NBA Expert Picks - Friday's Biggest Upsets

Jake Walker

Friday, December 2, 2016 4:49 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 4:49 PM UTC

In this week's column we explain why the Lakers and the Kings provide decent betting value on the road, against two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.


Lakers vs. Raptors

The Lakers improved to 10-10 with an incredible 96-90 road win against the Bulls on Wednesday while the Raptors won their fourth straight game, beating a banged up Grizzlies team 120-105 at home.

Sure, the Lakers are just a .500 team and the Raptors are on fire and they will be at home, but Los Angeles has played decent basketball all season and the fact that they were able to defeat a talented Bulls team on the road, despite missing their starting guards D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young speaks volumes about Luke Walton's coaching ability and the kind of depth on their roster.

The Raptors beat the Grizzlies comfortably and the Lakers will be without Russell and Young again, but Memphis didn't have Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, Chandler Parsons and James Ennis last Wednesday and Toronto couldn't put the game out of reach until the third quarter. 

Toronto is favored by 11 points on the NBA odds board but Los Angeles has an explosive offense that averages 106.6 points per game (8th in the NBA) and they pull down 44.6 rebounds per game (12th in the league). The Lakers always seem to find ways to keep games close and win and although the Raptors are the better team and it's hard to beat them at home, getting 11 points with a well-coached squad that can score a lot makes me lean towards Los Angeles here. 

Free NBA Pick: Lakers +11 (-115)Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb

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Kings vs. Celtics

The Kings had their road game with the 76ers postponed due to condensation on the floor while the Celtics lost their third straight at home after a 121-114 setback against the Pistons on Wednesday. Boston has struggled defensively, giving up 104.4 points per game and they're a poor rebounding team, grabbing just 42.1 boards per game (25th in the NBA) and Sacramento has decent firepower, led by DeMarcus Cousins (28.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks) and Rudy Gay (19.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks). 

The Celtics aren't playing at the high level that people expected from them coming into the season and their lack of effort, especially on their home court worries me. I can't trust the Celtics to cover this many points at the TD Garden. The Kings are just 3-6 on the road and they're also one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, but they had an extra day of rest and Cousins has been unstoppable lately. Look for Cousins and Gay to at least keep Sacramento in the game, as Boston hasn't been consistent enough, particularly on defense. I like the Kings +7 for one of my NBA picks.

 Free NBA Pick: Kings +7 (-110)Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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