Free NBA Picks: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
On the most recent "Next Head Coach To Be Fired" odds at the various Doc's-affiliated sportsbooks, Chicago's Fred Hoiberg was the +175 favorite. If you bet the "Mayor," you are a winner. The Bulls canned the former NBA player, front-office executive and Iowa State coach on Monday in no surprise whatsoever. Frankly, Hoiberg never had much chance to succeed with the rosters he was given, and he finished with a record of 115-155. His 155 losses are the fifth most by a coach in Bulls franchise history. Instead of starting fresh and perhaps finding a new voice, associate head coach Jim Boylen has been promoted to head coach. Not interim, but permanent. That's just baffling as Boylen has never been an NBA head coach and was just so-so as the coach at the University of Utah from 2007-11.
Warriors at Cavaliers ( +12.5, 222)
Just a little bit less at stake this year when these teams meet - feels strange this isn't on national television. The Warriors have lost some depth with backup center Damian Jones being lost for likely the season with a torn left pectoral muscle. In addition, Draymond Green will miss at least two more games with a toe injury. At least Steph Curry returned over the weekend. Could be a bit of a trap game for the Dubs with a big one in Milwaukee on Friday to close a long trip. Golden State has won the past three regular-season meetings in this series, but, again, things were a bit different with those. The Warriors ended a two-game skid Monday with a 128-111 win in Atlanta, while the Cavs got just their fifth win of the year with an upset in Brooklyn.
Key trends: The Warriors are 0-4 against the spread in their past four following a cover. The Cavs are 4-1 ATS in their past five at home. The "over/under" has gone under in six of their past seven at home.
Early lean: Cavs and under.
Nuggets at Magic (+4.5, 208)
Second of a back-to-back for Orlando as it visited Miami on Tuesday. The Nuggets ended the Raptors' eight-game winning streak with a 106-103 win in Toronto on Monday, Denver's sixth straight win. The Nuggets are pretty darn good, and Nikola Jokic was the best player on the floor with a triple-double. However, oft-injured starting guard Gary Harris didn't play after the first with a sore hip and was due an MRI on Tuesday. Knowing him, he'll be out a while. Denver swept Orlando last year and has taken 10 of the past 12 in the series.
Key trends: Nuggets have covered their past six games. The under is 6-1 in their past seven.
Early lean: Letdown game! Take Magic and under.
Wizards at Hawks (+5, 235)
Our first look at John Wall vs. Trae Young. The teams split four games last year, each going 1-1 at home. Washington has started to play a bit better, winning a second straight Monday, 110-107 at the Knicks. Wall had 18 points and 15 assists. It was the Wizards' 10th straight victory in the series. Atlanta lost its third straight in blowout fashion Monday, 128-111 to the Warriors. Young had 20 points but was 0-for-5 from deep and had seven turnovers.
Key trends: The Hawks are 1-6 ATS in their past seven at home. The over is 5-1 in their previous six there.
Early lean: Wizards and over.
Thunder at Nets (+5, 217.5)
OKC got some bad news over the weekend in that stellar defensive guard Andre Roberson had a setback with his surgically repaired knee and will miss at least another six weeks. He has yet to play this season. Even without him, OKC leads the NBA in defensive rating. The Thunder won their third in a row Monday, 110-83 in Detroit. They are 15-3 since starting 0-4. The Nets lost their seventh in a row Monday, 99-97 to Cleveland. Joe Harris missed his third straight game with a strained left hip. Brooklyn hasn't won at home since Nov. 4. These teams split two close games last year, with the Nets' "home" game being in Mexico City.
Key trends: Nets have failed to cover past seven vs. West. Under is 5-1 in OKC's past six.
Early lean: Thunder and under.
76ers at Raptors (-6, 230)
First ESPN game. Philadelphia is a monster at home (13-1) and comes off a 103-95 win there Sunday over Memphis. However, the Sixers are 4-7 on the road and have lost 12 straight in Toronto. It was 129-112 there on Oct. 30 before Philadelphia had traded for Jimmy Butler. Perhaps Toronto was looking ahead to this one Monday in seeing its eight-game winning streak snapped in a 106-103 home loss to Denver. Kyle Lowry was just 1-for-7 for five points. He had sat Saturday with a sore back.
Key trends: The Sixers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven in Toronto. The over is 5-1 in the previous six there.
Early lean: Raptors and over.
Clippers at Grizzlies (+1.5, 211.5)
Memphis has been a pleasant surprise but might be starting a fade in losing four of five. It was 103-95 in Philly on Sunday. The Clippers are 2-1 on a four-game trip following a 129-126 win in New Orleans on Monday. Tobias Harris had 27 and Danilo Gallinari 24. Memphis lost at the Clippers in their first meeting on Nov. 23, 112-107 in OT. The Grizz were up eight with just over three minutes left in regulation, but then Mike Conley fouled out and that changed everything.
Key trends: The Clips are 3-0-1 ATS in their past four in Memphis. The over is 7-1 in the previous eight meetings.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Pistons at Bucks (-8, 228)
Bucks are off a 136-134 OT upset loss in New York on Saturday. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 19 rebounds and vowed vengeance in the next meeting on the Knicks' Mario Hezonja after he basically taunted the Freak following a dunk. "I'm going to punch him in the nuts next time," said Antetokounmpo in the quote of the year. Detroit's five-game winning streak ended Monday in a 110-83 home loss to Oklahoma City. That was a season low in points scored. Reggie Bullock left in the first quarter with an ankle. The Pistons and Bucks split four meetings last season.
Key trends: Pistons are 4-0-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 3-0-1 in the previous four.
Early lean: Pistons and under.
Hornets at Timberwolves (-5, 225.5)
Charlotte lost its second in a row Sunday, 119-109 to New Orleans. Kemba Walker sprained his ankle early and was a bit off in shooting 5-for-16 for 13 points. Forward Marvin Williams left with a shoulder injury and will miss at least a week. Minnesota looks like a new team since trading Jimmy Butler, getting to .500 with Monday's 103-91 win over Houston. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Charlotte has won seven of the past nine in this series.
Key trends: The Bugs are 4-11 ATS in their past 15 vs. the West. The under is 6-2 in Minnesota's previous eight at home.
Early lean: Wolves and under.
Mavericks at Pelicans (TBA)
Second of a back-to-back for Dallas, which hosted Portland on Tuesday. Stud rookie Luka Doncic was expected to play there after sitting Sunday with a sore right hip. However, Dennis Smith Jr. was questionable (wrist, mouth). New Orleans fell under .500 with Monday's 129-126 home loss to the Clippers. Julius Randle scored a career-high 37 points, but fouled out with his team up four with about four minutes left. New Orleans played without third-leading scorer Nikola Mirotic, who was a late scratch because of an illness. The Pels have won four of the last five in this series.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings and the over is 4-1 in those.
Early lean: Wait on Doncic/Smith.
Spurs at Lakers (-7.5, 221)
Second ESPN game. We are on Gregg Popovich sit-down alert with the Spurs in Utah on Tuesday. The Lakers are starting to really play well and are off a 120-96 blowout of the Suns on Sunday. L.A. has won 12 of 16 since starting 2-5. San Antonio is 2-0 vs. L.A. this season. They last played on Oct. 27 in Texas, a 110-106 final. DeMar DeRozan had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The Spurs' first lead wasn't until early in the fourth quarter. LeBron James had 35 points and 11 rebounds.
Key trends: The underdog has covered six straight in the series. The over is 10-3 in the previous 13.
Early lean: Lakers and over.
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