Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
Another day, another Lakers rumor. It's generally assumed that Luke Walton will not be back next season as head coach - LeBron doesn't seem to respect Walton, and LeBron gets what he wants. James has glowed, however, previously about former Nets and Bucks coach Jason Kidd. Makes sense James respects Kidd because he was a Hall of Fame point guard. I've seen props on the next Lakers coach at a few sportsbooks, and I'm guessing one will be posted again very soon because Kidd is trending these days. That's because his alma mater, Cal, fired Wyking Jones recently. In his two seasons, Jones won a total of five Pac-12 games. Kidd led the Golden Bears to the Sweet 16 in 1993 and was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1994 before entering the NBA Draft. Cal has Kidd No. 1 on its list, but if he knows through back channels that the Lakers would hire him, I'm sure Kidd would say no. Cal can be a solid program, but it's not the Lakers obviously. If Kidd turns down Cal soon, that means you can all but assume he'll be the next Lakers coach.
Trail Blazers at Bulls (TBA)
Chicago was in Toronto on Tuesday with Zach LaVine and Otto Porter out and Kris Dunn doubtful, so I'd guess the Bulls sit them all here too in tank mode. Portland won its fourth in a row Monday, 148-144 in double overtime over Brooklyn but lost Jusuf Nurkic to a gruesome leg injury that will end his season. We'll address that more in depth on Thursday's Opening Line report. He had 32 points and 16 rebounds before going down in the second OT. The Blazers have won the past four in this series. They were 124-112 home winners on Jan. 9, shooting 56.6 percent from the field. CJ McCollum had 24 points but he's out injured now. Rookie Wendell Carter Jr. had 22 to lead Chicago, but he's out for the year.
Key trends: The Blazers are 8-2 against the spread in their past 10 on the road. The "over/under" is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Early lean: Wait on those Bulls.
Warriors at Grizzlies (TBA)
Golden State beat Detroit on Sunday, 121-114, a night after a shocking 35-point home loss to Dallas. Steph Curry sat vs. the Mavs and had 26 points vs. the Pistons. DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala sat out vs. Detroit. Memphis beat the visiting Thunder on Monday, 115-103, despite Mike Conley sitting out. The Grizz had been 0-5 without him. Delon Wright started in his place and had 18 points and a career-high 13 assists. Golden State has won 14 of its last 18 games against the Grizzlies. It's the Warriors' first visit to Memphis this season.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the under is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Wait on Conley.
Pacers at Thunder (-6.5, 216)
First ESPN game. The Pacers snapped a four-game skid with a home rout of Denver on Sunday. Bojan Bogdanovic had 35 points. Darren Collison was out for a third straight game with a right quad contusion. The team is 20-1 this season when holding teams to 97 or fewer points. The struggling Thunder were knocked off by 12 in Memphis on Monday. Paul George had 30 points and 12 rebounds. It was his 30th game with at least 30 points. Indiana is looking to sweep the regular-season series over the Thunder for the second time in the last three seasons. It was 108-106 on March 14 on a last-second tip-in by Wesley Matthews.
Key trends: The Pacers are 1-7 ATS in their past eight on the road and the Thunder have the same mark over their past eight at home. The under has hit in four straight meetings.
Early lean: Thunder and under.
Wizards at Suns (+3.5, 230)
Washington was at the Lakers on Tuesday. Phoenix lost a fourth in a row Monday, 125-92 in Utah despite 59 points from Devin Booker. Kelly Oubre Jr., Josh Jackson and Tyler Johnson were all out injured as the Suns try to ensure themselves of one of the NBA's three-worst records. One of the wildest games of this season was the Wizards' 149-146 triple-overtime victory over the Suns on Dec. 22. The game had 24 lead changes and 26 ties with neither team ever leading by more than eight. Bradley Beal had 40 points and 15 assists. The Wizards also have won five of the last six in Phoenix.
Key trends: The Wizards are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 6-0 in the Suns' past six at home overall.
Early lean: Suns and under.
Lakers at Jazz (TBA)
Second ESPN game. Los Angeles hosted Washington on Tuesday, so there's a pretty good chance LeBron (among potentially a few others) gets this one off. Utah won its second straight blowout Monday, 125-92 over the Suns. Rudy Gobert had 27 points and 10 rebounds and set a league record with his 270th dunk of the season (he had six in the game). Dwight Howard held the old mark of 269 in 2007-08. Seriously, who keeps track of stuff like that? These teams have split two meetings, the home team winning both. The Jazz have won the previous seven in Salt Lake City.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings, and the under is 4-1 in the previous five in Utah.
Early lean: Wait on LeBron.
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