Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Minnesota +6½ over New Orleans
8:10 PM EST. We are finding that more often than not, we are looking to fade one team rather than strongly get behind another. That’s not to say there isn’t great value in many of the sides we end up backing based on current circumstances. Those teams are just not the ones that are catching our eye. As we look to take advantage of market inefficiencies around missing and/or returning players, or teams that are riding long winning streaks that are not sustainable, we start with a “fade” target. That just happens to be the case again tonight.
Enter the Pelicans, who sit second in the West, just one game back of the first place Nuggets. New Orleans has finally taken that big leap this season from basement dweller to potential contender. The health of Zion Williamson has much to do with that, but as the season goes along, it’s not unreasonable to worry about how the often-injured big man will hold up. The ‘Cans have done their best to manage his playing time, as he was given some extra rest over the holidays. Williamson last played in the Pelicans game v the Bucks on December 19, but has been out of the lineup since. While he was gone, New Orleans went 3-0, with their last win being a 20-point blowout of Indiana on Boxing Day.
Why does this matter? Well, when a team is rolling as the Pelicans have been, they are now going to have to disrupt everything to get Zion his touches. When he’s in the lineup, everything runs through Williamson. There is going to be an adjustment for the team. However, all the market sees is that the ‘Cans are winning without Zion. How can they not win easily with him? Now that Zion is set to return tonight, there is bound to be an overreaction. We call it the “star chasing” strategy. The bigger the star, the bigger the overreaction to their coming back into the lineup. It’s as simple as that, and it’s the reason we are stepping in here. Scoop up the inflated points, but do not be shocked if the Timberwolves win this one outright.
Minnesota +6½ -103 (Risking 2.06 units - To Win: 2.00)