The NBA on TNT Doubleheader opens with a great matchup and is followed up by one of the largest spreads of the year, so let’s get to my expert picks quickly. Also in action Thursday night is Milwaukee and Atlanta, where the home team is favored by -9.5 points in the NBA sportsbook. And I shouldn’t have to tell you that Milwaukee is the take there. Atlanta shouldn’t be favored by -9.5 points against anyone.
Most of the action is leaning towards the Rockets in this one and I can totally understand why. But is nobody else concerned that Dwight Howard seems to be running out of steam? In the month of March he’s averaged just 16.5 points and 10.8 rebounds. Now, Howard grabbing boards is sort of expected given his length and athletic ability but the scoring is a huge concern. In his last game he shot 33-percent and accumulated just 9 points against Oklahoma City.
I bring this up when talking about my NBA on TNT Doubleheader expert picks because the one strength that Chicago has is their defense, especially up front. Statistically, the Bulls are a top-5 defensive team, allowing the second fewest points in the league and crashing the boards with a relentless passion.
Most of this is happening because of Joakim Noah, who has enjoyed a few “MVP” chants in the United Center. It’s hard to blame the fans. In the past five home games, the Bulls have gone 3-2 SU and ATS with understandable and forgivable losses to Memphis and San Antonio. Noah has averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 boards this month, which may not seem any different than what he’s produced all season, but his violent and emotional outbursts are driving Chicago in to the playoffs. It’s a sight to behold.
What I haven’t liked about Houston is their lack of composure. You can say what you want about Jeremy Lin versus Patrick Beverly, but the latter is really stirring the pot too much with his repeated altercations. The way that Chicago wins games is by smothering you until your temper boils over. Houston is not a team that can handle that kind of adversity, and this game will mean far more to Chicago than it does to the travelling Rockets.
The line itself is unusually small given the talent disparity in this NBA on TNT Doubleheader which is why my expert picks are leaning towards Chicago. That’s some very heavy respect from the oddsmakers.
Starts: 03/13/2014 9:30PM
That is one of the biggest spreads – if not the biggest – that I’ve seen all year. And you know what? It’s great because the Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games when facing a double-digit spread. Oklahoma City is a great team, but there’s no reason for them to run the score up on the Lakers. They don’t have the depth or personnel. So unlike my previous NBA on TNT Doubleheader expert pick, I’m not overthinking this one too much.