machines for their backers this season going 18-13 ATS and while they may fall short in the final minutes of this contest, we do expect it to be closely contested throughout and it wouldn't shock us if they even won outright. That being said, 7.5 points is a generous amount and as sharps, we will take advantage of this inflated spread.

The Nets will be in full on revenge mode in this contest as the take on the Orlando Magic. These two teams met back on December 14th in a contest where the Magic traveled to Brooklyn and completely embarrassed the Nets on their home court, winning in blowout fashion by 23 points. There is o question that the Nets players would like nothing more than to repay the favor to Orlando in this contest and should have an advantage as the Magic could be without their starting PG, Elfid Payton. Payton is currently dealing with a nagging injury and even if he does play, he will likely be doing so at less than 100%. That means that either Shabazz Napier or Victor Oladipo could take the role of playing the point. That is an unfamiliar role for Oladipo and has even shown his struggles at the position as he has been turnover prone when handling the ball.

Brooklyn should come into this contest motivated and confident as they are coming off arguably their greatest win of the season. They managed to rally from 16 points down to upend the Miami Heat in their last contest. It was a confidence boosting win that showed their mettle, heart and determination to continue to fight, even when the odds were stacked against them. That could be the signature win and boost that they needed to go on a run and turn their season around.

The Magic are no doubt a solid team this season but we believe the market may have finally caught up with them and have pushed the spread too much in this contest. They have been a quality team against the spread this season, but that has also been when they had been installed as small favorites or underdogs. Rarely have they been asked to cover this kind of number. The Magic may be winning ball games, but there is a big difference between being competitive and winning ball games and winning ball games by a hefty margin. Not only do the Magic have to win this game, but they have to do so by three possessions! That may be too hefty of a proposition for this young team to handle.

Orlando has also been playing somewhat over their heads recently and we do expect their performance to regress much more towards their averages and that could start with this game tonight. The Magic have shot over 51% from the field in 4 straight games! That in itself is extremely unusual, even for the best shooting teams in the league and we expect them to cool off a bit tonight and shoot in the 40's. They've also been extremely fortunate when it comes to turnovers as they have only experienced 9 turnovers in 3 of their last 4 games! That is also something that we don't expect to continue, especially with Elfrid Payton either sitting out or getting only 23 minutes or so as he did ineffectively his last time out.

The Nets may be just 9-22 on the season and a poor team this year but they are a competitive team full of proud veterans that are good NBA players. They have actually been a money making machines for their backers this season going 18-13 ATS and while they may fall short in the final minutes of this contest, we do expect it to be closely contested throughout and it wouldn't shock us if they even won outright. That being said, 7.5 points is a generous amount and as sharps, we will take advantage of this inflated spread.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Nets are 6-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog this season!
  • Nets are 63-45 ATS when seeking revenge over the last 3 seasons.
  • Nets are 23-12 ATS on the road against good offensive teams (scoring 99+ points) over the last 2 seasons!
     

2) Take Chicago Bulls at -3 spread (buy half a point) against Indiana Pacers for 3% of the bankroll.

These two Central division rivals have played two entertaining games already this season. The first one went narrowly Chicago's way as they edged it by a mere 1-point winning 96-95! Then with revenge in mind, the Pacers took care of business in Indiana when the two met on Nov 27th running out double-digit victors. The Bulls haven't forgotten that. They often raise their level of performance against quality teams and that is evident by the fact that 5 of their wins so far this season have come against the following division leaders: Spurs, Cavaliers, Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder twice! It is against the inferior teams such as those sporting losing records, that they have underperformed. They also tend to circle their calendars whenever a team manages to get a W off of them and that is the case here tonight given that they were soundly beaten by the Pacers in the last meeting. The Chicago Bulls are 7-1 againt teams they seek revenge against this season! To say, they often deliver payback would be an understatement especially given that this 'tendency' is not new to them since they are 65-26 in such matchups over the last 3 seasons!

