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Monday, 2 November 2015

NBA Picks November 2015 (November 2-8)

Over the last few years I have put all of my monthly NBA Picks under 'November Picks', 'December Picks' etc etc, but I have decided it might be wise for a slight change this time to make it easier to read as well as update.

So I will break down the month picks on a weekly basis so a new thread begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday, or whenever the month ends.

One it should make it easier to follow, two it doesn't mean the monthly picks are lost in the mix and three it will mean the posts are not ridiculously long.

The first few days of the NBA season have been interesting as some teams have surprised while others have been a let down.

It is an eighty-two game season though so the first three games won't break any team, plus I always think they want to get into a groove by February. However, the Western Conference is definitely not a Conference in which you want to give everyone a big lead so it is an important month for the likes of the Houston Rockets.

It was a mixed start for the picks, but October ended with a profit and I will take that every week. Hopefully the first week of November follows suit.

Monday 2nd November
Portland Trail Blazers @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: The young and exuberant Minnesota Timberwolves have been able to handle the emotion of the opening games of the season. Flip Saunders' passing casts a heavy shadow over the franchise and he was laid to rest on Saturday, but Minnesota have produced two great performances for their former Head Coach.

This is the first home game of the season for Minnesota and Saunders will be honoured through the night which is likely to give the home team another emotional lift. Kevin Garnett has kept the younger players focused and I think the Timberwolves are the better team of the two taking to the court.

The Portland Trail Blazers are unlikely to challenge for a Western Conference Play Off berth having lost some key figures of their starting line up from last season. It will likely be an inconsistent season for them but Damian Lilliard can take over a game and they will be dangerous if the last few days have gotten on top of Minnesota.

Minnesota are 3-1 against the spread in their last four home games against Portland and I like the Timberwolves to cover.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Golden State Warriors Pick: The Golden State Warriors have come out with a major chip on their shoulders which isn't usually associated with a team that dominated the NBA as much as they did last season. They were the deserving Champions, but too many teams have disrespected their achievements and the Warriors look like a team that is looking to win back to back Championships without being challenged.

Stephen Curry has been shooting lights out in the new season and the Warriors have won three games in a row by double digits. It seems strange that they are not being asked to cover a bigger number in this one against the Memphis Grizzlies despite the improvement in the last couple of games for the Grizzlies.

However, beating Indiana and Brooklyn won't prepare you for the Golden State Warriors and the Grizzlies were blown out by Cleveland. Visiting the Oracle Arena is going to be difficult at the best of times, but this is a Warriors team that didn't just win games, but won by big margins last season.

When the Warriors have been set as home favourites of between 6 and 9.5 points, they are 15-7 against the spread in recent spots and I like them to win this by at least ten points.

Tuesday 3rd November
The Minnesota Timberwolves may have just had too much emotion to overcome in their loss to the Portland Timber Wolves, especially as they blew a big First Quarter lead.

On the other hand, the Golden State Warriors proved they are still a dominant team by blowing out the Memphis Grizzlies easily thanks to a dominant Third Quarter.

Chicago Bulls @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: The Charlotte Hornets were expected to struggle without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and their opening three games have all ended in losses. It has to be remembered that the last two games have been close against the Atlanta Hawks, but now they face a Chicago Bulls team that is has been better Offensively to open the season.

It wasn't a great performance from them on that side of the ball in the win over the Orlando Magic last time out, but the Bulls did win which is important for them. One concern for Chicago has to be that they are not really a great road favourite to back, but they are 6-2 against the spread in their last 8 games in Charlotte.

I also do like the way Chicago have bounced back from failing to cover as the home favourite, especially when they win that game straight up. They are 9-6 against the spread in that spot and they are the better team in this game, but another concern I do have is this being a one road game between home games for the Bulls.

Charlotte have been Offensively challenged though and I think Chicago have enough to win this by four or more points.

Indiana Pacers @ Detroit Pistons Pick: When a team basically changes their philosophy and style in one off-season, it is always going to be a learning curve for them. The Indiana Pacers have looked to improve Offensively by going to a smaller line up, meaning the likes of David West and Roy Hibbert have moved on, but the team have had their difficulties to open the season.

Compare that with the Detroit Pistons who look more like a Stan Van Gundy team that has the dominating presence in the paint and the three point shooters around him. Andre Drummond should have a big impact in the game as the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week won't have anyone of the size to match up with him and the Pistons look like they have every chance to move to 4-0.

The difference in this game could be the Defensive side of the court where Detroit have played well. Van Gundy still wants more cohesion Offensively and this is still a dangerous Pacers team that might get hot very quickly, but the edge certainly seems with Detroit heading into the game.

Detroit are 4-1 against the spread in the last 5 games between these teams and I will look for them to extend that run here.

Orlando Magic @ New Orleans Pelicans Pick: One of these teams will finally get off the mark in terms of wins for the season and I have to say I favour the home town New Orleans Pelicans to be that team. It is unfortunate scheduling that they have run into the Golden State Warriors twice in their first three games and this is the 'easiest' game New Orleans would have played so far this season.

