Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
Might be smart to fade the Washington Wizards for the next two weeks or so as All-Star point guard John Wall, easily the heart-and-soul of that team, will miss around that long after getting some platelet-rich plasma injections in his bothersome and inflamed left knee. A knee injury is scary for any basketball player, but Wall's game is predicated on his quickness. Wall is averaging 20.3 points, 9.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds. The Wizards were averaging 110.6 points per possession with him, which would rank third in the NBA as a team, and led to a net efficiency rating of plus-7.3. Without, they were averaging 99.8 points were 100 possessions with an overall efficiency rating of minus-4.1. Backup Tim Frazier just isn't in the same stratosphere. On Saturday without Wall, the Wizards managed to blow a 17-point lead with 8:14 left in the fourth against Portland and lose 108-105.
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Suns at Pistons ( -12, 218)
Second of a back-to-back for the Suns as they were in Chicago - a rare winnable game - on Tuesday. They were expecting Devin Booker back for that one after a game on the sideline due to a toe injury. The Pistons might be for real as they won in Boston on Monday, 118-108, in a matchup between the two teams with the East's best records. Andre Drummond had 26 points and 22 rebounds, both season highs. Detroit went 1-1 against the Suns last season and has won five of the past six at home in the series. Drummond averaged 18.0 points and 16.0 rebounds against the Phoenix in 2016-17.
Key trends: The Suns are 1-9 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 4-1 in Detroit's previous five at home.
Early lean: Suns (potential letdown game for Detroit) and over.
Thunder at Magic (+5.5, 211)
Oklahoma City had the very impressive 17-point home win over the Warriors last Wednesday but then went totally flat the next two, losing at home to the Pistons and at horrible Dallas. The Magic lost a ninth straight Monday, 121-109 at Indiana. Frank Vogel tried to shake up his lineup by moving Jonathan Simmons into the starting five, and he had 21 points. The Magic are 3-12 when their opponent reaches triple digits. Orlando has lost five of the last six meetings with Oklahoma City and 10 of the last 12 overall.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the over is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
Wizards at 76ers (TBA)
Second of a back-to-back for Washington after it visited Minnesota on Tuesday. It's also the first of an NBA TV doubleheader. The 76ers had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 113-91 home loss to Cleveland on Monday. Joel Embiid had 30 points and 11 rebounds, but his team was 3-for-28 from long range. Ben Simmons sprained his ankle and is in question here. Philly and Washington met in their season opener in D.C. and the Wizards won 120-115. Wall had 28 points and eight assists. Simmons had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Key trends: The Wizards are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 7-3 in Philly's past 10 vs. the East.
Early lean: Wait on Simmons.
Heat at Knicks (Pick'em, 201)
First meeting of season between these two. Miami was in Cleveland on Tuesday on a three-game winning streak. The Knicks dropped their third in a row Monday, 103-91 vs. Portland. Kristaps Porzingis returned from a one-game absence and scored 22 points. Fellow big man Enes Kanter missed his third in a row with a back issue. Joakim Noah actually saw the floor. Last season, New York won the season series, 2-1, but Miami has won a franchise-best six straight at the Garden.
Key trends: The Heat are 6-0 ATS in their past six at New York. The under is 4-1 in the Knicks' past five at home.
Early lean: Knicks and under.
Hornets at Raptors (-8, 204.5)
Charlotte is on a two-game skid after a 20-point home loss to San Antonio on Saturday. Kemba Walker, who left the game briefly in the third quarter with a left shoulder injury, had 18 points. Toronto ended a two-game losing streak Saturday with a 112-78 blowout in Atlanta. DeMar DeRozan had just two points but didn't play a heck of a lot due to a sore knee. He had scored in double digits in 113 straight games, one shy of a franchise record. The Hornets and Raptors split four games last year.
Key trends: The Hornets have covered only two of their past 12 on the road. The under is 6-0 in Toronto's previous six vs. the East.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Pacers at Rockets (-11.5, 224)
If you like points, this should be really fun to watch because Indiana is playing more up-tempo basketball than it ever has. And we know all about the run-and-gun Rockets. Indiana beat Orlando 121-109 on Monday behind 26 points from former Magic player Victor Oladipo, who is playing like an All-Star this season. The Rockets won a fifth straight Monday, 117-103 over Brooklyn. James Harden had 37 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Houston won in Indianapolis 118-95 on Nov. 12. The Rockets opened on an 18-4 run and didn't look back. Harden had 26 points and 15 assists and Clint Capela 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Key trends: The favorite is 7-2 in the past nine meetings. The over is 6-2 in Houston's previous eight vs. the East.
Early lean: Rockets and over.
Timberwolves at Pelicans (-3.5, 218)
Minnesota hosted Washington on Tuesday. New Orleans had a three-game winning streak end Saturday at Golden State, 110-95. This will be a spectacular matchup of Kentucky big men in the Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns and New Orleans' Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Minnesota won in the Big Easy on Nov. 1, 104-98. Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, including the tiebreaking three-point play with 34.2 seconds left. Cousins had 35 points, nine rebounds and six steals, while Davis had 24 points and 10 boards. The Pelicans have still taken 10 of the past 13 in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 13-5 ATS in the past 18 meetings. The over is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Pelicans and over.
Nets at Mavericks (TBA)
The Nets have dropped four of five following a 117-103 loss in Houston on Monday. Isaiah Whitehead had 24 points, matching his career high. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe all missed due to injury. So did D'Angelo Russell, but he has been out a while. Your guess is as good as mine as to whom plays here. Dallas' modest two-game winning streak ended in a 115-108 in San Antonio on Monday. Dallas has swept the season series each of the past two years vs. Brooklyn.
Key trends: The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their past six in Dallas. The under is 9-3 in the Mavs' past 12.
Early lean: Wait on those Nets.
Grizzlies at Spurs (-7, 195)
This will be Memphis' first game since firing Coach David Fizdale on Monday. It comes in the wake of an eighth straight loss Sunday at home against the Nets. Fizdale benched the team's best player, Marc Gasol, in the fourth quarter of that one. That was surely the last straw for ownership. Associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who was 37-34 as an interim coach with the Rockets in 2015-16, has been promoted to interim head coach. San Antonio saw point guard Tony Parker make his season debut Monday in a win over Dallas. He ruptured his left quad tendon during last year's playoffs and will be on a minute limit for a little while. Memphis and San Antonio split four meetings in 2016-17. The Spurs have won the past five at home in the series, though.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-0 in the previous four.
Early lean: Grizzlies and over.
Warriors at Lakers (TBA)
Second NBA TV game. Will the Dubs have Kevin Durant and or Steph Curry here? They both sat Monday against the Kings, who pulled off the 110-106 upset in Oakland. I'm quite sure they both could have and would have gone if it was a better opponent. Coach Steve Kerr clearly could care less about his team's regular-season record as he's going to rest guys often this year. I think at a minimum you see Curry here so he can torch Lonzo Ball for the first time. The Lakers lost 120-115 at the Clippers on Monday. Larry Nance Jr. returned after missing nine games with a broken thumb and had nine points and eight rebounds. Golden State actually lost its first meeting with the Lakers last year but then easily won the next three.
Key trends: The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Curry & Durant.
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