Daily Archives - January 2, 2017

New Year NBA Picks

New Year NBA Picks

The NBA gets into the heart of its schedule starting January 2. There are some great matchups to choose from this week!  Will Oklahoma City take it to The Beard and the rest of the Houston Rockets on Thursday, Jan. 5? What team’s style will prevail on Friday, Jan. 6 when Memphis travels to Oakland to battle Golden State? Can the Grizzlies hold off Utah in a nationally televised home game this Sunday?

New Year NBA Picks

Oklahoma City at Houston
When:  Thursday, Jan. 5 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
TV: TNT

Analysis: Thunder vs Rockets must be the premier NBA game this week. The best players in the NBA, Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook face off in TNT’s highlighted Thursday night game on Jan. 5.

Russell is Mr. Do Everything for Oklahoma City. He averages a triple-double on the season. He’s become close to an even money favorite to win the NBA MVP. But, James Harden averages more assists than Russell does. Not only that, but Harden has proven capable of taking games over just like Russell does.

When it comes down to it, the Rockets are likely to win this game because Harden’s supporting cast, particularly defensive master Patrick Beverley, work slightly better with The Beard than Russell’s supporting cast works with him. Harden can concentrate on one part of his game if Beverley is available to play.

I like Houston to cover the spread ATS in this match up.

Pick:  Houston

Memphis at Golden State
When:  Friday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 pm ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
TV: ESPN

Analysis: At 22 and 14, Memphis has proven to be a tough team to handle for any squad. The key for Memphis is going to be the health of center Marc Gasol. Gasol is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s battle versus the Lakers.

Gasol should be healthy for this Friday match up against Golden State. I’m handicapping this as if Gasol will play. There’s no player on Golden State’s team that can match up with Marc. In the last battle between these two, Gasol proved that when scoring 19 points, dishing 6 assists, grabbing 8 boards, and blocking 2 shots.

If Gasol plays, and he should, Golden State could be in for a shock. Memphis is arguably the best defensive team in the NBA. I think that they beat Golden State straight up again, like they did 110 to 89 on Dec. 10, this Friday.

Pick: Memphis

Utah at Memphis
When:  Sunday, Jan. 8 at 5:00 pm ET
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
TV: NBA TV

Analysis: Utah travels to Memphis on Sunday, two days after the Grizzlies battle the Warriors in Oakland. What’s going to happen when the two best defensive teams in the NBA battle it out on Sunday, Jan. 8?

Utah allows 94.7 points per game. Memphis allows 97.6 points per game. The Grizzlies average more on offense than Utah does. That could be what ends up happening in this battle on Jan. 8, but that’s not the way that I’m going.

I think that Memphis has trouble versus Utah because Memphis doesn’t know to handle squads that play defense as well as they do. The last time that these two teams faced off, Memphis lost 73 to 82 to Utah.

I like Utah again in what should be an upset straight up win.

Pick: Utah

New Year College Basketball Picks

New Year College Basketball Picks

Now that the NFL Regular Season is over, college basketball really heats up from now until the NCAA Tournament! Teams go deep into their conference battles this week. Will second-ranked UCLA continue to show up as the best team in the Pac-12? Or, will California take it to the Bruins? On Saturday, Jan. 7, will 13th-ranked Butler add to Georgetown’s Big East misery? Also on Saturday, will Top 10 ranked North Carolina blow up rival NC State?

New Year College Basketball Picks

California at #2 UCLA
When:  Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9:00 pm ET
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN

Analysis: UCLA has been the best team in the nation so far this season. I think they should be ranked second after only losing a single game, 87 to 89 to Oregon on the road. Oregon made it to the Elite Eight in 2015. The Ducks are a good basketball squad.

The Bruins have gone 0 and 3 against the spread in their last 3 games to start the week. UCLA doesn’t battle Cal until this Thursday. Cal has a decent 10 and 4 straight up record. The Golden Bears have lost 2 out of their last 3 games. That’s not a big deal. The 2 losses were to Virginia and Arizona. California figures to be a huge underdog in this.

I think they can keep this game to between 6 to 12 points. I like California against the spread versus UCLA on Thursday.   

