Phoenix (+9) at New Orleans – The Pelicans currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference as they hold a tie-breaker over Oklahoma City whom they are currently tied. Phoenix will have just two games left after tonight and will need to win out and get losses from both the Thunder and the Pelicans. In other words, it isn’t looking good.
The Suns have only themselves to blame as they’ve lost two straight and seven of their last ten. The Pelicans haven’t fared much better going just 5-5 over their last ten games but clearly they are in much better position.
Trends: Phoenix is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games… The Pelicans are 4-1 straight up in their last five games… The Suns are 5-9-1 against the spread in their last 15 games on the road in New Orleans… NO is 2-4 straight up in their last six games at home against Phoenix.
The Pick: The Suns have have done pretty well recently in the Big Easy but I don’t like how they are playing right now. Take the Pelicans to cover.
San Antonio (-3) at Houston – Here’s how tight the Western Conference Playoff Race is; the Rockets are in the 3rd spot and the Spurs are in the sixth spot. Should San Antonio win tonight, they could actually find themselves in the second spot. Ya, that’s right. Second-seeded Memphis is only one-half game ahead of sixth-seeded San Antonio.
This game has no bearing on whether the Spurs or Rockets will make the playoffs but it has massive implications on where the teams could ultimately be seeded. While the Rockets have a game in hand, a win tonight would give them only a short amount of time to breathe knowing several other teams are still involved in the chase for the second seed.
Obviously getting the two seed means you can avoid Golden State until the conference finals should you get there. Both Houston and San Antonio are playing well. The Rockets have seven of ten while the Spurs have won nine straight and nine of their last ten.
Trends: The Spurs are 5-1 straight up in their last six road games… Houston is 7-2 SU in their last nine games… San Antonio is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games on the road at Houston… The Rockets are 7-1 SU in their last eight games at home versus the Spurs.
The Pick: While it’s hard to ignore the Spurs’ streak, the Rockets have played well at home against them. Give me the Rockets tonight.
Charlotte (+9) at Atlanta – Here’s the deal; the Hawks have the number one seed in the Eastern Conference wrapped up. The Hornets have tonight, plus three final games and they are currently three games behind Brooklyn for the final playoff spot.
Common sense has to tell us that the Hawks will more than likely give their starters more rest than they usually do with nothing to play for at this time. Atlanta has won three in a row while the Hornets have lost seven of their last ten and two straight.
Trends: Charlotte is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games… Atlanta is 4-1 straight up in their last five games… The Hornets are 2-13 SU in their last 15 games on the road in Atlanta… The Hawks are 12-3 straight up in their last 15 games against the Hornets.
The Pick: This one is hard to call because we just don’t know the extent the starters will play for Atlanta. Take them to cover tough.