76ers plus 21 at Spurs
This is the biggest point spread of the year. On paper, it certainly seems like the line is right. San Antonio has the best record in the NBA. The Spurs are in great form winning their last 13 games, while covering their past seven games. They have a deep bench making them strong in garbage time.
So why get involved with the 76ers, who have taken tanking to a new level?
Normally I wouldn't bother with Philly. I've only held my nose up once playing the 76ers since they pulled off this stunner - losing by 45 to the Clippers on Feb. 9 and following that up the next evening losing by 43 to the Warriors.
Following those games, there should have been a clamor for the 76ers to be removed from the NBA and become the new opponent for the Harlem Globetrotters.
But the 76ers have a lot going for themselves in this matchup as far as staying within three touchdowns - more than meets the eye.
First, Philly is playing OK. The 76ers have covered five of their last six, including the last four. They have lost by an average of seven points during their last four games.
The NBA league office is well aware the 76ers have been a total embarrassment. No team wants the humiliation of losing to Philadelphia, which has lost a mind-boggling 24 in a row. But the flip side is there could be an unwritten code perhaps tacitly expressed to referees and opposing coaches not to go out of their way to embarrass the 76ers further.
The 76ers have a couple of good players in Thaddeus Young, Michael Carter-Williams and improving Henry Sims, but they also have eight former D League players on their roster. Yet in their last four games, the 76ers lost by nine to the Pacers on the road, by eight to the Bulls, by one to the red-hot Knicks at home and by 10 at Chicago. These were competitive games.
If there is one coach who shouldn't run up a score on the 76ers it's Gregg Popovich. He's the mentor to 76ers rookie head coach Brett Brown, who spent the previous 12 seasons in the San Antonio organization, including the last seven as a key assistant to Popovich before taking the 76ers job in August. Brown is popular with San Antonio's players, who shouldn't go out of their way to bury Brown's team knowing what he's gone through this season. It makes no difference to San Antonio if it wins by 12 or 16.
The spot isn't great either for the Spurs. This is their first game back from a three-game West Coast trip that concluded late Saturday night. There's no reason for Popovich to play his starters big minutes in this game especially since the Spurs play a home-road series against Denver on Wednesday and Thursday. The Nuggets are far more respectable with Ty Lawson back running the point.
On the handicapping front, I am 10-4 on my last 14 paid/free NBA plays and coming off a 3-0 Sunday, which included a free pick winner on the Raptors, a Triple Star winner on Baylor over Creighton and a Game of the Week winner on the Lakers over the Magic. I have my NBA Slam Dunk play going today in addition to this free selection. It can be found here along with my records: http://pregame.com/pregamepros/pro-bettor/bettor.aspx?id=7746#capper.
As always, no bad luck!