NBA Betting Picks with Lines & Odds – 4/16/19

Yesterday’s Results: 0-3
All Time Results: 63-61, +3.4 Units

Oklahoma City Thunder +105 @ Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit
Series Price: Oklahoma City Thunder +105 vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit*

Soreness vs. rhythm: The Great Paul George debate. After the Thunder’s loss on Sunday, Paul George attributed his poor shooting to a lack of rhythm, saying he had not shot a ball in several days. Many read his comments to mean that he’s hurt and that he’s not getting better. I’m fading that notion.  I think Paul George is improving health-wise and rhythm-wise, and one bad shooting day doesn’t necessarily tell us anything. George had 8-24 days in October, November – in every month. It’s just one game.

Lending credence to George’s argument – he hit huge, contested three in the final 3 minutes of the game to cut the lead to one. He was getting his rhythm back – despite how he poorly he started.

Last year, Paul George – with no injury to speak of – shot 13/20 in game 1 against the Jazz and 2/16 in game 6. These things happen.

Yes, Paul George shot great before the all star break and his shoulder injury. Shot better than he ever had by a wide margin. And yes, he has shot poorly overall since then. But I don’t think, he’s damaged goods. He’s hit 4 or more threes in 4 of his last 6 games. Like Embiid against the Nets, I like George to improve throughout this series. On balance, I expect George to play similar to his overall season statistics – which isn’t as good as MVP candidate – but is better than any wing the Blazers have had since Clyde Drexler.

If George is right – or 80% – I don’t see how the Blazers continue to match the Thunder bucket for bucket. After shooting 43% as a team from deep – without George – in their final regular season game, the Thunder shot an astonishing 5/33 Sunday against the Blazers. And it was a still close game despite. Lillard still needed not one but two 30+ foot bombs to salt the game away. Westbrook was criticized for allowing them, but I don’t see many people guarded as far away from the bucket as Dame was. Sometimes you get beat – doesn’t mean you’re worse. If Lillard misses one of those shots, the Blazers could easily have wasted a perfect 6-6 start from deep in the first quarter.

OKC has superior star power and superior horses in support. Enes Kanter was playable in their last game – I don’t think he was great, nor do I think he will be as good the further this series ratchets up the intensity.

Orlando Magic +10.5 @ Toronto Raptors – .25 Units

It’s always surprising to see a big underdog not only cover easily but beat a big favorite on the road, only for their odds to worsen for the next game. But it makes sense too. The “zig-zag” theory – bet against the team that just won ATS – has been in strong affect, as the 76ers and the Clippers both clapped back in their second game already. While I still like the Raptors to win the series – I think that the motivation they have to redeem themselves will not necessarily translate into such a big margin.

The Magic are on a 12-3 tear ATS and I like them to keep it going, against a Raptors squad that has yet to define its pecking order down the stretch. Kyle Lowry cannot be as bad as he was in game 1 – (Or as bad as he has been in games 1’s throughout his career) – but he might be inefficient yet again. Right now if I’m Nick Nurse, I have a short leash on Lowry and would not balk at replacing him in key moments for Fred Vanvleet. If that does happen, the vibe in Air-Canada will definitely be unsettled and I’ll be glad I’m on the dog.

*The Win-Loss classification for this pick will be added to the ledger the day after the series concludes.

  
Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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