Zach to the Rack: NBA Picks For 12/29/2020
Aye NBA fans – I had a GREAT Christmas – going 3-1 in my predictions, only missing the fact that I did not see the Bucks cover the point total with that 135-point outburst. Milwaukee scored more than James Harden wearing a leopard cowboy hat with two strippers sitting on his lap. (Shout out to this training regime by the way… Las Vegas + 4 day-quarantine = 44 points and 17 assists.) Sadly, that is how I trained for the majority of my pickup basketball career – but I usually followed up a Vegas bender by going 1-18 from the field and tearing my meniscus.
Meanwhile, The Heat beat New Orleans and covered on Christmas, even after losing Jimmy Butler. With Goran Dragić back in top form, he is almost vintage Steve Nash-good again. These teams didn’t hit the totals either… so with these three wins, I could justify the 12-pack of Sprite Cranberry I over-paid for on eBay. Meanwhile, Miami can easily make another deep run this year. More about that down the road…
But what the hell just happened on Sunday? The Mavericks curb-stomped the Clippers? The Knicks beat the Bucks? The Hornets cut down the Nets? I’m confused. Let’s see how it shapes our NBA picks for Tuesday. Odds are accurate as of 3:00 pm EST. We have taken all odds from BetMGM Sportsbook (read our review here).
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cavs -3.5 (-112)
Point Total: Over 215.5 (-107)
The new Disney Pixar film Soul has a hilarious scene where an otherworldly being says they’ve “been messing with this team for years” before causing a New York Knicks player to blow a dunk. It’s a savage takedown of a franchise that cannot seem to catch a break. Unfortunately, they can catch a sprain…as first-round pick Obi Toppin sprained his calf muscle in his second game – and they seem to catch a hip pointer as well. (Their other highly-touted rookie, Immanuel Quickley, went down in game one.)
But they looked GOOD against the Bucks! What is happening? Will RJ and Julius Randle actually become who we thought they could? Can they keep it going against the surprising Cleveland Cavaliers? What? The Cavs who beat the Sixers? Even Javale McGee looked sharp with that coast-to-coast Giannis-like dunk a couple of games back. The key here are the Cleveland guards, Sexton and Garland, which sounds like a pretentious Napa Valley restaurant….
(Snooty British voice) – “Excuse me sir, Pepper and I would like to dine at Sexton and Garland this evening.”
The Knicks, without Obi and Quick, (which sounds like a future Mandalorian spin-off series) are relying on the inconsistent RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Elfrid Payton. How did Milwaukee lose? Were the NYC clubs open for their players? I don’t get it. Still, I think the Cavs win this one by more than 4. I would actually take the over here, as both teams are coming off 130 point games. Maybe fatigue has something to do with those wins? Are players tired after not traveling for 10 months? Not sure, but it’s getting WEIRD, man.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Minnesota +9 (+115)
Point Total: Under 227.5 (-117)
For our second set of Tuesday NBA picks, both of these teams looked pretty good early. Well, except for that Sunday afternoon Los Angeles hellhole both of these squads found themselves in.
The Clippers still have Ws against two powerhouses in the Lakers and the Nuggets – and the T-Wolves have wins over the Pistons and an impressive win over the Jazz. But then D’Angelo Russell and company got to Los Angeles on Monday and the Lakers beat them by 36. It’s interesting that when teams used to come through LA and NYC for games, the nightlife was open and a lot of statistics seemed to dip. (The club 1 Oak has caused more turnovers than Patrick Beverly’s on-ball defense). But now, with clubs and restaurants shuttered, the distraction no longer looms. Look, Minnesota is a defensive-minded team that can shoot. The fact that they took down Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Rudy Gobert – in front of actual FANS (1500 in Utah!) showed me something.
The Clippers meanwhile were looking terrific. Nicolas Batum and Luke Kennard are actually leading an impressive second unit and even if Kawhi misses a second game because his face looks like that actor in Game of Thrones (season 7) who had half of his jaw ripped off (watch your elbows, Serge), the Clippers should win this game. Paul George will bounce back from his poor Sunday and outduel Malik Beasley for everything other than the handoff of Larsa Pippen. (This girl has been passed around more than a Chris Paul three-man weave.) Look for the Clippers to keep Minnesota at bay, but not blow them out. I think Karl Anthony-Towns is gonna have a big game against Ibaka and Zubac, but ultimately Los Angeles will win by 5-7.
I'm taking the under on this one with Kawhi currently scheduled to miss the game with a laceration. But keep an eye on his injury status – if he plays, I'd jump on the over.
End 2020 With a Bang
There you go friends – let’s keep the winning streak going here and end 2020 on a high note. Take a look at our gambling guides for FREE tips on how to maximize your bets for these Tuesday NBA picks. And if I’m wrong and I blow all of your hard-earned Christmas bonuses, you have permission to rip my jaw off. Halfway, anyway. Heal up, Kawhi!