Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:05 PM EST.
WASHINGTON +8½ over Philadelphia
7:05 PM EST. This is from The Philadelphia Inquirer, one week ago, when this series was 0-0, from a story entitled:
“Sixers could lose long before the Eastern finals”: “For all of their defensive accomplishments, the Sixers struggle against elite scoring guards”.
Ah, yes, another pearl of wisdom from a U.S. media outlet close to the source. Hello? Elite scoring guards will score, but their teams won’t necessarily win. As this series stands 3-0 for the 76ers, they will get all the popcorn and advance into the next round with extra rest to face the eventual winner of Atlanta-New York if they win this game by at least one point. The linemaker says Philly should win it by at least 8½ (and rising), a margin they’ve cleared easily in Games 2 and 3.
On nightmare Saturday, we noted how in Games 1 and 2, the Sixers had put back-to-back quarters of 34-38 and 35-36 together that are really hard for any foe to keep pace with, especially one that doesn’t play much defense and could easily give up that many in a half-game again. Well, in Game 3, Philly went one better and put three monster quarters together: 36-37-37 in frames 1-2-3. When the Stat Guys, Westbrook and Beal, and the Third Guy who doesn’t really exist, readily allow so much, it puts too much pressure on them to keep answering. Winning the last two by as much as they have has allowed Doc Rivers to keep the 76ers starters’ minutes down but no team wants to get embarrassingly swept.
More important than all of that is that the favorites won and covered in seven of eight games this weekend and most of them were of the blowout variety. On Saturday, four favorites, Philadelphia, Utah, Portland and Milwaukee wiped the floor with their lower-seeded opponent. On Sunday, it was Atlanta, the Clippers and Brooklyn that wiped the floor with their opponents. The only dog to cover was Phoenix, who just happened to be the higher seeded team. Eight favorites with seven covering the price forces the books to make a move. That move is to overcompensate with more points being offered to the Wiz. That also forces our hand to “stick with it” and take the inflated offering.
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WASHINGTON +8½ +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)