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April 13, 2016

There are 3 NBA picks.

Despite several unfortunate losses (by 1 run or 1 point), SPS has hit 62.5% over the last 30 days thanks to a 35-21 record! Variance is simply part of the game and when bad luck rolls around, it turns good winning picks into narrow losing ones. That is precisely why long-term results are all that matter and why sports-betting is very much an annual investment.
 

1) Take Phoenix Suns -5 spread against LA Clippers for 3% of the bankroll.

How often is a team with an ugly 22-59 record installed as a 'favorite' against a fourth seed with an impressive 53-28 one? Almost never. And yet that is the scenario here in NBA tonight as the Suns host the Clippers at Talking Stick Resort Arena! There are subtle reasons behind that and ones that sharps will take full advantage of. The betting public meanwhile will simply judge the teams based on their seasonal numbers and is pouring money on Doc Rivers' LA! That is a mistake tonight.

The Clippers are locked into the 4th spot in the West standings and have little to gain or lose from this matchup. They will be resting all of their key players as Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford will all be wearing street clothes! It is a smart decision by a coaching staff that does not wanna see any untimely injuries right before the start of the playoffs. In the big picture, it is a sensible strategy. In regards to what effects that has on their performances on this particular night however, it is surely detrimental. That's because even the players who will be featuring in this matchup have one eye on the post-season and will not want to pick up a knock or injury and hurt their chances in the upcoming playoffs that start this weekend! Not giving 100% to grab every loose ball should give Phoenix an edge tonight as they actually have something to play for. The Clipper bench has shown its capabilities in recent games, especially when the starting lineup was rested, but people forget that those contests had Jamal Crawford on the court! Crawford is likely to pick up his third '6th Man of the Year' award and is equivalent to instant offense! He is a natural scorer and not only creates his own shot but gets so much attention from opposing defenses that his teammates are often left open for him to dish out assists to. He, too, however will be watching from the bench tonight which gives Austin Rivers and Pablo Prigioni the bulk of the ball-handling and creative duties and we just don't see those two generating enough to win this game.

The Suns have had a miserable season and owe their passionate fans a parting gift. In a season that's had its fair share of struggles, the fanbase has remained supportive despite a coaching change and personnel turnover that includes getting rid of the sulking Markieff Morris among others. The mood in the locker room has been better in recent weeks and that has translated to some Phoenix victories. Devin Booker has been a revealtion for this squad and is the 4th youngest NBA player ever to score 1000 points in a season! We believe he, Teletovic, Alex Len and Jon Leuer will have a strong performance tonight while veterans PJ Tucker and Ronnie Price know the importance of this game. A 'W' on their home floor, against a Pacific divsion opponent that has had its way with them, to end the season would go a long way for this rebuilding franchise. On the sideline, interim coach Earl Watson also has his reasons to be motivated. That's because he'd like to keep this job on a permanent basis and will have to fend off other candidates in the off-season. A statement victory against a top-level West contender could solidify his case for the job. Look for lowly Phoenix to end the season on a high as they beat a Clippers team that is missing its best players and is on the second night of a back-to-back schedule. The Suns were beaten at home by the second unit of Sacramento Kings last time out and will not overlook the Clippers' backups. They are in bounce back mode after that embarrassing defeat and should do enough to pull away and cover the spread, much to the surprise of casual NBA fans.


2) Take Minnesota Timberwolves -9 spread against New Orleans Pelicans for 3% of the bankroll.

The Timberwolves are coming off a blowout loss and own an inferior season record than the team they are facing tonight. So why is it that they are laying nearly double-digit points against them? Many would find that strange. We don't. There is a reason Vegas installed them as 9-point favorites in this contest! The Wolves are likely to cruise to a double-digit win tonight and barring a late backdoor cover, we don't see the Pelicans being able to keep up with them. It should also be noted that many of the players have voiced their support for interim coach Sam Mitchell and their desire for him to take over permanently next season. He is in the running for the job along with several other candidates and we expect his players will want to improve his odds by finishing the season with a big win!

