Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBA 2010-2011 Predictions


1. Miami Heat, 64 wins
Yes, they will be hurt by big men, but how many teams actually have the talent to exploit that? Maybe a couple. They'll run around everyone during the regular season. Nobody will be able to come close to matching their wings. LeBron will be supremely motivated after an offseason in which everyone suddenly decided he was no longer the best player in the NBA. He might still have something to say about that.

2. Orlando Magic, 57 wins
The best chance that the East has to knock off Miami. If Dwight Howard asserts himself and takes his offensive game to the next level, nobody has the talent to stop him.

3. Chicago Bulls, 52 wins
Rose and Boozer seems like a perfect fit together, and Noah does all of the little things very well. I think Rose takes a leap to be one of the top 10 players in the NBA and the Bulls move up to a 3 seed.

4. Boston Celtics, 51 wins
Basically, we know what we have with them. They're a solid team that will be a tough out in the postseason. However, a year older for all of the big 3 players means 4th place.

5. Atlanta Hawks, 48 wins
They won 53 games when most things went right for them... hard to see them going anywhere except a little bit backwards after the only real change was to the head coach.

6. Milwaukee Bucks, 46 wins
I thought they played a little above their heads last year at times, but they are a very solid team that could have won a playoff series if Andrew Bogut had been healthy. Things depend on if Brandon Jennings is ready to take another step.

7. New York Knicks, 40 wins
Finally, some excitement in MSG! Amare has plenty of limitations, but he should put up big number under the bright lights and under Mike D'Antoni. Raymond Felton was a nice pickup.

8. Philadelphia 76ers, 38 wins
They do have a bunch of young talent (Young, Speights, Iguodala, Williams, Turner, Holiday), it's just completely mismatched and there is no logic to the roster assembly. Still, Doug Collins can mold an 8 seed out of this group.

9. Indiana Pacers, 37 wins
The pickup of Darren Collison solved some PG woes (he was very good in relief last season), but opened up a hole down low. Granger is a stud but there is still not enough help to make the postseason.

10. Charlotte Bobcats, 35 wins
I think last season was the peak for this group.

11. Detroit Pistons, 35 wins
Another team that has talented players but no logic to the roster assembly. They will be able to put points on the board, but I'm not sure if they can stop anyone.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers, 31 wins
Not a lot positive to say, the Cavs will stink and it will obviously be a terrible season without LeBron. They have the talent to avoid last place in the conference, and they should be highly motivated to prove they aren't a bunch of nobodies, but they don't have too much of a chance here.

13. Washington Wizards, 30 wins
John Wall is here, and that means there is hope for the future of the franchise. However, the present still doesn't look that promising.

14. New Jersey Nets, 27 wins
The good news is that not many teams will be able to double their win total. The bad news is that they are still a big-name aquisition away from being a threat to make the playoffs. Still, a core with Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors, and Devin Harris is exciting.

15. Toronto Raptors, 24 wins


1. Los Angeles Lakers, 57 wins
Still easily the best in the West, as long as Kobe is healthy. I believe they are the only team that has the horses to challenge the Heat in the postseason.

2. San Antonio Spurs, 53 wins
Parker should be healthier, Ginobili should be healthy (stop me if you have heard that before), and Duncan is still there. The addition of Tiago Splitter should help in the wide open race for the 2 seed.

3. Portland Trailblazers, 52 wins
Greg Oden being healthy would be a big boost, as he is sneakily one of the best rebounders in the NBA. However, that doesn't seem likely to happen for a full season.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder, 51 wins
Everything went right health wise for the Thunder last season. I predict things won't go quite as well this year. However, their core should keep improving as Kevin Durant wins the MVP award.

5. Dallas Mavericks, 51 wins
It seems like they never go away... another 50 win season awaits.

6. Houston Rockets, 49 wins
One of my favorite teams. Will everyone be happy with their minutes? They have a lot of good players, and it will be tough to keep to a rotation. Having Yao back will be a big boost.

7. Utah Jazz, 49 wins
If Al Jefferson is healthy, the Jazz shouldn't miss a beat. However, I'm assuming there will be a little transition.

8. Phoenix Suns, 46 wins
The feel good story of last season, they won't be quite as good, but Nash can still navigate them to the playoffs, maybe for the last time.

9. Denver Nuggets, 44 wins
No depth up front, drama around Carmelo, not a lot of defense... smells like just missing the postseason for the Nugs.

10. New Orleans Hornets, 41 wins
If Chris Paul is healthy, he could easily lead them to the postseason even with a mediocre roster. Remember, the guy had one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a PG... New Orleans will be doing everything possible to convince Paul to want to stay in the Big Easy.

11. Los Angeles Clippers, 38 wins
On paper, they should challenge for a playoff spot, especially with Blake Griffin. However, we know that these games aren't played on paper, but by the little men in our TV sets, which usually means things don't go well for the Clips.

12. Memphis Grizzlies, 36 wins
They have a solid pieces, but no depth. Still, they should be able to semi-maintain the feel good play of last season. Still not enough to get back to the postseason, but it will be fun to watch Grizz games.

