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Monday, 13 November 2017

NBA Picks November 2017 (November 13-19)

The NBA season has begun in decent fashion for the NBA Picks I have been making and last week proved to be another with a winning record.

It was only by a small margin, but I will always take that over a losing week and hopefully the numbers can continue to trend in a positive direction this week too.

This thread will cover the second full week in November and I am looking to keep the positives going.

Monday 13th November
Cleveland Cavaliers @ New York Knicks Pick: The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to win back to back games for the first time since opening the season at 2-0 and another win on Monday will give them the chance to move back to 0.500 for the season. The Cavaliers head to Madison Square Garden to take on the surprising New York Knicks who were back to winning ways this weekend when beating the Sacramento Kings following a loss to the Orlando Magic.

That defeat came without Kristaps Porzingis who continues to thrive in his role as the leader of the New York Knicks since Carmelo Anthony was traded away to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Porzingis has a chance to really announce himself to the nation against the defending Eastern Conference Champions, but the Knicks may also give themselves some real belief on what they can achieve this season if they were to beat Cleveland twice already.

Extra motivation may have been given to the Knicks by comments made by LeBron James this weekend when he suggested the Knicks had made a mistake in their Draft choice. There is no doubt that the entire New York team will want to rally around Frank Ntilikina with the comments Porzingis and Enes Kanter made in support of their team mate.

The Knicks have to be confident of their chances as the home underdog considering how they have been playing over the last couple of weeks after a tough start. The Offensive side of the court has really seen New York thrive and they have to be feeling good about the chances of having a strong showing when going against the Cleveland Defensive unit which has struggled with the new veterans they have in place.

It has also been a surprisingly effective Defensive performances from the Knicks which has sparked their success in the early part of this season. If the Knicks can find a way of making the Cleveland Cavaliers miss, they have the size to win the rebounding against a team who have been missing Tristan Thompson's energy on the boards.

New York don't have a very good recent record against Cleveland, but they have already beaten them on the road this season. The Knicks are also 3-1 against the spread when given less than 5 points as the underdog while Cleveland are 0-2 against the spread laying less than 6 points as the favourite.

There are plenty of other trends that make the New York Knicks look appealing to cover and I will take the points with the home underdog in what looks a decent spot for them.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: The Milwaukee Bucks might be crediting Eric Bledsoe for sparking their team back into life as they have won back to back games since trading for the Point Guard from the Phoenix Suns. Bledsoe wasn't at his best in the second of those wins, but he has clearly provided a spark for a young team with big expectations.

The Bucks will be looking to get the better of the Memphis Grizzlies who have dropped four of their last six games and are concluding a five game road trip with this one on Monday. So far they have split the last four games as Memphis have just lost some of the consistency they would like to see.

It is a transition for the Grizzlies this season with some veteran players moved on and the grinding style now moved on. At first they looked comfortable, but the Grizzlies are perhaps not as talented as they were with the system working for them and that has seen teams being able to have their way with them at times.

That has shown up on the Defensive side of the court in recent games and the Milwaukee Bucks have been playing well enough to think they can become the latest to take advantage of the Grizzlies. However Memphis will also believe they are able to take advantage of some of the Defensive issues Milwaukee have been having and the key to this game may be on the three point line.

This has been an area in which Memphis have continued to defend effectively, but now they face a Milwaukee team who have been very good from the three point range. The team that can win that battle may decide the outcome of this one, but I have to like the Milwaukee chances considering the more consistency they have shown.

Neither team has great numbers in recent games against the spread, but I do like the Bucks at home in this one. With the Grizzlies finishing a long road trip, Milwaukee might be able to take advantage of some tired minds and the Bucks have played well enough in the last few days to make it three wins in a row behind some more big time shooting from the three point mark.

Tuesday 14th November
You've got to be happy about a 2-0 start to the month despite the New York Knicks doing their best to blow a 23 point lead in their eventual 3 point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James almost scored another basket at the buzzer despite having the lead, but fortunately that rimmed out and the Knicks were able to at least cover.

With Milwaukee also doing the same, it was a good start to the week.

