NBA Picks: Biggest Upsets For Friday

Jake Walker

Friday, November 25, 2016 9:34 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 9:34 PM UTC

The 76ers and the Pelicans had slow starts this season, but they're playing better of late and providing great betting value. In this week's column we explain why these two teams can at least cover against -- and possibly upset -- the Bulls and the Trail Blazers, respectively, on Friday.


Chicago Bulls At Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers are playing their best basketball of the season, winning three of their last five games (with victories against the Wizards, Suns and Heat) and almost beat the Grizzlies, but ultimately lost 104-99 in double overtime Wednesday. 

Joel Embiid leads the team with 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and had 12 points with 11 rebounds in 27 minutes against the Grizzlies. He remains on a minutes limit after missing the past two seasons due to foot troubles. Embiid wasn't allowed to play the second OT vs. Memphis beacuse he was over his limit or the Sixers might have won. And he won't play tonight for rest.

Philadelphia is averaging just 98.1 points (24th in the league) and 42.9 rebounds per game (22nd in the NBA) and they could miss Embiid against a Bulls team that grabs 48.9 rebounds per game (second-best in the league).

The Bulls are 9-6 overall and 3-2 on their current road trip that ends here. Chicago relies on Jimmy Butler, who is averaging a career-high 25.8 points per game. He scored 35 in Tuesday's 110-107 loss in Denver, which dropped the Bulls to 5-5 on the road overall.

Philadelphia has been fighting an uphill battle for most of the season, and Chicago is the better team here. However, the Bulls are road-weary, and the 76ers are playing well and they're tough to beat at home even without Embiid.

Free NBA Pick: 76ers +8Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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 New Orleans Pelicans At Portland Trail Blazers

The Pelicans have won four straight games after their impressive 117-96 victory against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, have lost their last two, including a 137-125 road setback in Cleveland last time out.

Anthony Davis is playing out of his mind this season, averaging 31.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, and Tim Frazier has done a great job getting his teammates involved, averaging 8.0 assists to go along with 11.9 points. But the player to watch in this game is Jrue Holiday, as the Pelicans are 4-0 since his return. Holiday has been coming off the bench for now, but his 16.3 points and 7.0 assists add another dimension to the offense when the starters rest and have made a huge difference.

The Trail Blazers have lost five of their last six games, and they have the worst defense in the league, giving up 113.4 points per game. Damian Lillard leads the team with 28.4 points and 4.9 assists, and C.J. McCollum adds 21.9 points per game -- but no one else steps up consistently and Al-Farouq Aminu (6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds) missing the last nine games with a left calf strain doesn't help. 

I will add the Pelicans +4 to my NBA picks. New Orleans beat Portland 113-101 on Nov. 18 behind 38 points and nine rebounds from Davis, and even though the Trail Blazers play better at home, the Pelicans can stay in the game behind Davis and Holiday.

Free NBA Pick: Pelicans +4Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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