Yesterday's Results: 2-1
All Time Results: 22-23, -0.5 Units
Cleveland Cavaliers +8.5 @ Orlando Magic - .25 units
1. The Magic are 1-5 in their last 6 against below .500 teams. Over the past month, they have lost to these Cavs in addition to the Grizzlies, Wizards and Bulls. Their organization and disciplined style has proven capable of stymying the best teams more than it has proven capable of stamping out average to poor squads consistently.
2. Terrence Ross's hot shooting run may have finally stalled out. Ross had been shooting near a career best 38% from deep before the All Star break. All season he has rescued the Magic hitting impossible looking shots. Since the break, however, he has shot only 31% from 3, including 27% in March. The Magic rely on him too much to take tough shots when nobody else on the floor can create their own. Without Ross firing on all cylinders, the Magic lack wings that can break a game open and create margin.
3. The Cavs are 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS in games where Kevin Love has played more than 10 minutes since returning from injury February 8th. Their overall 17 and 51 record, belies how improved they are with the Olympian back on the court. Had Love been available to play at this level all year, the Cavs might very well be right around the Magic in the standings. The doldrums of the Cavs season are still weighing down their market value too heavily.
Oklahoma City Thunder +1 @ Indiana Pacers - .25 units
1. Since Victor Oladipo went out for the season, the Pacers are 1-5 against teams better than .500. There lone win was against the LA Clippers, who had agreed to trade their best player Tobias Harris exactly 1 day earlier.
2. Paul George might have broken out of his mini-cold spell last night against the Nets, shooting 50% from the field for the first time since returning from a shoulder injury. More importantly, Russell Westbrook might have finally broken out of his season long shooting slump. Westbrook has been MVP like recently, shooting 51% from the field and 46% from 3 while averaging 32 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists over his last 5. If Paul George and Westbrook get going at the same time, this current Pacers' squad doesn't have the firepower to keep up with them on their best day.
3. Caution: The Pacers have an incredible gauntlet upcoming. It will be tough for the Pacers to win ANY of their next 8 games: VS, OKC, @Denver, @Portland, @LAC, @GSW, vs. Denver, @OKC & @Boston. The prospect of this nasty road-heavy stretch might make this team desperate to pick up a win here, in the last game they will be favored in for at least three weeks.
Denver Nuggets -11 vs. Dallas Mavericks - .25 units
1. Ride your winners. Handicapping can be a funny thing - when you're right and everyone jumps on boards you've got to be carefully about jumping off the boat too soon. Water may be choppy. The Mavericks' roster looked clearly depleted and tankified after the February trade deadline. Somehow as they were going into a tailspin, I got off the - Mavericks are garbage bandwagon - and jumped onto the - Mavericks need a win! bandwagon. Wrongheaded. As the team has relied more and more heavily on Luka Doncic - he is playing worse, not better, under the conditions. Doncic looked clearly hobbled in his last game, going 5-18 from the field and committing 9 turnovers after reporting "hearing a pop" in his knee the game prior. Dallas is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record & 1-6 ATS in their last 7 vs. Western Conference. The Mavericks will get off the snide before the end of the season, but not here against a quality Denver team that is eager to put together a winning streak now that they have everybody back healthy.
2. The Nuggets have clarity on their roster as of last night. For the past few weeks they have tried to implement former All Star, Isaiah Thomas into their lineup, despite the fact that they already have a surplus of small, offensive minded guards. Last night it was announced that Thomas's role would be reduced. Reserves Malik Beasley and Monte Morris have been nothing short of exceptional all season - and trying to incorporate a similar style player who is struggling to regain his form has proved not worth the risk/reward. Now that the Nuggets have made the tough decision to bench the fan favorite Thomas, Beasley & Morris will get a greater opportunity to shine and excel.