Friday, February 27, 2015

February’s Teams of the Month: Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers

If I had done this post at the end of last month, we’d be talking about the Boston Celtics. I’m not sure if a team can have as good of a month (for covering purposes) as the Celtics did in January. We backed the Celtics for each game of a ridiculous five game road trip the week of January 19th, in which they faced the Clippers, Blazers, Nuggets, Jazz, and Warriors. The Celtics managed a combined point differential of -1, covering in all five games and winning three outright.

This month, we have the Jazz (who went 4-1-1 in the six games we backed them) and the 76ers (who went 4-1 in their five games). My prediction for February’s team of the month was Minnesota, but they ended up going 6-4 ATS for us despite a couple of brutally close losses. The Sixers covering dominance makes sense, considering they are given insanely high point spreads every night, but the Jazz kind of came out of nowhere (we are counting a January 31st 10-point win over Golden State in these records because I’m in charge and it was really awesome).

So yea, Utah’s most notable win was that home thrashing of Golden State, although they managed similar performances against Portland and San Antonio this week. Enes Kanter’s departure to OKC seemed like a bad thing, but Rudy Gobert has really taken advantage of the extra playing time. Gobert, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors form an excellent trio, and they’d probably be in the playoff mix if they had some competent role players (no, Trey Burke and Dante Exum do not fit this category). Linemakers seem to have finally caught on, however, making the Jazz favorites this weekend against the Nuggets and Bucks.

The Sixers have won three games outright this month as underdogs of seven points or more, (these were actually their only three wins, lucky us!) all at home and all by a margin of seven or more. Beating the Nuggets, Hornets, and Wizards was nice, but they also managed a five point home loss against the Warriors. All of this came without any players that anyone has ever heard of (with the exception of Jason Richardson… he’s still good, right?). All in all it was a great month to be a Sixers backer.

I’ll give a couple picks for my March team of the month prediction. We’ll go with the Wolves again, who still seem to be vastly underrated by linemakers and also the public. This is a much improved team since Rubio, Martin, and Pekovic all returned from extended injury absences and Wiggins has gotten much better as the season has progressed.

The Knicks have the worst ATS record in the NBA, but with so much New York bias and a miraculous win in Detroit Friday night, it’s hard to imagine their spreads will continue to be so inflated. That leaves the Nuggets, holders of the second worst ATS record in the NBA this season, who have been getting absolutely slaughtered lately. I expect the lines to become inflated for them over the next few weeks, giving them a good shot to be our March team of the month. Check back in 30 days to see how we did!

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