I spent this weekend a few hours away visiting friends, but even out of town we were able to cash with consistency going 5-1 +4.85u over the two days in the association, brining our season-long total to 22-13-1 +11.35u. We’re off to a flaming hot start and I’m looking to keep that trend going with a solid slate on Sunday. Given I was traveling home this morning, this article is going out in the early afternoon so I’ll do my best to tweet and make sure everyone sees the early plays quickly. As always, if you enjoy the plays I encourage you to follow me on Twitter (@RickHHSports) and subscribe here! Lets get into it.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Detroit Pistons (3:00 ET)
Favorite: 76ers -5.5
Doc Rivers said it after their loss and while it’s obvious, it’s very true. The 76ers are levels better at every level with Joel Embiid. They’ll miss him again on Sunday but luckily have Tyrese Maxey regaining his form as he continues to improve after coming back from injury. The 76ers are 1-1 in the two games Embiid has missed, being 5 point favorites in both matchups. They enter today with a similar line against the Pistons who have been better as of late, going 3-3 in their last 6 games. To keep expectations low, their wins came against Orlando and depleted Golden State and Minnesota sides, and they lost to the Spurs in the same span.
Over their last 10 games, Detroit has been poor offensively everywhere you can imagine. They don’t assist many of their buckets (21st assist %), and their assist to turnover ratio is 3rd worst in the league at 1.44 while Philadelphia is 2nd with a 2.13. Furthermore, the shots they do take don’t go in at a high percentage, with their true shooting percentage ranking 24th while the 76ers are 9th in the same span.
Detroit is also the worst team in clutch time this season with a +/- of -2.6 on average. Jalen Duren is questionable with ankle soreness and I doubt he goes considering the team’s lack of playoff potential, and if he doesn’t go they won’t be able to exploit the 76ers down low. Give me the loaded back court of the 76ers to win be a few possessions on the road.
Pick: 76ers -5.5 -110 (1u)
Portland Trailblazers @ Toronto Raptors (3:30 ET)
Favorite: Raptors -3
I’ve cashed in on this play a lot recently, and I’m going to give it another go. The Raptors have been abysmal offensively and run one of the slowest paces in the NBA. While Portland over the years has been known for their high tempo and leaky defense, that hasn’t been the case this season. The Trailblazers are 9th in defensive efficiency over the past 10 games and 17th in pace. Pair that with the Raptors inability to score against basically anyone and I’ll trust them to keep this game under the 120s. The Raptors have not hit their team total of 115 even once over their past 7 games. Let’s make it eight.
Pick: Raptors TT u115 -120 (1u)
Brooklyn Nets @ Miami Heat (6:00 ET)
Favorite: Nets -3.5
It’s always damn near impossible to cap a Miami Heat game hours before tipoff because of their extensive daily injury report and how murky it is. They love to write people as questionable that are likely going to play, so it’s hard to get a good read on whether we should expect players like Tyler Herro or Bam Adebayo today. Those two GREATLY change how this game will play out.
Regardless, we know the story about the Nets. They’re 18-2 over their last 20 games now and not only do they have one of the best offenses in the NBA, but their defense has been superb as well. They guard the paint phenomenally well, but struggle with teams that shoot threes, particularly from driving and dishing it out.
The Heat are still what they’ve been over the past number of years: winning with defense first and operating at a slow, efficient pace offensively. Bam Adebayo has been questionable for the past number of games, so I’d expect him to be active and match up with Nicholas Claxton. Tyler Herro is a different story. He was out with back spasms and I lean more towards the chance that he doesn’t play. The Heat have capable backups, but Herro’s 20+ points per game will be missed.
I’ll go with the Nets to get it done on the road again, as they’re now 13-8 when traveling and the Heat have not been good at home this season with just an 11-8 record.
Pick: Nets -3.5 -110 (1u)
Hawks ML +150 (1u)
Rockets ML +110 (1u)