The process let us down last night.
We made just 1 of 3 picks correctly, as Bradley Beal did his part and scored fewer than 33.5 PTS. But Kristaps Porzingis and Khris Middleton let us down. Here’s why I’m not upset.
Porzingis needed more than 10.5 REBS, and he finished with just four. But he also only played 19 minutes and didn’t see the floor for most of the fourth quarter. No injury was reported, so let’s just consider this an outlier.
For Middleton, he needed over 21.5 PTS for us to make some money. I cited his efficiency and opportunity as reasons why to have faith. He had 18 points and took 17 shots, the most he’s taken this month, but it was also his least efficient outing (41.2 percent).
These are outliers that don’t discourage me from keeping my process the same. Let’s give it another shot tonight.
21.5 PTS @ Portland — OVER (110 PTS)
The Tobias Harris argument is almost identical to the Middleton argument. Harris gets the opportunities (15.4 shots per game this season), the minutes (34 per game) and is efficient (51.5 percent from the floor).
An added bonus is that Portland doesn’t know how to play defense, evidenced by its 112.9 points allowed per 100 possessions, third-highest in the NBA. That means Harris should have a nice game Thursday.
Harris played Portland on Feb. 4, but throw those numbers out the window. In the 121-105 loss, he scored 12 points in 33 minutes but shot just 35.7 percent.
In the rematch a week later, take the Over on Harris.
21.5 PTS + REBS vs. Orlando — UNDER (105 PTS)
Here’s the opposite argument. Andrew Wiggins is an inefficient scorer (43.1 percent this month). He’s also had a rough go of it from the three-point line, shooting 24 percent this month.
Wiggins gets the opportunities and the minutes, but the shooting percentages are worrisome. Plus, he’s not much of a rebounder, averaging 4.6 per game for the season and 3.6 per game this month. If you’re counting on Wiggins to hit this Over, you’re mostly asking him to score close to 20 points.
He’s eclipsed 21.5 PTS + REBS in just one of his five games in February. I’m playing the trends here and going Under.
0.5 STLS vs. Miami — OVER (120 PTS)
A few nights ago, we took a chance on Pascal Siakam needing just one block to hit his Over. We made the right call. Tonight, let’s do it again with Eric Gordon needing just one steal to net us 120 points.
Gordon is not a key defender by any means. He’s averaging 0.6 steals per game and made just 11 steals all season. That said, he’s on the floor 28.8 minutes per game, which has gone up considerably since the James Harden trade. In February, he’s up to 30.4 minutes per game and has played three straight games of 33 minutes or more.
My point is this: a player on the court that long is bound to have the ball bounce his way once or twice every few nights. He only needs one steal for 120 points, a total that can easily swing a contest in your favor while others are playing more conservatively.
Is this a risk? Sure. But that’s why you play. Go Over.
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