Free NBA Picks Wednesday, December 11 and Opening Line Report
In Thursday's NBA slate, we have the matchup everyone has been waiting for! The Knicks visiting the Warriors! This game will help decide who has a better chance at the first overall pick in next year's draft lottery! In this slate, I've taken more favorites than not. There's going to be some lopsided games with high-quality teams playing very poor teams. The favorites should cover the spread for the most part.
Lakers @ Magic (+5.5, 213.5)
The Lakers are 21-3 on the year after scoring 142 points in regulation against the Timberwolves on Sunday. Anthony Davis scored 50 points in the win. It looks as though Anthony Davis is the perfect complement to LeBron James. The Magic were just recently defeated by the Bucks on the road by nine points. The Magic will now have a long stretch against good western opponents. It'll go south for the Magic. Give me the Lakers in this one.
Key trends: The Lakers are 2-0 (100%) vs teams that win 45-55% of games against the spread this season.
Early lean: Lakers, Over
Clippers @ Raptors (TBD, TBD)
At the beginning of the season, we all thought the Clippers were the better team. The Lakers had no depth and the Clippers had all the depth. The Clippers are playing fine but are 18-7 on the year. They just defeated the Pacers on the road by 11. The only Eastern Conference team the Clippers struggled against was the Bucks. On November 11, the Clippers beat the Raptors, 98-88. I expect the same in this Clippers vs. Raptors matchup .
Key trends: Clippers are 14-11 (56%) against the spread this season.
Early lean: Clippers, Under
Rockets @ Cavaliers (-10.5, 227.5)
The Cavs stink. Game after game they're getting blown out by playoff teams like the Celtics, 76ers, and potentially the Pistons. I'd take the Rockets at -15 if I had to. 10.5 is nothing. The Cavs are currently looking into trading their star in Kevin Love. The Rockets lost to the Kings on a long buzzer beater three. They're going to play this one with a chip on their shoulder. Give me the Rockets.
Key trends: The Cavaliers are 2-7-1 (22.2%) vs teams that win over 55 percent of games against the spread this season.
Early lean: Rockets, Under
Celtics @ Pacers (-1, 209.5)
I don't think I expected the Pacers to be favorites in this one at the beginning of the year. But here we are. The Pacers are coming off an 11-point loss to the Clippers after defeating the Knicks previously. In the Celtics' last game, they defeated the Cavs, 110-88, and slotted a familiar face back into the lineup. Gordon Hayward is back from his injury that sidelined him for a little bit. The Celtics are getting healthy again. Watch out. They're dangerous.
Key trends: The Celtics are 5-1 (83.3%) as an underdog against the spread this season.
Early lean: Celtics, Under
Hornets @ Nets (-9, 217.5)
The Nets are coming into this game having already defeated the Hornets on December 6 on the road, 111-104. Now they're playing at home after three straight victories. The Hornets most recently took a loss to the Hawks, who haven't been winning too many games. This game was home. The Hornets have some nice young pieces in PJ Washington and Devonte' Graham, but they're not ready to be competitive just yet. The Nets, on the other hand, are playing better without Kyrie. The Nets should win this one by double digits on their home floor.
Key trends: The Nets are 13-10 (56.5%) against the spread this season.
Early lean: Nets, Over
Jazz @ Timberwolves (+1.5, 221.5)
To begin the season, I think we all thought this game would have more appeal. The Jazz brought in Mike Conley, and the T-Wolves were thought to be potentially better without Jimmy Butler. That's clearly not the case. The Jazz don't look too hot in December, losing four of their last five games by a pretty steep deficit. The Timberwolves elected not to play defense this year after allowing the Thunder to score 139 points, Lakers to score 142 points and the Suns to score 125 points in back-to-back-to-back games. The Jazz will bounce back, score points, and win this one.
Key trends: The Timberwolves are 2-7-1 (22.2%) at home against the spread this season.
Early lean: Jazz, Over
Hawks @ Bulls (-5, 221.5)
The Bulls are actually peaking right now. Sure, they've lost their last three games, but they've lost them within five points each. The Bulls took a loss on Monday to the Raptors at home, 93-92, and lost to the Heat, 110-105, and before that, lost to the Warriors by two, 100-98. The Bulls are having trouble finishing games. The Hawks are younger than the Bulls. They can't close out games, either. At this point, take the favorites to finish the game out.
Key trends: The Hawks are 5-7 (41.7%) as a road team against the spread this season.
Early lean: Bulls, Over
Grizzlies @ Suns (-8, 230.5)
Memphis won a game for the first time since December 1. But, hold your horses. It was against the Warriors. Although, the Warriors did start Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell. Still, the Warriors have five wins on the year. The Suns have been shockingly good as of late as they've won two of their last three games. The Grizzlies are starting to get banged up, and we know that the Suns can put up points fast. I don't mind taking -8 for the Suns, at home, in this one.
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 9-13 (40.9%) as an underdog against the spread this season.
Early lean: Suns, Over
Pelicans @ Bucks (-13.5, 234.5)
The Bucks haven't lost since November 8. It's been over a month. But, can the Pels win against the spread? On the road? Absolutely not. The last time the Pelicans were on the road, they lost to the Mavericks, 130-84. This Bucks game has the same feel. The Pelicans are coming off a deflating loss to the Pistons, and the cuts will be cut deeper after this one.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 2-8 (20%) as a road underdog against the spread this season.
Early lean: Bucks, Under
Thunder @ Kings (TBD, TBD)
The Thunder are on a three-game winning streak. They're riding high. The Kings hit a game winner as time expired to defeat the Rockets on the road. They're riding high. The Kings have played just a bit better than the Thunder have recently. The Kings beat the Mavericks and lost by one to the Spurs on the road in overtime before that. The line isn't out yet, but I'd assume the Kings will be minor favorites.
Key trends: The Kings are 5-4 (55.6%) as the home team against the spread this season.
Early lean: Kings, Under
Knicks @ Warriors (-5.5, 210.5)
Yikes. This matchup is ugly. The 4-19 Knicks play the 5-20 Warriors. This game will help lottery chances, I'd assume. The Warriors have a healthy Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell back and starting for Golden State. The Knicks played a lot better against the Pacers on Saturday but couldn't score down the stretch while playing solid defense in the remaining five minutes of action. This game will likely be close all the way. I'll take the point with the Knicks.
Key trends: The Knicks are 9-9 (50%) against the spread after a loss this season.
Early lean: Knicks, Under
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