NBA – Cavaliers @ Wizards -4.5 First Half (-110): 6:00 PM CT on NBCS-DC
Since the full game side in this one is steaming higher and higher, let’s isolate the Washington Wizards in the first half. They need this game to secure a play-in berth and continue to jockey for seeding, and after two tough losses in Atlanta by a combined five points, I expect Washington to come out focused and sharp here.
Aside from when they pulled off a surprise win over the spiraling Boston Celtics, everyone has been getting out to solid leads at halftime over the Cleveland Cavaliers in this stretch of 11 losses in 12 games for the Cavs. Just two weeks ago the Wizards ran Cleveland out by 29 points and were covering this number at the break, so they know how to dominate this Cavs squad that’s ready for vacation. Washington has a lot to play for, and I’ll count on them to jump out early against a team with next to no motivation.
Bonus Bet: If you’re in the habit of laying big numbers on full game sides, this isn’t the worst place to do it with Washington at -8.5. The Wizards are on an 8-2 ATS run that’s the mirror opposite of Cleveland’s 2-8 stretch. The Cavs are also just 10-24 ATS on the road, and 9-22 when catching points away from home. Those are really solid trends and a good buy sign on a Wizards team that’s shown no reservations about blowing out bad teams like Cleveland.
NBA – Magic @ 76ers -8.5 First Half (-110): 7:00 PM CT on NBCS-Philly
Orlando is really walking into a buzzsaw for this game. We know how atrocious the Orlando Magic are as they chase the No. 1 pick, and a Philadelphia 76ers squad chasing the 1-seed in the East should stomp on them early.
Philadelphia has been an excellent first-half play recently, particularly at home where they’ve been leading at halftime by an average of 17.8 points in their last five games. The Sixers are coming off two frustrating road losses where they were held to 94 points, so I would expect some frustration to be vented early in this game.
Enter the perfect victim with Orlando, as their first-half margin in the last five games has been -15.8 points. Philadelphia needs one win to secure that top seed in the East, so expect a full early effort from a team finally near full strength and lay the first half number.
NBA – 2-Team Moneyline Parlay: Kings +215 & Pelicans +130 (+640) 8:00 PM CT on NBCS-CA and 8:30PM on ESPN
Yeah, you heard me. Look, all you need to know about these games is that they’re absolutely meaningless for the teams laying points. On Sunday, the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors will play for the right to the more-favorable 8th seed for the play-in, and it doesn’t matter what happens in their games tonight.
So why would either team risk playing their stars? We’re already seeing it with Golden State, as the game-time decision label has been conveniently put on Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins. The spread has dropped like a rock in response, and while the line move on the Grizzlies game hasn’t been as drastic it’s still moving sharply towards Sacramento. In a season of unpredictable “load management” and last-minute scratches from the lineup that have tormented bettors it’s time to strike back.
A better than 6-to-1 payout on this bet is a good place to start.
Bonus Bet: Obviously the more prudent and cautious way to approach these games is to bet them individually, either on the money line or by taking the points so I’ll be taking the points with Sacramento and New Orleans. But be mindful that the best of the number is long gone and getting worse, so significant closing line value has evaporated. That’s why I’m taking shots on the underdogs straight up in these games to get plus buyback.
Tiny Nick is 252-163 ATS (+79 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.