Free NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks

Western Conference Free Pick: Golden State at Dallas

The history between future Hall of Famers LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki have favored King James on an individual basis while the Mavericks as a team have gotten the best of the Cavaliers. Recently, both players have been a wrecking ball for the opposition but tonight one of the two will have to give way to the other as the Cleveland Cavaliers take the hard-court at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas to take on the streaking Mavericks. just one trend climbing.

James has registered terrific numbers against Dallas in his career while Nowitzki looks to improve on his so-so numbers against Cleveland when they meet in Dallas on Tuesday night. James is coming off a season high with 37 points in a game against the NBA LEastern Conference worst, Philadelphia on Sunday Night. James was 15-of-22 from the field and dished out nine assists while pulling down seven rebounds as the Cavaliers won their seventh straight and 13th in 15 games.

Cleveland is the only team in the league that Mavericks Nowitzki has averaged fewer than 20 points against, in his career. The veteran big forward has scored 19.7 per game in 28 regular-season matchups while shooting just 43 percent from the field in his career versus the Cavaliers. The aforementioned numbers are the poorest marks for Dirk than versus any other league opponent. However, the recent form of the Mavericks perennial All Star has been stellar and his teammates have been singing his praise.

“Classic Dirk,” point guard Deron Williams told the Dallas Morning News. “Hitting shots from everywhere, making big shots, big plays. That’s why he’s one of the greatest.”

Cleveland Cavaliers (-6, 198) at Dallas Mavericks
Time: 8:30 PM ET, Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Venue: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Cleveland
The improved form for James has come with the return of Kyrie Irving to the lineup. James was shooting a mere 38 percent from the field and averaging less than 20 points per game over the Christmas holiday, in late-December’s four affairs. Those number have skyrocketed with the improved health of Irving. James has averaged 28 points and shot 58 percent in his last six, overall. The Cavs went 2-2 through their MVP forward’s slump but are 6-0 since, including three wins to open a season-high six-game trip.

No other Cavaliers player scored more than 15 against the 76ers. Kyrie Irving has shown glimpses of his top form since returning from knee surgery in mid-December, but he made just 3 of 15 shots for eight points in 31 minutes.

Dallas
This Mavericks have been surprisingly good on the defensive end of the floor in the first half of this 2015-16 season, considering the average age of their starting five. And those five will be tested tonight with King James and company in town for a Tuesday night Association featured event. In his career, James has dominated Dallas, especially most recently when LeBron has averaged 35 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in his last four against the Mavs. Dallas, the current and the past, have struggled to contain arguably the NBA’s best player. James and has scored 30 or more in nine of 23 regular-season meetings.

Nowitzki was struggling during the team’s holiday schedule. Dirk averaged a mere 12 points per game on 30 percent shooting in the three games over Christmas. That slump included a season-low seven in a Christmas win over Milwaukee where the Dallas forward shot a porous 3-of-15 from the field. How much of an aberration was this for Nowitzki? The outing against the Bucks tied for his 15th lowest shooting percentage in 1,286 career games in which he’s played at least 10 minutes.

Outlook
The Mavericks have won eight of the last 10 in this series and the big German is rolling. Nowitzki has been hot in January and the Mavericks have won their three of their last four, and have done so with terrific offensive efficiency. Nowitzki was rested in Wednesday’s 100-91 win at New Orleans will be primed to play nearly 40 minutes tonight against Cleveland’s healthy troupe.

Free Pick
It isn’t a stretch to consider this a soft spot for the Cavaliers. Cleveland is will be taking the court for their fourth of six road games and are in a look-ahead spot as they take on one of the West’s best in the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. Both James and Nowitzki are in great form, offensively, and neither of these two starts, nor their teammates, will be defensive mind tonight. The visiting team took each of the two meetings last season, with Cleveland earning a 127-94 win in Dallas on March 10, 2015.

Both of these two squads have a great shooting night, in particular due to lack of defensive effort and put on a show for the Dallas crowd.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are cruising along with seven straight wins, and have scored 120 points or more in three of their last four games. Irving is still battling through some inconsistency as he rounds back into shape but his presence alone has made this Cavaliers group dangerous, offensively. Irving isn’t 100 percent but his ability shined in the team’s contest against the Wizards on January 6th when the guard scored 32 points to begin the team’s current road trip.