Chicago is just a half game behind the Pacers and can overtake Indiana with a win tonight and we believe they will do that. Given the short line, we believe they will also cover the spread in the process. Paul George was a major factor in the two previous games and while he will likely have another solid showing tonight, he has been struggling as of late. He's averaged just 11.5 points on 25% shooting over his last 4 games and has recently found it tough to get open-looks! Against Jimmy Butler and the Bulls, his job may not necessarily get much easier. The Bulls meanwhile should have the frontcourt advantage with Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson against the undersized Pacers tonight. That's because while Ian Mahinmi is a gifted athlete, he often shares minutes with bruising backup center, Jordan Hill but Hill will miss this game due to dental work. Gasol could dominate inside and that will open up the 3-point shot for the likes of Butler, Snell and Mirotic!

CJ Miles is another 'questionable' player for the Pacers tonight and if he's absent, he'll be sorely missed. Miles is a natural scorer and can often get hot from beyond the arc and burn teams with his accurate shooting. Given that he's bothered by back spams however, we don't believe he'll be at his best even if he does take the court. He sat out the prior game against Atlanta while featuring for just 17 minutes in the previous contest! He'll likely face a minutes-restriction even if he does participate and is clearly at less than 100% with lower back issues.

The Bulls have had a disappointing and hot-tempered December. Despite all the off-court distractions however, they have a chance to put in a strong performance and end the year with an important win in front of their passionate fans! They are 12-5 at home this season and provide a very tough test for every visiting team. The fact that this squad hasn't put together consecutive wins for 2 weeks will only further motivate them to close this this contest. Laying just 3 points with the healthy and motivated Bulls when they are very much likely to win this game is a smart choice.
 

3) Take Minnesota Timberwolves at -2 spread against Utah Jazz for 3% of the bankroll.

The T-Wolves have lost 4 games in a row and are just 4-12 at home this season and yet they were installed not only as 'favorites' in this contest but sharp money has since moved the line to -2! There are good reasons for that. That's because the injury-plagued Jazz are missing some key players right now. As if having to function without their shot-blocking sensation and defensive anchor, Rudy Gobert, was not enough, Alec Burks will be sidelined for quite awhile as well. Burks will have to undergo surgery for a fractured left fibula and is a name that casual NBA fans have not yet heard much of. Utah fans however are understandably worried as the 3rd-year man out of Colorado was their best scoring option after Gordon Hayward. Burks is a hugely talented player who is one of the few Jazz players capable of creating his own shot. He was averaging 14.3 points off the bench to rank 3rd among all NBA reserves! The talented athlete would frequently penetrate the line and deliver highlight-reel dunks as well as spot up and drain 3-point shots. For a team with a strong defensive identity but not much offensive capabilities, Alec Burks was an integral part of their system and will be sorely missed. That was already evident in their last game when they shot just 33% from the field! That effort proved just enough (3-point win) against the worst team in the league, 76ers but will not be sufficient tonight against an improved Minnesota squad.

Timberwolves are hungry to bounce back tonight. That's because they not only want to give their supportive crowd something to cheer about at the Target Center but this is a Northwest division matchup that has seen them drop 4 of the last 5 games to their Salt Lake City rivals! Kevin Garnett and company loathe olsing and get especially pumped up about avoiding domination by another team. Big men, Dieng and Towns are playing well and will have a great chance to inflict damage on the Jazz if Derick Favors doesn't play tonight. Favors, a power forward that has often had to play as the center this season due to the absence of Frenchman, Gobert has missed the last two games himself due to back spams. While we suspect coach Quin Snyder may decide to start him tonight, he'll likely face a minutes-restriction and could be rusty after not playing for a week! The fact that he's not at 100% will give a big advantage to Minnesota since Favors is a very important player for this team.

Sam Mitchell's team may have narrowly lost in Alamo city but put up an inspired performance against the San Antonio Spurs and that will give them confidence heading into this matchup. They take a big step down in competition tonight and if Rubio and company had a double-digit lead of Popovich's Spurs, we believe they can fare well against this injury-riddled Jazz squad. Both teams play other opponents tomorrow night but Zach LaVine and company will surely be keen to turn their recent woes around at home while Utah is hosting a closer division rival, Portland Blazers tomorrow night and could be looking ahead to that. Afterall, even if Jazz lose this game, they'll still occupy the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western conference and it is the Trail Blazers that they are much more keenly aware of than the lowly T-Wolves. Minnesota is missing only Nikola Pekovic who has yet to play a minute this season and is the much healthier squad of the two. Look for them to snap their current losing streak as they'll head out on the road tomorrow and know this is their best chance for a win.




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