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Monday, 23 November 2015

NBA Picks November 2015 (November 23-30)

It had been a pretty disappointing first two weeks of the month, but last week has turned around the results with eight of the ten picks made in the last seven days coming as winners.

I've had some luck with a couple of teams coming back from big deficits to win their games, but I was also on the right side of a couple of blow outs which will always make me feel better.

Usually my weekly thread covers games from a Monday-Sunday range, but November comes to a close next Monday so these picks will be for the next week of action and then a new thread will begin for the picks that will be made in the first week of December.

I am looking to avoid giving back the profits from last week with the picks over the next few days as the American public get set for Thanksgiving Day this Thursday.

Monday 23rd November
The Boston Celtics were in a big hole by half time in their loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday which meant last week ended with a loss for my picks. However, it was still a strong week and there are plenty of positives to build upon this week.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: I picked the Philadelphia 76ers to keep things competitive against the Miami Heat on Saturday, but I do wonder if they can pick themselves from blowing a big lead and a chance to win their first game of the season just two days later.

They are going up against a Minnesota team that has yet to win a home game this season so this number of points might look attractive, especially with two young teams facing each other. Young players mean inconsistent performances and that has been the case for both the 76ers and Timberwolves in the opening month of the season.

However, I do think Philadelphia might feel they missed a trick in not being Miami and that emotional let down is hard to ignore. Minnesota are the better team and I think they are more likely to be ready having a couple of days to think about their defeat here to the Detroit Pistons.

Tuesday 24th November
The Minnesota Timberwolves did win on Monday, but it was another late collapse from the Philadelphia 76ers who had been leading in the Fourth Quarter.

Disappointing for the 76ers and disappointing for my pick too.

Indiana Pacers @ Washington Wizards Pick: The Indiana Pacers have been in the better recent form on the court so I am a little surprised that they are the underdog in this game at the Washington Wizards. Of course the home court will give Washington every chance to get their fourth straight win but I am not convinced they should be favoured to win.

Games between these teams have been very close in recent outings and I can't imagine this one will be any different.

Indiana are a very good road underdog to back and they are 10-6 against the spread when set as a three point or fewer underdog. On the other hand, Washington just 6-8 against the spread when favoured by three or fewer at home and I like the Pacers to continue their hot streak to open the season.

Wednesday 25th November
The Indiana Pacers looked a very interesting underdog on Tuesday and they didn't disappoint with an outright win on the road. It wasn't a lot of points being given to the Pacers but they played like they had felt disrespected at being the underdog at Washington.

They outscored Washington in three of the four quarters played and brings the week back to 0.500 in terms of picks and virtually there in terms of units.

Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons Pick: Strong Defensive performances have sparked the Miami Heat this season and they will be looking for another one as they head on the road to face the Detroit Pistons. The Heat have won three in a row and six of their last seven games, although I do have a concern that Miami haven't been on the road since the beginning of the month.

Playing in their home comforts is obviously going to make life easier for Miami and it has to be noted that they are just 1-2 in road games this season. However, the Detroit Pistons have just hit the barriers a little bit after a positive start to the season which has led the team to five losses in their last seven games.

Detroit have recently beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers at home, but Miami have the size and the Defensive skills to shut down their Offense. Scoring hasn't come easy for Miami which should make this a close game, but I like the Heat as the road underdog to pull together and win this one.

It is not often that a single point will make a big difference in a basketball game, but I will the small spread on offer here and look for Miami to cover.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors Pick: The Toronto Raptors have thrived as the small home underdog and they have gone 6-2 against the spread as the home underdog of three points or less over the last couple of years. It hasn't always been a very good position for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the latter have shown themselves to be the top team in the Eastern Conference and can prove that with a road win in Canada.

Cleveland won both road games in Toronto last season and have improved to 18-6 against the spread in their last twenty-four games in Canada.

The Raptors are going to come off a long road trip in the Western Conference and that can be a difficult position for the players to get ready to perform. This is just a one-stop at home before travelling to Washington, but that concern for the home team is balanced by the fact the Cavaliers have lost their last couple of road games.

I do think Cleveland are the better team though and there is enough talent on both sides of the court to think they can slow down the Raptors Offensively. Toronto can be a little one-dimensional down the stretch and I will back Cleveland to make the plays to cover this spread on the road.

