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Derek Blank’s NBA Picks for the Night 2/20/20

The NBA All-Star break was one for the books. We had the Skills Competition feature two big men, the Three-Point Contest come down to the last shot, and the Dunk Contest featured overtime and controversy. The new format for the All-Star game itself turned out to be a huge success after much complaining about the change beforehand, and looks like they will make some tweaks to perfect it next year.

But now, it’s time for the players to switch back into gear and look to complete the rest of their campaign. The NBA is my favorite sport to bet on, so it’s been a long week of scraping around between NHL and NCAA bets. But let’s look at tonight’s slate:

Milwaukee Bucks (-12.5) at Detroit Pistons

The Bucks are the clear cut favorite here, but that -1000 line just doesn’t make it very appealing, so I’m gonna go with the spread here. The line is at -12.5 for the Bucks, would I’m not going to lie is a bit off putting for me, but the Pistons are bad. Like very bad. They just traded away their best player in Andre Drummond, their starting point guard and Mr. October himself Reggie Jackson was just bought out and signed with the Clippers, and guys like Luke Kennard and Blake Griffin are not in the lineup as well. That’s four starters from the season’s beginning that will not be playing today. Derrick Rose will get his, but with the Bucks finally healthy as well, I can see this one getting out of hand early.

Bucks -12.5

Miami Heat (-6) at Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers (-8.5)

These two scare me a bit, and so I’m going to pair them together. The Heat and Hawks game feature two teams that made some deals at the deadline. Heat made a move for contention as they traded for Andre Iguodala, and the Hawks brought in a pair of centers in Clint Capela and Dwayne Dedmond. Capela will be out tonight, so Dedmond likely gets the start. The Hawks have this weird thing about them where they are sneaky good, and can stay in games, but have trouble closing out. Plus, the Heat are a WAY better home team than on the road. At home they are near perfect on the season, but are just a different team on the road. Both teams feature new lineups, so I think I’ll stay away from the spread on this one which is set at -6 for Miami.

Much like the Heat, the 76ers are a completely different team when they are at home as opposed to on the road, and they are hosting the Nets tonight. Kyrie Irving re-aggravated his shoulder injury, and is out tonight. However, the Nets have played much of the season without Irving, so this isn’t a huge adjustment for them, though it would definitely be nice if they had him. I’m definitely tempted to throw a bit on the spread for this one, which is set at -8.5 for Philly, but for now I’ll play it a bit safer. I’ll pair these two games in a small parlay in hopes for a little payout.

Heat and Sixers ML parlay (-131)

Memphis Grizzlies at Sacramento Kings (-0.5)

This is the game I really like the most. Yes, Memphis did make a few trades at the deadline that shook up their roster. Iguodala is gone, but he never played anyways, which brought in Justise Winslow, who is out for the game. No change there. But they did ship out Jae Crowder too, who was an important role player for this team, so that does hurt a bit. But the Kings are bad, and have definitely regressed from last year after their surprising season. The Grizz are on the road, but they were one of the hottest teams going into the All-Star break, and have really put themselves in the playoff picture over the last few weeks. I like Memphis here a lot, and will be putting more units on this game than any other matchup, especially with that juicy line.

Grizzlies ML

Houston Rockets (-10) at Golden State Warriors

This is another weird one. Yes, the Rockets are the heavy favorites, but some things have happened in recent weeks for this game to be interesting. As you may know if you’re an NBA fan, the Rockets are taking small-ball to the extreme by starting P.J. Tucker at center. The small-ball lineup has somewhat worked, but it’s been inconsistent as teams try to adjust to the different playing-style. The Rockets also got Robert Covington from the T’Wolves at the deadline, helping them at the perimeter. And for the Warriors, they made the biggest trade at the deadline by trading D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins. They also sent away Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks, who were some scoring perimeter players for them. This game has a lot of unknowns that I just don’t like. Though the Warriors have definitely gotten worse after the deadline, they’ve also kept some games close (a 120-125 defeat at home against the Lakers really catches my eye). They haven’t won yet since the break, and I really don’t see them winning here either, but I just know if the Rockets can win by 11 points, which the spread is set at -10. To be safe here, I’m going to throw in a separate parlay that includes the Sixers and Heat to make for some + odds.

Rockets, Heat, and Sixers ML (+112)

Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls (-4.5)

This game I’m avoiding completely. I don’t like this game one bit. Both teams are bad, and when bad teams face each other, anything can happen. Bulls are favorites here, and have the best player on the floor in Zach Lavine, but are also facing A LOT of injuries going into the game. Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Otto Porter Jr., Chandler Hutchinson, Denzel Valentine, and Wendell Carter Jr. are all OUT for this game. That means the Bulls will be digging deep into their bench for tonight’s game, and I’m not 100% sure Lavine is the guy to carry the load that’s going to be this heavy. The Hornets just bought out Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, so they are facing some lineup changes of their own. If you want to have fun with it, maybe throw a few bucks on Hornets ML for some + odds, but again, I’m staying away from this game completely.

Big Parlay

Lastly, I usually like to throw in a parlay involving every game (except the Hornets-Bulls game), so for this, I will likely do all ML bets. So tonight’s parlay, since it’s a smaller slate featuring some heavy favorites, won’t have the largest payout, so if you are feeling a little more dangerous than me, throw in a bet from the Bulls and Hornets game, but I however will not be doing that.

Bucks, Heat, Sixers, Grizzlies, and Rockets ML parlay (+341)

Odds Boost

As someone who strictly uses DraftKings, I love to check out the odds boost every day for the NBA slate. Today, they have one that is pretty enticing. The parlay is Bucks, Sixers, and Rockets all to win, with the odds boost at -110. That’s pretty solid, and all of these teams are heavily favored, so I’ll be jumping all over that.

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