This NBA on ABC free picks edition covers the Sunday games between the Heat-Knicks and the pair of teams in Los Angeles. Anytime Melo and LeBron face off against each other, it’s worth watching, but the Knicks have been a sneaky good bet lately depending on the matchup in spite of their over dramatic, catastrophe of a season. The weird part – same goes for the Lakers. Let’s break these games down further, shall we?
The Knicks are struggling to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, and if you remember anything about last year, then you’ll remember that they’re developing a bad habit of being a strong home stretch team. Want proof? The awful Knicks are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games. That includes three straight wins and covers and a resounding 110-81 victory against the Brooklyn Nets.
Say what you want to about New York’s problems, but they’re still a very talented team. Mike Woodson is a horrible coach and there are tons of problems with the roster, but this is still a good team overall. Melo gets hounded for being a black hole offensively, but he’s coming off a commanding 23 point and 10 rebound performance against the Nets. As road dogs, the Knicks should have some strong value with a relatively wide handicap.
Miami will be a logical take in most people’s NBA on ABC free picks for the simple reason that they’re the best team in the conference and are firing on all cylinders lately. They’ve buried Milwaukee twice, gunned past Toronto and throttled Detroit while barely losing to Indiana during a 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS run. The notion that Miami isn’t a great home team to bet on is false at the moment and their 3-1 ATS record in the Bank of America Arena should deter that train of thought.
But there’s one wrinkle with the Knicks that I love gambling on and that’s J.R. Smith. The prototypical streaky scorer, Smith has averaged 20.4 points per game in his last five efforts and has posted as much as 29 and 24 during that span. When Smith is hitting his shots (no matter how many he takes) the Knicks are a stronger take. The Knicks are 4-0 SU and ATS in games where Smith scores 20+ points. With everything on the line against Miami, Smith will be fearless. In fact, I’m banking on his confidence with my NBA on ABC free picks.
There’s no reason to think that the Lakers are going to win this game. They’ve only gone 3-7 SU in their last 10 games beating the setting Suns, woeful Knicks and brutal Magic. The thing about all of their games that’s actually kind of amazing is that they’ve scored over 100.0+ points in their last nine games straight. An “away” game at the STAPLES Center against the cross-town Clippers will be an impossible task on paper.
But nobody – and I mean nobody – doesn’t forget getting whipped by 48 points which is exactly what happened the last time these two teams squared off. The Clippers have been virtually unstoppable lately offensively but are still a very suspect defensive squad. An injury to Griffin explains problems in that regard, but they’re still 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games. The problem? The Clippers struggle against large lines. They’re 1-4 ATS when the line is greater than -7.0 points towards them. That’s one of the reasons I’m betting against them with my NBA on ABC free picks.
Blake Griffin will likely be back for Sunday’s game, but even then the number on this game will be so mammoth that the Clippers will lose whatever value you think they have. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something in the teens favoring the Lakers. If you think that the Lake Show (can we call them that anymore?) is going to roll over in this one, then you should remember that the team is still comprised of men that have some semblance of personal pride.
Despite the Clippers rolling through on a crazy strong run in the home stretch, I think the Lakers can put up a very strong fight. That’s why the dogs in this weird “home and away game at the same time” matchup is my NBA on ABC free pick this Sunday.