Friday 27th November
It wasn't much fun on Wednesday with both picks going down, although the Cleveland Cavaliers had their chances to win in Toronto. On the other hand, the Miami pick never looked close after tip off and was simply a poor pick.

Detroit Pistons @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: The Detroit Pistons are going to be an inconsistent team this season as Stan Van Gundy continues to move the pieces to his liking. They are definitely good enough to become a Play Off team in the weaker Eastern Conference, but backing up big wins like the one they had over the Miami Heat is going to be a challenge.

They certainly could have asked for an easier game than at the Oklahoma City Thunder who have Kevin Durant back in the line up. It has been an inconsistent start for the Thunder too as they have struggled Defensively at times to make the stops they need.

However, this looks a game where they are perhaps favoured by a couple of points lower than I would have imagined. I am not doubting how competitive the Detroit Pistons have been, but Oklahoma City should have too much scoring between Durant and Russell Westbrook, while they have some decent size to counter Andre Drummond who has been immense for Detroit.

Both teams have had success in this spot, but I like the home team to win by ten or more points in this one.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Houston Rockets Pick: Three times in a row the Philadelphia 76ers have had leads in the Fourth Quarter of games as they search for their first win of the season... Three times in a row they have fallen late and this has to be having an affect on the players confidence.

It is a young team so maybe it is easier for them to put these setbacks behind them, but Philadelphia are looking to make changes to the starting line up to find the right formula to snap their losing run. Brett Brown, the 76ers Head Coach, knows he has a few options as his team head to the disappointing Houston Rockets hoping to change things.

After reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, Houston have dismissed Kevin McHale early in this new season. The team have suffered at both ends of the court and they have dropped to 1-9 against the spread in home games, and they have lost seven of their last eight overall.

Philadelphia are 4-1 against the spread in the last five and this looks like too many points for a struggling team to cover. It's never comfortable backing the worst team in the NBA, but Philadelphia have been very competitive the last three games and I will back them here.

Saturday 28th November
Both Philadelphia and Oklahoma City came back from poor first half performances and eventually recovered for the cover. Oklahoma City destroyed Detroit 55-32 in the second half to win that one by 16 points, while Philadelphia won't want to be given any credit for another competitive loss as they led the game by 7 points with a little over six minutes to play.

That has dropped the 76ers down to 0-17 to open the season, but they arguably should have won two or even three of their last four games now. There is some really good young talent in Philadelphia, but this looks another transition season ending with a high Draft Pick as they can't seem to close games out.

Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio Spurs Pick: The Atlanta Hawks have been inspired by the San Antonio Spurs which is hardly a surprise as Head Coach Mike Budenholzer was a long time assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Last season they used the 'team' to overcome the stars in the Eastern Conference in the regular season before falling short in the Finals and this season has been a lot more inconsistent for them.

Both teams had solid road wins on Friday, but San Antonio have quietly been going about their business and rested the likes of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili with this game in mind. They have performed well as a big home favourite this season, going 4-1 against the spread when favoured by between 6.5 and 12 points.

San Antonio beat Dallas by five points last time out here, but had won their previous five games by at least nine points per game. The Hawks had lost four in a row on the road before winning at Memphis and I think San Antonio will have a little too much solid Defensive efforts to help them cover.

LA Lakers @ Portland Trail Blazers Pick: There aren't many 6-10 teams that I would be backing to cover big spreads, but then again not too many of them are facing the awful LA Lakers.

The Portland Trail Blazers crushed the Lakers at the Staples Center last week and their last four wins over the LA Lakers have come by at least twelve points per game. Many of those were with a much better roster than the one that was gutted in the summer, but Portland were fourteen point winners on the road last week and I am confident they win this game by at least ten points.

It has been a real struggle for the Lakers who are trying to blood some young players while allowing Kobe Bryant to enjoy what looks his last season in the NBA. The problem is that Kobe hasn't been up to the level he has produced through his career and the younger players are perhaps a little intimidated by his presence.

Portland are 19-7 against the spread in the last twenty-six games at home against the Lakers and I am expecting them to be too strong again on Saturday.

Sunday 29th November
Another two picks were made on Saturday and another two winners are in the books to make it 4-0 the last couple of days and make sure the week has turned around after a slow start.

