Safe Games (“Locks”)
Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Hornets
Projected win: New Orleans, 64.9% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: New Orleans +3.5, 72.4% – CORRECT
NO +3.5 has an insane amount of value, and there are no major changes to either team to warrant this statistic meaningless.
Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Projected win: Minnesota, 68.3% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Minnesota -3, 62.0% – CORRECT
MIN -3 is a great value play against a terrible opponent.
Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte Bobcats
Projected win: Indiana, 77.2% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Indiana -6.5, 61.3% – INCORRECT
6.5 is a large spread to overcome for any NBA team, not to mention being on the road. But it’s hard to argue with the math; Indiana has been a consistently good team for the last two years, while Charlotte has been the opposite. IND -6.5 is a solid play.
Houston Rockets @ Atlanta Hawks
Projected win: Atlanta, 56.3% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Houston +6, 61.0% – CORRECT
Straightforward: HOU +6 is a really strong value play.
Detroit Pistons @ Phoenix Suns
Projected win: Phoenix, 69.5% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Phoenix -4, 60.0% – INCORRECT
The loss of Nash might hurt the Suns, but there’s no reason that they can’t make up his play with other added parts. PHO -4 should still be close to 60.0%.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers
Projected win: Los Angeles Lakers, 71.3% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Los Angeles Lakers +1.5, 72.7% – INCORRECT
Now, I wasn’t exactly sure how home-court advantage should be calculated, so I gave the LAL half the typical value. They have all of their fans there, but LAC didn’t have to travel anywhere to get to the stadium – thus, roughly half the advantage. Still, even if there were no home-court advantage, the Lakers would be strongly favored. LAL +1.5 is a solid value play.
Denver Nuggets @ Orlando Magic
Projected win: Orlando, 58.7% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Orlando +6, 74.0% – CORRECT
Despite losing Howard, the Orlando Magic are still a good team. Give them home-court advantage and 6 points – they’re a legitimate threat to cover. ORL +6 is a solid back-up option to one of the many “safe games” there are today.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics
Projected win: Boston, 78.2% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Boston -7.5, 59.3% – INCORRECT
Straightforward: BOS -7.5 is a decent value play. Definitely long-run profitable.
Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Projected win: Chicago, 86.8% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Chicago -2.5, 84.1% – CORRECT
DISCLAIMER: D. Rose is obviously still not playing due to injury. However, that does not mean the Bulls are now rubbish: they fought a tough Sixers team to Game 6 in the first round of last years playoffs with Rose. CHI -2.5 is a solid back-up option to all the above games.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors
Projected win: Memphis, 56.7% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Memphis +1, 56.7% – CORRECT
MEM +1 is a long-run profitable play. It might not be a lock, but it’s still a solid play.
Miami Heat @ New York Knicks
Projected win: Miami, 61.0% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: New York +5.5, 54.6% – CORRECT
NY +5.5 (54.6%) doesn’t have enough value to warrant any big bets. Take NY +5.5 with caution.
Portland Trailblazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Projected win: Oklahoma City, 75.7% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Oklahoma City -8.5, 52.5% – CORRECT
Avoid OKC -8.5