April 1, 2016 (3:52 PM ET)
There are two NBA pick tonight.
In addition, an above average 4% pick was released yesterday, two days in advance, for a Final Four matchup on Saturday!
March was an incredibly profitable month (38 units) and is just the beginning! After all, SPS has averaged 9 winning months and 3 losing ones per year, resulting in lucrative annual returns. Long-term clients will also recall that we put together 7 consecutive winning months between April 2015 - October 2015 and could do so again this year!
1: Take Minnesota Timberwolves +9 spread (buy half a point) against Utah Jazz for 3% of bankroll.
The Jazz are a good disciplined team and one that will likely make the playoffs over the likes of Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks but that doesn't mean they should be laying this many points! This is a defensive-minded squad that rarely blows teams out. The fact that they are 12-3 as a home favorite of 6.5 to 9 points over the last few seasons BUT have only covered 5 of those 15 games says a lot! That's because their identity is 'defense' and they tend to grind out wins as opposed to run an up-tempo offense that gets a lot of shots. They play at a slower pace than almost any other team in the NBA and are just as happy with narrow wins as they are with double-digit ones. Unlike a team like Sacramento, their goal isn't to outscore the other team through a more potent offense, it is to limit the number of possesions that either side gets and contest every shot. This philosophy is a solid one and means they win their fair share of games but they aren't built to blow teams out and win game by big margins!
Utah is being asked to win this game by double-digits but that is unlikely due to several different reasons. Derrick Favors was limited at shootaround this morning and had to leave the game against Warriors midway due to an injury. He is 'questionable' to play tonight and is clearly not 100%. The coaching staff may decide to not risk playing him in this contest in order to allow him to heal and be ready for important upcoming games which may present bigger challenges than this one. They may think of this as a 'winnable' game even without Favors and that means they may lean toward sitting him for this contest. Even if he does participate however, he could be limited and have a poor game. Nonetheless, the talented big is an integral part of this team, especially on offense with his post game and midrange shot and is irreplaceable! While his defensive presence will be missed as well, Utah does have the towering Rudy Gobert more than capable of blocking shots and rebounding as does Trevor Booker but both of those players are limited offensively and don't get you many points other than through dunks and lay-ups. If Favors sits out, they need a big game froom Canadian rookie Trey Lyles and while he's talented, he's not at the same level yet.
Coach Sam Mitchell blasted his team after the blowout defeat to Clippers and had this to say: "Like I told them, I wish (the media) would stop asking me questions about how good they can be. We have 25 wins. They still have to learn how to play basketball. They still got to grow up. They still got to understand, they played a team that's a real playoff team (Wednesday night). You saw what happened!" He then added the following before exiting: "We're not ready yet. So I wish they would stop reading the newspapers, stop talking to their friends because we're not good enough to just show up and play. That was the worst game we've played all year!" That may seem harsh but it was well deserved in this case and could well pay dividends tonight. We expect his words to light a fire inside them and result in a competitive effort in this matchup! Minnesota's starting lineup has gotten ample playing time together this season and has built real chemistry. This is a talented squad that can challenge for the outright win in what should be a closely contested game.
The Jazz are coming off a heart-breaking overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors after being on the brink of knocking off the defending champs and could be deflated tonight. They may also incorrectly assume that since they blew out the miserable Lakers and put up a great fight against Golden State, their opponents tonight (Minnesota) will be no match for them. If some of the players step on the court feeling a bit complacent and thinking they can get a win even thought giving it their all, it could spell trouble. The Wolves may have lost to the Jazz just a few days ago but that was on the second night of a back-to-back schedule after playing a double-overtime game the previous night! The players were naturally tired as the Jazz pulled away to win by 9 points. That final score has inflated this spread as this is not the same situation anymore and it is Minnesota that will be seeking revenge and more rested. Take the precious points as the Timberwolves have an excellent chance to stay within this generous spread.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Timberwolves are 8-4 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 to 9 points!
- Timberwolves are 18-10 ATS when they seek revenge for a loss at home!
- Jazz are just 5-10 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 to 9 points over the last 3 seasons!
2: Take Milwaukee Bucks -2 spread (buy half a point) against Orlando Magic for 3% of bankroll.
The Magic are coming off three impressive wins and that has inflated their stock heading into this contest. Tonight, they find themselves in an unfavorable set of circumstances and yet the fact that they beat a playoff hopeful like Pacers in Indiana last night means the Bucks have been installed as very short favorites. Every matchup is different however and just because Orlando did well yesterday does not mean they'll have success tonight.
Orlando has lost 4 of its last 5 road games when they played the night before and finds these back-to-back situations difficult! They spent a lot of energy in securing that 'W' last night and could find themselves gassed out in the second half of this game. The young Bucks are rested and ready on the other hand and play inspired basketball at BMO Bradley Harris Center. This is a squad that certainly enjoys its 'home-court advantage' as evident by their 22-15 home record! Compare that to their road mark which has seen them lose 20 more than they have won (9-29) and it becomes increasingly clear that Jason Kidd has instilled the importance of getting the crowd involved in his tenure.
Neither of these two franchises will be making the playoffs this year but one will be performing in front of a demanding fanbase tonight while the other is off 3 straight wins and can afford to take the night off. We believe Orlando's recent win streak actually sets them up for a let-down spot tonight and it'll be the Bucks that play with more urgency and desire. Keep in mind that the last time Scott Skiles brought his team to Wisconsin, they were installed as 5-point underdogs and still could not cover the spread! Now due to recent results, they are being overvalued in this spot and there is good value in going against them. The Magic have rarely won 4 games in a row and we don't see it happening tonight either.
Giannis Antetokounmpo presents matchup problems for most teams but especially against an Orlando side that essentially plays with 3 guards! The 'Greek Freak' has a notable size advantage not only over the Frenchman Fournier but almost any other Orlando player. The only player that can rival his athleticism is Aaron Gordon but he's still learning his trade as a defender and giving him that particular assignment means Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe might have a field day in the paint! Orlando will have to pick its poison tonight and might have Nikola Vucevic on a minutes-restriction given that this is the second game of a back-to-back schedule and the 25-year old has just come back from a lengthy layoff that sidelined him for 13 games! If Vucevic is limited tonight, the Magic are gonna have a hard time keeping up with Milwaukee. Consider the fact that they shot over 50% from beyond the arc in the last meeting and still lost the game by 7 points and you can see why they need efficent shooting from him in and around the paint.
The Bucks will be the more motivated team in our opinion tonight but will also be playing with a relaxed frame of mine which is optimal for performance. That's because they managed to snap their 5-game losing streak last time out when they hosted Phoenix! That losing skid had put undue pressure on the team but now that they are no longer thinking about that, they can confidently play their brand of basketball, and get a result. Given the short spread, there is great value backing a team that we feel is quite likely to win the game! This might be closely contested, especially in the first half but Milwaukee will pull away at some point as Orlando's tired legs catch up with them. We expect both teams to sport an identical 32-44 record at the final whistle.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Milwaukee is 13-6 as a favorite this season!
- Orlando is 15-31 when seeking revenge for a previous loss this season!
- Orlando is just 2-6 after three or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons!
- Milwaukee is 4-1 SU and ATS at home when the total is set between 205 to 210 points!
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