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NBA Games Preview – Sunday 15.12.2019

Another regular season week is in the books, another Sunday card on the horizon:

 

New Orleans Pelicans - Orlando Magic (20.30 UK Time)

 

The earliest starting game doesn’t look like exactly the candy of the card but still offers some intrigue. Pelicans are awful, ‘’fighting’’ with Warriors for the last spot in the West. Ingramm proved a good fit for the team, being their bets player so far. The other asset, received in the AD trade, Lonzo Ball is no less than disappointing. He expectedly lost his starter spot when Jrue Holiday got back in the line-up after injury, that was to be expected. Ball only plays around 15 minutes per game lately though, a clear sign that the coach doesn’t trust him. Who knows, Lonzo could be on the trade block as soon as next month. Not likely he’ll attract much interest though.

Orlando are 5-5 in their last 10 games and hold on to the last play-off spot in the East for now. Magic are no much for the elite teams in NBA but have all the chances to get to the post-season because of Detroit still being bad. Orlando is trustable when playing against weaker opponents like Pelicans. They give their best effort exactly in these spots, probably realizing their chances to win a game against an elite team are negligible.

Verdict: Still no odds but maybe we’ll get some value here. Magic are the better team, still no world-breakers. Oddsmakers will probably give them some 4-5 point to cover on the default like, which would be about right. As we don’t want to bet on right spreads, 4 points would be no touch for me. Magic -3 or better would be ok, either pre-game (if we get lucky) or in-running in case New Orleans take a few points advantage early.

 

 

Brooklyn Nets - Philadelphia 76ers (23.00 UK Time)

 

This game holds way bigger intrigue. Both teams are high-flying lately. Sixers chase Bucks for the first spot in the Conference with just a single loss in their last 10 games. Giannis is doing even better though and Milwaukee will be hard to catch for Philly. Yet Embiid and Co. are playing very good basketball, only with the occasional blip against a lower team, like that loss at the hands of Washington.

Kyrie is still out for Nets. Dinwiddie is filling his shoes perfectly though, being the team’s best player and leader and some analyzers are asking questions about Irving’s influence on any team he’s been so far, both on and off the floor. No confirmed news yet about his condition for today. His return is not very likely anyway.

Verdict: It’s all about the spread here, as the game will probably be a tight contest. I’d willingly take any spread of 6+ points for Brooklyn. It’s more likely to get this in-running though. The other way round, if oddsmakers are paying respects to the home team, I’d take Sixers -2 or better. If the spread is in the middle, the first scenario to come true live, wins!

 

Atlanta Hawks - Los Angeles Lakers (23.00 UK Time)

Lakers are on the verge of making history with the best all-time start. We all know how much Bron is into these type of things, so no stepping off the pedal is possible until that check-point is secured. Lakers easily defeated Hawks in the first game this season by 20 points. Atlanta nation hoped for a better season this year behind Trae Young’s development process but their boys are hanging around the bottom of the Conference. Any hopes for play-offs are already dead which is probably a good thing for this young team. Yet Hawks can be a bit tricky in the games when Trae scores 35+ points.

Verdict: Atlanta has no real way to stop Lakers from scoring in the paint. Barring a major shock, the only question is by what difference LA would win. Oddsmakers will take no prisoners here, the starting spread will likely be 10+ points. I wouldn’t back that and chances that Hawks will lead by 7-8 points early are also more wishful thinking that a probable scenario. If it happens by some weird chance, Lakers -6 or better would be very fine present indeed.

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