Three Free Picks for a Post-Thanksgiving Basketball Slate

Troy Haliburton

Friday, November 24, 2017 7:46 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 7:46 PM UTC

Black Friday boasts a large NBA schedule with important matchups all over the place, there's just so much to chose from! That's why we had our top NBA capper, Troy Haliburton, handpick the best picks on the menu.

Orlando vs Boston

The Celtics finally snapped their 16 game winning streak on Wednesday when they lost to the Miami Heat, but will now try and get back on track against the other team from the state of Florida.

The Celtics have figured out a way to have a balanced attack in absence of Gordon Hayward, by featuring more of rookie Jayson Tatum. Tatum is averaging 14.2 points per game and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 48% from 3-point range. The thing that makes Tatum such a versatile threat offensively is his ability to take smaller defenders in the post and showcase his Kobe-like footwork, while also being able to take bigger defenders off the dribble when the Celtics go small and play him at power forward.

Aaron Gordon has been stellar in the first 16 games of the season, and has shown marked improvement in his offensive game. Gordon is shooting 42% from three, which is up considerably from his career average of 30.8%. Just the threat alone of Gordon being able to be a capable spot-up shooter has allowed him to use his most useful talent, which is elite athleticism to his advantage. Teams literally have to pick their poison in terms of how they defend Gordon. If you go under the screen, he can beat you with his improved jump-shot. If you hedge hard and go over the screen, Gordon will use his ball-handling skills to get to the rim, and has no problem finishing over or through contact at the rim.

Gordon should be too much for Boston to handle on the wing, and the Magic will use a good game from him to cover the 7.5 point spread.

Free NBA Pick: Orlando + 7.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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 Detroit vs Oklahoma City

The Detroit Pistons have gotten off to one of their hotter starts in recent memory by amassing a 11-6 record. One of the catalysts for the hot start is Andre Drummond and his newfound urgency to pick up his intensity on the defensive end.

Another key to Detroit’s resurgence as a relevant team in the East is the health of point guard Reggie Jackson. Last season Jackson struggled with a  lack of explosiveness due to a lingering ankle injury, but this season it seems he has regained the athleticism that made him a promising prospect just a few seasons ago. Jackson will be matched up with his former teammate Russell Westbrook who had one of his better games of the season when the Thunder upset the Golden State Warriors.

Oklahoma City is still trying to find themselves as a team offensively and apart of that has to do with getting everyone to buy into sharing the basketball.

Free NBA Pick: Detroit +8Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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 Hornets vs Cavs

The Cavs are trying to find their groove with their new cast of characters around Lebron James. The Cavs have struggled mightily defending the basket from opposing teams and are still giving up 112 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NBA. The good thing about that matchup is that the Hornets are only scoring 103 points per contest, which only ranks 20th in the NBA. This game will be a style of fights, and in such a matchup of contrast, give me the best player on the planet.

The Hornets have their own budding superstar in Kemba Walker and he has lead the Hornets to a good start to their season and a .500 record through 10 games. Walker is eating opposing defenses alive with his dynamic dribbling display and uncanny shot-making ability. The Hornets struggle offensively as a team, but that is ok when you literally have a one-man show who can go out and get a bucket at any given moment.

Still the staple of the Hornets team is their defense, which is now anchored by Dwight Howard and he does a fantastic job of contesting opponents shots at the rim and clearing the ball on the defensive glass. Howard may finally be at the point in his career why he’s starting to realize that he can impact basketball games way more with his running, rebounding, and jumping skills as opposed to demanding the ball in the post as he did in previous stops.

Look for Dwight Howard to dominate against a much smaller Cleveland frontcourt and keep the Hornets in this game.

Free NBA Pick: Hornets +5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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