Sweet Spots Of The Week: Top Upcoming NBA Picks for Holiday Run

Jay Pryce

Sunday, November 19, 2017 3:52 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 3:52 PM UTC

The Thanksgiving holiday sees a relatively light NBA schedule this week, but some of the matchups are as sweet as pumpkin pie. The Cavilers-Pistons and Warriors-Thunder feature. Check out which direction we're headed with our picks here.

Monday, November 20Cavaliers at Pistons (7 p.m. ET)

The Pistons are the biggest surprise in the NBA to begin the year, going 10-5 SU and ATS prior to its Saturday night tip at the Timberwolves. They're succeeding primarily with a high-pressure, intense Stan Van Gundy-coached defense. It allows 101.5 points per game and forces 14.8 turnovers per play, fifth-most in the league. These are precisely the teams the Cavaliers are struggling against the most in their underachieving start. Cleveland is 3-7 SU and ATS versus defenses generating 14.5 turnovers or more per game. They are losing to the number (-5.7) by a whopping 12.7 points per game. Detroit averages 15.9 opponent takeaways per tilt. It's clear the Cavs are missing Kyrie Irving in the backourt. They have not properly replaced his ball handling skills and creativity. Cleveland will foster a new team chemistry eventually, but its not mixing yet, nor is the market completely caught up to the team. Lean Detroit against the spread as your NBA pick.

 Tuesday, November 21Bulls at Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET)

The only NBA game scheduled on Tuesday sees the Bulls take on the Lakers at Staples Center. L.A. is an enigma, completely unpredictable like most young NBA teams. It is sometimes competitive in games it shouldn't be, yet periodically struggle to take care of business when expected. In the last calender year, for example, the Lakers are 5-5 SU and ATS as home favorites. Their four largest losses occurred in the only contests versus opponents sporting an average scoring margin less than 4.5 points. As of Sunday, Chicago's -9.5 points differential is second to last to the Kings (-12.4). The value in this spot will be to take whatever points the market gives due to L.A.'s inconsistency. No telling how the Lakers will perform on any given night, or where their focus is with a road game in Sacramento the next day and Thanksgiving right after.

 Wednesday, November 22Warriors at Thunder (8 p.m. ET)

Since head coach Steve Kerr took over the Warriors and helped transition them into a super team, two trends dominate the Thunder series: Golden State typically covers, and the combined score tends to stay below the total. The Warriors are 11-5-2 ATS, while the 'under' is 12-6, the final tally staying 3.3 points south of a 221.1 average. One benchmark to watch for is if the game tips off higher than the aforementioned average. Here the record is 8-2 for 'under' wagers, despite one contest going into overtime where 33 extra points pushed the final result 16 points higher than expected. Toss that game, and the two combine for 219 points on average in this spot, 6.4 below the number. We're all over the bet if it reaches this threshold again. Golden State's 101.9 pace rating is slightly less than usual for the matchup, and an emphasis on defense is what helped pull it out of an early-season slump.


Friday, November 24Grizzlies at Nuggets (9 p.m. ET)

Veteran point guard Mike Conley is out for the foreseeable future with soreness in his surgically repaired left Achilles. Since 2015, the Grizzlies are 3-17 SU and 6-14 ATS on the road with Conley out of the lineup. They're getting creamed, too, losing by 15.8 points per game. The offense is anemic (93.3 ppg) and the defense leaky (109.2 ppg). To be fair, center Marc Gasol missed all but four of these contests as well. But Memphis still went 1-3 SU and ATS, losing by 10.3 per tilt with the big man in the lineup. The duo is everything for the franchise over the last couple of years, and with one or both injured, it falls on hard times quickly. The slide has already started. After beginning the season winning five of their first six, the Grizz are 2-6 SU and ATS headed into last weekend, Conley visibly playing in pain in most before taking his leave. When the NBA odds for Friday are released, lay the points with the Nuggets in this spot. The market will be chasing Memphis for weeks.  

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