April 1st marks a new month of NBA games. By then, only a week and a half of the NBA season will remain. Most teams will have determined their fate as winners or losers, meaning there will be plenty of tanking going on.
As the new month turns, teams realize what they need to do to set themselves up for this year’s playoffs, or for the future of their franchise. As a result, games are very easy to predict and teams tend to cover their large spreads much more often.
This pattern happens every year in April, but this year on April 1st, 10 games take place.
Pacers @ Celtics
Take Boston to cover. Indiana has shut down seemingly every player still in a sort of decent prime. Boston is banged up but it won’t matter. They are actually playing for something, while Indiana really needs to lose.
The Pacers could have a real good roster next year with an elite head coach should they get a top pick, and they’re in line for pretty decent odds at jumping into the top three.
Carlisle and Indiana want that top-three pick, and they want to hold onto the odds they have right now.
Indiana is also horrid on the road and Boston is dominant at home; no line is too crazy for this one.
Raptors @ Magic
The Magic haven’t been doing the best job at tanking games, and have almost one a couple over the last few weeks. That would have been a real shame.
Thankfully they are still in a great position to have the best odds at the number one overall pick, but they have some tough competition.
No team is trying to lose quite as badly as the Rockets, who seem to have more first and second-year players than any team I’ve ever seen. Detroit and OKC are employing a similar strategy.
Meanwhile, the Raptors have been one of the best teams since the All-Star break and are fighting to keep out of the play-in tournament where they could drop out of the playoffs altogether.
Orlando is at home but they’ve been just as miserable in their own arena. Toronto playing away is also no difference to them, so they’ll destroy the Magic, who need to stop taking chances and just flat out tank this one hard.
Trail Blazers @ Spurs
This is the first of two straight games between the two with a day in the middle for rest. The Spurs sit eerily close to reaching the play-in tournament and passing New Orleans and The Lakers.
The Blazers meanwhile, since the Lillard injury have really been throwing games. But recently they’ve taken it to a whole other level.
Portland recently lost to the Thunder in one of the worst games of NBA basketball I had ever seen. I seriously could name about half of the players playing. Some, I had never even heard of.
Here was Portland’s starting lineup for that contest: Drew Eubanks, Elijah Hughes, Brandon Williams, Keon Johnson, CJ Elleby. If they deploy any sort of a similar lineup as they shut down others to begin early rehab, the Spurs are going to win by 50.
Kings @ Rockets
This one may be the steal of the day. The line likely won’t be all that bad considering the Kings aren’t very good in the first place. But I wouldn’t say they are that way because they are intentionally tanking.
The Kings have been trying to win; they just aren’t very good, at all. Even if their stars don’t play, the rest of their very capable lineup is going to go out there fighting to win. Sacramento has a lot of guys who really need to prove themselves before the Kings make a decision on what route they are taking this franchise next year.
Houston on the other hand will be at the point by April 1st where they can’t just take a win and be happy about the upset. Houston is in too tight of a race for the last-place position, and that franchise will make sure those young players don’t spoil the fun for the guys in charge of drafting the future of Houston.
When they see April on the calendar, it’ll be no more funny business for the Rockets.
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