New Orleans Pelicans @ Minnesota Timberwolves: Pelicans -1.5 – 10/11
Minnesota got their Butler problem sorted – you just can’t get the staff these days – but where it leaves them in a hyper-competitive West remains to be seen.
Robert Covington and Dario Saric are nice additions to support Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but you’d wonder if the controversy has cost hem too much already in the standings, whatever about the talent they’ve lost in Jimmy Buckets.
New Orleans’ main problem has been getting their star player healthy. Anthony Davis has looked ready to dominate this season’s MVP discussion since DeMarcus Cousins went down during last year’s campaign.
An elbow ailment impaired him through the Pels’ recent road run, and they lost all five games. Happily, he looks healthier now and they went prehistoric on the Raptors in Toronto, dropping 126 as they dealt the Kawhi-led Canadians their first home L of the year.
We’d fancy they can take advantage of a Timberwolves team in turmoil tonight at 10/11.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards: Cavaliers +12 – 10/11
These two have had starts rougher than the winter winds off Lake Eerie, but there’s a lot more at stake for the Wizards than the Cavs.
Though Cleveland talked up their plans for the season post LJ, no one’s really that shocked they’re as bad as they are. Yeah, sure, they’re the defending champs in the East, but through vast expanses of last season it looked like they could drop out of the playoffs, even with the great man on the roster.
Coach Ty Lue’s been fired with Trumpian speed by owner Dan Gilbert, and Kevin Love is out long-term. Expectations are low, but that gives the young pieces they do have a chance to build rapport and experience. There was a sign of their potential in last night’s beating of Charlotte, and the’ve played other teams closer than expected recently too – they’re 5-1 on the road against the spread this season.
Things are much murkier in Washington.
They had designs on the Eastern title with James now way out west, but have started the season with some putrid defensive stats, and it could be time to send the likes of John Wall or Bradley Beal elsewhere in return for prospects or picks if things don’t improve soon.
They’ve won two in a row, so that’s something, but there’s no way I’d want them -12 here, even with Cleveland playing (and winning) last night. I’d take the Cavs with the points.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Milwaukee Bucks: Home Team Over 112.5 Points – 4/5
The Bucks have stolen the Warriors crown – statistically anyway – as the most powerful offensive unit in the league right now.
This was partly due to they 23-point beatdown on Golden State in their own arena during the week. They’ve vaulted the Dubs in several significant stats – winning margin, points-per-game, and offensive pace – so you’d be optimistic about their potential to wrack up points tonight.
The Grizzlies are the opposite. They’re leading the league defensively, though you’d wonder if they can resist Giannis et al in their current form.
Based on their possessions rate and scoring, the Bucks are hitting 121 points on average per game. The Grizz allow just over 100. Something has to give, and the home court return plus their offensive confidence makes me look at the over on the Bucks’ points total at 4/5.
*All odds correct at time of posting