April 6, 2016 (3:58 PM ET)
Sports Profit System is riding a red hot 18-6 NBA run! There are two more NBA picks tonight.
There will be plenty of baseball selections in the coming weeks and months but at the beginning of the season, it is often best to proceed with a bit of caution due to the large number of unknown factors such as pitchers making debuts, etc.
1) Take Brooklyn Nets +13.5 spread against Washington Wizards for 3% of the bankroll.
The Washington Wizards' already slim playoff chances took a massive hit on their West coast trip when they were defeated by the Sacramento Kings! Losses to Golden State and a Clippers team that is locked into its playoff position did not help matters either. While they are mathematically still in it, their fate is no longer in their own hands as even running the table will likely not be enough! They find themselves 3.5 games behind Detroit and with only 5 games remaining, it is a case of 'too little too late'. The fact that there is even another team on the outside looking in, ahead of them in the standings (Chicago Bulls), makes their playoff chances marginal! The players understand that the probability of them making the postseason is only fractional now and will be deflated after that 2-3 road trip. They are unlikely to be at their best and might put on a half-hearted display. If that is the case, winning the game may still happen but covering this big spread will be a tall order!
The Brooklyn Nets have shut down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the season and while the absence of those two hurts their chances, the inflated spread has already factored that in and then some. What it doesn't factor in is the motivation and desire of players like Thomas Robinson, Henry Sims and Chris McCullough to prove themselves! This is a squad with some young players that are fighting to have an NBA future. Players that are hoping to impress not only Brooklyn but other watching teams for a contract. They also have some sharpshooters in the likes of Sean Kilpatrick, Bojan Bogdanovic and Wayne Ellington who can get hot from beyond the arc and bucket 3's in bunches! All in all, Brooklyn is definitely the inferior team tonight but there's no pressure on them and that means they can play loose and free. We believe they'll perform well enough to stay within this generous number.
Vegas opened Brooklyn as 15-point underdogs but that line has moved down to +13.5 after sharps wagered big $$$ on the Nets! Interim coach Tony Brown is hoping to impress the front office to keep the job permanently and has got the players reponding well to him. They play hard for him and listen to his instructions. This is a team that won't get its own draft pick so they have no interest in tanking or playing poorly on purpose. Given that they've lost 5 straight games, they do have the desire to bounce back and snap this ugly skid and while we believe they lack enough quality to do so, their efforts should see them keep this game more competitive than most anticipate and quite possibly within single-digits. This is an inflated spread on a dysfunctional Wizards team that will miss the playoffs and is dejected for it! Even if Washington does mount a BIG lead, a backdoor cover is always a possibility when laying this many points! This is also the Wizards' first game back at home after a lengthy trip on the West coast and the first game back is often the most challenging, as players have been away from their families and have certain distractions to deal with upon their return. We believe they'll do enough to win the game but don't see them blowing out the Nets.
2) Take Houston Rockets -1.5 spread against Dallas Mavericks for 3% of the bankroll.
The Rockets are a funny team this year. They not only play up and down to the level of their competition, they get up for big games and follow that up with let-downs. Some would make a joke by saying they are 'consistently inconsistent'! The one positive about them however is that they perform well with their backs against the wall and rise to the occasion when it matters most. Every time they've been written off by the fans and media, they put up a stellar effort and secure a 'W' that keeps their postseason aspirations intact.
Houston's squad personality is such that they get complacent after a series of victories but play with a chip on their shoulders when facing 'must-win' situations. This is the same team that has road victories in tough places like Cleveland, Toronto, Boston and Utah and is no stranger to winning big games in hostile territory. This game against their in-state rivals is one that they'll most definitely be motivated for. That's because the Rockets currently find themselves on the outside looking in, as far as playoff positions go, sitting just behind their opponent in the 9th spot! Failure to win this game could very well give Dallas one of the final two final spots and end up being the reason Houston misses the playoffs.
The fact that JB Bickerstaff's side opened up as favorites on the road against a team that is above them in the standings says a lot. The line movement which shifted Houston from a 1-point favorite to a 2-point one before settling back down at -1.5 is even more telling! Dallas would normally be a home favorite when facing a team with an inferior record but that isn't the case in this matchup and for good reasons. One such factor is the presence of All-Star James Harden who is a matchup nightmare to guard! Wes Matthews will likely have the unenviable task of staying with him and while the former Blazer is a solid defender, we don't think he can keep Harden quiet for 4 quarters. Sooner or later, last year's MVP runner-up will take control of this game and either dish out assists to teammates for open looks if they double-team him or do the bulk of the scoring himself. This should be a closely contested game but in Harden, Houston has a legitimate 'closer' while Dirk Nowitzki is past his best and has struggled in recent games.
One overlooked aspect of this matchup is the fact that both teams have had the last 2 days off to rest. It may not seem like it matters at first glance but history tells us that Houston performs much better in these situations than Dallas. The Rockets have covered the spread 17 of the last 21 times when playing on 2 days rest while the Mavs have faltered in this exact scenario. Rick Carlisle is a good coach but his team has won only 4 of 12 games when getting ample rest like this and has struggled against the better teams in the league all season! Houston is not one of the better teams in the league this year but they can be surprisingly efficient in big games and are only a year removed from the team that was a Western conference finalist. This is a nationally televised ESPN showdown between two playoff hopefuls and while it should be close and entertaining, the Rockets have the edge in numerous areas. Look for them to pull away at one point and win this game. If Houston does clinch the 'W' in this crucial matchup, the Western conference will have 3 teams sporting identical 39-39 records by the end of the night! That is exactly what we expect to see happen as the playoff race gets even more interesting and gets decided in the final few games.
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