Last Updated Feb 27, 2023, 8:30 PM
Monday's Free Picks, Predictions, Odds
By Joe Osborne
After a post-Super Bowl break, I am back! I’m rested, rejuvenated and ready to rock for the stretch runs of the NBA and NHL seasons! Chasing That Paper will return tomorrow, Tuesday the 28th, but until then, we’ve got a great looking board tonight, so here’s my best bets in written form.
Let’s get right into the action!
Pistons-Hornets Under 235.5 (-110)
The eyes of the world will be on Charlotte tonight with the Pistons in town with what I view as an inflated total, which is actually the highest of the night in the Association.
Let’s start with the Pistons offense, which is a completely incompetent. This team has a very low floor for scoring and it’s not rare for them to stay under 100 points, which is something they’ve managed to do three times in their last seven games.
Spreading the sample size out to their last 10 games, they come into this game ranking 26th in EFG%, 29th in points per 100 possessions and 29th in turnover percentage, so a lot of empty possessions should be expected.
You’d probably assume that each of these defenses is totally pathetic, but that’s not the case. Digging into the numbers over the last 10 games, I think you can make a case for each defense being above average lately, with each ranking in the top 12 in opponent EFG%. Charlotte has been particularly strong at keeping opponents off the free throw line and forcing turnovers.
Finally, let’s look at the trends. Each squad has been a great under bet lately with Detroit going below the number in eight of their last 11 and Charlotte going under in 9 of their last 11.
The Hornets have been a great under bet at home all season going 19-9 to the under. At home, the Hornets rank 29th in EFG% while the Pistons rank 28th in that stat on the road, giving this game all the makings of a brick laying contest.
LaMelo Ball Over 7.5 Rebounds (+120)
This is a game so nice, that we we’ve gotta bet it twice, especially with a beautiful number like this being offered.
Whoever set this line was probably half asleep and/or battling a debilitating hangover as Ball has topped this number in eight of his last 11 games. He leads active Hornets in rebounds in this stretch with 8.5 boards per game and we should expect his fingerprints to be all over the ball tonight.
With all the horrendous shooting the Pistons do, it’s no surprise to see that they’re among the worst teams in the league at allowing rebounds as they rank 25th in rebounds allowed per 100 possessions over the last 10 games.
I also like that Ball is logging heavy minutes. He ranks second in the NBA in minutes per game over the last 10 games where he’s touched 40 minutes on four separate occasions. All that time on the court will only lead to more opportunities to crash to boards and fill the stat sheet.
Edmonton Oilers (+125) vs. Boston Bruins
Picking against the Bruins and Linus Ullmark is never fun, but the Oilers have been better statistically and we’re getting them at plus-money, at their rink. Coming off an inexcusable loss to the pitiful Blue Jackets, I think Edmonton comes out flying in this one.
Taking a look at the last 10 games, Edmonton ranks third in expected goals % for, high-danger chances for % and corsi for %. Boston finds themselves at 15th or worse in each of these categories and has been overly dependent on Ullmark who’ll have his hands full vs one of the best offenses in the league.
While Stuart Skinner isn’t half the goaltender that Ullmark is, we’ve seen him allow two or fewer goals in three of four starts since the all-star break. With a little bit of momentum and a strong defense playing in front of him, I don’t expect him to be a major liability vs what’s been a very mediocre Bruins offensive attack.
Vegas Golden Knights (+120) at Colorado Avalanche
Similar approach to the Oilers pick above – Vegas has been better from an analytics perspective and we’re getting them at plus-money, so let’s take a shot.
Digging into those analytics, looking at the last 10 games, the Golden Knights come out ahead in expected goals for %, high-danger chances for % and Corsi for %.
Vegas has been the much better defensive team, ranking in the top six in expected goals allowed an high-danger chances allowed while Colorado is in the bottom half of the league in each of those categories during the 10-game sample size.
An edge between the pipes should also be expected with Adin Hill likely to start vs Alexander Georgiev. It’s been a strong month for Hill, the pride of Calgary, Alberta, as he’s posted a 1.86 GAA in five appearances with the Golden Knights picking up a win in each contest.
While Georgiev has been solid, his 2.80 GAA on the month is nothing to write home about and he’ll likely be the busier goaltender with an inferior defense playing infront of him.