Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, April 10, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
The Dallas Mavericks have nothing to play for but pride on Wednesday night when they visit the San Antonio Spurs, but it's expected to be the final game in the brilliant career of future first-ballot Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk hasn't officially said he's retiring, but it's widely assumed and he has been honored in every road arena in the league so it would be rather odd if he did play again next season. Probably can't argue the fact that the German is the greatest foreign-born player in NBA history as he will finish as the league's No. 6 all-time scorer. The 7-footer changed the sport, proving that big guys can shoot three-pointers: Dirk was the NBA's first superstar "stretch four." The 40-year-old has set an NBA record for seasons played with one franchise, appeared in 14 All-Star Games, was the 2006-07 league MVP and 2011 NBA Finals MVP - his only Finals win when the Mavs upset LeBron James' and Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat. Wednesday also is likely Wade's last game. With so much up in the air Wednesday regarding teams' motivation and guys shut down, we have all TBAs but one on the opening lines. We will continue through the early rounds of the playoffs.
Pacers at Hawks (+1.5, 227)
Nothing to see here as Indiana is locked into the No. 5 seed and will visit the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals this weekend. The Hawks, meanwhile, suddenly have a bright future between Trae Young (who might steal Rookie of the Year), John Collins and likely two lottery picks this summer (their own and the Mavs' if that's not in the Top 5) plus a ton of cap space. Indiana is looking to sweep the regular season series for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Pacers have won four straight and eight of the last nine regular-season meetings overall.
Key trends: The Hawks are 8-2 against the spread in their past 10 vs. the Eastern Conference. The "over/under" has gone under in 10 of the past 12 meetings.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Heat at Nets (TBA)
Miami had to win Tuesday at home vs. Philadelphia to keep its playoff hopes alive but could have been eliminated even with a victory depending on what happened elsewhere. The Heat need the Hornets and Pistons to lose out while they win out to make it. If this is meaningless, I could see Wade sitting out so his final game was at home. Brooklyn is in the playoffs but still not clear where it will finish. The Nets had a great weekend, winning Saturday in Milwaukee and Sunday in Indiana. Miami is 2-1 vs. Brooklyn this season.
Key trends: The Nets are 7-3 ATS in their past 10. The under is 9-2 in the previous 11 meetings.
Early lean: Totally depends on if Heat still are alive.
Magic at Hornets (TBA)
First ESPN game. Orlando is in the postseason for the first time since 2012 but isn't locked into its seeding yet. Could be anywhere from 6-8. Charlotte was in Cleveland on Tuesday and had to win that to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Hornets are 2-1 vs. the Magic but lost the last one, 127-89, on Feb. 14. Orlando snapped a 13-game losing streak in the series with its biggest margin of victory in it.
Key trends: The Hornets have covered six straight at home in the series. The over has hit in six straight Magic games.
Early lean: Hornets if they won Tuesday.
Pistons at Knicks (TBA)
Detroit hosted Memphis on Tuesday. The Pistons will take the final playoff spot in the East if they win that game and this one. At least one loss opens the door for potentially the Hornets or Heat. Charlotte swept the season series with the Pistons to own the head-to-head tiebreaker, but the Pistons hold the tiebreaker over Miami. Detroit would get in going 1-1 in its final two if the Hornets lose one. The Pistons look for the four-game sweep of the Knicks, winning each by at least seven.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the over is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Pistons regardless.
Bulls at 76ers (TBA)
Chicago hosted New York on Tuesday and Philadelphia was in Miami. The Bulls are locked into the NBA's fourth-worst record, while the 76ers are the East's third seed. So nothing for either to play for here. No freaking chance Joel Embiid or Jimmy Butler take the court here. Philly leads the season series 2-1, winning 116-96 in Chicago on Saturday.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 13-3 in the Sixers' past 16 in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Sixers simply as their scrubs are better than Chicago's.
Warriors at Grizzlies (TBA)
Golden State, which was in New Orleans on Tuesday, should rest everyone of note with the West's top seed sewn up. Memphis was in Detroit on Tuesday. A loss could improve the Grizzlies' chances of winning the lottery a few percentage points depending on what happens in a few other games. Golden State tries for the four-game season sweep of Memphis.
Key trends: The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings and the under is 5-2 in them.
Early lean: Grizzlies.
Thunder at Bucks (TBA)
No reason for the Bucks to care with the NBA's best record clinched. Oklahoma City hosted Houston on Tuesday and is in the playoffs. The Thunder's seeding could have been locked in depending on some of Tuesday's results. Milwaukee lost in OKC on Jan. 27, 118-112. Russell Westbrook had 36 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
Key trends: The favorite is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under has hit in six straight.
Early lean: Wait on Thunder's motivation. They will probably play hard if they can avoid Golden State with a win here.
Mavericks at Spurs (TBA)
Dallas hosted Phoenix on Tuesday. Maybe Dirk decides to make that his finale and sits this one out? The Spurs are in the playoffs yet again but don't know their seeding. I would think Gregg Popovich would try to win this game if it meant avoiding the Warriors in Round 1. San Antonio is 3-0 vs. Dallas but each has been close.
Key trends: The Mavs have covered their past five in San Antonio. The over is 4-1 in those.
Early lean: Spurs.
Timberwolves at Nuggets (TBA)
Second ESPN game. Last year, these clubs met on the final night of the regular season, too, and it was for the West's last playoff spot. Minnesota won that in overtime at home. Denver was in Utah on Tuesday and could have wrapped up the West's second seed depending on that result and Houston's game in Oklahoma City. The Nuggets eye the four-game sweep of the Wolves. Nine of the teams' past 12 meetings have been decided by six points or fewer.
Key trends: The Wolves are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Denver. The under is 5-1 in the Nugs' past six at home.
Early lean: Nuggets.
Jazz at Clippers (TBA)
Utah hosted Denver on Tuesday. Potential seeding in the West on the line here with both clubs in the postseason. The Clippers are on a three-game slide and probably would have to face the Warriors with a loss here. L.A. was just beaten by Golden State easily on Sunday, 131-104. Patrick Beverley missed his third straight game with a hip injury. Utah is 2-0 vs. the Clippers this season and on a five-game series winning streak overall.
Key trends: The Jazz are 6-1 ATS in their past seven in L.A. The over is 4-1 in the previous five meetings.
Early lean: Clippers.
Kings at Trail Blazers (TBA)
Portland may have no reason to care if the Blazers were able to clinch the West's No. 4 seed on Tuesday at the Lakers. It's the end of the line for the Kings, who have a bright future themselves. Buddy Hield's next made three-pointer will set an NBA record for a total over a player's first three seasons. He's tied at 599 with the Blazers' Damian Lillard. These teams have split two meetings this season. The Kings are looking to snap a 10-game losing streak in Portland.
Key trends: The home team is 5-2-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 15-5-1 in the Blazers' past 21 at home.
Early lean: Kings if Blazers locked in.
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