Toronto Raptors @ Houston Rockets Pick: The Toronto Raptors are playing in three different cities in the space of four days during this mini road trip and their second stop come at the Houston Rockets. It is a tough ask for the team who are trying to pick themselves up from a one point loss to the Boston Celtics a couple of nights ago especially as the Houston Rockets are almost as hot as the Celtics have been.

The Boston Celtics won their thirteenth game in a row since their 0-2 start to the season and dropped the Toronto Raptors to 3-3 over their last six games as they try and build some consistency. Now the Raptors have to go on the road to try and snap Houston's six game winning run and even making this game competitive is going to be a challenge with the way the Rockets have been firing.

So much of what the Rockets do comes down to how they are feeling from the three point range and that is clearly not something you can predict easily. What you can say is that the Rockets have been producing some big numbers from that range during their winning run and the Toronto Raptors have had their issues Defending the three point arc which certainly suggests the Rockets can have their successes in this one.

A key to their three point shooting is the dominance the Rockets have shown on the board and earning those second chance possessions just gives the shooters that much more confidence. Despite Toronto having some decent size, Houston's energy on the glass should prove to be another factor in their favour.

Turnovers can keep Toronto in this one, but I am not sure I like them in their spots over the next couple of days. Facing a team that has been winning by an average of over 17 points per game is a huge challenge off such an emotional loss like the one the Raptors suffered in the defeat to the Boston Celtics.

Toronto are 2-6-1 against the spread in their last nine games against a team with a winning record and they are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games played with a day of rest between games. The Rockets are 4-1 against the spread in their last five with the same rest and I like them here.

The home team is now 14-5-1 against the spread in the last twenty in this series and I will look for the Houston Rockets to continue that trend.

Wednesday 15th November
Tuesday proved to be a little disappointing with the Houston Rockets making a strong start and then failing to play any Defense until it was too late. I will put a pin in the Rockets for now as I am 0-2 in their games recently, but I do think Houston are one of the better teams in the NBA and the return of Chris Paul would be huge for them.

Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat Pick: The Miami Heat have dominated the Washington Wizards in their recent games against one another and they have a chance to move above 0.500 if they can continue that in this home and home series. They meet in Miami before heading back to Washington for a game in a couple of days time and the Heat are the narrow favourites.

Miami come into this one off the back of a six game road trip which was split 3-3 and they are trying to find the consistency to make sure they are not missing out on the Play Offs again. It is a long season so there is no need to panic yet, but the Heat have yet to secure their identity at either end of the court.

They are one of the better Defensive teams in the NBA, but Miami are going to be challenged by the Washington Wizards who have won three in a row and have scored at least 110 points in each of those. Washington played all of those games at home, but this is a team who has won on the road at the Toronto Raptors and who pushed the Golden State Warriors all the way to show why they are considered one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards have been playing some decent basketball at both ends of the court and that may give them the advantage in what is bound to be a very tight game. It is Washington who have been playing the three ball more effectively at both ends of the court and they have the size and energy to challenge the Miami Heat on the glass which is critical in what is going to be a close game.

Turnovers have to be limited as that has been the biggest problem for this high energy Offense that Washington run, especially as Miami just won't be as loose with the ball in their hands. That could be a key for this game with Washington the more likely winners if they can restrict what has been an issue for them this season.

Washington have some decent numbers against the spread, but it is the trends going against Miami that stand out. The Heat are 10-25 against the spread in their last thirty-five home games following a road trip of seven or more days, while they are also 0-9-2 against the spread in their last eleven home games overall.

While the Heat have had the edge in recent games with five straight wins in the series, I will take the point with the road underdog and look for Washington to snap that.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: I have gone 2-1 against the spread when picking Cleveland Cavaliers games this season, but in all three games I have opposed the Eastern Conference Champions. This is a spot in which I do want to get on board with the Cavaliers who look to be favoured by a couple of points less than I anticipated for their visit to the Charlotte Hornets.

In my opinion the Charlotte Hornets have not been playing as well as the New York Knicks to open this season so I am surprised they are being given two fewer points than the Knicks were when hosting Cleveland two days ago. It may have something to do with the fact that Cleveland looked disinterested until the Fourth Quarter of that game and they won after overcoming a 23 point deficit, but the Hornets have hardly been firing in recent games themselves.