Pick: California

#13 Butler at Georgetown
When:  Saturday, Jan. 7 at 12:00 pm ET
Where: Verizon Center Washington, DC
TV: FOX

Analysis: This is going to be a tough game for the ranked Butler Bulldogs. Butler tackles Villanova on Jan. 4. If Butler were to upset the number one ranked Villanova Wildcats, they’d most likely suffer a letdown in this game.

I’m not ready to write that Butler beats Villanova on Jan. 4. I am ready to write that Butler lays it all out against the defending champions in that match up. What it means to me is that Butler ends up losing straight up to a Georgetown team that has been competitive versus much better competition already this season.

Georgetown was in it until the final 2 minutes versus Xavier this past Saturday. Although the Hoyas are 1-5 ATS at home, I think they end up winning this one straight up.

Pick: Georgetown

NC State at #9 North Carolina
When:  Saturday, Jan. 7 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Dean E Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
TV: ESPN

Analysis: North Carolina’s 3 losses this season have been on the road. Although the game versus Kentucky was at a neutral site, Kentucky was the home team in that game. The Tar Heels have a chance at winning the ACC. But, so does North Carolina State who also only has 3 losses on their record.

The Wolfpack should stick with North Carolina throughout this game. NC has the better players but NC State might have the better overall defense. I think that the Wolfpack figures to be ultra-motivated in this one as well.

I’m going with NC State against the spread. This is a rivalry game that could come down to the very last possession or even go into overtime. I’ll take the points, whatever they are, when NC State battles NC this Saturday.

Pick: NC State

New Year NHL Picks

New Year NHL Picks

I’m looking at some great matchups in NHL in the first week of 2017! On Thursday, can the tough Buffalo Sabres take down the Stanley Cup favorite Chicago Blackhawks? Then, on Sunday, Anaheim hosts Minnesota. Will the Wild go wild over the Ducks in a road game? Also on Sunday is a game that’s becoming a classic when Tampa Bay tackles Pittsburgh on the ice. Who wins when it’s Lightning versus Pens?

New Year NHL Picks

Buffalo at Chicago
When:  Thursday, Jan. 5 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: NBCSN

Analysis: Chicago goes into the New Year off arguably their worst week of the season. The Blackhawks had won 5 in a row before ending the week going 1 and 4 straight up. They’ve lost 2 in a row going into the week of Monday, Jan. 2.

Does that make the vaunted Blackhawks vulnerable to a tough Buffalo squad? Probably not. The Sabres have some talent, but they haven’t stepped it up yet this season. Their goalies, Anders Nilsson and Robin Lehner, haven’t showed up in recent games.

That’s bad news for the Sabres. Chicago can score against any team in NHL. Buffalo, who is in last place in the Atlantic to start the week, could be in for a tough match.

I like Chicago by at least 2 on Thursday.

Pick: Chicago

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh
When:  Sunday, Jan. 8 at 1:00 pm ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
TV: SUN/ROOT

Analysis: Pittsburgh remains a few games behind Columbus in the Metropolitan Standings. Not that it matters. The Pens are hot to start the week after winning their last 4. One of the wins was a terrific 4 to 3 over time “W” versus Montreal on New Year’s Eve.

But, Pitt is off until this battle on Jan. 8. That’s a long time to only play against your teammates without hitting the ice for a competitive game. Tampa Bay faces the Pens after battling Winnipeg, Nashville, and Philly this week.

I expect Tampa to be the sharper team in this match up. Pitt only beat Tampa 4 to 3 the last time that they faced each other back on Dec. 10. I’m going with Tampa to upset the Pens on Jan. 8.

Pick: Tampa Bay

Minnesota at Anaheim
When:  Sunday, Jan. 8 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
TV: NBCSN

Analysis: No team in NHL has been hotter than Minnesota. The Wild had won 12 in a row before losing 2 to 4 to Columbus on New Year’s Eve. That’s an incredible 12 wins in a row.

The Wild hasn’t faced Anaheim since Jan. 20, 2016. This week, Minnesota runs through the West Coast Gauntlet of Death. They battle San Jose on Jan. 5. On Jan.7, they take on L.A. then on Jan. 8 they take on Anaheim.

No worries. Minnesota is so hot that they could win all three. I think they show up big time against the Ducks on Sunday.

Pick: Minnesota