Free NBA Picks: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
Just want to remind readers to check out all the Doc's-affiliated sportsbooks if interested in some creative Super Bowl LIII/NBA cross-sport props for this weekend. The Boston Celtics are in action Super Sunday before the Patriots, so there are more than a few of them on the Celtics. Also some from Saturday night's Lakers-Warriors game. I can't say I've checked every single site, but my favorite thus far is Knicks total wins this season at +200 against Tom Brady completions (-300) against the Rams. Barring Brady getting injured, him winning that prop is about as close to a lock as one can get. The Knicks entered the weekend with 10 victories and might be favored to win 3-4 more games - even after the big trade with Dallas (actually changes nothing this season). They aren't sniffing 20 wins, and I'll be stunned if Brady doesn't have at least 25 completions against Los Angeles. Easy money! With only three games on Super Sunday, it's a very busy schedule Saturday.
Clippers at Pistons (-1.5, 218)
A unique 5 p.m. ET start and Blake Griffin gets another look at his former team. Detroit won first meeting, 109-104, on Jan. 12. Griffin had 44 points, and Andre Drummond 20 points and 21 rebounds. The Clippers off their second straight loss Thursday, 123-120 in OT to the Lakers. The Clips did rally from 14 down in the fourth to force the OT. They might have won if not for going 14-for-26 from the free-throw line. Avery Bradley left with a strained quad. Danilo Gallinari (low back spasms) missed his seventh straight game. The Pistons were four-point home winners over Dallas on Thursday behind 24 points and 20 boards from Drummond.
Key trends: The underdog is 4-0 against the spread in the past four meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in four of past five.
Early lean: Pistons and under.
Bulls at Hornets (TBA)
Charlotte hosted Memphis on Friday. The Bulls snapped a four-game skid with a 105-89 upset in Miami on Wednesday without leading scorer Zach LaVine (sprained ankle). Wayne Selden, a throw-in on the Justin Holiday trade to Memphis a few weeks ago, started for LaVine and had 20 points. Bobby Portis had 26 off the bench. This completes the season series between the teams, with the clubs having split two very early-season games. Chicago has dropped its past two in Charlotte.
Key trends: The home team has covered four straight in series. The over is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on LaVine, but Hornets should win easily.
Nets at Magic (-2.5, 219.5)
The Nets were losers in San Antonio on Thursday because they always lose there. D'Angelo Russell had 25 points and nine assists - he needs to be the injury replacement for Victor Oladipo in the All-Star Game. The Nets eclipsed 100 points for the 12th straight game. The Magic snapped a four-game slide with a seven-point home win over Indiana on Thursday. Terence Ross had 30 points. Orlando had lost eight in a row in the series. Last meeting between these clubs with Brooklyn winning two close games and having taken past two in Orlando.
Key trends: The Nets are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-1-1 in the previous six in Orlando.
Early lean: Magic and over.
Bucks at Wizards (+6.5, 231.5)
The Bucks were hugely impressive Thursday in Toronto in dominating the Raptors, 105-92, to clinch the season series and potentially massive tiebreaker. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 points, and first-time All-Star Khris Middleton had 18. That win means Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer will represent the East at the All-Star Game as one of the head coaches (remember, it's captain's teams not by conference). The Wizards snapped a two-game slide with a 107-89 rout of Indiana on Wednesday. All-Star Bradley Beal had 25 points. Milwaukee lost first meeting in Washington, 113-106 on Jan. 11. Tomas Satoransky had 18 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his first career triple-double.
Key trends: The dog has covered the past six in series and under has hit in past seven.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
Mavericks at Cavaliers (TBA)
Dallas made a stunning trade on Thursday, sending Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke. Obviously, Porzingis is the key, but he may not play this season off his torn ACL. Frankly, I don't see this deal changing much this season for the Mavs. They are too good to fully tank and owe the Hawks their 2019 first-round pick if it's outside the Top 5. That deal is all about next year. Star rookie Luka Doncic sat Thursday in a loss in Detroit with left ankle soreness. He and Porzingis could be amazing. Break up the Cavs! They won a second straight Tuesday, 116-113 over Washington. Cleveland hasn't won three in a row yet. First meeting between these teams. Cleveland has won six of the last seven meetings overall and past three at home.
Key trends: The Cavs are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 at home. The under is 10-1 in the Mavs' previous 11 vs. the East.
Early lean: Wait on Doncic.
