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April 28, 2018

There are two NBA picks tonight!

#1: Take New Orleans Pelicans +9 spread against Golden State Warriors for 3% of the bankroll.

Steph Curry is questionable to play tonight but whether he takes the floor or not, the value is with the underdogs in this spot. The Pelicans have been one of the hottest teams in the league for a good couple of months now and have been playing outstanding basketball. Their offense took off after Cousins went down with a season-ending injury as the team changed its philosophy and started sharing the ball much more. Jrue Holiday has been the biggest beneficiary and has made the most of it! He wasn't always getting enough touches for a player with considerable talent before having to often defer to the two bigs, Davis and Cousins. Since the former Sacramento King went down however, Jrue Holiday has taken his game to the next level and is now the perfect 1-2 punch combo with Anthony Davis in a more traditional, small/big star tandem. 

Jrue Holiday isn't the only one playing with a lot of confidence right now. Anthony Davis is in our opinion the best big in the business and a once in a generation player! However, what makes this Pelicans squad so dangerous is that Nikola Mirotic has fully settled in by now after his trade from the Bulls and is playing the best basketball of his NBA career! A lot was always expected of him given his outstanding talent and achievements abroad but in Chicago he only ever showed glimpses of what he can do. It took him awhile to get going with New Orleans but since the start of March, he has been on fire! He gives them a deep threat with his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc but as a player who's anything but one-dimensional, he can also drive to the basket and hurt you on the inside or with mid-range shots given his skillset. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect to his play has been his defensive work however, a surprise to Alvin Gentry and many! Mirotic has guarded some of the opposition's toughest players in recent weeks and started racking up steals and blocks.

Rajon Rondo is a former NBA champion but the last few years haven't been kind to him. He's bounced around the league like a mediocre point-guard having stints with the Mavericks, Bulls and Kings before finding his way to the 'Big Easy'. His attitude is questionable and has led to scuffles with teammates and past coaches but his ability to distribute the ball and dish out assists is uncanny! He's a true PG and gets his teammates open shots with regularity. His ability to ball-handle allows Jrue Holiday to play the off-guard role at times and has been instrumental to New Orleans' success. The first half of the season had its ups and downs for him and he even briefly was a bench player but he's really come alive since the All-Star break and is a big reason behind the offensive explosion of the Pelicans. This is a team that has been averaging close to 30 assists a game for the past month or so and has really learned to share the ball. They were playing for their playoff lives (just to make it to the post-season) for a good month and a half before the playoffs started and that gives them a leg up. They have built the right habits and are going to provide a challenge for the Warriors. Their sweep of the Blazers has opened some eyes but still not enough if you ask us. A few years ago, they were swept by these Warriors in what was Anthony Davis' first and only playoff series! Don't expect AD and the rest to allow that to happen this time around. We believe they can challenge for the 'W' and stay within this generous point-spread. We don't see them losing by double-digits, unless it happens in the backdoor fashion. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Pelicans have covered the spread 9 of 10 times this month!
  • The Pelicans are 28-15 ATS on the road this season!  
  • Only two Western conference teams had a better road record than New Orleans' 26-17 mark away from home! 

#2: Take Milwaukee Bucks +5 spread against Boston Celtics for 3% of the bankroll.

The two most exciting words in professional sports (Game 7) will be said plenty of times tonight. That's because it's a do-or-die matchup for both of these sides as one starts preparing for vacation while the other advances to the next round to face the 76ers! Which side will go through? That's a tough one to answer. Without Kyrie Irving and a couple of other absentees, we believe these two teams are very evenly matched. Irving and his tremendous offensive skillset would've given the C's the edge but without him, we thought the Bucks have a chance to get past the first round and we still do. 

Milwaukee forced Game 7 by winning at home by double-digits! Giannis Antetokounmpo was unstoppable once again and by being aggressive offensively not only managed to put up 30+ points and pull down 14 boards but also opened things up for his teammates. Khris Middleton, was 7-for-8 from the field in that game and is a very smooth player. The sharpshooter can do a bit of everything and could be a big factor tonight. He's already shown his ability to score in the series but with him, Bledsoe and Giannis on the floor at the same time, Boston has to pick its poison. It doesn't help that Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker have joined the starting lineup as the two are capable of having good nights themselves and picking up their teammates. 

We believe the Bucks can win this game outright but even if that's not the case, they may well cover the spread. The point-spread set by Vegas is a generous one in our opinion for the underdogs in a matchup that really could go either way and is perhaps a true 50-50. Given that this game could go either way, all the value is with the 5 bonus points and we'll gladly take them knowing they could potentially come into play. This series started with a game that went to overtime and that was a good indication of things to come as far as how closely-contested it has been for the most part. We expect another close dog-fight tonight with the winner perhaps sealing it in the final possession or two. It would surprise us if the C's pulled away and won this easily. Look for Milwaukee to give it everything they have and that should be enough to stay within this spread if not win outright. The home team has won all 6 games in this series thus far but that doesn't mean that'll continue forever. Last night the Raptors finally won one on the road to end the series against Washington even though the five prior games in that Eastern conference matchup had all been won by the hosts as well.

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