Happy Saturday. We ended up positive last night despite a tough NBA slate. The NBA record was 4-6. It was a swing-and-miss day on the totals, which was bound to happen at some point. We’ll have to wait a little longer to get back to even on the year there. But the CBB record was 4-0, including a hit for 5.2 units on a parlay. The college board has been clear all week, and we’re 19.07 units up on college ball over the last five days. Let’s keep it rolling into the weekend. But first, a look at yesterday’s action.
- The Knicks trailed early but gradually chipped away to win in Washington. Julius Randle sparked the win with 46 points, which was as much as the Wizards’ top two scorers (KP and Kuzma) put up combined. Randle has been really great for a revitalized Knicks team that just has an RJ Barrett problem (New York is 9.8 points worse per 100 possessions when he plays). 34-27 with one of your key starters being virtually unplayable in his 34 minutes per game isn’t all that bad, and the Knicks are now a game and a half up on the Heat and the 7 seed and just a game back of the Nets and the 5. One might ask how New York is 34-27 with Barrett playing 34 minutes per game and making them so much worse, and the answer is that they have a net rating of +8.9 when he sits, which makes his minutes just slightly negative overall. That +8.9 net rating is almost as good as the Bucks when Khris Middleton (+9.5) has been available. The Wizards fall half a game back of the Raptors with the loss, but they still have a game and a half on the Bulls and the 11 seed. They’re in a solid spot heading into the home stretch.
- The Hawks trounced the Cavs in a shootout I didn’t see coming at all. Atlanta’s 136 points were the most Cleveland has allowed all year, and it was only the sixth time in sixty-three games (9.5%) that they have allowed 125 or more points. The Cavs also posted their thirteenth highest offensive scoring output of the season with their 119. Just one of those nights on the totals. Trae and Dejounte Murray combined for 59 for Atlanta, and the Hawks will pull a game ahead of the 9 seed. They’re also back within two games of the Heat and the 7 seed. Cleveland has fallen three and a half back of the Sixers and the 3 seed after three straight losses, and they’re still just two games up on the Nets.
- Giannis left after just six minutes with knee soreness, but the Bucks still crushed the Heat in a game that was never all that close. Milwaukee has now won thirteen in a row, and they’re 25-5 at home, a record that just edges out the Grizzlies for the league’s second-best. The Suns come to town tomorrow afternoon to try to end the winning streak. The pressure is still on the Celtics with the Bucks half a game back, and Boston has a tough challenge in Philadelphia tonight. The Heat, meanwhile, will fall a game and a half back of the Knicks and that key 6 seed.
- The Bulls smashed the Nets in an ugly, ugly game that saw Brooklyn stuck below 50 points into the fourth quarter. Zach LaVine dropped 32 to lead the way for Chicago, who had no issues scoring with 30+ points in all four quarters. That 30-point line was one the Nets didn’t manage to cross total until the second half after a 29-point showing in the first twenty-four minutes. It’s not worth reading too much into this one for Brooklyn. Burn the tapes. But the offense has struggled (understandably) since losing KD and Kyrie, and that will be something to fix if they hope to hold off at least one of the Knicks and Heat and claim a top six spot. Chicago is back within a game and a half of the play-in with this one, which ended a six-game skid. Up next?Games against the two teams directly ahead of them. We’ll see what Chicago has in the tank.
- LaMelo and Gordon Hayward combined for 59, and the Hornets got their third straight win with a 121-113 victory in Minnesota. They’re now two and a half games up on the Pistons, and they’ve taken a big step back from the bottom three race with these wins. The good news for their draft hopes is that the Magic stand as the league’s fifth-worse team at seven and a half games above Charlotte. So the Hornets aren’t rising any further. It’s just a question of whether they will have the opportunity to fall back into that bottom three. This was a tough one for Minnesota. They fall into a three-way tie for the 7 seed, which has them a game and a half up on the 11 seed. They’ve been hilariously bad against the bottom of the league, going 4-7 against the Pistons, Hornets, Spurs, and Rockets with one game against San Antonio remaining. That includes an 0-4 record against the Pistons and Hornets. On the bright side, being 27-24 against everyone else is pretty good. The Timberwolves are one of just four teams the Pistons have multiple wins against, and they’re one of just three teams the Hornets have multiple wins against.
