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The Spurs take on one of the worst teams in the league at home, while the decimated Heat face a rival that is finally getting healthy.
ANALYSIS

San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons Prediction: Surging Spurs Feast

San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons

Spurs vs Pistons Odds

It’s appropriate that the Spurs get the benefit of their first double-digit betting line of the season exactly one month after they started to turn their season around.

Entering their November 26 game against the Boston Celtics, San Antonio was in rough shape. With a record of 4-13, they were the fifth-worst team in the league by record and the eighth-worst by net rating. Ranked 22nd in offense and 20th in defense, it didn’t appear that they had anything to hang their hat on that would give them hope a turnaround was in store.

Upon closer examination though, there was one small glimmer of hope: they were the best team in the league in assist to turnover ratio, and the only one with a ratio over two, checking in at 2.07. The only problem was that they weren’t making enough shots for their ball control and nifty passing to make a difference, sporting an effective field goal percentage of just 51.8.

Fast forward one month, and the Spurs are still tops in the league in outpacing their giveaways with dime drops, except they’ve kicked it up a few notches, with a 2.47 assist to turnover ratio that is head and shoulders above anyone else. Better yet, they’re finally making it count, with an eFG% of 53.7 since the turnaround began.

That combo has helped the Spurs go from a bottom 10 offense to the third-ranked unit in the NBA over the last month. They also have the sixth-best net rating in that time, and with nine wins against five losses in their last 14 games, have climbed to 10th in the conference and are within shouting distance of a top-six seed.

Going into tonight’s mismatch against the Pistons, they’ll look to their engine to be the difference. Over these last 14 games, the Spurs are undefeated when Dejounte Murray has a positive plus minus yet don’t have a win when he’s in the negative. That’s good news against a Detroit team that has eight rotation players in health and safety protocols. Other than Saddiq Bey, Frank Jackson, and Hamidou Diallo, the Pistons don’t have a single available player that is part of their normal rotation. In other words, there’s no one who has a prayer of slowing down Murray.

This line is high but can’t be high enough given the disparity between these two teams. There’s an argument that the Spurs should be double-digit favorites against a fully healthy Detroit team. Against this group of leftovers, give the points with confidence.

San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons Pick

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Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic

Heat vs Magic Odds

This is getting close to the time of year where you wouldn’t even think about taking a potential tanking team getting single-digit points against a top-four seed, but this is anything but a normal year.

For starters, while the Magic may be playing this season for a draft pick, nobody told second-year pro Cole Anthony, who is making a stealth case for Most Improved Player. After missing a week due to injury, he returned to action on Thursday night against the Pelicans and posted 22 points and 11 assists. More importantly, the Magic outscored New Orleans by 10 points in the 37 minutes Anthony was on the court, but because their bench is so decimated by injuries, they still lost by six.

Even so, after being hit as hard by COVID and other maladies as any team in the league over the last several weeks, they can now at least sport an honest to goodness NBA starting five, with Wendell Carter Jr also back to go with Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, and Chuma Okeke.

The bench, well…the bench is still in rough shape, and against a Pelicans team that has now won four straight, that was enough to make the difference. But crazy as it is to say, Miami isn’t in nearly as good a place as New Orleans right now, what with Kyle Lowry the latest member of the Heat to go down. Even with Lowry, Miami only beat Detroit by three in their last game (granted, the Pistons have had a few more players put into protocols since then). Outside of Tyler Herro, they are a ragtag group at the moment.

That doesn’t mean they can’t win, but giving this many points against an in-state rival just doesn’t seem right. Take the points on the road.

Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic

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insightpicks

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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