Free NBA Playoff Picks For Wednesday, 4/20/2011

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NBA Matchup: Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, April 20th, 8:05 ET
Location: Oklahoma City Arena – Oklahoma City, OK

NBA Odds: Oklahoma City -4.5
Over/Under Odds: 208

Game Analysis: Oklahoma City was able to escape game one at home with a close 107-103 victory. Denver kept the game very close and was able to cover the spread getting 5.5 to 6 points. The game went over the posted total of 204.5 despite just 91 second half points being scored. In game one there were 119 first half points scored. A different style of play in the second half helped the Thunder hold the Nuggets to 43 second half points. Game one went much like it did in the Miami-Philadelphia and the Chicago-Indiana series. In both of those series the first half pace was extremely fast followed by a second half that was much better defensively and a game two in which both home teams played defense in the entire game closer to how they played in the second halves of game 1. I expect the same from Oklahoma City especially after holding Denver to just 43 second half points in game 1. The total for this game opened at 207.5 and is up to 208 at the moment. It is entirely normal after an outcome of 210 on a total listed of 204.5 that in game two the total would be slightly higher. The public has the tendency to follow the most recent outcome and expect that to hold true in the next game. That doesn’t happen too often, more often then not game two’s in general are played completely differently then game ones are played. In game one we already saw such a wide range from what was scored in the first half (119) to the second half (91). I think Oklahoma City would much rather play Denver like they did in the second half then when they allowed the Nuggets to score 63 first half points. In game two a concentration on defense for the Thunder should control the pace of this game. The total is set way too high, and instead of the number going up due to the outcome of game one, I believe the total should be lower tonight due to the disparity in scoring between the first and second halves. Play under 208 in this game and wait to place the wager until the last moment the line may go up even higher.

Free NBA Playoff Picks: Under 208

NBA Matchup: New Orleans Hornets @ LA Lakers
Date: Wednesday, April 20th, 10:35 ET
Location: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA

NBA Odds : Lakers -11.5
Over/Under Odds: 187.5

Game Analysis: Everyone and their cousin will be lining up to bet on the Lakers in game two considering their huge upset loss in game one. However before you do that keep this in mind; over the last 8 games the Lakers went 2-6. Now you might say it was the end of the season but it is also a fact that playoff seeding was up for grabs at the same time. This “lapse” happened to LA earlier in the year and they were able to “right the ship” after the all-star break and go on an extended win streak. However in my opinion this Lakers team has one very large weakness and it is the key to beating them. I have seen this particular weakness cost them several games this year and in the playoffs it might be the key to if the Lakers can three-peat. The one glaring weakness on the Lakers is their ability on defense to stop a point guard who can score. I’ve seen several top point guards in this league eat Derrick Fisher up and the Lakers don’t have anyone else to go to should Chris Paul start to dominate him again like he did in game one. Paul outscored Fisher in game one 33-8 he also had 14 assists compared to just two for Fisher. That kind of domination in game two will give the Lakers fits. Even if Paul doesn’t have as good a game the Hornets are likely to be able to cover the inflated line of 11.5 points. The Hornets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 visits to the Staples Center and must have gained tremendous confidence in their surprise game one win. Chris Paul owns the kind of magic needed to beat LA in this series, and if the Lakers don’t clamp down on defense and force his supporting cast to beat them they are in for trouble not only in game two but in this series. Look for a much better defensive effort from the Lakers, but 11.5 points is way too many to expect LA to cover. I do also like the under a little at 187.5, but I am much more interested in playing New Orleans +11.5. This is another game you should wait until the last minute to wager on if you’re taking New Orleans. There is little doubt the public will drive this line up even more and pound LA late. Don’t fall into that trap; the right side tonight is New Orleans +11.5

Free NBA Playoff Selection: New Orleans +11.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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