NBA Slate 2/21

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Last night was a rough one. The Heat really screwed us in my picks from last night, where I went 2-3 if you include the big parlay I do for each night. The big parlays you don’t need to hit every night, but I definitely need to be better with other picks. So let’s pick it right back up and look at what tonight has to offer; a slate that includes a few more games of interest than last night.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards (-4.5)

Here is a game with two teams outside of the playoffs, and if you remember what I said yesterday, anything can happen in games featuring two bad teams. But this game is a little different. Washington isn’t THAT bad, though they aren’t a great team either. Bradley Beal is the best player on the court, and has a decent supporting cast of role players around him in Thomas Bryant, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. The Cavs did just pick up Andre Drummond for practically nothing at the deadline, but former head coach John Beilein has parted ways with the Cavs, so there may be an adjustment period. I’m going to keep my eye on this one and see the injury report as the game approaches, for Bryant and Ian Mahinmi are both questionable for the game. If both of them are out, I’ll probably just avoid this one in general. But if they are good to go, I’ll take Wizards ML.

Wizards ML (-190)

Dallas Mavericks (-4.5) at Orlando Magic

Oddly enough, the Mavs are a better team on the road than they are at home. I look for them to keep up that trend against the Magic here. Dallas finally has both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis healthy together, as well as other role players around them. They did sign Michael Kidd-Gilchrist after he was bought out by the Hornets, but he is questionable to make his debut with the team tonight. Either way, I think they should win with or without him. Orlando has played poorly as of late, having only won games against the likes of Charlotte, Atlanta, and Detroit, all of whom are bottom feeders in the overall standings. Besides those three teams, they haven’t won in over a month. I see the Mavericks winning this one. I’m gonna stay away from the spread on this one, and play it a little safer with just a ML bet.

Mavericks ML (-177)

Indiana Pacers (-6.5) at New York Knicks

For those of you who follow our Twitter page and fellow contributors, you may be familiar with our very own Catfish Carl’s list of teams to never bet against. Well, on that list is the Indiana Pacers, specifically when they are favored, who have struggled mightily recently since Victor Oladipo has returned. Here are some of their results since his return:

Overtime win against the Bulls at home
Home loss against the Knicks
Home loss against the Mavericks (who were without Doncic)
Home loss against the Pelicans (who were without Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson)
Buzzer beater home loss against the Nets (who were without Kyrie Irving)

These kind of performances are just unacceptable by the Pacers standards, who are fighting for a top-four seed in the East. They are just 2-6 since Oladipo’s return, so you can see why Carl has them on their list. But I’m going to go against Carl on this one. Yes, the Knicks did just beat them in Indiana just a few games ago. But I’m thinking the win against the Bucks (yes, it was without Giannis Antetokounmpo) just before the All Star break as well as a week off to get things figured out is just the right timing for this team to right the ship. The Knicks did trade away Marcus Morris too, who hit some big shots late in their recent win against the Pacers, so I think the Pacers will redeem themselves here. If not, consider myself a strong believer in their place on Carl’s list.

Indiana ML (-250)

Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors (-6.5)

The Pacers have lost me a lot of money during their recent stretch, but the Raptors are the team that’s totally made up for that. They were on a 15-game win streak before losing to the Nets just before the break. Now, they will look to get back on track as they have solidified themselves as a serious threat in the East, even after losing Kawhi Leonard this summer. The Suns have lost their last four road games by eight points or more, and the spread is set at -6.5 for the Raptors. I’ve been a little more safer with my first few picks, so I’ll go with the spread on this one for a more risky play, though I think the Raptors to win by at least seven is still a somewhat safe play.

Raptors -6.5

Boston Celtics (-6.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves

Here’s another game where I’m going to ride with the spread. Yes, Kemba Walker is out for tonight’s game, but on the flip side of things, Karl-Anthony Towns is also out for the T’Wolves, so both teams are out with their best player. I think the loss of Towns is a bigger blow to Minnesota than it is to the Celtics in losing Walker. Marcus Smart will likely take over point guard duties, and his savvy defense will pose a problem for the newly acquired D’Angelo Russell. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be a go for tonight and will be relied on heavily with Walker out, but with Towns out and Gorgui Dieng traded away at the deadline, Minnesota is a little thin down low, so I expect Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis to provide some relief in the post. I’m not as confident in this one as I am in the Raptors spread, but I’ll ride with it today and will probably play it safer with a ML bet on them thrown in some parlays.

