NBA Picks: Biggest Upsets For Friday January 20th

Toronto Raptors players gathered around

Friday, January 20, 2017 5:15 PM GMT

This week's column will focus on explaining why there's decent betting value on the Raptors and the Rockets, two teams that are expected to make deep playoff runs. Read on to get the insider's NBA picks on tonight's action.

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets

The Raptors are coming off a disappointing 94-89 road loss to the 76ers while the Hornets crushed the Trail Blazers 107-85, but Toronto had won four in a row before that setback and Charlotte was on a five-game losing streak.

Charlotte's win against Portland doesn't erase their struggles during their previous losses and Toronto's loss against Philadelphia doesn't erase the kind of team that they are (28-14, 1st in the Atlantic Division), anyone can have a bad night and the 76ers are playing extremely well and they also beat the Hornets recently, so there's no shame in losing against them right now.

The Hornets are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games against Atlantic Division opponents and 7-10 ATS revenging a loss against an opponent while the Raptors are 4-0 ATS as a road underdog of 3 points or less and 5-1 ATS against Southeast Division opponents.

Having Jared Sullinger back will make a difference for the Raptors. Sullinger finished with eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes against the 76ers and he can help carry the workload of the team's frontcourt players against the Hornets. The Raptors won the first meeting between these two teams, 113-111 on November 11 in Charlotte behind 34 points from DeMar DeRozan and they're way more talented than the Hornets. One bad loss won't prevent me from adding the Raptors to my NBA picks here.

Free NBA Pick: Raptors +1 (-106)

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets​​​​

The Warriors are on a roll, winning their last five games, scoring at least 107 points in those contests and they have the best offense in the league, averaging 117.8 points per game. Their defense allows 105.0 points per game (19th in the NBA) though, and they will face a Rockets team that beat them 132-127 in double overtime on December 1 in Oakland. James Harden scored 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists that time and Ryan Anderson added another 29 points on five 3-pointers. Kevin Durant finished with 39 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors but shot just 12 of 28.

The Rockets also struggle on defense, giving up 107.3 points per game (24th in the league) and they're not playing their best basketball of the season but James Harden is on MVP form right now, averaging 30.3 points, 10.3 assists and 8.7 rebounds over his last 10 games and doing an amazing job getting his teammates involved and making them better, which is why I like the Rockets to at least stay in the game. I expect another close, high-scoring game between these two teams so I will take the Rockets at +4.5 NBA odds.

Free NBA Pick: Rockets +4.5 (-105)

Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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