Free NBA Picks: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
I can't even be sure that Jimmy Butler will play Tuesday due to a sore wrist, but we're going to address him as the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Los Angeles Lakers in the marquee matchup of the night. Obviously, we all know by now that Butler started this season with Minnesota but forced a trade … eventually to the Sixers. Depending on what report you read, Butler either wanted to go to the Lakers or he didn't because he wasn't interested in playing with LeBron James. It seems you are hearing more and more big-name players (Kawhi Leonard another) say behind the scenes they don't want to go play with LeBron and be in his shadow. Plus, LeBron is the coach of any team he's on, let's not kid ourselves. In retrospect, the Lakers probably were smart not to give up young assets like a Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma to get Butler - and there were trade discussions. Butler's a good player but not worth the headaches he causes. The Sixers have no choice but to re-sign him this offseason, though. Look for a big game from Joel Embiid in this one as he loves the spotlight and there's nothing like playing in front of the Hollywood stars at Lakers games.
Wizards at Cavaliers (+6, 218)
Washington lost 132-119 in San Antonio on Sunday - the Wizards' 19 th straight defeat in the Alamo City. Tomas Satoransky had a season-high 21 points in a losing effort. Forward Sam Dekker (back) and center Ian Mahinmi (sprained right thumb) were out. Cleveland snapped a six-game skid with a 104-101 victory in Chicago on Sunday. Cedi Osman had 17 points and eight rebounds. These teams have split two blowouts, each winning at home.
Key trends: The Cavs are 1-5 against the spread in their past six after a win. The "over/under" has gone under in 10 of the Wizards' past 14 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
Bucks at Pistons (+6.5, 219.5)
Milwaukee's six-game winning streak ended Sunday, 118-112 in Oklahoma City. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 18 rebounds. The Bucks got just 15 points from their bench. Detroit has been off since a five-point loss in Dallas on Friday. Blake Griffin had 35 points and Andre Drummond 23 and 15 boards after missing the previous three with a concussion. Detroit got only 15 points from its bench. Milwaukee is 3-0 vs. the Pistons this season; Detroit has won at least one home game against the Bucks for the last 17 years so that's on the line.
Key trends: The home team is 3-0-2 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-1-1 in the previous seven
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Thunder at Magic (+6, 221.5)
Oklahoma City won its fifth in a row Sunday, 118-112 over Milwaukee. Paul George, who should be in the MVP conversation, had 36 points and 13 rebounds - he scored seven points in the final 1:15. Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his 16th triple-double of the season and No. 120 for his career. Steven Adams left for a bit with an ankle injury but did return. Orlando lost its third in a row Sunday, 103-98 in Houston. Aaron Gordon had 23 points to lead the Magic, who have dropped six of seven. These teams split last year. Orlando has lost five of the last seven meetings at home.
Key trends: OKC is 1-4 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 11-1 in Orlando's previous 12 on Tuesday.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Bulls at Nets (-8.5, 216)
Brooklyn was in Boston on Monday. The Nets have lost Sixth Man of the Year candidate Spencer Dinwiddie to surgery on his right thumb. A few other guys were questionable for Monday and both Jared Dudley and Allen Crabbe were out. Chicago dropped its third in a row Sunday, 104-101 at home to Cleveland - which is probably rock bottom for the Bulls. Lauri Markkanen led Chicago with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Rookie forward Chandler Hutchinson, who recently joined the starting lineup, will miss at least a month with a broken bone in his left foot. The Bulls are 0-2 vs. the Nets this season and have lost their past three in Brooklyn.
Key trends: The favorite has covered six straight in series. The under is 7-2 in the previous nine.
Early lean: Bulls and under.
Pelicans at Rockets (TBA)
First of a TNT doubleheader. We'll address the Anthony Davis news in Tuesday's Opening Line Report once we see odds on where he might land. I'm already sure the Lakers will be favored. Davis remains out injured and the Pels lost again Saturday, 126-114 to the Spurs. Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic and E'Twaun Moore all sat out as well. That franchise is just a mess. Houston welcomed Chris Paul back Sunday and beat the Magic 103-98. Paul had 12 points and six assists in 25 minutes, while James Harden continued to be stupid with 40 points, 11 rebounds and six helpers. These clubs have split two meetings this season, each winning on the road.
Key trends: The Rockets are 10-2-1 ATS in their past 13 vs. the West. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven meetings in Houston.
Early lean: Wait on all those Pels.
Suns at Spurs (TBA)
Pitiful Phoenix lost its eighth in a row Sunday, 116-102 at the Lakers. Rookie big man Deandre Ayton missed his fifth straight with a sprained left ankle and fellow rookie De'Anthony Melton missed his second game because of a sprained right ankle. The latter is going to miss quite a bit more time. The Spurs won their second in a row Sunday, 132-119 over Washington even though DeMar DeRozan sat for a second straight game with a knee problem. LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists. San Antonio is 2-1 vs. Phoenix this season and has won the past 10 at home in series.
Key trends: The Suns have failed to cover their past six in San Antonio. The under is 6-1 in the previous seven meetings.
Early lean: Wait on DeRozan/Ayton.
76ers at Lakers (TBA)
Second TNT game. Embiid and Butler both missed Saturday's 126-110 loss in Denver, Embiid simply for rest. All indications are that both will play here - guys like playing in Hollywood. The Lakers won for the first time this season without LeBron and Lonzo Ball, 116-102 in Phoenix on Sunday. Kyle Kuzma (hip) and Tyson Chandler (rest) also sat. Not clear yet if Kuzma (or LeBron) will play here but Chandler should. These teams split last year, each winning on the road. Embiid had a historically good game in L.A. with a career-high 46 points along with 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks, admitting he "loves L.A."
Key trends: The Lakers are 5-15-1 ATS in their past 21 vs. the East. The over is 5-1 in Philly's past six on Tuesday.
Early lean: Wait on Embiid/Butler/James/Kuzma.
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