Saturday’s NBA main slate features seven games. The action gets underway at 8 p.m. ET and the final game tips off at 10 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Wizards -7 (-110)
The Trail Blazers have lost six straight, and they have failed to cover in all six. A quick look at this roster and it makes sense. This team is bad, but the Wizards are not much better. Washington is better, but they do not deserve to be this big of a favorite on the road and on the second leg of a back-to-back. Not only is this the second leg of a back-to-back, but this is the third of four road games on the West Coast in six days. Although the schedule suggests this spread should be smaller, the actual team on the schedule suggests the spread should be much, much larger.
Portland’s average margin of defeat over their last six games is 34 points. That’s incredible. On this slide — calling it a slide is a disservice to slides, these last six games have been an insane Helter Skelter — The Trail Blazers have the worst offense in basketball with an anemic 92.6 offensive rating. To go along with their miserable offense, they also have the worst defense in the NBA (124.1). The Trail Blazers couldn’t win a first round NCAA Tournament Game right now — it’s questionable whether they could win a Power 5 Conference Tournament game. This team had roster issues before they traded Norm Powell and CJ McCollum (Damian Lillard out), but after a rash of injuries (Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Justise Winslow, Eric Bledsoe and Nassir Little are all out), this team has become one of the purest dumpster fires in years. This dumpster is lathered in grease and will burn for weeks. The Wizards are in a bad spot in terms of schedule and have their own problems, but Portland is a free space on the Bingo card. They’re a punching bag.
Bulls -3 (-110)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bulls SG Zach LaVine (knee) has been ruled out Saturday vs. the Cavaliers. PG/SG Alex Caruso (wrist) is available.
The wheels are falling off the wagon for the Cavs. Cinderella has lost her slipper. Even before Jarrett Allen’s injury, Cleveland was coming apart at the seams. This has been an up and down streaky team all season, and right now the arrow is pointing down. They have lost seven of the last 10 games. Their defense ranks 26th and their offense ranks 21st during this spell. That’s about where they’ve been offensively all season, but their defensive rating on the season is 107.0 (fourth). That’s been a huge problem for weeks, and the Cavs show no signs of finding a solution.
The Bulls have been equally streaky, but their streaks are easily explainable. The Bulls won six in a row against inferior teams. They proceeded to lose five in a row against some of the best teams in the league. It seems that their streaks aren't as much a reflection of their play as they are a scheduling quirk. Chicago snapped their five-game skid on Wednesday at Detroit but missed the cover by a hook.
Three points seems too low. It overvalues the Bulls’ losing streak and hedges that
Zach LaVine (questionable) will not play. Even without LaVine, the Bulls should be able to beat the Cavs by more than three points at home. Besides being one of the best teams against the spread (36-29-1), the Bulls have the best home ATS record (22-12) and practically the best home ATS record as favorites (27-13-1) — The Magic are 4-1 but that hardly qualifies.
Warriors Money Line (+100)
On Saturday night, we find out if the Warriors are back. The Warriors have emerged from a brutal stretch with two solid wins. Their top defense has regained its form after a stretch where they ranked in the bottom third of the league. On Tuesday, they held the Clippers to 97 points, and they held the Nuggets to 102 points on Thursday. Golden State is only 1.5-point dogs on the road against the defending champs — who have won six in a row. The DraftKings Sportsbook has a lot of confidence in Curry et al. In the immortal words of John Wick, “Yeah. I think I’m back.”
Why do the Warriors stand a chance on Saturday night? It’s simple. Their leaders are producing and their bench is contributing. Jordan Poole has scored 20 points or more in each of the last five games, and Jonathan Kuminga has added at least 16 points off the bench in five straight. If the defense is fixed and each player is contributing offensively, then this team is the favorite to win the championship.
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