No NBA squad is more depleted than that of Alvin Gentry's New Orleans! The Pelicans were already down to just 8 healthy players in their last game against the Bulls and now will be missing Luke Babbitt as well. Babbitt is a low profile player that flies under the radar but he was getting ample playing time thanks to injuries and making a case for himself. He was averaging over 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists and even more impressively making more than half of his 3-point attempts in April! For a team that was already without all of its main offensive playmakers such as Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, this is a major loss. It won't help that towering Frenchman Alexis Ajinca will sit out as well. The skillful plus 7-footer had been the main 'big' who could score for the Pelicans given that Omer Asik and Kendrick Perkins are very limited offensively and are primarily there to block/alter shots. There was hope that Ajinca could play in this game but he's since been ruled out.

The Pelicans are down to 7 healthy players and will hardly be able to sub players in and out in this game. Against a high-powered offense like the Timberwolves that can run up and down the floor, that'll catch up to them. Keep in mind that the few players they do have available are all NBA backups who have far less quality than the players they are going up against tonight. The starting lineup for Minnesota is by far the stronger one and the Wolves' bench has more capable players than the Pels at this moment.

This is truly a mismatch in not only talent and skill but also motivation and desire. That's because while Minnesota would love to send its fanbase home with something to get excited over, this is a meaningless game for the Pelicans and one that they can't wait to over with. Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine on the other hand are very much looking forward to this game as this is an opportunity for them to get a rare 'W' at Target Center. For a team that's been criticized for not playing as well at home as they have on the road this season (which includes wins over Golden State and Portland), Minnesota would like to answer back. This matchup against the injury-ridden Pels gives them a chance to do so. They get to close out the season with a win at home and we anticipate will want to do so in style, in blowout fashion! Look for them to have a comfortable double-digit lead for much of the game and barring an unfortunately and meaningless late run in the final minutes of the 4th quarter when the outcome is already out of reach, we see them covering this spread.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Timberwolves are 17-10 ATS when the total is 210 or more points.
  • Pelicans have covered only 1 of 5 spreads as a road underdog of 9 to 12 points!
  • Pelicans are 0-10 ATS after scoring 15 or more points than Vegas projected in their previous game.
     

3) Take Milwaukee Bucks -5 spread against Indiana Pacers for 3% of the bankroll.

The Indiana Pacers find themselves in an interesting situation tonight as they travel to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Indiana is coming off a victory over the New York Knicks last night which cemented themselves into the 7th seed for the upcoming NBA playoffs. Their opening round matchup has already been set and they will be facing the Toronto Raptors despite the outcome of tonight's contest. With nothing really to gain in tonight's contest, it would not surprise us if coach Frank Vogel decided to rest his starters or at least limited their minutes. This is a meaningless game for them on the second night of a back-to-back schedule and the last thing they'd want is to risk injuries.

It has been no secret that the Milwaukee Bucks have under-performed this season. Many had expected the Bucks to be a playoff contender this season; however they have seemingly regressed under the tutelage of Jason Kidd.  Milwaukee lost, 107-8 last night to the Orlando Magic, in a game that saw them commit 23 total turnovers. It was an utterly poor performance by the Bucks, who went down by double digits early and was never really able to recover. That has been the story of the Bucks all season long. They have been an incredibly poor team on the highway this season, going just 10-31 overall, but have played much better at home and own a winning record there.

Tonight's matchup will be the Bucks last game of the season and they have the luxury of being able to close out the season with a win in front of their home fans. Milwaukee is a young and talented team who has certainly struggled more than expected this season. Even though they will not be in this season's playoffs, this is their chance to close out the year on a high note in anticipation of next season. The Pacers likely do not care if they are even competitive in this matchup and will likely get some of their younger, less experienced players time on the court in order to rest their starters and gauge what kind of depth they have on the bench heading into the postseason. Their main goal is to get through this game with minimal wear and zero injuries in preparation for the playoffs.

Indiana has struggled on the road going just 18-22 this season and we don't expect things to turn around, especially if they decide to not give their starters full minutes in this contest. Meanwhile, Jason Kidd will have his team motivated to come out and get one final victory. This game could get ugly late in the contest as we expect the Bucks to come away with a convincing win and cover tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Pacers are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games with no rest!
  • Pacers are just 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a win.
  • Pacers are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a double-digit win.



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