In the first two months of the NBA campaign, the talk has focused on two hot topics. Naturally, we’re already debating who looks like a potential champion. And the rest of the time, we’re wondering whether the Lakers can somehow undergo a magical transformation and emerge from their lowly position in the Western Conference.
Several other teams have already been tagged as irrelevant, with their seasons all but over before they started. But before you disregard them completely, keen an eye on some of the basement battles over the next few months for great value betting chances.
There’s a real division between those teams with unproven talent, striving to make their mark, such as Portland, Cleveland and Philadelphia, and those sides who genuinely stink such as Washington, Charlotte and New Orleans. Put them together, and a little motivation goes a long way.
Take tonight’s clash between the Trailblazers and Phoenix in Portland. The hosts have won four in a row despite being forced to go deep into their rotation by moving Great Britain centre Joel Freeland into the starting line-up for their Thursday win against Denver. With exciting rookie Damian Lillard constantly improving, they’ll be a force in the months to come and even with Phoenix on a four-game streak of their own, back Portland to keep rising.
It’s harder to forecast when two of the scrubs come against one another. You’ll see one such battle this evening when woeful Detroit visit diabolical Washington. With no sign of John Wall returning, the Wizards might as well give up now and hope for a good Lottery pick next summer. They’ve run a lot of opponents close, with four overtime losses already. But last night, they were humbled 100-68 by the Pistons and even with the return leg in DC, go with Detroit on the handicap of +1.5 at 1.91.
Elsewhere, Miami will try to hold an opponent under 100 points for the seventh game in a row when they host Utah. With the Jazz struggling offensively over their last four games, go under the points line of 200.5 at 1.91 with the Heat to call the tunes.
Bet of the day: Take Detroit on the handicap over Washington.