Cody Martin is out for the Hornets. Jake Layman remains out for the Timberwolves. After a lengthy 13 game losing streak, the Wolves appear to have found some form with a win over the Clippers as 10 point underdogs and a hard fought loss against the Raptors on Monday night. The Hornets are coming off a rare win themselves over the Pistons but they only managed 87 points and their win had more to do with the Pistons' poor play than anything the Hornets excelled at. The Hornets recently lost key player Marvin Williams to a buyout while the Timberwolves got injected with some new life getting Karl-Anthony Towns back and D'Angelo Russell in a trade with the Warriors. We expect the hosts to go all out here and should win with relative ease!
Wigan boss Paul Cook is likely to reintroduce defender Antonee Robinson, he missed the last two games following the collapse of his proposed £6m deadline day switch to AC Milan, and he could return to the squad. Anthony Pilkington is back in training after injury but fellow midfielder Kieran Dowell is still out, while January signings Leon Balogun, Jan Mlakar and Alex Dobre are yet to make debuts. Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate also has things to mull over as he attempts to bounce back from Saturday's 3-2 defeat at promotion-chasing Brentford. Woodgate opted for a back four at Griffin Park, in the process handing St Etienne loanee Harold Moukoudi a debut in the middle of his rearguard, but Djed Spence could return if he opts to revert to a five. Ravel Morrison was an unused substitute at the weekend as he awaits his first appearance for the club since making a temporary move to the Riverside Stadium from Sheffield United. Ryan Shotton and George Friend are closing in on returns from long-term injuries, but Daniel Ayala, Anfernee Dijksteel and Patrick Roberts are still out. The Smoggies have been a bit unfortunate of late, and saturdays defeat in Brentford was another late slip from Woodgate’s men. Nevertheless, travelling to Wigan should be easier, especially since the Latics haven’t been performing at their best in the DW stadium.
WTA PREMIUM BET - Here is a 2nd one for free———Jennifer Brady continues to improve. After qualifying for Brisbane she beat world number one Ashleigh Barty and Maria Sharapova. The only players to have beaten the American this year are Halep and Kvitova, and during 2019 she beat the likes of Keys, Anisimova, Jabbeur, Puig, Sakkari, Ostapenko, Collins and Garcia. The 24 year old is fitter than ever, and her confidence is growing! Svetlana Kuznetsova is the winner of over $25M in prize money, and at her best she was the world number two. However, the Dubai resident isn’t at the same level anymore, and that’s hardly surprising with her being 35 years old. Sveta will give it her best, but Brady looks the type who can go on to even better things this year and to do that she needs to win matches like this!
WTA PICK — We have 6 WTA bets today, and has a one-off we are giving two for free use. If you are akin to bet like a pro, join or WTA premium service for €150 per month, or €600 to end of season (9 months) ———— firstname.lastname@example.org —————With all due respect Yafan Wang is a league above Patricia Maria Tig. In march last year Wang beat Sofia Kenin in the final of Acapulco, and prior to that she had taken care of Haddad Maia, Vekic, Puig and Bouzkova. Collins, Svitolina and Mladenovic where all victims in Miami, and the 25 year old arrives here with a rank of 56. If you look at the numbers (51/19) Tig had a solid 2019. However, most of those wins came at really small tournaments, and only her local Bucharest was a noticeable effort. Losing recent matches at W25 level, and in a qualifier in Melbourne doesn’t auger well!
Eric Gordon is out for the Rockets. Robert Williams remains out for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown is probable. The Rockets have gone all-in with their small ball philosophy and show no signs of turnning back. 6'5" PJ Tucker played 39 minutes as the center last game and the Rockets didn't use any of their traditional big men Isaiah Hartenstein, Jordan Bell or Tyson Chandler. There's no reason to think otherwise this game and the Rockets will relentlessly push the tempo. Celtics' coach Brad Stevens has a number of ways to counter this either by going small themselves or starting Enes Kanter to take advantage of the mismatch on their offensive end. Either way, we see plenty of fireworks for both sides!
Patrick Beverley is out for the Clippers. New arrival Alec Burks is active for the Sixers. The Sixers have won 2 straight now but their overall form is still poor and locker room issues are still evident in this underperforming team. It's worth noting the two wins came against the Bulls and Grizzlies, two borderline playoff teams and they've typically wilted when facing the top teams in the league. The Clippers are the superior coached team with players that mesh together better than the dysfunctional Sixers. Perhaps Philadelphia raises their level of play but we'll stick with the visitors who are proven contenders!
WTA PREMIUM PICK - We sent this out yesterday evening with our other WTA pick for today. We expect 6-7 going out this evening, you can get them by joining our pair subscription service. In fact, you can the whole eek of St Petersburg and Hua Hin for a special price of €35 — email@example.com ———— If that serve is landing Liudmila Samsonova must have a great chance of beating Anastasia Potopava. In qualifying she banged down 13 ‘’aces’’ against Timea Babos, and lets not forget she beat Sloane Stephens and Mladenovic in Brisbane. Indoor hard court suits the 21 year old best, and this years 9-2 suggests she’s ready to continue her progress through the ranks. Potapova is now 18 years old, which means she can start playing more tournaments. However, the teenager will need to do better than she did in Australia, because their she was beaten by Putintseva and Rodiniova. The youngster has fallen out of the top 100, and we would rather see proof that she’s ready for the big game! Plenty of value here, the bookies have priced odds on reputation!
