Handicapping New Playoffs Blood: Hornets, Pistons & Jazz Postseason Best NBA Picks

Jordan Sharp

Monday, April 4, 2016 5:00 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 4, 2016 5:00 PM GMT

The NBA Playoffs are bound to see some new blood. Last season we saw the Pelicans come in to their matchup with the Warriors in the first round, and end up as an excellent ATS NBA Pick. Can we expect more of that in 2016?

Charlotte Hornets
Unlike the other two teams on this list, the Hornets have actually clinched a playoff spot already. This will be the Hornets’ first playoff appearance since 2013-2014, when the Miami Heat easily swept them. However, Charlotte has come a long way since then, adding Nicolas Batum to their roster, beefing up their frontcourt depth, and with Kemba Walker having his best and most efficient season of his career.

Now we are faced with the question, can the Hornets win their first round playoff matchup? It’s tough to tell at this moment, because while they have clinched a spot in the playoffs, it’s unclear whom they would face. Four teams from 3rd to 6th are separated by only a half game in the Eastern Conference standings, and Charlotte could even get home court advantage.

If the Hornets can get home court advantage, I would not be opposed to making them an NBA Pick only ATS, but even to win the series. If they play a team like Miami or Atlanta, the Hornets might be able to knock either one of those teams off. The Hornets are one of the top five best home defensive teams in the entire league, so even if they don’t get home court advantage, when they eventually do play a home game in the playoffs, look for them to be a solid play ATS and on the under.

 

Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are on pace for their first playoff berth since 2008-2009. This would be a big accomplishment for a team that has been in the lottery for six straight years, and right now they are two games up on the Chicago Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, if things hold like they are currently, that means they would have to go up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

Detroit made the biggest move at the deadline acquiring Tobias Harris for a song, and he has really improved this team. He would be a tough matchup for Kevin Love in the playoffs, but the Pistons would ultimately lose to Cleveland. The Cavs are simply too good defensively and too deep for the shallow Pistons, and even though Detroit would have the advantage down low with Andre Drummond, Timofey Mozgov is still a really good defender, and Drummond is not as good on defense as he gets credit for. One too many fouls could ruin any post advantage the Pistons would have in this matchup.

Detroit could also get to the 7th seed still and potentially face the Raptors, which might be another discussion. The Pistons are 1-2 Su and 2-1 ATS this season in three games against the Raptors, and two of those came before the deadline and without Harris. If the Pistons get up to the 7th seed and face Toronto, a first round upset and a winning amount of ATS wins could be in order.

 

Utah Jazz
Utah is in the same position as Detroit, expect they only have a one game lead on the Rockets with only seven games to go. Utah however could also get out of the eighth seed and avoid the Warriors in the first round, but they would of course have to play the Spurs, another tough team that they arguably matchup worse than compared to the Warriors. Against both teams this season, the Jazz are 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS, and even though they were banged up a lot this season, it’s hard to think they would have much of a chance both SU or ATS versus either of the top two West teams.

This team is one year away from being a force though. They will get back Dante Exum next season and that will improve them a lot on both ends of the court, but even though they might play either team tough and possibly steal a game SU or ATS, it’s hard to predict when and if it will happen. The other two Eastern Conference teams have a lot more of a chance at a potential upset, but hopefully the Jazz can make the playoffs over the underachieving Rockets. Utah will at least play tough defense and make it tough on either Golden State or San Antonio. We will be monitoring the NBA Odds market and will keep our readers posted on any new developments.

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