Article courtesy of Ted Sevransky, a professional sports handicapper featured on Touthouse.com. If you are looking for free NBA picks from Teddy for this weekend you have come to the right place. Be sure to check out Ted Sevransky’s premium basketball picks for this weekend at Touthouse.com
Victims of Circumstance: This Weekend’s Spot Plays in the NBA
I’ve got to admit, this column is working out rather well so far. In my first two weekends writing it, I’ve listed four spot plays. Those four plays have gone 4-0 straight up and 4-0 against the spread. Let’s see if we can keep it rolling with two more spots that look good on paper for this weekend.
Free NBA Picks: Friday, January 30th – Miami @ Indiana
Single game road trips are often problematic for the visiting squad, particularly when their opponent is a difficult matchup. And when that single game road trip is on the first night of a back-to-back situation, with a very winnable home game on tap for the next night, focus and energy can consistently be a problem. The Heat find themselves in this very situation on Friday Night as they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Pacers.
Indiana is playing their best basketball of the season, winning five of their last eight and covering the spread at a 75% clip over their last dozen games. Even without Danny Granger in the lineup (listed as questionable for Friday Night), the Pacers are an extremely difficult team to defend since Mike Dunleavy returned from his season long injury. Indiana hung 107 in a win and cover against the Bucks without Granger earlier this week, getting five players into double figures and shooting 52% from the floor. Starting forward Troy Murphy: “I feel we are …about to really get ourselves going. I feel more comfortable about myself and the team every game we play.”
Miami doesn’t have the same level of balance or depth, more of a ‘one trick pony’ type of team. Dwayne Wade might be capable of carrying this team to the playoffs, but he has not been capable of getting the Heat into the win column in these ‘one game road trip’ situations. The results don’t lie – Miami is just 1-5 SU on single game trips like this one, including SU and ATS losses at the Knicks, Bobcats and Grizzlies, all sub .500 teams like the Pacers. With trade rumors swirling around the Heat right now, and a very winnable game at home against the Wizards on Saturday, look for this Friday Night affair to be a real flat spot for the road team.
Free NBA Picks: Saturday, January 31st – Chicago @ Phoenix
This is one of my favorite situations in NBA betting – a ‘bet on’ spot for the home team coupled with a ‘bet-against’ spot for the road team. The only thing that makes this game problematic is the pointspread we might be asked to lay. Then again, this pointspread might not be too high, considering the fact that the Suns are currently the single worst team against the spread in the entire NBA this season, and the betting marketplace is finally starting to catch up with them.
NBA teams are routinely ‘bet against’ squads in their first game back home off a road trip. The spot becomes even better to fade these teams when they return home ‘fat and happy’ after ending the road trip on a positive note. Look no further than the Cleveland Cavaliers returning home earlier this week after winning the final three games of their West Coast swing, including outright upsets at Portland and Utah. The Cavs were installed as 14.5 point home favorites against lowly Sacramento, but the money rolled in on the Kings, and the Cavs never even sniffed a pointspread cover in a seven point win, but non-cover.
Phoenix found themselves in a very similar spot on Thursday Night against the Spurs. It was the Suns first home game after a long six game East Coast swing. The trip started poorly, but Phoenix stepped it up after losing three of their first four, reeling off back-to-back wins on back-to-back nights to close out the road trip, including a solid upset victory at Atlanta. They came home ‘fat and happy’ as a result, and that first home game turned out to be a real dud, as San Antonio came to town and dominated the second half, earning a double digit victory.
OK, all of this is just prelude to our positive situational setup on Saturday Night. A loss in that first home game following a long road trip that ended with a positive finish sets up an excellent spot on the home team in their second game back. They are no longer ‘fat and happy’. Instead, they tend to be ‘focused and hungry’, exactly what we’re looking for when betting the NBA. Whatever distractions they had upon returning home – wives, girlfriends, charity commitments, etc – have already been dealt with. This is very much a ‘bet-on’ spot for the home team, particularly as a favorite against a team they know they can beat.
Meanwhile, the Bulls ended their five game losing streak with a win at the hapless Clippers to open up the West Coast portion of their road trip. Then they played Sacramento on Friday night; another game that Chicago is more than capable of winning – they are favored in that game, after all. The Saturday night game at Phoenix is on the second night of back-to-backs. We can expect Chicago to be the ‘fat and happy’ team here, not what we want to support, particularly when we look at the Bulls 2-6 ATS mark this season as an big underdog of eight points or more.