- The Suns pulled away from an SGA-less Thunder team down the stretch. Phoenix is playing some really good basketball, and they moved up to the 4 seed last night, where they sit two games back of the Kings. Oklahoma City has lost two straight coming out of the break to fall a game out of the play-in picture. They get the Kings twice in their next two before a huge four-game stretch that includes the Lakers, Jazz (twice), and Warriors. All six of those games (including the Kings) are at home, which means OKC needs to take advantage.
- Klay dropped 42, and the Warriors took care of business against the Rockets. They’re in that three-way tie for the 7 seed with the Timberwolves (and Pelicans). The Rockets have lost eight in a row, and they’ll temporarily reclaim sole possession of the league’s worst record.
- The Kings came back late and then outlasted the Clippers in overtime to win a crazy 2OT game that featured more than 350 points. This was the highest-scoring game of the season by almost 75 points. Malik Monk dropped 45. De’Aaron Fox put up 42 and 12. Sabonis went for 20 and 10. Kawhi scored 44. Paul George went for 34 and 10 rebounds. Russ put up 17 and 14. It was a wild game, and it was also pretty important. Sacramento now has a two and a half game edge on the Clippers, who fall to the 5 seed, half a game back of the Suns. So the Kings have a two game buffer behind them and the 3 seed instead of being just half a game up on the Clippers. Sacramento has done a really nice job of winning games they need to win to hold on to that 3 seed. One stat of interest – the Clippers were 3.3 points better per 100 possessions with Russ on the floor last night. That’s an unbelievably small sample size for on-off numbers, but it’s a positive indication one game in.
- Xavier smoked Seton Hall to at least keep a little bit of quiet pressure on Marquette at the top of the Big East. This one was probably more consequential for Seton Hall, who likely falls off the wrong side of the bubble with the loss. They’ve lost four of five since really emerging as a bubble team, and that’s not gonna get it done.
- VCU took a little bit to get going but ultimately had no issues with Richmond. A home game against St Louis and a trip to George Washington stand between them and a solo A10 title.
- Southern Miss are your Sun Belt champs after knocking off Texas State last night. They got a little bit of help from Old Dominion, who beat Marshall – after, funnily enough, beating Southern Miss earlier this week – to make it a solo championship. Three more wins in the Sun Belt tourney, and they’re going dancing. Of course, Marshall and others will be ready to go too.
- Nevada topped Fresno State to move closer to bid security. Winning at a bad Wyoming team on Monday night might just seal the deal.
NBA record: 157-134-6 ATS, 26-47 ML, 82-61-1 O/U, 1-7 parlay, 0-1 props, -4.74 units
- Pistons +7
- Heat -5
- Heat Hornets U227.5
- Knicks -3
- Nuggets ML (+120)
- Nuggets Grizzlies U235
- Sixers ML (+105)
- Jazz -9.5
- Spurs Jazz O240.5
CBB record: 181-165-8 ATS, 41-61 ML, 4-4 O/U, 11-17 parlay, -8.95 units
- Creighton -2.5 – TWO UNIT PLAY
- Texas Tech -2
- Iowa State -7
- Missouri -3.5
- Charleston -19.5
- Alabama -8
- Toledo -11.5
- Baylor -3.5
- Kansas State ML (+130)
- Samford ML (+100)
- Oral Roberts -5
- Texas A&M ML (+100)
- Kentucky -4 – TWO UNIT PLAY
- Pitt -6
- Virginia ML (+138) – TWO UNIT PLAY
- South Carolina +23
- Vandy -4
- Boise State -4
- UNC Wilmington ML (+110)
- Purdue -6.5
- St Mary’s +5.5
- New Mexico +3
- ML PARLAY: UConn, Iowa State, Alabama, Arizona, FAU, Nebraska, Miami, Kansas (+360)
- ML PARLAY: FAU, Toledo, Dayton, St Louis, Marquette, Duke (+145) – TWO UNIT PLAY