As talented as the Orlando Magic look, young players are prone to mistakes at key times or consistent nights shooting the basketball. They have been competitive in all three losses against teams that will be expected to be challenging for Play Off spots, but that can take its toll mentally.

Alvin Gentry is still trying to make his mark with the New Orleans Pelicans since arriving as Head Coach in the summer, but he would have seen some positive signs. The team is banged up a little to open the season which is a concern, but they look in the better spot of the two teams knowing they have time to prepare for their next game while Orlando play again on Wednesday.

New Orleans have responded to heavy home losses by going 6-4 against the spread in their next game, while they are 6-1 against the spread when hosting Orlando. I like them to find a way to secure a narrow cover on Tuesday.

Wednesday 4th November
That was an embarrassing day and goes to show when I need to think about the gut feeling a little more... I should never have picked Chicago in a bad spot, but was more disappointed with both Detroit and New Orleans who played some rubbish basketball.

It happens though so hopefully Wednesday will be a bounce back spot after some poor picks so far this week. The four losing picks have all had their issues and I have to take a portion of the blame for a couple of them.

LA Clippers @ Golden State Warriors Pick: Out of all the teams talking the loudest about how 'lucky' the Golden State Warriors had been in the post-season, the LA Clippers were the loudest. Now the Warriors have come out in the new season with a real chip on their shoulder and have been blowing out some teams, but this is the game they would have circled.

The fans in the Oracle Arena are loud on a normal night, but the atmosphere is going to be electric on Wednesday. Of course I imagine the Clippers are looking to make a statement too, but their 4-0 start to the season hasn't seen them face a team like the Warriors who will test the depth of the rotation which has been a key area the Clippers have looked to improve.

This Golden State team is also one that will blow out many a team at home this season and have done the last couple of years and they need to be given more points than they have in this one. Any time they are not getting double digit points to cover at home makes them appealing and the motivation to blow out the Clippers and make a statement can't be ignored at all.

Golden State are 17-5 against the spread in their last 22 games at home against the LA Clippers and they can put together a big win in this one.

Thursday 5th November
It has been a pretty poor couple of days for the NBA Picks with four straight losing plays after the LA Clippers put together a big effort after half time which meant they were only beaten by four points.

Miami Heat @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: After falling just short in a comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers in their opening home game, the Minnesota Timberwolves are back at home but are now the underdog. I am not convinced they should be even if this young team has been put through the ringer over the first few days of the season.

The Miami Heat certainly look like one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, although still having some room to bridge to get closer to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have a strong, experienced starting line up that will give the youthful Timberwolves plenty to think about, but Miami have not been a great road favourite to back in recent years.

In saying that, Minnesota haven't exactly thrived as a home underdog, but the quick flip from a favourite to an underdog could work for a team that will want to prove themselves. Dwyane Wade is questionable for the game and Miami are on the road tomorrow night in Indiana too so they might be able to be caught by the Timberwolves in a bad spot here.

This is a small spread, but I do think Minnesota can come up as the dog.

Charlotte Hornets @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: There is no doubt that the Dallas Mavericks are going to need time to gel together with a number of new faces joining in the summer. Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams are both banged up which means their minutes are restricted as is Chandler Parsons, but they are looking to bounce back from an opening home loss.

It does look a good game for the Mavericks to bounce back even if the Charlotte Hornets won their first game of the season last time out. However, I am not sure that game was something of a mirage and I still think the Hornets have some work to do.

They impressed in front of owner Michael Jordan, but this is the beginning of a road trip and Dallas have bounced back from two previous losses this season with impressive wins. They were outplayed by the Toronto Raptors in their home opener, but Dallas are better than they showed.

Dallas have won 11 in a row at home against Charlotte and only one of those wins have come by fewer than five points. I like the Mavericks to bounce back and beat Charlotte and cover the spread at home.

Friday 6th November
What a poor week to say the least. Can't seem to catch a break either, but to be honest, these have been some horrific picks. Hold my hands up to that!

Toronto Raptors @ Orlando Magic Pick: Both teams are perfect at the window going into the game, but I like the home underdog Orlando Magic to maintain their run.

All the credit in the world has to be given to the Toronto Raptors in being the last undefeated team in the Eastern Conference, but this looks a bad spot for them in between big games with Oklahoma City and Miami.

I can't imagine focus is a problem at this stage of the season, but Orlando have been a covering underdog and this looks a big number for the Raptors to get above. Orlando don't have a great covering record against Toronto at home, but did last time they played here and can do so again.

Atlanta Hawks @ New Orleans Pelicans Pick: I've been really disappointed with the way the New Orleans Pelicans have opened the season, but you have to say injuries are hindering what Alvin Gentry is trying to ask his team to do. Losing to Orlando at home was more than a hiccup and a much stronger Eastern Conference team visits town on Friday.

Now I would have expected the Atlanta Hawks to perhaps stumble out of the blocks a little after the way the season ended for them last season. However, they have looked like they have learnt from their experiences and look like a contender in the East.

This is a one stop road game before returning home on Saturday to face a rival Washington team which worries me a little. However, they look the better team and I like the Hawks to cover a small number against an injury-hit team still trying to plug the leaks.

