Feb 2 NBA Action: Five Plays on Post-Super Bowl Docket
Charlotte Hornets +8 (-118) @ Washington Wizards
First up, we look for Charlotte to continue to play competitive basketball when they head to the Verizon Center in D.C. to face the Wizards tonight. As is shown in the first table below, one of the sim programs in our line-up makes Washington out to be 4 point favorites, while the other computer gives Charlotte a 2 point advantage. Our quantitative assessment gives the Wiz about a 3 point edge. As such, each of the three factors in our model independently imply significant value for Hornets backers.
While Charlotte is a meager 20-27 overall this season, in their last 13 games the Hornets are 10-3 straight-up and 9-4 versus the number. Charlotte is also 6-1 in their last seven games away from Time Warner Cable Arena. Thus, backing the Hornets in this spot should not be a terrifying ordeal, especially considering that the Wizards are 7-6 absolutely and 5-8 ATS in their last baker's dozen outings.
Orlando Magic +14 (-118) @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Our work also identifies the Orlando Magic as a road dog worth supporting when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena this evening. Each of the three factors in our approach indicate five points of value (or more) versus the betting line. As such, this pick constitutes a strong play.
At 15-35 on the year and 2-8 in their last ten out, Orlando is clearly struggling. However, we agree with the system that 14 is too big a number for OKC to lay. The Magic have been pitted as underdogs of ten or more on eight occasions this year; they are 6-2 from this spot. Similarly, Oklahoma City has been favored by double digits seven times this NBA season. The Thunder covered only twice from this position. Also casting doubt on their ability to beat the number tonight, OKC just dropped consecutive games to the Knicks and the Grizzlies, and are 5-5 straight up (and an even worse 4-6 ATS) of late.
Orlando Magic @ Oklahoma City Thunder u210
We are pairing our play on Orlando to cover with a corresponding wager on the UNDER. Our work predicts the total will fall within the range of 192-203 when all is said and done.
Consistent with this view, while OKC's median score is 99 points per game through the first 47 contests of the season, over their last ten contests this value has slipped by three points, to 96. Meanwhile, Orlando's road median is a lowly 93.5 points per game. Even after adjusting the Magic's estimated scoring total down to account for the strength of the Thunder's defense, and ratcheting higher Oklahoma City's expected output in consideration of the Magic's virtually non-existent stopping power, 210 still appears a stretch.
Atlanta Hawks @ New Orleans Pelicans o193
The OVER is quite compelling for the Hawks at the Pelicans. As the second table (below) illustrates, our composite anticipates a combined total score in the ballpark of 204 when the final whistle blows. Each factor implies greater than six points value for this pick. Thus, per our work, OVER bettors are in for an easy night.
Supporting the output from the computers, consider that, at 105.1 PPG, the Pelicans are the sixth highest scoring team in the league when playing at Smoothie King Center. Likewise, the Hawks average 104.5 points per contest when travelling -- good for seventh best road team in the NBA honors.
Further, while ESPN's Real Plus Minus ranks Anthony Davis as the sixth most valuable defensive player in the game, the Pelicans, as a unit, are among the worst teams at guarding the ball (TeamRankings.com lists New Orleans 23rd by overall defensive efficiency). It seems reasonable to expect the Pelicans lack of interest in defense to result in an inflated figure on Atlanta's side of the scoreboard.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers u193.0
The Sixers rank dead last in average offensive output per game. It should therefore come as no surprise that the UNDER is 8-2 in Philly's last ten games. Even when the 76ers face prolific offenses, the UNDER tends to prevail (i.e. in their last dozen contests, Philadelphia faced the the Hawks, Pelicans and Raptors twice each -- all top-ten offenses; the UNDER won in each case).
Against this backdrop, we find no reason to quibble with the system, whichs forecasts an aggregate total for the 76ers at the Cavaliers of between 182 and 187.