With the weekend almost here, let’s get started with my trio of post all-star break NBA betting picks.
Expert Picks For The NBA Weekend Action (Feb. 26th)
Chicago Bulls (28-29) at Cleveland Cavaliers (40-16)When: Saturday, February 25 at 8:30 PM ET on ABC Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH TV: ABC
Analysis: Not only have the Chicago Bulls largely underachieved this season despite adding a future Hall of Famer in Dwyane Wade, but they also pretty much tanked for the season by trading forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, along with a second round pick, to Oklahoma City in exchange for point guard Cameron Payne, shooter Anthony Morrow and center Joffrey Lauvergne.
The Bulls did manage to win their last two games before the break in upsetting both Toronto and Boston while covering the spread in each contest.
LeBron James and the Cavs hit the all-star break having won four straight and eight of their last nine games, including their 119-104 smackdown of the Knicks on Thursday night.
Cleveland was a 3.5-point home fave the last time these two rivals met and I think they’ll be a favorite of a similar figure this time around. Since the Bulls handed the Cavs a shocking 106-94 home loss in their last matchup on Jan. 4, I’m going to say that James, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cavs get the win as they seek both, a bit of revenge and to some serious momentum before the end of the regular season.
Pick: Cleveland 104 Chicago 95
Utah Jazz at Washington WizardsWhen: Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 PM ET Where: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. TV: ROOT, CSMA
Analysis: Let me start by saying that Washington and Utah have been two of the most pleasant surprises in the league this season.
Utah snapped a three-game skid before the break by routing Portland 111-88 to cash in as an 8.5-point home favorite on Feb. 15. Washington has won four straight and a blistering nine of their last 10 before the break including their emphatic 111-98 win over Indiana on Feb. 16.
For this intriguing matchup of playoff hopefuls, I’m going to advise you to back the Washington Wizards to stay on fire against a Utah Jazz ballclub that gave up an identical 112 points to Dallas and Boston in the week before the break before being held to just 72 points in a loss against the Clippers shortly thereafter.
Washington is getting some fantastic contributions outside of team leader John Wall and are the deeper and far more explosive ballclub in this matchup, even though the Jazz lead the league in points allowed (95.7 ppg). I like the Wizards to hold down the fort at home but the Jazz to cover the spread as likely 4-6-point road dogs in a matchup that looks like an entertaining affair just waiting to happen.
Pick: Washington 105 Utah 102
New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City ThunderWhen: Sunday, February 26 at 7:00 PM ET Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK TV: FSNO, NBATV, FSOK
Analysis: Well, the Boogie Cousins era is not off to a good start seeing as how the New Orleans Pelicans got completely obliterated in their 129-99 blowout loss to Houston on Thursday despite getting 29 points from Anthony Davis and 27 points from Cousins.
New Orleans Pelicans shot a pitiful 6 of 31 from beyond the arc and committed 20 turnovers.
“It was good to get the first one under the belt and out of the way,” Cousins said. “Most of the turnovers were because guys were trying to make the right play, and it’s obvious we’re not used to one another. We kind of catered to one another instead of playing our own game. It’s a lot easier said than done. We see the potential. We see what we need to work on. It’s going to be a process.”
Oklahoma City comes into this contest off a 116-105 smackdown of New York just before the break but has struggled in going 3-3 over their last six games and just 4-6 over their last 10.
Still, the Thunder have managed to beat a very good Memphis team and the Cleveland Cavaliers since the start of the month and I believe they’ll come into this post all-star break matchup with a bit of extra motivation after acquiring Gibson and McDermott and looking to quiet the hype surrounding the Pelicans’ acquisition of the talented, but polarizing Cousins.
I say keep your pick simple for this intriguing matchup and play the Over, which I expect to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 217 points. Both teams give up at least 106.0 points per game, so don’t expect a whole lot of defense.
Pick: Over 217 Total Points, Oklahoma City 112 New Orleans 107