We learned a few things from our prediction piece last week and not all of them good. We went one from three with our picks with the Dallas Mavericks being our only saviour.
- The Toronto Raptors are the real deal. They backed up an 8-point win over the Golden State Warriors with wins on the road against the Kings and the Jazz. Toronto are a massive +2000 to retain their Larry O’Brien Trophy with VIP.
- Chris Paul is still a legitimate top 10 NBA player. The 10-time All-Star scored 28 points in a surprise victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday evening.
- Unfortunately it looks like the Memphis Grizzlies wont be much of an opponent if they are to clinch that 8th seed. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis put the Grizz to the sword at home on Friday night. Neutrals may want to see Zion & the Pelicans face the Lakers in the opening round of the playoffs.
There’s some interesting games on the schedule this week as we head towards the post-season.
Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder
When: Wednesday 11th March @ 7PM
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Odds: Utah Jazz (+2) -110 Oklahoma City Thunder (-2) -106
This game will whet the appetite for a potential 1st Round match-up between these two next month.
Our Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -130 with VIP
Only one win separates these two teams in 4th and 5th seed in the Western Conference and everything points to a blockbuster 1st Round match-up between the Jazz and Thunder beginning next month. Of course there are plenty of hurdles to cross between now and then but it’s definitely a clash that would capture NBA fans’ attention.
I don’t think anyone would have predicted at the start of the season that we would be talking about the Thunder claiming a home playoff spot with only 18 games remaining. They have had an outstanding season so far with Billy Donovan in contention for Coach of the Year and Dennis Schroeder in line to collect his first 6th Man of the Year award. The backcourt pairing of Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are a match for any squad.
The Jazz have been chugging along at a slow and steady pace with almost identical home and away records and a 50% win ratio over the last ten. The form of All-Star Rudy Gobert may be a concern as we head towards the playoffs. The Frenchman has been poor over the most recent stretch of games.
Back the Thunder to pick up another win at +130 with VIP Sports.
Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics
When: Friday 13th March @ 6:30PM
Where: TD Garden
Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards head to Boston for this early Friday night game.
Our Pick: Boston Celtics (-5)
The Boston Celtics face the Wizards in this Eastern Conference match-up on a very short back-to-back. Brad Stevens’ team tip-off in Milwaukee against the Bucks at 7PM on Thursday before flying home to face the Wizards at 6:30PM on Friday.
The Wizards are in 9th place in the Eastern Conference having won four of their last ten games. It hasn’t been a stellar season for Scott Brooks’ team although the record-breaking form of Bradley Beal has been a highlight.
They face a Celtics team who many fancy to go all the way to the Finals. Jayson Tatum has been one of the best players in the league since the All-Star break and they could be the team to topple the Bucks in the Eastern Conference.
Fatigue will play a part in this one but we think the Celtics will be too strong for the Wizards. Back them to win with VIPCasino.ca.
Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers
When: Friday 13th March @ 9:30PM
Where: Staples Center
Four of the NBA’s biggest stars go head-to-head at Staples Center on Friday night with LeBron James and Paul George taking to the floor against James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Our Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
As it stands the Lakers are the only Western Conference team who have secured their playoff spot. Frank Vogel’s team are chasing the Milwaukee Bucks to hold the best record in the league – currently 49-14 compared to Milwaukee’s 53-12.
The small ball Rockets have slipped down the Western Conference standings with four defeats in their last five games. That includes unexpected losses to the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic. Harden Westbrook may have righted the ship slightly with a combined 64 points in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
The Lakers have been too strong for most teams at Staples and Friday night’s game will be no different – back the Lakers to win with VIP.