Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, April 4, 2018, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
We are at the point of the NBA season where before you bet on teams already basically locked into their playoff seeding, you need to know their head coach's history in terms of resting players and if he cares about momentum heading into the postseason. For example, we all know that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich values rest more than perhaps anyone. Steve Kerr also believes in rest (other than when the Warriors went for the single-season wins record). On the flip side, we have Houston coach Mike D'Antoni. His team has the No. 1 overall seed locked up but following a flat loss to Popovich's Spurs on Sunday said this: "We just weren't sharp. We haven't been sharp now for about three or four games. It hasn't just been one or two days. That's scary when you rest guys. That's why at the end of the year, you've got to be careful taking guys out and just resting them. Everybody wants rest, rest, rest. Well, they've got to play. Otherwise, we're going to lose the advantage of what you worked for (for) 80 games, and it's scary times for us. You've got to play. You've got to bring it, and you've got to bring it every day. We'll get it back." I guess that means you are safe backing the Rockets if guys are healthy.
76ers at Pistons (TBA)
Philadelphia hosted Brooklyn on Tuesday with Dario Saric out due to an elbow injury. Detroit could be eliminated from the playoffs as early as Tuesday if Miami beats Atlanta. The Pistons have won five in a row - the past three without an injured Blake Griffin (he's surely done for the year) - following a 108-96 victory in Brooklyn on Sunday. Reggie Jackson had 29 points and Andre Drummond 13 points and 14 boards. It's the third time this season the Pistons have won five in a row, but they haven't won six. The Sixers lead the season series 3-0.
Key trends: The Pistons are 6-0 against the spread in their past six at home. The "over/under" has gone under in five of the past six meetings.
Early lean: Pistons if they still have something to play for.
Mavericks at Magic (Pick'em, 204)
The "tankiest" game of the night. Orlando was in New York on Tuesday and Dallas hosted Portland - the Magic and Mavs entered that with the same amount of losses, so the loser here could move up a full spot in terms of ping-pong ball chances in the draft lottery. Dallas beat Orlando on Jan. 9, 114-99, for its sixth straight home win in the series. However, the Mavs have dropped their past two in Central Florida. Dallas hasn't lost a season series with the Magic since 1997-98 (Mavericks have won or split each of the last 19 season series).
Key trends: The home team has covered the past five in this series. The under is 5-1 in the Magic's past six at home overall.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Heat at Hawks (+7, 206)
These teams played Tuesday in Miami. Don't be surprised if the Heat try and trade Hassan Whiteside this offseason. Good player, but the worry was that he had been a problem child previously and might be again once he landed a mega-contract, which he did this past offseason. And he has been a bit of an issue. Whiteside also has missed 28 games because of injuries, most recently being sidelined a nine-game stretch due to a strained hip flexor, and also sits out many fourth quarters because Erik Spoelstra doesn't trust him in crunch time. The Heat are 23-33 all-time in Atlanta and lost there on Dec. 18, 110-104.
Key trends: The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Atlanta. The over is 8-0 in Miami's past eight playing the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Whichever team loses Tuesday.
Celtics at Raptors (-8, 206.5)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Toronto was in Cleveland on Tuesday and Boston in Milwaukee - both likely losses, in my opinion. Neither team can really afford to rest a player here because the East's top seed is still up for grabs - although should the Raptors win Tuesday and Boston lose, then maybe not so much. The Celtics lead the season series 2-1 so obviously would take that tiebreaker with a victory here. The Dinos have won the past five meetings north of the border.
Key trends: The home team has covered four straight in the series. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Grizzlies at Pelicans ( -12.5, 217)
The Grizzlies lost their second straight Sunday, 113-98 in Portland. Rookie Dillon Brooks, who looks like a steal as the 45th overall pick in the 2017 draft, had 28 points - one shy of a career high. A handful of Memphis players sat out, including Tyreke Evans. It's called tanking. The Pels lost their season-high fourth straight Sunday, 109-104 vs. Oklahoma City. Anthony Davis had 25 points and 11 rebounds. Memphis leads the season series 2-1 and has taken nine of the past 12 overall vs. New Orleans. In two games against the Grizzlies this year, Davis has averaged 27.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Evans has played all three for the Grizz and is averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. The Pels are 10-0 all-time vs. Memphis when scoring at least 110 points.
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Pelicans and under.
Spurs at Lakers (TBA)
Second ESPN game. Did you know that the Spurs and Lakers have the two best overall winning percentages in NBA history? San Antonio was at the Clippers on Tuesday, so Popovich is almost guaranteed to rest someone here even without the team having to travel. The Lakers were in Utah with Brandon Ingram out, Lonzo Ball expected to be again and Brook Lopez questionable. The Lakers are 2-0 vs. San Antonio this season and also have won the past two in L.A.
Key trends: The Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their past eight in the second of a B2B. The over is 8-2 in the previous 10 meetings.
Early lean: Wait on those Lakers and whom Pop rests.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . Also, for a limited time only get three top NBA handicappers for the price of one! Click Here . Get free NBA picks today at Doc's Sports basketball predictions page.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- 2021 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions