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Friday, 1 November 2019

NBA Picks November 2019 (November 1-10)

The first couple of weeks in the NBA 2019/20 season are in the books and anyone making sweeping statements about the way the campaign is going to develop could be in for a shock in a couple of months time.

In saying that there are one or two things that have come to light which might see the layers adjusting their spreads in the weeks and months ahead.

First off is the fall from the top of the NBA food chain that the Golden State Warriors are seemingly going through. Losing Kevin Durant to Free Agency and Klay Thompson for the season through injury was going to be difficult to handle, but Steph Curry broke his hand and the Warriors have been blown away in three of their opening four games which has many tipping them to miss the PlayOffs completely.

I do think this is a work in progress and it is going to be difficult to replace three All Stars in the short-term, but it might allow the roster to just come together and find some rhythm without the pressure they perhaps felt under in the opening couple of weeks. Now no one is expecting Golden State to compete so things may settle down for them, although this is a team I am keeping a watching brief on at the moment.

At the start of the season most also felt the NBA Championship could be decided in Los Angeles with the Lakers and Clippers favoured to come out of the Western Conference and go on and win the title in June. The Clippers struck the first blow with a win over the Lakers on the opening night, but the Lakers have looked very strong now Anthony Davis is motoring and it does look like these two will be right alongside one another in May.

The Houston Rockets and a loaded Western Conference will be using words like this to motivate them with plenty believing it is a two horse race out West and I do think it will be a rocky road to the Western Conference Finals. I would not want to part with too much cash to oppose the Los Angeles teams, but this won't be as easy as some might think.

I think things will be clearer in the Eastern Conference for much of the season with the biggest intrigue being the order in which the Seeds finish. All of the likely names have looked pretty good to open the season, but one early disappointment has been the Brooklyn Nets.

Bringing in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant has really pumped up the expectation for the Nets, even though most felt Durant would not be available until the 2020/21 season. The latest reports that Brooklyn are a little worried about Irving's mood swings is a concern and was the main reason I didn't want the New York Knicks to sign him.

We have seen Irving blow up any chances of the Boston Celtics to win the NBA Championship last season with his lack of leadership a real concern as far as I opine anyway. That was why I thought it might be a bad move for the Knicks who have some talented younger players on the roster, and the Nets might soon have a case of 'buyer's remorse' if Irving is not able to build a better chemistry with his team-mates.

I will be placing the NBA Picks from the first ten days of the November month in this thread and will then use new threads over the last three weeks of the month. It should make the NBA Picks easier to follow as I look to build on a slight profit that was earned in October.

Friday 1st November
Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: There was a real sense of expectation with the Los Angeles Lakers when they finally managed to get the trade for Anthony Davis over the line from the New Orleans Pelicans. I wanted to have something of a watch to see how Davis would fit in with LeBron James early in the season having seen the likes of the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers just have a few issues dealing with an uber-talent like LeBron, but the Lakers seem to have a different methodology in play.

While LeBron was the clear 'go to' player for the Heat and Cavaliers as he took begun to dominate those super-teams, it feels like James is happy to play for Davis here in Los Angeles. That saw Davis join an elite list of Basketball greats who have scored 40 points and secured 20 rebounds for the Lakers in the same game and any concerns about a sore shoulder is not holding him back.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James both understand how important it is to make a good start to the season and also build their chemistry to show the Lakers are ready to return to the PlayOffs and make a big impact when they get there. Beating up on the Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies at home is not that impressive and the Lakers have lost to the Los Angeles Clippers so this is a real chance to show they are for real when going out on the road for the first time in 2019/20.

The Lakers visit the Dallas Mavericks who have made a decent enough start to the season and showed the rest of the NBA what is possible when they build around Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic. The win in Denver was a huge boost for the players, especially as they won against last season's Number 2 Seed in the West with both Porzingis and Doncic struggling.

Tim Hardaway gave the Mavericks a big boost from off the bench having struggled to open the season, but this is going to be a tough challenge for a young roster considering how well the Lakers have played Defensively to open the season. Scoring enough points to stay with the Lakers will be a challenge as the visitors are likely going to have a productive day on the Offensive side of the court against a young team making a few Defensive mistakes.

Los Angeles might have the edge on the boards and they are visiting Dallas who are 0-2 against the spread at home this season. The Lakers are also 4-1 against the spread in their last five against Dallas and I think this will be a competitive game that is just edged in favour of the visitors.

Utah Jazz @ Sacramento Kings Pick: There were plenty of boo boys out in force in the last Sacramento Kings game which saw them blow a big lead and suffer a fifth defeat to open the 2019/20 season. They were big favourites against one of the weakest teams in the NBA in the Charlotte Hornets, but the Kings could not maintain their performance levels and were beaten again.

Now they have to host the Utah Jazz who might be flying under the radar as the most under-rated team in the Western Conference. They have moved to 4-1 for the season after beating the Los Angeles Clippers and the sole defeat suffered by the Jazz has come at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers which underlines the kind of level they are capable of producing.

Finding that energy might not be as easy to come by in this game as Utah have already blown out the Sacramento Kings this season while they are heading to the Staples Center to take on the Clippers on Sunday. However Mike Conley had the best game of his very short Utah career last time out and will be looking to back that up, while the Defensive performances of the Jazz make them a very tough team to beat.

No team has scored more than 96 points against Utah this season which is impressive considering they have faced the two Los Angeles teams who have been looking very strong Offensively. They have only allowed teams to shoot at 40% from the field and limited the Kings to 37% when beating them last week.

It doesn't look a very easy task for the Kings to change that narrative, and they have simply not been able to stop teams on the other end of the court either. The Jazz should be successful shooting the ball from the three point mark and I also think they will be stronger on the glass which should help them make it two wins from two against Sacramento.

Sacramento had a poor ending to last season which saw them just miss out on the Western Conference PlayOffs and they are now 3-13 against the spread in their last sixteen games. The Jazz have not been a great road team to back and have not covered in either game on the road this season, but they are stronger when it comes to playing those teams with losing records.

I don't think they will overlook this game even with the Clippers game on deck and the Defensive strength of the Jazz should see them pull through with a win and a cover.

Tuesday 5th November
The NBA is well underway, but I do think it can be difficult to find selections this side of the All Star Break.

The last three days have been difficult and I have not found the kind of options I am happy to be behind. That has changed on Tuesday, although I am hoping I am not being a square in this NBA Pick.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls Pick: There is no doubt I was a little fortunate to be on the right side of a winner with the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of last week when they managed to force Overtime before beating the Dallas Mavericks on the road. They conclude a three game road set with this game at the Chicago Bulls before heading home for big home games against Eastern Conference opponents.

The Lakers have opened up with a 5-1 record after securing another victory at the San Antonio Spurs to make it five in a row since losing on the opening night of the 2019/20 season. I can't really argue that they have played top, top opposition, but the Lakers have not had an easy schedule and they are now going up against a Bulls team who have made a disappointing start to the season.

Chicago were not expecting to be challenging for a PlayOff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the 2-5 start has been even lower than those limited goals. Defeats to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers underlines where the Bulls are at the moment and they are going to need a big effort to knock off one of the favourites to win the NBA Championship at the end of the season.

The Bulls may also seem some split loyalties from the fans who might want to remind Anthony Davis what home feels like. Davis has been immense for the Lakers since coming in off a trade, but he made interesting comments about his home town team with some suggestion he could consider signing with Chicago at the end of this season when hitting Free Agency. That is going to appeal to the home crowd who may be preparing a friendly welcome for Anthony Davis.

Anthony Davis won't need much encouragement to be honest having shown why the Lakers were desperate to trade for him before the 2019 trade deadline. A double-double is likely on the cards again, but Davis will also be well supported by his team-mates including LeBron James who have been efficient from the field and now face a Bulls team who have struggled to stop teams.

To make the challenge that much more difficult for Chicago, they have not been consistent enough with the ball in their hands. Now they are going up against a Defensive unit that has allowed just 40% of successful shots from the field during their five game winning run and the Lakers would have covered this line in four of their five wins.

With a likely edge in terms of production around the glass, I do think the Lakers can be backed at the current line. They are in the midst of some favourable trends and the Lakers are 4-0-1 against the spread in the last five against the Chicago Bulls too.

Wednesday 6th November
Time has been an issue to write down full analysis from the NBA Picks on Wednesday, but you can see my selections below.

Thursday 7th November
It has not been a good week for the NBA Picks and part of the frustration has to be the close defeats I have suffered with the Lakers and the Raptors in the last couple of days. Hopefully better is to come on Thursday, although it might be time to take a few moments to reset and get back to basics if things don't go the way I anticipate.

Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: There is going to be some real emotion in the building for Kemba Walker who will be making his first appearance in the Spectrum Center in the opposition jersey on Thursday. For eight years Walker has been a member of the Charlotte Hornets, but he was frustrated with the contract offer received despite giving up a hometown discount and eventually decided he would move to the Boston Celtics.

Kemba Walker has been signed to replace departing Kyrie Irving and he is averaging 26 points per game while being a key part of the 5-1 start the Celtics have made. This is a team who still feel they have the big pieces to make a run at the Eastern Conference title even with both Irving and Al Horford moving on to potential rivals.

It isn't just Walker who has been impressing, but Gordon Hayward looks to have fully recovered from the injury suffered in his first game for the Celtics two years ago. He was the key to the win at the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple of nights ago and Boston have some momentum to bring into this one where you have to believe the team are ready to back up their new team-mate Walker in a game that will mean a lot to him.

The Celtics are amongst the favourites in the Eastern Conference, but the Charlotte Hornets were expected to be going through a transitional season as they moved on from an All-Star to a much younger looking roster. They rallied from a huge deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers in their last game and move back above 0.500 for the season, and in Terry Rozier they have a player who will want to show the Boston Celtics what they are going to be missing this season.

The stronger Defensive performances being produced by the Celtics should prove to be a real difference maker in this game. While the Hornets have struggled on that side of the court, Boston have gone back to basics in making sure they able to produce their Offensive output from a strong Defensive standpoint.

If the starters can come out hot, the Celtics can get into a lead that will be difficult to peg back for the Hornets after putting in such an effort to recover last time out against the Pacers.

The Celtics are actually 12-3-1 against the spread in their last sixteen games against the Charlotte Hornets and the added motivation of wanting to produce a win for Kemba Walker should put them in a good place. Charlotte have made a stronger than expected start to the season as indicated by their winning record straight up and also against the spread, but the Hornets are 2-2 against the spread when given 5 or more points.

There is no doubting this is a big enough spread, but Boston can do enough on both ends of the court to get the better of the overachieving Hornets.

Miami Heat @ Phoenix Suns Pick: The spot would have been a much more ideal one to oppose the Miami Heat if they had not been blown out by the Denver Nuggets last time out and also had been favoured to win here on the road. However, in saying that, the Heat are on the first of a back to back and the second half of this is a trip to the Los Angeles Lakers which has to be on the minds of the players.

It is a tough situation to deal with a young Phoenix Suns team who have won three in a row to move to 5-2 for the season and who have Devin Booker playing some lights out basketball against. Booker might be the most talented young player in the NBA, but he has spent too long playing on a team with a losing record and is obviously keen to change that narrative this season.

The whole system being used by Head Coach Monty Williams looks to be gelling very well with the Phoenix Suns and all of the players feel comfortable running what they are being asked. Devin Booker is the obvious standout player with an average of over 26 points per game, but others are stepping up too and will give the Miami Heat a few issues here.

Miami have signed Jimmy Butler to give them a bona fide star in the NBA and they will be happy with the 5-2 start made to the season. The blow out loss to the Nuggets will have hurt, but it is one game out of eighty-two and the Heat are definitely a contender for a high Seed in the Eastern Conference.

Overall I have little doubt that Miami are going to finish with the better record than the Suns, but I do like the spot for the home team. They are well rested and have a couple of days before they face the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers in home games which will be exciting for the fans and the players, but Miami having to meet the Lakers tomorrow looks to be a more immediate distraction.

The Heat do have a very strong record in recent games against the Phoenix Suns and that includes a 10-1 record against the spread in the last eleven here. I have to respect that, but this looks a good spot bet situation and I will back the Suns to get the better of them as a slight home favourite.

Friday 8th November
New York Knicks @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: At this stage of the NBA season teams are still figuring out their own identity and so backing any to overcome a double digit spread is not really for me.

Unless the spot calls for it.

This is one of those situations when the Dallas Mavericks at 5-2 host the 1-7 New York Knicks. The records might suggest there is a big gap between these teams, but it is the motivation of Kristaps Porzingis which could really inspire the home team to put a statement win on the board on Friday.

Porzingis is a former New York Knick who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as the Knicks looked to create the room to build a super team at Madison Square Garden. Like many of the plans laid out by the New York Knicks in the last few years, things have not worked out anywhere near where they would have liked and instead the fans are likely going to have to suffer through another difficult season in the weak Eastern Conference.

The back to back blowout losses to the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons have knocked the confidence of the Knicks players and the feeling that a mismatched roster had been put together is not lost on the fans. RJ Barrett continues to play very well in his rookie season, but the Knicks have struggled without a lead Point Guard and the Head Coach is now feeling the pressure from a fanbase who are fed up of cheering a team that has struggled under his watch.

The Mavericks only just moved to 5-2 last time out as they edged the Orlando Magic at home and it is hard to believe they will be favoured by such a spread many times this season. In fact Dallas have not covered as a favourite of 6 or more points this season which is a concern when backing them, but I expect every player to want to rally around Porzingis in his first game against his former team and that can inspire a dominant win.

A key to the success could be the Dallas three point shooting which has been effective enough to hurt the New York Knicks. If they can keep the Knicks at around their season average of 41% shooting from the field, I do think Dallas can pull away in this one.

All of the recent trends suggest the Knicks would be the right side here, but you can't factor in the emotion of the home team and this is a spot selection.

MY PICKS: 01/11 Los Angeles Lakers - 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
01/11 Utah Jazz - 5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
05/11 Los Angeles Lakers - 7 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
06/11 Detroit Pistons - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
06/11 Atlanta Hawks - 1.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (1 Unit)
06/11 Toronto Raptors - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
07/11 Boston Celtics - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
07/11 Phoenix Suns - 1.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
08/11 Dallas Mavericks - 11 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

November 1-10 Update: 3-5, - 2.27 Units (8 Units Staked, - 28.38% Yield)

October 2019: 6-5, + 0.41 Units (11 Units Staked, + 3.73% Yield)

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