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Excerpts from Mad Max’s Notes:
Celtics at Magic The Celtics are very banged up right now an vulnerable. Tatum, Brown and Kemba are all dealing with nagging injuries and their main big man Enes Kanter is out tonight. This is the perfect opportunity for the Magic to get a win against one of the better teams in the East. Orlando dropped their last game at home and are 9-12-1 ATS at home this season. Boston is decent on the road and with the injuries I have this as a 2 point Boston win. But there’s too much uncertainty. I’ll lean the Celtics.
Bucks at Hornets The Bucks and Hornets head to France where I’m sure the European crowd will be very supportive of the Greek Freak. That makes it less a home game for the Hornets than it already was. Milwaukee has won 7 in a row and the Hornets have lost 7. The Bucks are only 4-6 ATS in their last 10 but it’s square sucker play time. I’m betting Milwaukee to get this done in Paris today.
Grizzlies at Pistons The money and public are all over Detroit right now and I’m scratching my head to understand why. I get that Memphis has lost two in a row and Detroit has won 3 of 5, but this is a Detroit team that lacks consistency and is only 9-13 straight up and against the spread at home this season. Memphis has more talent with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. than Detroit can offer up – especially with lacerated lip Drummond still on the trade block. My numbers show Detroit as the favorite but not convincingly. I’ll lean the Pistons here.
Raptors at Knicks Pascal Siakim snuck into the All Star game over Jimmy James Butler showing us all that Canada can click a button on a web page better than those in Miami. Wonder if there was any hanging chads on the Butler votes that we need to look into. (Yes, 20 years later and hanging chads is still a funny phrase to me). Anyway, the Raptors are red hot. They have won 5 in a row and are a dangerous team. The Knicks have played decently over their last 3 games but are still a goddamn mess of a team. They are 11-11 ATS at home so it’s not been a gimme that teams will cover against them at MSG. But it’s a gimme tonight. I’m betting Toronto.
Kings at Bulls Zach Lavine is a legit all star this season and should represent the Bulls at the game. The problem is that he’s not enough to make the Bulls a winning team and Markkanen has been injured or inconsistent most of this year and not able to be the number 2 guy on this team. But Chicago has won 3 of 5 and has faired well against the bottom dwellers in this league. The Kings are sadly one of those bottom dwellers. After so much potential last season they have really underperformed under Luke Walton. The Bulls should cover this one easily and the money is solidly on them. But Sacramento will pull out some wins this season and Chicago could be poised to be upset. Still, I’ll bet the Bulls.
Hawks at Thunder Trae Young made the all star game as a starter but might not be a starter tonight. He’s listed as questionable and that’s a huge blow to a Hawks team that basically can only win if he’s unstoppable. Atlanta has a lot of needs before becoming a playoff team as opposed to OKC who have seemed to figure out the right balance of young and veteran talent. The Thunder have had 3 solid wins in a row and are 14-9/13-10 SU/ATS at home. OKC has not really covered big spreads…
Rockets at Timberwolves I’ve never been to Minnesota so I’m not sure of the quality of strip clubs and hookers but we will know today by Jimmy James Harden’s performance on the court. The Rockets are coming off a big win against the Nuggets but now hit the road against a T-Wolves team that has lost 7 straight and it’ll probably be 8 after tonight. And the Rockets should cover here but it’s really close. Both teams have been playing below their norm lately so be interesting to see which team can bounce back.
Nuggets at Pelicans The Nuggets are banged up and now have to head to New Orleans to face Zion and the Pelicans. (That sounds like an 80s new wave band). Zion was electric before being pulled in his last game as a precaution of the Pelicans medical staff. He’s still coming back from an injury and does need to be on a minutes restriction. Denver is 13-8/10-10-1 SU/ATS on the road and New Orleans has been a pretty damn good team lately. I know they are short handed.
Clippers at Heat I was checking out some advanced stats on Miami this year and it’s crazy. Pretty much every player on their team is shooting well over their expected field goal percentage and on the flip side, their opponents are shooting well below their expected fg %. It could be a combination of solid defense and great play calling on offense to get open shots. Or it could be a warning side that they will fall to earth and not maintain their winning ways. Miami is 20-1 straight up and 15-6 ATS at home but the Clippers are coming to town and could impact that record. Paul George is still out for LA but Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable tonight. The Clippers aren’t a dominant road team and coming off a bad road loss to Atlanta on Wednesday. But should be ready against a playoff caliber team.
Suns at Spurs The Spurs survived Zion-mania and head back home to host the Suns today. San Antonio has won 3 in a row including a game in Phoenix on Monday. The Suns have yet to recapture their early season success but are still hanging in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Spurs are 7-3 ATS over their last 10 but are not great when the favorite.
Pacers at Warriors The Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have faired well on their Western road trip. But this is now game 4 so let’s see if they can keep their energy up. Thankfully for them it’s against the Warriors who have 1 win over their last 10. The Pacers should win this one and cover probably by 10. But their road weariness worries me.
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