Overheard at my place of business on Thursday: “You must be insane to bet on college basketball.” And, at the moment at least, I couldn’t agree more. As the upsets rolled in through rounds 1 and 2, my jaw has dropped considerably lower with each one. So, to take the easy way out and admittedly play it safer, I’m going to cover a few NBA games here. At soon as the dust clears on Round 2 over the weekend, though, I’ll attempt to pick up where I left off with NCAA.
Monday, Houston at Chicago: The Bulls and Derek Rose finally put a halt to a ridiculous free-fall. Yes, they’re incredibly banged up, but it was still painful to watch. Good thing they ran into the 76ers. Of course, the 76ers Houston is not. And while Houston’s record is only a few above .500 right now, they handily outscore the Bulls, and aren’t missing most of their starters on any given night. Funny how the conferences stack up, though, as Houstin is officially going to be on the outside looking in on the playoffs barring a major turnaround. Meanwhile, the Bulls are within reach of the East playoff basement at the moment. I’d call this one a pick ‘em, and despite the road disadvantage, I’ll be picking the Rockets. They’ll outscore the Bulls, who without much presence at all down low will be powerless to stop them.
Wednesday brings an excellent Eastern Conference matchup when Orlando heads to Atlanta. Orlando still has a few games of distance between them and their nearest division competitor, but Atlanta has shown they’re the dark horse of the playoff picture this season. In fact, I like this game as a preview of a second-round matchup. But before you get too excited, take this into account. Orlando has won all 3 matchups so far this season. And while Atlanta has won 4 of 6, they’re not exactly tearing it up against quality opponents this month. The Magic will get a 4-5 point advantage on the line, and I’d take them to cover. It’s cliche, but this is a statement game, and Orlando would like nothing more than to roll over another conference threat on their court.