NBA Picks of the Day: Kick off 2015-16 with a Thursday Night Profit

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 29, 2015 1:45 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 1:45 PM UTC

It's the first Thursday night action of the NBA season and that means a TNT doubleheader. Hawks vs. Knicks & Mavericks vs. Clippers will get action on the NBA oddsboard, here are my NBA picks.

Hawks vs. Knicks (-4, 197.5 NBA Odds)
Many experts though Atlanta would regress this year off last season's franchise-record 60 wins that was second only to NBA champion Golden State. Just about everything went right for the Hawks, especially due to injuries. The team had four All-Stars and Mike Budenholzer, the former Spurs assistant, was named NBA Coach of the Year (perhaps the Warriors' Kerr should have won that? He finished second.).

But the Hawks were far from dominant in the playoffs as their weaknesses were exposed. The main one was that teams weren't letting sharpshooter Kyle Korver get open for 3-pointers. Atlanta took six games to beat a bad Brooklyn team in Round 1 of the playoffs and another six to take out Washington in the conference semifinals. Had Wizards star point guard John Wall not gotten hurt, that series might have gone the other way. Cleveland dominated Atlanta in a four-game sweep in the conference finals.

You obviously can't read much into one game, but Atlanta was dominated at home in its season opener Tuesday night by a Detroit Pistons team that finished 18 games below .500 last year. Detroit won 106-94 despite missing 20 of its final 22 shots. Atlanta's biggest offseason acquisition was trading for center Tiago Splitter from San Antonio and he did nothing, with four points and four fouls off the bench. The other big deal the Hawks made was acquiring Tim Hardaway Jr. from the Knicks at the draft and Hardaway Jr. wasn't even active for some reason. Maybe he plays against his former team here. Finally, the Hawks lost one of their best players in forward DeMarre Carroll to free agency (Toronto), and his starting replacement, Kent Bazemore, was scoreless and minus-17 in 17 minutes against the Pistons.

The Knicks looked great in their opener Wednesday, a 122-97 win at Milwaukee, which was a playoff team last year. New York's first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Kristaps Porzingis, had 16 points. Carmelo Anthony managed only 11 on 4-for-16 shooting. Guard Arron Afflalo, an expected starter, missed the game with a strained left hamstring and isn't expected in this one.

Atlanta won two of three against New York last season. Last year, the Hawks were 25-16 away from home, the best road mark in the East and a franchise single-season record for away wins. Since moving to Atlanta prior to the 1968-69 season, the Hawks are 14-33 in their first road game of the year. They lost at Toronto in the 2014-15 road opener.

NBA Free Picks: Hawks and 'OVER' Second of a back-to-back for the Knicks and perhaps already a tad bit of urgency for Atlanta.


Mavericks vs. Clippers (-11, 210.5 NBA Odds)
This Western Conference matchup has some extra intrigue because of all that craziness surrounding Clippers center DeAndre Jordan this summer. The Texas native wasn't happy with his role in the Clippers offense and didn't get along well with star point guard Chris Paul, so Jordan opted to agree to four-year, $80 million free-agent deal with the Mavs. One problem: Jordan had to wait a week or so during the NBA's moratorium on moves to sign the deal. Normally players are off-limits to other teams after the verbally agree.

Jordan had second thoughts, and Paul cut short a Caribbean vacation to fly to Houston -- with a few other Clippers players, coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer --- and convince Jordan he was wanted back. It worked. The night Jordan could sign a contract, the Clippers contingent barricaded themselves and Jordan in a room until he did. Jordan never gave Mavs owner Mark Cuban a second chance to convince him to come to Dallas. Needless to say, Cuban was furious but the Clippers technically did nothing wrong. Now L.A. remains a title contender, while Dallas looks lottery-bound. Will Cuban be at Staples Center to glare at Jordan? His main recruiter from the Mavericks was friend Chandler Parsons, but the forward isn't ready to start the season due to right knee surgery.

Both clubs are playing the second of a back-to-back. The Mavericks pulled a minor surprise in Phoenix on Wednesday, 111-95. Raymond Felton had 18 points to lead eight players in double figures. Deron Williams had 12 points and seven assists in his Dallas debut. The Clippers won 111-104 in Sacramento. New addition Paul Pierce put L.A. ahead for good with a jumper with 2:20 left. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Blake Griffin had 33 points for Los Angeles.

The Clippers won two of three in the series last year, with the winning team scoring at least 115 points in all three. Dallas is expected to be an awful defensive team this year after losing Tyson Chandler to free agency and then striking out on Jordan, a Defensive Player of the Year betting favorite (third last year).

NBA Free Picks: 'OVER' for sure. Give the points. The Mavs are have failed to cover four of their past five with no days of rest, while L.A. has covered its past five in that scenario. The 'OVER' has hit in eight straight  meetings. 

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