Safe Games (“Locks”)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Brooklyn Nets
Projected win: Brooklyn, 52.1% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Minnesota +7.5, 71.0% – CORRECT
MIN +7.5 may not be as high as 71.0% because the Nets did gain some key acquisitions in the off-season. But how good have those guys been? Gerald Wallace isn’t a game-changer. Joe Johnson is, at best, a solid #2 option on offense. Their best player, D-Will, was there last season and accounted for by the stats. I think MIN +7.5 is definitely a safe bet.
Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies
Projected win: Memphis, 75.0% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Memphis -5, 63.3% – CORRECT
The Griz are heavy favorites over the Jazz, so in theory covering a 5-point spread shouldn’t be too challenging.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Projected win: Los Angeles, 84.1% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Los Angeles -10, 61.0% – INCORRECT
It’s not that the Clippers are that good; it’s that the Cavs are (statistically) that bad.
New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers
Projected win: Philadelphia, 68.6% – INCORRECT
Projected ATS win: Philadelphia -4.5, 57.3% – INCORRECT
Sixers are a team that wins by a lot and loses by a little: I like them to cover -4.5.
Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings
Projected win: Golden State, 52.1% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Golden State +2, 55.6% – draw
How far can the trip from the Bay to Sacramento be? It can’t be bad – which might limit the home-court advantage effect. I didn’t tweak the stats for it, so they may be actually slightly biased towards Sacramento. Big advantage on GS +2.
Phoenix Suns @ Miami Heat
Projected win: Miami, 81.8% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Phoenix +13.5, 55.6% – INCORRECT
The Suns are decent. Not unreasonable to think they can stay within 13 of the Heat.
Portland Trailblazers @ Dallas Mavericks
Projected win: Dallas, 69.8% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: Dallas -4.5, 58.7% – CORRECT
I’m going to go out on a limb and call this potentially-awesome percentage of 58.7% a wash. Unfortunately, the lack of Dirk Nowitzki makes it irrelevant.
Indiana Pacers @ San Antonio Spurs
Projected win: San Antonio, 75.0% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: San Antonio -8, 53.2% – CORRECT
8 points are too many to cover for the Spurs. Avoid SA -8.