January 20, 2016 (4:00 PM ET)
There are 2 picks tonight.
Heading into last Saturday, we were red hot and had won 14 of our previous 18 picks but as always emphasized the core principle that streaks (both hot and cold) are part of the game and yet ultimately meaningless as they are temporary by definition. Since then, we've endured a rare rough stretch where some good picks that would normally win, have lost, due to bad luck. Two overtime losses, one late meaningless score and yet the most unfortunate of them all was a half point loss on Nets in a game that the +11.5 underdogs were winning outright for much of the contest and covering the spread for 46 minutes out of 48! They were clearly the correct side but the unlikeliest set of late events saw them suddenly go down by 12 for the first and only time as clock expired!
The moral of the story is that luck (variance) plays a role in short-term results but doesn't hold back expertise over the long run. That is PROVEN by the fact that Sports Profit System clients have profited more than any other group of sports-bettors over the last few years (large sample size) and will go on to experience the same again this year! Patience is all that's required to succeed.
1: Take Charlotte Hornets +10 spread (buy half a point) against OKC Thunder for 3% of the bankroll.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA and we admire them. That, however, does not mean that they will win each and every game by double-digits! Certain situations are more troubling than others and although good teams find a way to win those games, they do often fall short of covering inflated lines (spreads)! Due to valid reasons examined below, we expect this to be one of those spots.
The primary issue for Billy Donovan's side here is that they played a tightly contested game last night! It was NOT a game where they could rest their stars in the 4th quarter to keep them fresh. Durant and Ibaka each battled for 36 minutes while Russell Westbrook logged 38 minutes! Needless to say, that tired legs and fatigue could be an issue tonight. This is not only an undesirable back-to-back scheduling spot for the Thunder, but the fact that they've also had to travel makes it tougher! It's always easier to play in the same venue on consecutive days than hop on and off the plane and have to deal with those distractions as well. Not only that, playing in the Denver altitude is no easy task and has proven to tire teams out in the 4th quarter. The Thunder gave everything they had to pull out the W last night but in doing so, they also left themselves more vulnerable for tonight's matchup against the Hornets. It should be noted that the Thunder have won only 3 of 7 games this season when the played the night before! Now they are being asked to not only win but to do so easily and by double-digits. While we believe they'll walk out with the victory, we don't think it'll be a walk in the park. This game should have a closer final score than most people anticipate.
Charlotte is coming off a thrilling overtime win over the Jazz two nights ago where Kemba Walker set a new franchise record by scoring 52 points! While we don't expect him to be as prolific tonight, we do believe he and his teammates are suddenly feeling a lot better about themselves after snapping out of their recent funk. Let's not forget that this is an improve team and one that is still in Eastern conference post-season contention. They are currently 2.5 games behind the 8th placed team in the East standings but with half of the season left to be played, that is hardly an insurmountable deficit. This is a well-coached team by Steve Clifford that is united and has bought into his ideas. They will be the fresher group on the court tonight and likely to give 100% and that should be enough to keep this game within single-digits.
The public loves the Thunder in this spot and is blindly spotting as many as 10 points with them but we believe they'll be disappointed at the end of this game. We expect the Hornets to be competitive and suprise a few people tonight. However, even if we're wrong and this game is a blowout at half-time or at the end of the 3rd quarter, it still leaves the door open for a backdoor cover as Billy Donovan would then choose to rest his stars to avoid injuries and give playing time to fringe players that have had little recent action and are not only not of the same quality but could be quite rusty. Spotting a motivated and rested team 10 full points is risky proposition in the NBA and one that could hunt OKC backers tonight. That's especially true given that Oklahoma City has often played up and down to the level of its competition and often does enough to win the game but cares little about whether it comes by 7 points of 17 points! That is evident by the fact that they have covered just 5 times in 20 games against teams with losing records this season! That is a telling figure and one that does not bode well for the complacent home side. Afterall, the Thunder have easily beaten the Hornets in recent years including a meeting earlier this month! They may very well look past them.
2: Take the UNDER 216 total points in Bulls vs. Warriors for 3% of the bankroll.
The Golden State Warriors travel to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls in what is the marquee matchup of the night. These two teams met back on Nov. 20, and it was the Warriors that pulled off the 106-94 victory at Oracle Arena. There is no question that the betting public is expecting a high scoring affair in this contest as the Warriors currently possess the best offensive in the league, averaging 114.3 points per contest! The Chicago Bulls have a good offense themselves, ranking 11th in the league, averaging 102.1 points per game and have scored at least 100 points in 14 of their last 15 games! All that points toward this game flying 'over' the set number, right? Unlikely.
While the casual fan is expecting another high scoring affair, experts don't believe that will be the case especially since 12 of Chicago's 14 games against Western conference opponents have gone 'Under' this season! Also, 216 points is an incredibly high total for a basketball game. Even though both of these offenses have been clicking, it will take each team to score an average of 27 points per quarter for the entire 4 periods in order to cover this number. As we have seen many times in the past, any number of things can happen that could prevent this total from finding its mark. Both teams or at least one could go cold from the field for a few minutes and all it would take is one period of strong defensive effort for a a 20-18 type quarter to emerge and make it incredibly difficult to reach the 216 points tally.
This will be a nationally televised ESPN game which means we can expect to see both teams at their absolute bests. Typically when two powerhouse offensive teams square off, it is usually the team that plays better on the defensive side of the ball that ultimately wins the game. Rarely do matchups like this one result in high scoring shootouts, as evidenced by their 106-94 meeting earlier this season and we wouldn't be surprised if the defenses stood up to be counted. The Chicago Bulls realize that they cannot win a shootout against the Warriors so we expect a more concentrated effort on the defensive end from them tonight in order to keep this game within reach. This is actually a favorable situation for the 'Under' as 10 of the Bulls' 13 games have gone 'Under' this season when they have been seeking revenge for a previous loss!
Both of these teams were involved in high scoring affairs in their last contests and then both had to travel in preparation for this meeting. Travelling and changing venues often messes with players' rhythm and that can have a profound and negative effect on their shots during the game. Both of these two teams shot well over 50% from the field in their last game and we don't see necessarily even one of them doing that tonight let alone both! For all the offensive hype, these two squads do pride themselves on their defensive intensity as well and know they must be well organized with their assignments to have a chance of winning this game. This is an inflated total because of the recent performances by both teams, but we don't expect those trends to continue in this one. This total has increased too much and we believe it should have opened around the 212 point mark. Those 4 extra points could prove to be the difference as we foresee this game remaining under the 'total' barring strict refeering that continuously puts both teams at the free-throw line.
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