Detroit Pistons @ Phoenix Suns Pick: The Pistons let themselves down against the Indiana Pacers in the last game, but I think they might be getting too many points in their visit to the Phoenix Suns.

It has been a solid start to the season for the Suns, but I am not sure how good this team actually is. It will be am emotional game for their best player Markieff Morris who welcomes his brother back to Phoenix having seen Marcus traded to Detroit in the summer in a move that upset Markieff greatly.

Take away that stinker against Indiana and Detroit have been playing well to open the season and I will take the points on offer.

Saturday 7th November
The first few days of the week were pretty terrible to be perfectly honest, but Friday at least turned things around somewhat with all three teams picked not just covering, but actually winning their games outright.

Hopefully I can build on that over the weekend and turn this week completely on its head, but it is a long season and it will only work if teams hit my criteria.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: Neither of these teams have been playing to the level that they would have expected to be in the early portion of the season. The New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with a number of injuries which isn't helping their cause, while the Dallas Mavericks are keeping some of their better players on limited minutes as they recover from injuries.

Even with those issues in mind, not many would have picked New Orleans as being 0-6 at this stage of the season after reaching the Western Conference Play Offs last season. They are also trying to pick themselves up from a narrow home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday when rallying in the Fourth Quarter and that kind of effort for a short-handed line up could hurt on a back to back.

The Dallas Mavericks are looking for their first home win of the season having lost back to back games at the American Airlines Center. They have been shooting poorly in their last couple of games, but this is a Pelicans Defensive unit that haven't had an easy time in shutting down opponents.

Dallas are 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games against New Orleans, and while the Pelicans have been a decent pick in back to back games, they should come up short in this one.

Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: The Brooklyn Nets were expected to be one of the weaker teams in the NBA this season, but now the pressure is building on Lionel Hollins as they try and snap their winless start to the season. It doesn't get any easier when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks who have won three in a row to get back to 0.500 and once again look a Play Off contender in the weak Eastern Conference.

Jason Kidd has led his team to a 4-1 record against Brooklyn since leaving that post as Head Coach and the Bucks are 4-0-1 against the spread in those games. With his team improving in recent games and earning an impressive win at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, Milwaukee have momentum behind them.

It had to have hurt the Nets in losing to the LA Lakers at home on Friday as they were favourites to win that and there is clearly something not right here. Bad moves in the off-season haven't helped and the Nets will do well to reverse their 3-8 run against the spread in their last 11 in Milwaukee.

Both teams had tough games on Friday, but the winning feeling and the home advantage could be key for Milwaukee and I like the Bucks to cover.

Sunday 8th November
After a really miserable run to open this week, five straight winning picks has at least pulled it around. One more day of this weekly thread to go and I have two picks from the Sunday slate of games.

LA Lakers @ New York Knicks Pick: Both of these big market franchises are in the midst of a rebuild to try and turn them back into Championship material, but it has to be said that the New York Knicks look considerably further along than the LA Lakers.

Both sets of fans have to accept there will be a lot more downs than ups this season, but it can be tough to see a team lurch from one disaster to another. The Lakers at least snapped their winless start to the season by beating Brooklyn last time out and are facing a Knicks team off the back of three straight losses.

However, it is the Knicks who have generally been more competitive and they have had the more difficult schedule early in the season.

The New York Knicks are 4-0 against the spread in their last four home games against the LA Lakers and I think my team can win this one.

Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: This is a big game for the Oklahoma City Thunder who are trying to get snap a three game losing run and I like them to do that against the Phoenix Suns.

This has been an inconsistent start to the season for the Phoenix Suns, but they have to expect that with some of the moves they have made in the off-season.

The Suns are a team that is solid to back as the road underdog and they have a decent record against the Oklahoma City Thunder going 5-2 against the spread in the last 7 meetings.

However, it has been some late collapses that haven't helped the Thunder in recent games and controlling those should see them dominate this game and win by double digits.

MY PICKS: 02/11 Minnesota Timberwolves - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (1 Unit)
02/11 Golden State Warriors - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
03/11 Chicago Bulls - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
03/11 Detroit Pistons - 5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
03/11 New Orleans Pelicans - 3 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
04/11 Golden State Warriors - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (1 Unit)
05/11 Minnesota Timberwolves + 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
05/11 Dallas Mavericks - 4 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
06/11 Orlando Magic + 6 Points @ 1.95 Boyle Sports (1 Unit)
06/11 Atlanta Hawks - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (1 Unit)
06/11 Detroit Pistons + 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
07/11 Dallas Mavericks - 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
07/11 Milwaukee Bucks - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
08/11 New York Knicks - 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
08/11 Oklahoma City Thunder - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

November 2-8 Update: 7-8, - 1.59 Units

October Final5-4, + 0.57 Units
Season 2016: 5-4, + 0.57 Units

Final Season 2015109-108-5, - 6.91 Units
Final Season 201458-72-1, - 16.86 Units
Final Season 2013105-93-3, + 10.49 Units

Final Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

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