Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:00 PM EST
3:00 PM EST. The Warriors appear to be at their most vulnerable in years with superstar guard Steph Curry on the sidelines for at least the first round of the playoffs. The defending champs are also in the midst of a cold streak that has seen them go 5-5 over their last 10 games. However, we can't take any regular season games the Warriors play seriously because they've looked bored in just about every contest since winning it all. This season there were more nights than we can count where the Warriors were down in the third quarter, which made them a great live bet, as they'd cover a deflated number with ease and often the original spread as well. Now that these games matter, the Warriors have more than enough to handle what the Western Conference can throw at them and that includes the Rockets.
For all of the woes that seem to surround the Warriors, the Spurs don't appear to be fit enough to take advantage of Golden State's perceived deficiencies. The Spurs have been one of the model franchises in the league over the last two decades. Head coach Greg Popovich and the front office are often credited with doing things the "right way", which is what makes the whole Kawhi Leonard injury situation so interesting. The Spurs star has only played in nine games this season, as he's spent most of the year nursing a sore quad. Leonard's return has been pushed backed a number of times this season, as he rehabs with his own doctors in New York. The media and even his teammates have questioned his toughness. In March there was a "tense" players only meeting where Tony Parker and company tried to get Leonard to commit to a return, which he did not. Veteran guard Manu Ginobili was seemingly sick of the entire circus, "He is not coming back, We fell for it a week ago again...we are who we are and we got to fight without him." Unlike the days of the Twin Towers when David Robinson went down for the year and Tim Duncan was there to take over, the Spurs are no longer loaded with superstars to step up in Leonard's place. Last year in the playoffs the Spurs had huge lead over the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals before Kawhi went down with an ankle injury. San Antonio would go on to lose that game and the series. The Spurs are being given a look here after a pair of good showings against the Warriors down the stretch including a 14-point win on March 19th. San Antonio also covered and 11-point spread in a 110-107 loss in Oakland nine days earlier, which explains why they are being spotted a smaller number this afternoon. The market is desperate for new blood after back-to-back-to-back years of the Dubs and Cavs in the finals. While not a fresh face per se, San Antonio has pedigree in the market after 21 straight trips to the playoffs, but this is not the team that is going to knock off the champs. If their uniforms were a different color and said anything other than "Spurs" on the front, there is no way this team would not be getting this kind of consideration from the betting public. Don't let that meaningless double-digit beat down by the Spurs a month ago cloud your judgment about how lopsided the talent is between these two teams. Eat these points with confidence.
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GOLDEN STATE -7½ -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)