NBA picks: Saturday, March 1

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NBA picks: Saturday, March 1

Safe sides

Orlando (+14) at Miami

It can’t be overstated: betting the Heat is all about gauging their level of interest and motivation. Miami is in one of its grooves, having won six straight. The Heat’s current homestand ends with games against varying degrees of patsies in the Magic and Bobcats before they begin a three-game road trip Tuesday that will take them through Houston, San Antonio and Chicago. That’s what they have their sights on, not a pair of afterthought wins over Orlando and Charlotte. Another interesting note is the competition the Magic have provided the Heat in their building. Over the last three years, Orlando has played five games in Miami, losing by no more than 12 points and an average of just 7.4 per contest.

Washington (-11.5) at Philadelphia

The Sixers have lost 12 straight, eight by at least 12 points. Their average margin of defeat is 19.5 points per game in that span, and 16.9 in seven home games. Philly is a mere 1-6 ATS in those home dates. The Wizards, conversely, are playing their best basketball of the year, riding a season-high five-game win streak, in which they’ve gone 3-1-1 against the number and recorded decisive road victories over the Hawks (114-97) and Cavs (96-83). This one could get ugly.

Total to target

Pelicans at Clippers – over 209

The Clippers have been obliterating totals lately, going 8-2 to the over in their last 10 games. They’ve put up nearly 114 points per contest in that span. Their defense, meanwhile, hasn’t been great, as they’ve allowed an average of 106.7 points over that stretch – with six different opponents dropping at least 110. Offense was also the name of the game when these teams met on Monday in New Orleans, when the Clippers cruised to a 123-110 victory.

Overall picks: 5-7-1

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