January 30, 2016 (11:35 AM ET)
Sports Profit System will release plenty of NCAA picks in February and March! Saturdays have often been reserved for college sports in the past and that will be the case moving forward (after today) as well. In addition, the NBA All-Star break is coming up shortly which will also shift our attention toward the college world.
There is one NBA pick today, where we are 5-2 in our last seven after losing by just 2 points last night.
Take Philadelphia 76ers at +18 spread against Golden State Warriors for 3% of the bankroll.
Professional sports-bettors understand that while the relative strength of teams is of obvious importance, there are other key factors such as motivation and schedules that impact the outcome in relation to the Vegas line. There's no doubt that these two franchises are at currently different levels. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA while the team from Philadelphia is the worst! And yet while we were willing to back Golden State against perennial contenders, San Antonio Spurs, we're not willing to do so in this spot. That's because they have to win by more than 18 points in what is a tougher spot than it looks at first glance and the incentive to do so isn't really there.
Golden State had a point to prove against closest rivals, Spurs, and against East powerhouses like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls! Against the lowly 76ers, the statistically worst team in the league, and one that's not even from the same conference, what do they have to gain? Not much. The longer they leave Steph Curry and other key players on the court, the higher the probabilty of a potential season-ending injury that could be disastrous and completely derail their lofty ambitions! The coaching staff and the players realize that. This is a game where the Warriors will do what is necessary to walk out as winners but don't care whether it comes by 10 or 20 points! And they shouldn't. They have their sights set on much bigger things and a blowout victory over a non-conference bottomfeeder does little to enhance their already established reputation. At least when playing at home, they have a duty to entertain the fans and put on a show, not to mention the intention to equal the Bulls' 44-game home winning streak but on the road, in a game like this, they will naturally relax a bit.
On the other hand, this is a BIG game for Philadelphia! They won't be making the playoffs and don't have an important upcoming game to look ahead to. This is as high profile of an occasion as they'll experience this season, hosting the defending champions. The sheer thought of knocking off the red hot Warriors will be incredibly motivating for this young group and while the possibility of it is slim, their efforts should be such that they put on a competitive showing and keep the final score closer than most anticipate. The 76ers have 4 days off before their next game and that means their sole focus is on this one. The same can't be said about a Golden State team that heads to NYC tomorrow for a more high profile matchup against Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks! The Warriors will want to put on a show in the Big Apple against a team that is at least in playoff contention and not flying under the radar. They'll likely be overlooking the 76ers and have one eye on tomorrow's contest. The coaching staff will aim to limit the number of minutes that starters get tonight so they can stay fresh for Sunday's game. This is a game where fringe players like Kevin Looney and James Michael McAdoo (if healthy) might get playing time as they take their foot off the gas pedal in the fourth quarter.
The 6-hour flight from California to Philly isn't conducive to optimal performance nor is the fact that this 5:00 PM EST game will feel like an afternoon game to the bodies of Golden State players! This is an easy matchup on paper but a tough scheduling spot in reality that means the champions will not be at their best. They don't need to be in ideal shape to register a W but they do need to be near the top of their game to win by 20+ points which is what is being asked of them here! The betting public does not take these crucial factors into account and is blindly expecting another blowout after seeing GSW dismantle the likes of Spurs, Cavs, Bulls and Mavericks! That's a mistake because every matchup is unique and the particular circumstances surrounding this one favor the home side. Both teams are coming into this game well rested (2 days off) but the Warriors didn't necessarily want a break after shooting 51.8% and then 58% from the field in their last 2 games! The off-days combined with a bit of jetlag and travel means they could be a bit rusty and we don't see them being as flawless this evening. All these factors are likely to add up to result in Golden State winning the game but falling short of this inflated spread!
The 76ers have improved and have actually split their last 6 games, winning 3 of them! For a team with an abysmal record like theirs, that is a morale-boosting step in the right direction and means the players are more confident coming into this game than they have been. The two days off also meant that talented big, Jahlil Okafor will likely take the court tonight. The former Duke standout missed the last 2 games with an illness but should be ready to contribute tonight. He's an offensively capable player that'll be joined by other athletic frontcourt players like Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant! In the back-court, Ish Smith has been a revealation for this club and is now an established PG that has the keys to this offense. This is a young and hungry team that would love nothing more than to prove they aren't as bad as people think and they could do that with a solid performance against the defending champs tonight. And at the same time, there's no pressure on them as no one is expecting an upset. That means they can go out and simply play their game and if they do so, we believe they'll stay within this generous spread. Keep in mind that Brett Brown's team is 10-2 ATS (against-the-spread) over the last 3 seasons when installed as home underdogs of 12.5 or more points! Look for them to cover this line one way or another, whether it be through a competitive performance or via a 4th quarter backdoor cover when the Warriors start looking ahead to Sunday's game in New York.
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