January 4, 2016 (3:00 PM ET)
There is one NBA and one CBB pick tonight.
Sports Profit System finished the NFL regular season with a 37-24 record after going 1-2 on Sunday. We won 60.6% of our picks and brought in over 30 units of profit in what was another incredibly lucrative season! The playoffs start on Saturday.
1) Take Florida State at +4 spread against North Carolina for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting matchup between the number 6th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels and the unranked Florida State Seminoles. The oddsmakers have listed the Tar Heels as the 4 point road favorites, which in our (sharp) opinion seems like an awfully small number to lay at first glance. A majority of the betting public has likely taken notice that the No 6th ranked team is laying such a small number against an unranked foe and that has cause public money to come pouring in on the Tar Heels. What we find interesting is the fact that the last time these two teams met back in January of 2015. The Tar Heels managed to come away with a 78-74 win at home, however they were 15 point favorites in that contest. The fact that now they only find themselves significantly shorter favorites in this contest shows just how much has changed over the course of the year and how much respect the oddsmakers have for the Seminoles in this matchup.
North Carolina is an incredibly efficient shooting team, but is there is one team that can challenge them, it would be Florida State. FSU is currently averaging 81.5 points per game and are shooting 46.9 percent from the field thus far this season. Dwayne Bacon has been one of the more consistent performers on the team as he is averaging 17.2 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the field. Malik Beasley ranks second in scoring at 17.2 points per game and 50.3 percent shooting and is shooting nearly 40% from three-point range this season. Up front, 7 foot 3, Boris adds size and shot blocking (23 blocks this season) which should be able to contend with the strong inside game that UNC like to employ. Despite being a guard-oriented team, the Seminoles are also solid off the glass and are currently out rebounding teams by 9.4 per game and should be able to challenge the Tar Heels on the glass.
The Seminoles have had a somewhat inconsistent season thus far with a couple of head scratching losses on their resume. This is their chance however to get a statement win over a high ranking opponent and we expect them to be motivated in this contest. They are the type of team that has stayed competitive in their contests, either coving the spread when listed as the favorites or finding ways to keep the contests competitive when they are listed as the underdogs given their impressive 17-7 ATS in their last 24 games overall. We expect them to give the Tar Heels everything they can handle in this contest and wouldn't even be completely shocked if they manage to pull off the outright upset. The oddsmakers have set the trap with this line, but we won't be taking the bait as we believe the points will come into play in this one.
2) Take Boston Celtics at -7 spread (buy half a point) against Brooklyn Nets for 3% of the bankroll.
The Boston Celtics travel to Barclays Center to take on the Nets in a matchup that they will be greatly motivated for. After getting blown out in the first meeting, the Nets have managed to take the next two in this series including coming away with a 100-97 victory at the Garden on Saturday! The Celtics would like nothing more than to repay the favor in Brooklyn and hand the Nets a loss on their home court. With this being the 4th and final meeting between these two Atlantic opponents, we expect Boston to even up the series and avoid a season series loss against what is the 2nd worst team in the conference. It's worth knowing that the Celtics are 27-7 ATS on the road when seeking revenge over the last 2 seasons!
The difference in the matchup on Saturday was determined at the charity stripe as Brooklyn went an impressive 21-of-22 from the line while the Celtics only made 22-of-28. As has been the case with the Celtics in the past, a poor showing out of the locker room at the half which resulted in a 25-16 third-quarter for the Nets that was key in the contest. They also allowed Brook Lopez to basically run wild and control the paint allowing him to go off for 30 points and 13 rebounds. We expect the C's to have a more concentrated effort and strategy for slowing down Lopez.
The Nets will be at a serious disadvantage without the services of PG Jarrett Jack tonight. He was lost for the season with a torn ACL! Jack was the engine that drove this Nets offense. The 32-year-old veteran was averaging 12.8 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per contest and often kept his composure and his team in the game. While he is not an elite point guard, he is competitive, experienced and solid in many areas. He is an excellent passer of the ball and also has the ability to create his own shot. Jack is tied for sixth in the league in assists and he has a good feel for the game. His absence will no doubt hurt Brooklyn as they lack talent at the point guard position. Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan will be asked to do more to replace Jack as PG but neither player has shown their ability to play at a high level. Larkin had a rough time as a Knick last year and is among the worst backups in the league. Now he'll likely get the start at PG and while Sloan is a good player, he has a history of inconsistency and can be great or bad in different quarters.
There is a reason why the Celtics are not only favored in this contest, but significant ones. They are coming off a couple of losses and will not take this team lightly as they did in the prior meetings. Not only did they open as heft favorites, the line has shifted even more toward them from where it opened despite the fact that Avery Bradley will not play. They are the better team and have every chance of winning this game by double-digits. Barring a late backdoor cover, we believe they will take this by 8 or more. They were surprised by Brooklyn on Saturday but with this being an immediate chance for revenge, we expect that the Nets now have the Celtics' full attention. Look for Brad Stevens to do more tactical magic with his X's and O's out of timeouts as his side outplay Brooklyn for much of the game. Isaiah Thomas is likely to have a big game and present matchup problems.
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