TOTAL OVER 198

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Read moreFree NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks

Free NFL Pick: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

2016 AFC West Team Previews and Handicapping Tips

For longtime NFL fanatics it isn’t a secret that the Oakland Raiders have lost their Silver and Black swagger over the years but the fact that this team, any NFL franchise for that matter, hasn’t been to the playoffs in 12 years, is staggering. Make that 13 seasons in a row of not making the playoffs after blowing a fourth quarter lead last week against division rival Kansas City and falling outside of the playoff picture in the AFC.

The Denver Broncos and the Raiders hook up today in a key AFC West matchup at Sports Authority Field at Mile High

The Broncos can ultimately clinch their fifth straight AFC West title with a home field victory today in one of just two late Week #14 starts this Sunday. Only the Raiders versus Broncos and Dallas Cowboys visiting the Green Bay Packers will cover the 4:00 PM ET starts in the league today.  A victory by Denver coupled with a loss or tie by Kansas City will wrap up the division for the Broncos. Denver can clinch one of the six AFC playoff slots with a win today or a loss by either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the New York Jets.  The Raiders are still mathematically alive in the postseason race but are a long shot due to losing four of their last five affairs.

Both AFC West franchises are suffering from a multitude of injuries and while the Raiders have allowed 30 or more points in five games this season and in three of their last five, overall.  Additionally,  the Raiders have lost eight straight to the Broncos which includes a 16-10 defeat in Week #5 this season in Oakland.

Oakland has become competitive on both sides of the ball and for the first time in almost five seasons have won at least  three road games.  However, the improved Oakland team, one that showed promise early in the season under second year quarterback Derek Carr, have  lost four of their last five games and head into Mile High with a number of player personnel issues.

The Raiders makeshift offensive line has seen their health improve over the last couple of week and should be expected to focus more on their running game against a good Denver defense. Carr has limited weapons to throw to and rookie wide out  Amari Cooper is suffering from a large number of nagging injuries.

Oakland held Denver without an offensive touchdown in the first game between these two AFC rivals and are improved enough to keep this game close despite their wealth of injuries. In truth, both teams have a large number of personnel issues to deal with in this Mile High battle so expect to see a game that is sets a priority on field position from both offenses and coaching staffs.

Denver starter, and backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, is a game manager and head coach Kubiak will continue to simplify the offense without Peyton Manning behind center.

The Broncos most dangerous offensive weapon, WR Demaryious Thomas, has been neutralized this season due to injuries, primarily that of future Hall of Fame signal-caller, Manning, has caught just two touchdown passes in his last nine games.

The Raiders injury list isn’t as long or deep as the Broncos but like Denver, they had a long list of “did not practice” on the injury report this week. To give you an idea of just how many Denver players missed at least one practice in preparation for today’s event in Denver;. [QB] Peyton [Manning], [S] T.J. [Ward], [ILB] Danny Trevathan, [S] David Bruton [Jr.], [TE] Vernon Davis, [RB] C.J. Anderson, [RB] Ronnie Hillman, [S] Omar Bolden were held out of at least one day of drills and players that were at limited at least one practice this week were [WR Andre] Bubba Caldwell, [NT Sylvester] Sly [Williams], [WR] Bennie Fowler, [G] Evan Mathis, [DE] Vance Walker, [S] Darian Stewart, [TE] Owen Daniels, [T] Michael Schofield, [OLB] DeMarcus Ware.

Denver is a touchdown favorite today and have managed to survive and thrive under the leadership of backup Brock Osweiler. Denver is 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS since Osweiler replaced Peyton Manning and have found this success with their top ranked defense. The combination of Oakland regressing and Denver’s No. 1 stop-unit make this a prime candidate for one of the top over/under investments on this NFL Sunday Week #14.

Points will be at a premium in Denver on Sunday afternoon.

PREZ’ FREE NFL PICK:
TOTAL UNDER 44.5

 

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Read moreFree NFL Pick: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos