Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
A Woj bomb stole the spotlight from the Super Bowl to open this week as Adrian Wojnarowski reported that agent Rich Paul informed the New Orleans Pelicans that his client Anthony Davis would not be signing a supermax extension with the franchise this summer and that Davis wants to be traded to somewhere he can win a title. All roads seem to point to Los Angeles as Davis does have a home there and Paul's biggest client is a guy by the name of LeBron James. The Lakers have a ton of intriguing young talent they could send the Pels' way. The Boston Celtics also have plenty to offer but can't trade for Davis until July 1 for reasons I won't bore you with. Davis can become a free agent in the summer of 2020. I don't happen to think the Pelicans deal him by the Feb. 7 trade deadline but wait for a full-blown bidding war this summer. Plus, the Pels probably will want some team's very high 2019 draft pick and the chance to land Duke freshman star Zion Williamson in any trade. Every single team will at least call the Pelicans as Davis is a generational talent (albeit an injury-prone one) who is averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game this season. Been a rough few weeks for the good sports fans of New Orleans!
Hornets at Celtics (TBA)
Charlotte beat the Knicks on Monday, 101-92, thanks to a 17-1 fourth-quarter run. The Hornets got a whopping 63 points from their bench with four reserves scoring at least 11. Boston bounced back from a tough home loss to Golden State on Saturday with an eight-point home win over the short-handed Nets on Monday. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart - those two will almost surely be in any first offer to New Orleans (it won't be enough) - each had 21 points. Kyrie Irving got the night off. These teams have split two meetings this season, each winning at home. Charlotte has dropped its past five in Beantown.
Key trends: The Hornets are 1-7-1 against the spread in the past nine meetings. The "over/under" is 4-0 in Boston's past five on Wednesday.
Early lean: Wait on Irving.
Bulls at Heat (-9.5, 208)
Chicago was in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Don't rule out the Bulls being players in the Davis drama as he's from Chicago and the team has some good young talent, could pick No. 1 in the 2019 draft and include that pick in any trade. Miami won at the Knicks on Sunday. Wayne Ellington had 19 points, all in the second half. Dwyane Wade had 15 points and 10 assists in his final game at Madison Square Garden. The Heat look to complete the three-game series sweep of the Bulls.
Key trends: The Bulls are 5-2 ATS in their past seven in Miami. The under has hit in past four there.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Mavericks at Knicks (+6, 216.5)
Would the Knicks include Kristaps Porzingis in any Davis offer? Would the Pels even want a guy coming off a major knee injury? New York dropped its 10th in a row Monday, 101-92 vs. Charlotte. Kevin Knox had 19 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. 17 points. Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay were both out. Dallas lost at home to Toronto on Sunday, but Luka Doncic continued to impress 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to become the first teenager in NBA history with two triple-doubles. Just a stud. Mavs lost first meeting with Knicks 118-106 on Nov. 2. The road team has won three straight and seven of the last 11 meetings in the series.
Key trends: The Knicks are 2-9 ATS in their past 11 at home. The under is 5-1 in the Mavs' past six on the road.
Early lean: Mavs and under.
Pacers at Wizards (+3, 217)
First ESPN game. Washington was in Cleveland on Tuesday. Indiana's post-Victor Oladipo fade might be starting as the Pacers were crushed 132-100 at home by Golden State on Monday. Tyreke Evans, now starting in place of Oladipo, was out with a sore back. It was the Pacers' worst loss this season. Indiana is 2-0 vs. Washington this season, both in Indianapolis. The Pacers have dropped three of their past four in D.C.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 6-2 in the previous eight in Washington.
Early lean: Wizards and over.
Grizzlies at Timberwolves (TBA)
The Grizzlies were 95-92 home losers to Denver on Monday, blowing a 25-point third-quarter lead. Overall, NBA teams leading by 25 or more in the second half had been 174-0 this season. It was the largest regular-season blown lead ever for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Mike Conley had 23 points and 11 assists. Minnesota was swept over the weekend in a home-and-home by Utah. Derrick Rose missed both with a sore right ankle, as did fellow point guard Jeff Teague. Memphis took first meeting vs. Minnesota, 100-87, on Nov. 18. Gasol posted 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Key trends: The Grizz are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under has hit in four straight.
Early lean: Guess the TBA for Rose/Teague, which seems odd.
Nuggets at Pelicans (TBA)
New Orleans was in Houston on Tuesday with Davis still out injured and a few other guys questionable. Denver won its third in a row Monday, rallying from down 25 in the third quarter and prevailing 95-92 in Memphis. That tied the biggest comeback win in franchise history. Nikola Jokic scored 24 points and made a go-ahead hook shot with 28.9 seconds left. Jamal Murray missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain. These teams have split two meetings, each winning at home.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the over is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Wait on all those Pels & Murray.
Hawks at Kings (-8, 235)
Atlanta was a 123-118 upset winner at the Clippers on Monday behind 26 points and eight assists from Trae Young. It was the Hawks' first win against a Pacific Division team this season. The Kings lost at the Clippers by 14 on Sunday. De'Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 21 points. The Kings won in Atlanta on Nov. 1, 146-115. Fox had career-highs of 31 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds to become the youngest player in NBA history with 30 points, 15 assists and 10 boards or more for a triple-double. The Kings have taken the past three at home in the series.
Key trends: The Kings have covered five straight at home. The over is 6-2 in the Hawks' past eight.
Early lean: Kings and over.
Jazz at Blazers (TBA)
Second ESPN game and final meeting of season, although these surging teams could meet in the playoffs. Utah leads 2-1 but lost the most recent meeting at home last week. Both teams well-rested as Jazz last played Sunday and won easily at Minnesota to sweep a home-and-home set. Donovan Mitchell had 29 points and is averaging north of 30 in his past 10. Utah shot 71 percent (27 of 38) during the second half. Portland won Saturday over Atlanta without Damian Lillard due to some nagging injuries. Quite sure that was just the opponent and that he'll be in there Wednesday. CJ McCollum had his first career triple-double in the win.
Key trends: The home team is 10-4 ATS in the past 14. The under has hit in past five.
Early lean: TBA for Lillard, but it would be a stunner if he doesn't go.
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