Dwight Powell and Luka Doncic remain out for the Mavericks. Kristaps Porzingis is expected back after resting on Saturday. Ed Davis is doubtful for the Jazz. When these teams met last, we tipped the under 227 which came in with plenty to spare. We highlighted some of the reasons why being two slower paced teams that don't create many turnovers or allow 2nd chance points. However, the handicap is different at 222 and with Doncic out, the Mavs' offense has become even more reliant on setting up quick shots, usually from outside. The Jazz played last night so some fatigue on defense could set in and it should be noted they are a terrific outside shooting team in their own right. We expect the pace to be a bit faster as the Mavs usually try to run potentially tired opponents off the court.
Victor Oladipo is expected back for the Pacers after resting against the Pelicans on Saturday. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant remain out for the Nets. The Nets have proven more than capable without Irving and very nearly handed the red hot Raptors a loss on Saturday. on the other side, the Pacers have dropped 5 in a row and despite having a nearly fully healthy roster, their key players are still not 100%, namely Malcolm Brogdon (concussion), TJ Warren (concussion) and Victor Oladipo (long absence). The Pacers' offense has been stagnant and times and their defensive intensity hasn't matched the level of last year. The Nets look to be a team on the rise at the moment and they should every chance to win this outright in our opinion!
PREMIUM PICK - Betis won’t have suspended Feddal. Guradado, Juanmi and Pedraza are the injured players. Barcelona have Pique suspended, whereas Suarez, Dembele and Neto are the injured players! Lots of bullshit going on in Barcelona, and their was even talk of Lionel Messi leaving the club. The president of FCB Josep Maria Bartomeu criticised former coach Valverde, saying many of the players didn’t want to work under the former boss. To make a long story short, several of the players came out and said it’s not true, and like with Spanish politics it’s been a game of verbal abuse in social media and the press! As it stands, the visitors are three point 2nd in the table to Real Madrid. However, in the last round of the league they struggled past an average Levante (2-1), and on the road they won just four (4-3-4) from 11 games. In the last three they lost in Valencia (2-0), drew against local rival Espanyol (1-1) and did the same in Real Sociedad (2-2). Betis are 6-2-3 at the Benito Villarmarin, and in the last game at home they thrashed Sociedad 3-0. In our opinion the Club from Sevilla don’t always get the results they deserve, and that includes drawing last weeks match in Eibar (1-1). Nevertheless, they have some excellent players, and coach Rubi has a near to full squad available. Trust Betis!
FREE PICK - This is just a qualifier, the real tournament starts in the morning. If you would like to subscribe to all this weeks WTA picks for St Petersburg + Hua Hin, you can get them all for just €35. First bets will be going out this evening, so be quick if you want to get on board. Both players had easy first rounds against players who have become extremely disappointing. Cornet has already beaten Martic, Van Uytvanck and Niculescu this year, and the only players who beat her in full matches was Rybakina and Vekic. Suffice to say, the French girl sets a decent level, and she’s played some decent matches at previous St Petersburg tournaments. Former number two Vera Zvonareva leads head to heads 1-0, albeit that match took place in 2008. Since then the now 35 year old retired and gave birth to her daughter Evelina, and in 2017 she started her come back. However, the Russian hasn’t been playing much, and she was recently beaten in Trnava by 457 Vlada Koval! Cornet is a bit loopy, but she’s got all the advantages here!
Grayson Allen remains out for the Grizzlies. New arrival Justise Winslow is also out and another new arrival Gorgui Dieng is questionable. For the Wizards, John Wall and Garrison Mathews remains out. Thomas Bryant is also out. The Grizzlies were brought back to Earth a bit on Friday in a humbling 119-107 defeat to the Sixers. This has frequently been the case when they've stepped up in competition and while the Wizards are hardly an elite team, we still believe the young Grizzlies get too much respect at times. The Wizards were expected to be tanking for a favourable lottery pick but they find themselves just 2 games out of a playoff spot in the East and they enter this matchup off a thrilling 119-118 win over the Mavericks and have won 3 of their last 4 outright. Black hole Isaiah Thomas is no longer with the team since being traded and the Wizards are much more competent on both ends of the floor without the inefficient-scoring and zero-defense Thomas. The frontcourt has also been a problem for the Wizards in recent years but with Rui Hachimura back and Ian Mahinmi at least living up somewhat to his contract, the Wizards have been respectable defensively in the paint and their rebounding has improved as well. While we've never been high on Jae Crowder, his departure has created depth issues on the wing for Memphis. We don't see too much difference between these teams at the moment and we can't accept the hosts as outsiders as a result!