In fact the Hornets have lost four in a row and they have really had some problems on the Defensive side of the court that the Cleveland Cavaliers can expose. On the other hand, I fully expect the Hornets to have success against a Cavaliers Defense which has struggled to contain teams all season and have yet to really get on the same page.

Cleveland have given up triple digits in points in their last twelve games in a row which is not what is expected from this team. Even though Charlotte have not been able to really get going Offensively as they would have liked, I do think the Hornets will have their moments, but will also be attacked by the Cavaliers.

It is a game in which the Cavaliers will likely be able to get their three point shot going as it was in the Fourth Quarter of their win over the New York Knicks a couple of days ago. The problem with backing Cleveland is that they have not always looked that motivated this season but they have won three of their last four and the feeling is they might be ready to go on a bit of a run.

The Cavaliers have a 4-1 record against the spread in the last five games between these teams in Charlotte and the favourite is 5-0-1 against the spread in the last six. The Cavaliers have also been much better on the road where they are 12-5-1 against the spread in their last eighteen games.

Charlotte have also played much better at home than on the road which makes this a more difficult game for Cleveland, but I like the Cavaliers to win their third game in a row for the first time this season.

Thursday 16th November
Golden State Warriors @ Boston Celtics Pick: There is plenty of respect flying around when the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors play one another on Thursday. Everyone around the NBA knows how good the Golden State Warriors have been in recent years and the Celtics aren't ignoring that, while Steve Kerr has suggested the Celtics may be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference in the years ahead.

The trade for Kyrie Irving has helped the Celtics take a step forward in their progress and the only shame is that we have not got to see Irving and Gordon Hayward in the same line up for any length of time. Hayward will be back and feel like a new signing for Boston next season, but so far the Celtics are showing they are right up there with the best teams on their current thirteen game winning run.

It is a remarkable run when you think Boston had lost their opening two games this season, but now they are playing with confidence and looking to keep the momentum going with the first real stand out win of the season. The Celtics have narrowly lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the opening night, but the injury to Hayward may have contributed to the performance, and knocking off the defending NBA Champions would be a huge achievement.

However it won't be easy as the Warriors are expected to have Steph Curry back for this one and are also on a seven game winning run of their own. This is a team that still finds way to motivate themselves as they look to build a dynasty, and Golden State will want to show they are still the team to beat in the NBA by snapping this Boston run.

I do like the Golden State chances of doing that because I think they are the superior team on both sides of the court. The Warriors have been playing at a high level Defensively while they remain the hardest team in the NBA to defend when they have the ball in their hands. The three point shooting is very hard to deal with as the Warriors have so many options and they also have the ability to challenge Boston on the glass.

It will be a competitive game, but I am looking for Golden State to make a few more plays in the Fourth Quarter which gives them a chance to pull clear. They are 11-4-1 against the spread in the last sixteen games in Boston and I think the Warriors are rested and ready to show they are still the bar for the rest of the NBA with a solid win on the road.

Friday 17th November
Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers Pick: The Detroit Pistons have been building to become a team that is a factor in the Eastern Conference, but anything less than a Play Off place this season would be a huge disappointment for them. In fact I do wonder if Stan Van Gundy can stay on as Head Coach if they are unable to make the Play Offs in the Eastern Conference.

The Pistons seem to know they are good enough to make the Play Offs considering the fast start they have made to the new season, but there are still a few areas in which they can improve. There are still some inconsistencies which need ironing out while the Pistons have to show they are capable of producing their best basketball on the road.

A couple of days ago Detroit struggled from the field in a 4 point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and that is one of the main areas the Pistons need to show they can shoot at their best much more consistently than they do. Two more road games give them a chance to prove they are capable of better and the first of those comes at the Indiana Pacers.

This is seen as a transitional season for the Indiana Pacers, but the players won't have reduced their own expectations despite Paul George moving to Oklahoma City. The Pacers have won two of their last three after dropping four in a row but they have been beaten in their last couple of home games.

Detroit did struggle shooting the ball in their last game against Milwaukee, but generally they have found some form from the three point range in recent games. That could be all important for them against this Indiana Pacers Defense while the Pistons should also be the team who can dictate things on the glass which should see them have the edge in this game.

