It’s officially the weekend! Which means it’s time to plop in front of a TV and wager this week’s earning on grown men playing a childhood game. It’s also time to pay the bills, get back to even with your bookie, and raise the stakes on almost meaningless March NBA games. Let’s get it.
Game One – Pistons (-2.5) v. Magic (o/u 213.5)
Detroit is coming off of a very convincing win at home against the Bucks, and the Magic are coming off of off their seventh loss in a row. The only thing looking up for the Magic at this point is the fact that this year’s draft is looking very strong, although that won’t help them against Detroit today. They’re definitely in full tank-mode, and I wouldn’t expect them to put up much of a fight against one of the best frontcourts in the Eastern Conference. Blake Griffin is coming off of his first quote-unquote “bad game” as a Piston as he put up only eight points against the Bucks, so I expect him to stuff Aaron Gordon in a locker early and often. Pistons win big.
Pick – Pistons -2.5
Game Two – Mavericks (-1.5) v. Bulls (o/u 213)
A true marquee matchup between two of the bottom eight teams in the NBA record-wise. While Chicago is on a five-game losing skid, an appointment to play the Bulls of the Western Conference is just what the doctor ordered. The battle of the twelve seeds also has undertones of Dirk vs. Baby Dirk, and in this game, there will be a metaphorical passing of the Dirk torch from Nowitzki to Markkanen. Nerlens Noel is going to get minutes for Dallas which is not something that any NBA team wants to resort to, so I expect the Bulls to do what Jason Richardson couldn’t do to Steve Nash’s wife and pull out a win against the Mavericks.
Pick – Bulls +1.5
Game Three – Hornets (o/u 215) v. Sixers (-4.0)
In this Eastern Conference matchup, it’s going to be all about matchups. The headliner will be Joel Embiid versus Dwight Howard, and I, for one, am all in on the last true center matching up with one of the future faces of the NBA. Howard has found new life in Charlotte and is showing glimpses of the golden years in Orlando, and Embiid is proving that The Process is not a force to be reckoned with. How the Sixers plan on stopping the Kemba Walker/Howard pick and roll is the key to them earning a win. The attack of Ben Simmons/Embiid/Dario Saric and the perimeter threat that J.J. Redick brings to the table seems to be too much for the struggling Hornets to handle. Bees are dying at an alarming rate, and this game will be no different as Philadelphia will ride their post-Cleveland win high and will take care of the deflated Hornets team.
Pick – Sixers -4.0
Game Four – Raptors (-3.0) v. Wizards (o/u 216.5)
The first place Raptors are riding into this matchup as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning nine out of their last 10 games, and the struggling Wizards are trying to stay afloat without their star, John Wall. While Bradley Beal is doing a great job fighting off the storm, him and company and going to have a hard time stopping the dynamic duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. It’ll take a stellar performance from Gortat, Oubre, and the other role players to keep up with the potent Toronto offense. While the defense has been a struggle for Washington all season, this is a very inopportune matchup coming off of a loss to Golden State. It will take some Agent Zero level shooting to keep up with the streaking top seed in the east, and even then it might not be enough.
Pick – Raptors -3.0