It also means November looks in a very good position with only two days left in the month and would mean a positive start for the NBA Picks this season. Sunday is another busy day in the NBA and I will have picks up shortly.

Boston Celtics @ Orlando Magic Pick: There are plenty of games on slate on Sunday, but I have struggled to really find picks I like, although one of those was this game in Orlando. Backing the Magic as a home underdog has been very positive this season as they have gone 4-0 against the spread in that spot and I don't doubt that the Boston Celtics perhaps overlook Orlando to the big game at Miami on Monday night.

The Celtics have won two games in a row which will give their team confidence, but they have lost their last couple of road games including at the awful Brooklyn Nets.

So Boston are certainly no sure thing as the small road favourite on Sunday and they are just 6-10 against the spread as a road favourite over the last couple of seasons. The Celtics are a solid team, but they are the kind of scrappy team that might find Orlando's youthful talent a little too much when concentrating on the game against the Heat.

Monday 30th November
I had just the one pick on Sunday and that came through fairly easily with the Orlando Magic winning as the underdog against the Boston Celtics. That means the picks have gone 5-0 over the last three days and it looks like November will produce a healthy profit from the picks over the last month.

There is just one day to go in November and I have two picks from the Monday games which will hopefully extend the positive run of the last couple of weeks.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Atlanta Hawks Pick: The Oklahoma City Thunder have had enough rest to get themselves ready for a two game road trip against the Eastern Conference. They play two teams that will expect to be in the Play Offs, but the Thunder can take it a game at a time thanks to the rest they get between this game and the game at the Miami Heat.

Since Kevin Durant returned to the team, the Thunder have been playing very well and they take on the Atlanta Hawks who have been inconsistent and haven't had back to back wins since early November. Atlanta were blown out by the San Antonio Spurs in their last game but they have won their last couple of home games and are a different proposition on their own court.

The Hawks have just been struggling Defensively in recent games which is a real problem when you think Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to be on their court on Monday. More impressive from the Oklahoma City Thunder is some of the lock down Defensive plays they have been producing and I like them to come here and cover the small spread.

Atlanta have been a very good home underdog, going 8-4 against the spread when dogged by three points or fewer. However, Oklahoma City are 13-3 against the spread in their last sixteen visits to Atlanta and the Thunder have enough momentum behind them to win this game.

San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls Pick: This isn't a big spread, but the Chicago Bulls are the kind of team that will dig deep and feel disrespected by being a home underdog. However, they are just 10-10 against the spread when given six points or fewer at home and now they face the San Antonio Spurs who have quietly been crushing teams in the last couple of weeks.

The Spurs are using a very strong Defensive shape to limit what teams are able to do to them and they still have a deep rotation that can see any of their players suddenly getting hot on the court.

Chicago were beaten easily at Indiana last time out, but they have recovered from double digit losses effectively in the last couple of years with the Bulls going 23-14 against the spread in their next game. However, they have admitted they are just struggling to get their identity together at both ends of the court at crunch time and the San Antonio Spurs are not exactly a team against whom you can learn that.

Teams with winning records are 3-1 against the spread in their visits to Chicago this season and San Antonio are 9-4 against the spread in their last thirteen trips here. San Antonio have won five in a row and all of those by at least five points each and I do like them to cover as the favourite on the road here.

MY PICKS: 23/11 Minnesota Timberwolves - 8 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
24/11 Indiana Pacers + 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Coral (1 Unit)
25/11 Miami Heat + 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Betway (1 Unit)
25/11 Cleveland Cavaliers - 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
27/11 Oklahoma City Thunder - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
27/11 Philadelphia 76ers + 10.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
28/11 San Antonio Spurs - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
28/11 Portland Trail Blazers - 8 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
29/11 Orlando Magic + 2 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
30/11 Oklahoma City Thunder - 2 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
30/11 San Antonio Spurs - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)

November 23-30 Update: 6-5, + 0.59 Units

November 16-22 Final8-2, + 5.28 Units
November 9-15 Final6-7-1, - 1.59 Units
November 2-8 Final7-8, - 1.59 Units
November Update21-17-1, + 2.10 Units

October Final5-4, + 0.57 Units
Season 201626-21-1, + 2.67 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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