I just can't understand Indiana being the favourite apart from the fact they have really gotten the better of the recent series between these teams. However I think Indiana have declined as a team and Detroit have improved since their last played here in Indiana where the Pacers have beaten the Pistons five times in a row.

You can't ignore the fact that Detroit have covered in their next game after a loss four times in a row. They are also 5-1 against the spread on the road in their last six games and I will take the points with the road underdog here in a game where I actually favour Detroit to win.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Cleveland Cavaliers Pick: It has been a really poor start to the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there are signs that they are improving and settling down. For the first time this season they have had three consecutive wins and now the Cavaliers return home with some confidence behind them.

It hasn't been completely convincing from the Cavaliers who have needed some big second half performances to beat the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. They could have easily lost the last two of those games, but Cleveland will build confidence from making the big plays down the stretch.

They will definitely be feeling better than the Los Angeles Clippers who have lost eight of their last nine games including the last six in a row. That includes in their last three road games and now the Clippers have to begin a tough Eastern Conference road trip beginning with a visit to the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Losing Chris Paul would have hurt any team, but the Clippers have also lost some of their identity now. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan remain with the Clippers, but the assists to turnover ratio has not been something Doc Rivers would have enjoyed.

A playmaker like Paul is hard to replace and the Clippers shooting has really not be up to the level you would expect at the start of this season. They might have more success against a Cleveland team who have not been playing at a high intensity on the Defensive side of the court, but the Clippers own Defense has been porous to say the least.

That is where the Cavaliers will feel they can take over this game at some point especially with an improving three point shooting behind them. Turnovers and a lack of intensity might be the biggest factors going against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but I have mentioned I feel they are close to putting a strong run together and they may be in the midst of one now.

Cleveland have yet to cover the spread at home this season, but they are 15-6 against the spread in the last twenty-one of this series. The Clippers have also really been struggling at the window during their poor run and I am not sure they can snap that here so taking Cleveland to lay the points looks the way to go.

Saturday 18th November
Friday was a really disappointing day with the Detroit Pistons blowing a huge lead in their Fourth Quarter collapse, while the Cleveland Cavaliers casually allowed the LA Clippers to score a basket with 3 seconds remaining to move from 7 ahead to 5 ahead.

I could easily have got both on board, but getting neither was a blow to what had been a good week. There are still a couple of days to go to finish with a positive and I like two road teams to cover what looks like big numbers.

Houston Rockets @ Memphis Grizzlies Pick: I was not sure I was going to pick the Houston Rockets any time soon when they failed to cover for me for a second time this season. However I did say that I do believe the Rockets remain one of the better teams in the NBA and they would be much improved with Chris Paul back.

To be perfectly honest, I did not think Paul would be back until closer to Thanksgiving, but the Point Guard returned on Wednesday and the Houston Rockets responded with a huge victory over the Phoenix Suns. Paul himself is downplaying immediate expectations by admitting games will not always be that easy as Houston cruised in the first half, but Houston have played well on the road this season and now look healthier than their hosts.

The Memphis Grizzlies are a transitioning squad of players from the grit and grind to a more free flowing team. It had worked earlier in the season, but the Grizzlies have hit a rough patch in recent games. Memphis have lost six of their last eight games to drop back down to 0.500 for the season and now they lose one of their best players in Mike Conley who has been shut down with an achilles issue.

There is no telling when Conley will be back and the Grizzlies have not shown the Defensive toughness that has been a feature of their team over recent years. Memphis have given up at least 111 points in each of their last three games which have all ended in losses as they have yet to build the chemistry which would see them able to keep up with opponents.

Facing Houston fresh off a 142 point outing is a big challenge for Memphis especially with Paul fitting in seamlessly in that win over the Phoenix Suns. The ball handling is split between Paul and James Harden, but also means Harden can set up for the fine shooting he offers. Another key factor is that you can't key in on Harden with Paul out there and that only leads to more space for the likes of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza to find their three point range.

Houston have not been at their best Defensively so Memphis should have their opportunities to pull a couple of runs together, but eventually the Rockets firepower should be too much for them.

