The NBA All-Star Break begins on Friday. This is a tricky week across the board because you have to follow along with all the “who’s in and who’s out” information, but also try to figure out which teams are still invested with a few days off looming. I wrote about handicapping in advance of the All-Star Break when the NHL calendar and I think some of those concepts apply.
Veteran teams will be more plugged in to try and bank some wins. Teams that have gone through a lot of adversity or aren’t playing well will be happy to get away from it all. These won’t be foolproof, but I do think they can point you in the right direction.
Here are a couple spots I have my eye on over the next few days:
Pacers at Bucks (-12.5, 234) – The Bucks were embarrassed last night at home by Portland, a team that recently traded away a star in CJ McCollum and still doesn’t have Damian Lillard. It was a ghastly defensive performance in the first half from the Bucks, who gave up 71 points. At least they buckled down in the second half, but still failed to score with only 53 points.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the lineup tonight (and Khris Middleton off of a terrible 3-of-15 night) and the chance at an easy win against a Pacers team that just has lost six in a row, I think this one is blowout city tonight. I’ll lay the big number.
Nets at Knicks – We’ll see what Wednesday’s line looks like, but the Nets should be able to bank a win before the Break against the Knicks. New York has some serious problems and another tough defeat at the hands of the Thunder on Monday doesn’t help. The Knicks have dropped nine of 11, so it’s not like they’re playing any better than a Brooklyn team that just ended a losing streak of 11 straight.
The Nets rolled a pretty bad Kings team on Monday, but Bruce Brown said after the game that the team picked up some camaraderie in Miami between a team bonding event and the Trade Deadline. It sounds like getting rid of James Harden was addition by subtraction. The Nets are still shorthanded, but I like them on Wednesday (and Thursday against the Wizards as well).