13. Sacramento Kings, 31 wins
Tyreke Evans was very good as a rookie last season, and he will have DeMarcus Cousins down low with him. They are starting to build some young talent, but they are still a year at least away from competing.

14. Golden State Warriors, 31 wins
They will at least be fun to watch with Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, and David Lee. Unfortunately, with their defense, they will also be fun to play against.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves, 20 wins
They have some nice young pieces (Kevin Love could win a rebounding title sooner rather than later), but there is not enough to avoid the cellar.

Heat over 76ers in 4
Magic over Knicks in 6
Bucks over Bulls in 7
Celtics over Hawks in 6

Heat over Celtics in 6
Magic over Bucks in 5

Heat over Magic in 6

Lakers over Suns in 5
Spurs over Jazz in 7
Rockets over Blazers in 7
Thunder over Mavs in 5

Lakers over Thunder in 7
Spurs over Rockets in 6

Lakers over Spurs in 5

Heat over Lakers in 7

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 7

Pittsburgh (-3) over Miami
I think Pittsburgh is the best team in the NFL, especially with Ben Roethlisberger back, making their offense balanced again. Miami has some nice wins this season, but I'm not sure Chad Henne is going to be very effective against this defense. I like Pittsburgh to win a low-scoring game in Miami, with Roethlisberger making the difference.

Cincinnati (+3.5) over Atlanta
Atlanta looked like it might have a chance to be the class of the NFC, and then they got beat easily by Philly. Cincy started off well before tailing off, but they know they need a win to try and salvage their season. Look for a good gameplan from Mike Zimmer, and just enough plays out of the Cincy offense to pull off an upset.

St. Louis (+2.5) over Tampa Bay
After last week's win over the Chargers, I believe in the Rams in the NFC West. The defensive front is getting after people just like Spagnulo's Giants' teams used to do. The offense, thanks to Sam Bradford, is showing more signs of life than they have in years. Something is brewing in St. Louis, and I think it will be enough to beat the Bucs.

San Francisco (-3) over Carolina
2-5 an the Niners will start to believe. The musical chairs of Carolina quarterback goes back to Matt Moore. Won't make a difference for this punchless offense, as teams will just load the box. Carolina's receivers aren't good enough to beat anyone.

Washington (+3) over Chicago
The Bears correction continues, as the Redskins are showing signs of being solid. Donovan McNabb is playing better than Jay Cutler right now, which is why I will take the Skins. The Bears need to get Matt Forte the ball in the running game, because teams will be going after Cutler with the way the offensive line has performed this season.

New Orleans (-13.5) over Cleveland
The Saints appear to have some of their mojo back, particularly if they can continue a strong rushing attack. Colt McCoy looked surprisingly good in his first game starting in his career, but there is not enough firepower in Cleveland to compete with the Saints.

Buffalo (+13) over Baltimore
Baltimore should win the game easily, but I think the Bills will be able to make the final score respectable. Fred Jackson should get more touches after the trade of Marshawn Lynch, and that could be a good thing. It will also be interesting to see if they have anything new for CJ Spiller. Ryan Fitzgerald is not anyone's answer to a long-term solution at QB, but he is serviceable, which is more than you could say about Trent Edwards.

Philadelphia (+2.5) over Tennessee
I believe in Kevin Kolb. He looked great against Atlanta, and he appears to have the timing of the offense down. The only thing that concerns me is that Desean Jackson will be out of the game, which is a big blow to the offense. Still, I have more faith in Philly's run game than Tennessee's pass game, which is why I will take the Eagles here.

Seattle (-5.5) over Arizona
Nice win by Seattle last week, showing that they could win a road game, which was in question for me before that game. At home, I think they will overwhelm Arizona, who is better with Max Hall than they were with Derek Anderson (or Matt Leinart), but not good enough to be a serious contender.

Denver (-7) over Oakland
The Broncos have played well, just are struggling to get over the hump. The Raiders, meanwhile, looked awful last week, and Kyle Boller could be getting the start this week. I think Denver's offense is a lot more explosive than the Raiders, even with the lack of a running game.

New England (+3) over San Diego
New England looks like the Patriots of old... a bunch of scrappy guys just going out there and playing. I can't put my finger on what is different after essentially trading Randy Moss for Deion Branch, but SOMETHING is. And it's clear that as great as Moss is, things were not working out this season. The Patriots look like a force the rest of the way to me.

Minnesota (+3) over Green Bay
The game that is full of storylines. Favre comes back to Lambeau again, and this time the Packers are reeling. The Packers know that if they lose this game, the Vikings have all of the momentum in the division. Still, I like the Vikings D (which has quietly been excellent) to get after Aaron Rodgers like they did last year, and for Favre to hit Moss on a deep ball that will make the difference.

Dallas (-3) over New York
The NFC East seems to always have these types of games... one team is struggling, the other team is playing well... but talent-wise, they are close to even, and there is one team that really needs the game more than the other team. Dallas will be in desperation mode. At home in Big D, I'll take Dallas to prolong the death of their season for another week.