The Grizzlies are 10-4 against the spread in the last fourteen between these teams here. However they are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five at home and they are 5-16 in their last twenty-one when having at least two days rest between games. With Conley out, I I will look for Houston to pull away in the second half behind their two All-Star players.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: The arrival of Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Phoenix Suns has given the Milwaukee Bucks an immediate boost as they are unbeaten in four games since he came to team. The Bucks are big favourites to make it five in a row when they travel to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday and the struggling home team have really taken some big body blows in recent games.

They had another on Friday evening as the Dallas Mavericks saw their half time lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves completely ripped apart in the second half in another collapse. This is a team who are expected to have a difficult time as they transition from the Dirk Nowitzki era, but the Mavericks won't be looking at their 2-14 record with any kind of fondness.

Playing a back to back is a tough spot for the Mavericks too and I won't be surprised if Wesley Matthews is held out of this one. Matthews is one of the veteran presences on the team, but he has been dealing with an injury and playing through it, but it would be a risky move having him play two days in a row.

Scoring points has been an issue for Dallas who have really had problems from the three point range of late as well as from the field in general. That is not likely to change against a Milwaukee team who have shown improvement on that side of the court during their four game run.

On the other side of the court I would expect the Milwaukee Bucks to have enough Offensive options to really put Dallas in some tough spots. This is a team who can really get going from the three point arc and that could be a big problem for Dallas in this game despite what has been a dominant record against Milwaukee in recent years.

The Mavericks are 3-8 against the spread when given 6 or more points as the underdog this season. They are also 2-9 against the spread in their last eleven home games and have to play this on a back to back. Milwaukee are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games when playing with two days rest between games and I like their chances to win by a big number on the road.

Sunday 19th November
Chicago Bulls @ Phoenix Suns Pick: It has been an up and down week for the NBA Picks this week and I am finishing off with a pick from the Chicago Bulls visit to the Phoenix Suns. These are two of the weaker teams in the NBA with a transition to younger players meaning there is a deep learning curve that has to be moved through and both the Bulls and the Suns have had their difficulties.

One of the main areas of concern for both Chicago and Phoenix have come on the Defensive end of the court where the young players may be enthusiastic but perhaps lose some of their focus. That has seen both teams amongst the worst in terms of points allowed, although the encouragement for both teams has to be the opponent they are facing on Sunday.

The Bulls are fresh of a 123 point outing as they rallied to beat the Charlotte Hornets and the improvement in the three point shooting should be something they can bring in against the Suns. On the other hand, Phoenix should also have plenty of success from the field against the Bulls team giving up 51% from the field over their last five games and it does feel like a game where both teams should comfortably get up to triple digits.

Phoenix are rightly favoured as they are playing at home while they have the superior rebounding numbers, although I can't be backing the Suns who have recently lost to both the Brooklyn Nets and LA Lakers at home.

There are also some recent trends in this series which points to the Bulls being the right team, but I am much more interested in the total points. With both Chicago and Phoenix likely to find plenty of room on the Offensive side of the court, I am anticipating both teams can reach at least 100 points and there is every chance they can combine for more.

The over is 7-3 in the last ten Chicago road games, while it has also hit in five of the last six Suns games against teams from the Eastern Conference. It is a big total when you think of the erratic nature of these two teams, but I think they are playing poorly on the Defensive side of the court and both teams have players who could take advantage of the room they are likely to find.

I will look for the teams to combine for over the total points.

MY PICKS: 13/11 New York Knicks + 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
13/11 Milwaukee Bucks - 4 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
14/11 Houston Rockets - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
15/11 Washington Wizards + 1 Point @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
15/11 Cleveland Cavaliers - 2 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
16/11 Golden State Warriors - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
17/11 Detroit Pistons + 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
17/11 Cleveland Cavaliers - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
18/11 Houston Rockets - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
18/11 Milwaukee Bucks - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
19/11 Phoenix Suns-Chicago Bulls Over 215.5 Total Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

November 13-19 Update: 6-5, + 0.46 Units (11 Units Staked, + 4.18% Yield)

November 6-12 Final: 5-4, + 0.55 Units (9 Units Staked, + 6.11% Yield)
November 1-5 Final: 2-0, + 1.82 Units (2 Units Staked, + 91% Yield)

October Final: 12-10, + 1.05 Units (22 Units Staked, + 4.77% Yield)

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