Celtics -6.5

Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder (-1.5)

This is the tightest matchup for the night. These two teams have played well as of late, and both teams were a little banged up heading into the All-Star break. With an extra week to focus on getting healthy, this game is going to be tough to predict. My gut tells me to just avoid this game, but as an OKC fan, it’s hard for me to not bet on this game. I will likely throw a few bucks on the Thunder ML, but I would advise avoiding this game for it’s a toss up. If you’re feeling it, Denver is at + odds, so they may be worth taking a chance on. But I’m going to stick with my allegiance to the Thunder, which betting with your heart and not your head is never great advice to follow. For my parlays tonight, I will likely avoid this game completely.

Thunder ML (-120)

San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz (-7.5)

This is a weird game. The Jazz are winners of four straight, but before that, they lost five straight. So it appears they have made the right adjustments and will look to continue that success tonight. In their last four wins, only one of them did they win by more than four points. The spread being set at -7.5 seems a little high. The Spurs beat Utah the last time they played as well. If I had to guess, I’m thinking the Jazz should win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs can pull off the upset, especially with Mike Conley being out tonight. That being said, even if the Jazz do win, I don’t think I see them covering the spread while doing so.

Spurs +7.5

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers (-10.5)

The Grizzlies were my lock last night, and they let me down. It’s always tough to predict how teams will fare after the break, especially when they made roster changes at the trade deadline. This game in general I think I’m going to avoid aside from some parlays. I think the Lakers will win this, but winning by double digits is no easy task when playing against another playoff team. Yes, Memphis is on the second of a back-to-back, but I think this game is just going to be avoided by me. If you want to play it safe, just throw some money on Lakers ML, though the odds (-560) isn’t going to reward a big return.

New Orleans Pelicans (-4.5) at Portland Trailblazers

The last game on tonight’s slate features a solid chance to win some money. Blazers are without their star Damian Lillard, who was on an absolute tear before he went down with an injury. I don’t see how this team will stay afloat without him. He carried them over recent weeks into getting back into playoff conversations, but with him going down, I can see this team struggling. Pelicans have played quite well since Williamson’s debut, and he’s been extraordinary himself. With a healthy lineup going into tonight, and having just beat the Blazers by 21 points just a few games ago, I like both the Pelican’s ML and spread on this matchup.

Pelicans ML (-190) and spread (-4.5)

Parlays

In yesterday’s article, I featured a few parlays that didn’t hit. Like I mentioned earlier, especially with the bigger parlays, you don’t have to rely on them hitting every night, but it’s nice to hit a big one every once in a while. I typically stick with straight ML parlays, because nothing hurts more than losing on a big parlay by one leg on a team you picked to win but didn’t cover the spread. So with tonight’s slate, I think I’m going to sprinkle a few two-team and three-team parlays, as well as a big parlay to top it all off. Parlays I like:

Mavericks and Pelicans ML (+140)

Pacers, Raptors, and Celtics ML (+153)

Lakers, Mavericks, and Raptors ML (+145)

Big Parlay: Jazz, Lakers, Mavericks, Wizards, Pacers, Pelicans, and Raptors ML (+905)

I do want to note that if you look at last night, the Heat screwed me over since I had them in multiple parlays. You have to realize that upsets are going to happen. And to learn from my mistakes, I need to better prepare myself if something like that happens again. So for tonight, you see I’m riding the Mavericks in three of those four parlays. I probably won’t pick all of those parlays just because if they lose, that’s three parlays ruined. So when picking parlays and doing multiple of them, try to space out who you’re picking from, that way if one team does get upset, you won’t suffer.

Odds Boost

There’s some intriguing odd’s boosts tonight provided by DraftKings, but there aren’t any of the typical game parlays. Most of them involve player performance, which I typically stay away from. However, one of them tonight is Zion Williamson to record over 31.5 points and rebounds combined. His last two games he’s scored 32 and 31 points, so even if he can score around 25 or so and grab his typical seven or eight rebounds, he should be just fine recording that. I like this odds boost of +105, and I will be all over it.

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