NBA Picks 3/3/12

Posted Record 4-5-0 (-1.9 Units)

We are back at SBO after the All-Star break and are looking to build on a recent success against the bookmakers. Our All-Star Game picks didn’t produce too many winners but after starting off 0-5, I’ve rattled off four straight wins. Tonight’s card is difficult, but I feel strongly about a few games.

Indiana -5.5 (22-12 SU, 16-18 ATS) at New Orleans (9-27 SU, 18-18 ATS)

The Pacers and Hornets have been playing their best basketball of the year going into and coming out of the All-Star Break. The Pacers head to New Orleans hoping to match their longest winning streak in seven years, as they look for their sixth straight victory. The upstart Hornets have also made a lot of noise, surprising the Mavericks last night with a 97-92 victory.

The Pacers have been on fire, no matter where they are playing lately. Over their current win streak, they’ve out rebounded opponents 250-199 and have won by a margin of more than 17 points per game. David West makes his return to New Orleans for the first time since he signed with Indiana. West spent eight years in New Orleans and was one of the team’s top stars, along with also departed point guard Chris Paul. The Pacers are playing on three days rest and won their last game at Golden State, with Danny Granger leading the Pacers with 25 points.

New Orleans played last night and got a huge win against the Dallas Mavericks. Though they have been miserable at home this season (dropping 14 of 16 to start season), New Orleans has now taken two out of their last three at home. Chris Kaman has been their spark, after sitting for weeks and being put on the trading block, Kaman has taken over the starting center position and has produced four straight double doubles. The Hornets have been hit hard with injuries, center Emeka Okafor is still sidelined with no return date and Trevor Ariza’s status is uncertain for tonight’s game.

Even though I feel New Orleans has not gotten a lot of respect by the oddsmakers, I don’t like them in this matchup. The Pacers when coming off three days rest this season are 4-1 against the spread. The two teams played in Indiana on the 21st and the Pacers fought hard for a 117-108 victory in overtime. They are better prepared this time and have a big size advantage on the boards and have been rebounding extremely well lately. The Hornets have played three games in the last four days and are banged up. If Ariza doesn’t play this bet looks even better, he is their best perimeter defender and third in scoring among active players.

The Pick: Indiana -5.5 for 2 units. Bet the Pacers -5.5 -110 at Bovada Sportsbook offering the some of the best NBA lines available online.

Minnesota Timberwolves (18-19 SU, 20-17 ATS) at Portland Trailblazers -6 (18-18 SU, 18-17-1 ATS)

The Wolves and Blazers have both been struggling since the all star break and are both looking to turn their seasons around and begin to play better basketball. Minnesota has improved dramatically from last season but is now starting to unravel. This Saturday night match is going to be a big game for both teams.

The Blazers have lost three out of their last five games, including a Thursday night beat down at the hands of the Miami Heat. The Blazers have lost five of their last seven games at home after winning 11 of their first 12 at the Rose Garden. The Blazers have shaken up their lineup with the benching of Marcus Camby and Raymond Felton. Batum has taken over frontcourt duties and has been a standout so far, filling up all five categories on the stat sheet. Jamal Crawford has taken over the point for the slumping Felton, he has been effective so far with his lone bad game coming against the tough defense of the Miami Heat.

The Wolves come into the game beaten up and shooting poorly. Love has been sick with the flu and had to sit out against the Lakers. He then shot the ball extremely poorly in the loss against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, shooting just 8 of 25. Love has shot just 30% in his last five games and has played poorly in Portland. He grew up in the area and was a high school prep star, but has struggled in his hometown. Love is averaging just over 12 points per game, in four games at Portland in his career.

I like Portland in his matchup. Minnesota is a weaker defensive team and they are really shooting the ball poorly lately. The Blazers are very good defensively despite their recent slip ups. Aldridge has also owned the Wolves in his career, averaging almost 29 points per game, on 57% shooting with 9 rebounds, over his last five games facing them. Jamal Crawford has a massive size advantage against Rubio and should be able to exploit his already subpar defense. I think the Blazers win this one handily.

The Pick: Portland Trailblazers -6 1 unit
Bet the Blazers -6 -110 at BetOnline.com, a great choice for American sports bettors.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards Prop Bet
Antawn Jamison Over/Under 19.5 Total Points

I like this bet either way, but I will say it gets a lot better if Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving misses this game due to the flu. Jamison is the 2nd option in Cleveland and if Irving sits that makes him the number one option. In addition to that, he is facing his former team in the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are at the bottom of the league defensively and Jamison has always brought out his best game when facing Washington. He is averaging just over 22 points per game against the Wizards in his career and has scored 21 points in five of his last six games. Even with Kyrie Irving in the lineup, I think Jamison gets his today against a terrible Wizards defense.

The Play: Antawn Jamison Over 19.5 total points for 2 units
Bet the Over on Jamison’s points 19.5 -110 at Bovada Sportsbook, one of the best sites for NBA player props.

Thanks for reading, good luck with all your plays today!

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