Bryce’s NBA Daily Picks Recap 2019-20:
This Week: 1-2
*all 1 unit plays*
Going 1-2 is never good, but it definitely didn’t feel as bad when it looked like we were on a crash-course for a winless night. We started by going 0-2 on some underdogs in the Pelicans and Grizzlies, who despite both being down single-digits in the middle of the fourth quarter, ultimately didn’t cover.
I was still fairly confident in our Blazers Team Total Over play heading into the late game, but wow, did we learn a lot about this Portland team after they were taken down by a Steph-less, Klay-less, DLo-less, and Draymond-less Warriors team.
Luckily, we still hit our bet with about half a minute left in the game, but I think the Trail Blazers are a team to be wary of going forward for bettors.
Got three more picks tonight, let’s get back after it!
#1.) Orlando Magic @ Oklahoma City Thunder Under 204.5
This total is already low, but there is no indication whatsoever that this matchup doesn’t have a great chance to still be one of the lowest scoring games of the season.
First off, both Orlando and OKC have been great defensively in 2019. The Magic own the second-best PPG allowed mark at only 98.2, while the Thunder aren’t far behind at 101.8 PPG allowed. Both teams come in as top-10 in FG% and 3PT% allowed, but OKC edges Orlando since they are 2nd and 3rd in those categories, respectively.
Not to mention, each of these teams have been equally as bad offensively as they have been solid defensively. Orlando comes into the contest dead-last in the NBA with 93.5 PPG scored, while OKC is 6th worst at 104.3 PPG. The Magic have been especially horrible on offense, having both the worst FG and 3PT FG percentages in the NBA. Oklahoma City doesn’t have much to brag about with their own shooting efforts, not coming in the top half of the league in almost any category.
Despite having horrid offenses, both of these teams have been able to net a couple wins a piece because of their strong defensive efforts. 205 points might not be many points, but since 5 of Orlando’s 6 games have already come in under that mark and 3 of OKC’s have done the same, I definitely like the under here.
#2.) Los Angeles Lakers -6.5 (-110) @ Chicago Bulls
There is no crazy reason for picking this game, only that you logically have to take LeBron, Anthony Davis, and the red-hot Lakers to destroy this struggling Bulls team.
L.A. has done everything right so far this year. After dropping their opener to the Clippers, the Lakers have rattled off 5 straight wins, covering in each as well. Their resume is already looking good too, getting those wins after beating three quality teams in the Mavs, Jazz, and Spurs. LeBron and Co. also did what they are supposed to by beating up on the lowly Hornets and Grizzlies for their other wins.
Chicago has started their season on a completely different note. Despite hopes of contending for a playoff spot this year, the Bulls have gotten off to a 2-5 start. Their offense hasn’t been nearly as explosive as they predicted, and have been held under 100 points 3 times this year already. They haven’t fared any better defensively, ranking 13th worst in NBA by allowing 110.3 PPG.
Maybe the Lakers will come back down to Earth sometime this year and maybe the Bulls will figure it out – but that won’t happen tonight. I expect L.A. to get another easy cover tonight.
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#3.) Miami Heat +5 (-110) @ Denver Nuggets
With how well the Heat have played so far this season, and how average the Nuggets have been up to this point, there is no way I can’t take the Heat getting 5 points tonight in Denver.
Already sitting 5-1 this season, Miami hasn’t looked bad at all this year. Their five wins include victories over contenders in the Bucks and Rockets, while taking care of business against the Grizzlies and the Hawks twice. The Heat haven’t been a one dimensional team either – they are top-10 in basically every single offensive and defensive category. Miami is 6th in PPG, 1st in FG%, and tied for 2nd in 3PT FG%. Their defense has been just as good and is less than a point away from top-8 in PPG allowed, 6th in FG% allowed, and 1st in 3PT FG%.
While Denver hasn’t been bad, they haven’t been necessarily good either. The Nuggets record is fine at 4-2, but their lackluster offense has hurt them early in the year. Denver ranks 25th in the NBA at 103.5 PPG, and that comes despite not playing any early-season favorites (no disrespect to the upstart Mavericks and Suns).
Their defensive effort has been very good up until this point (Denver is 6th in the NBA with 103.2 PPG allowed), but their stagnant offense has let them keep games close and lose winnable games. Miami has shown that they are going to be one of the most solid teams this year; so 5 points should be plenty for the Heat when they take on Denver.