Pacers at Heat (-2, 206)
Miami hosted Oklahoma City on Friday. Indiana has fallen off a cliff without Victor Oladipo, losing a fourth in a row Thursday, 107-100 in Orlando. Myles Turner had 27 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who hadn't lost in Orlando in almost five years. Tyreke Evans missed his second in a row with a back injury but may play here. The Pacers go for the three-game sweep of the Heat, although the first two were in November.
Key trends: The Pacers are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the over is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Pelicans at Spurs (TBA)
New Orleans lost by six at home to Denver on Wednesday, the team's first home game since Anthony Davis' trade demand. He and every other starter not named Jrue Holiday were out injured again for that one. San Antonio won its fourth in a row Thursday, 117-114 over the Nets. Derrick White had a career-high 26 points and DeMar DeRozan 15 and 10 boards after missing the past three. San Antonio leads this season series 2-1. The one Pelicans win was 140-126 at home on Nov. 19, the most non-OT points given up by a Gregg Popovich coached team. New Orleans is just 5-26 all-time at the Spurs.
Key trends: The favorite has covered past five in series. The over is 5-0 in the Spurs' past five overall.
Early lean: Wait on half the Pelicans.
Lakers at Warriors (TBA)
ABC primetime game, and it should be one of the most-bet NBA matchups of the season ahead of the Super Bowl and with LeBron James back. Of course, he was hurt in that stunning Christmas upset in Oakland; the Warriors trashed the Lakers in the most recent meeting in L.A. James wasn't originally expected to return Thursday but did and had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in an OT win vs. the Clippers. James said he was about 80 percent. Kyle Kuzma also played after missing the previous two, but Rajon Rondo injured his ankle on the game's final play. Watched every second of Thursday's Sixers-Warriors game, which Philly took in a 113-104 decision to end the Dubs' 11-game winning streak. Outside of Curry (10-for-18) and with Klay Thompson out due to illness, the Warriors shot 1-for-20 from deep. Fairly certain Thompson plays here.
Key trends: The Lakers are 5-14-1 ATS in the past 20 following a cover. The over is 7-1 in the Warriors' previous eight vs. the West.
Early lean: I guess this is for Thompson, but I'll bet my bank account he plays unless he has gangrene. I don't expect this one to be close.
Nuggets at Timberwolves (TBA)
Denver hosted Houston on Friday with Jamal Murray questionable. Minnesota snapped a two-game slid with a 99-97 OT home win over Memphis on Wednesday. The Wolves were very lucky to even get to overtime as Karl-Anthony Towns made a ridiculous shot at the regulation buzzer. Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones all missed the game. Nuggets won first meeting at Wolves on Nov. 21, 103-101. Eight of the past 10 meetings have been decided by six points or fewer.
Key trends: The Nugs are 0-4 ATS in their past four on the road. The under is 7-3 in the previous 10 meetings.
Early lean: Like Wolves in upset.
Hawks at Suns (-2, 234.5)
Atlanta was in Utah on Friday. The Suns dropped their ninth in a row Tuesday, 126-124 in San Antonio on a Rudy Gay buzzer-beater. Devin Booker tied his season high with 38 points, but No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton missed his sixth straight with an ankle injury. He has practiced this week so a good chance he returns. These teams split last year. Phoenix has taken 21 of past 25 at home vs. Atlanta.
Key trends: The Hawks have failed to cover their past seven in second of a B2B. The over is 5-1 in the Suns' past six vs. the East.
Early lean: Suns and over.
Rockets at Jazz (TBA)
I love Utah here. Both played Friday night, but the Jazz had a home layup vs. the Hawks, while Houston had a mega-tough game at altitude in Denver. There's almost no question that Houston will sit Chris Paul either Friday or here - most reports are it will be here, although he was listed as questionable for Friday too for non-rest reasons. All the intangibles seem to point to a Utah rout. This closes season series with Utah up 2-1. Jazz are averaging 105.0 ppg in the three and Rockets 94.0. Utah hasn't won a four-game season series vs. Houston since 2006-07.
Key trends: The Rockets are 0-3-1 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Jazz regardless.
76ers at Kings (+3, 240)
This screams letdown game for Sixers after winning 113-104 at the Warriors on Thursday. Some players were celebrating like they won a playoff series. Joel Embiid had 26 points and 20 rebounds. Shocking win considering Jimmy Butler had only seven points. The Kings were 22-point home winners vs. Atlanta on Wednesday. Harry Giles had a season-high 20 points and Marvin Bagley 17 points and 12 boards. First meeting between these teams with Philly sweeping two close ones a season ago.
Key trends: The Kings have covered their past six at home. The under is 4-1 in Philly's past five on the road.
Early lean: Love the Kings to win outright.
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