Two Potential NBA Upsets From Road Teams On Friday's Slate

Ersan Ilyasova of the Hawks

Jake Walker

Thursday, March 23, 2017 11:02 PM GMT

Two games with road underdogs stand out on Friday because both teams offer decent betting value. Read on to get the insider's NBA picks on all the action.

Hawks vs. Bucks

The Hawks have lost their last five games, including last Wednesday's 104-100 setback against the Wizards, when they let Washington go on a 24-8 run in the fourth quarter and they even went without a field goal for 4:41 and had just five free-throws.

Paul Millsap's absence has really hurt this team. Millsap has missed the last three games with a sore knee and he won't play on Friday, which means that Ersan Ilyasova will make another start at power forward. Ilyasova played 26 minutes against the Wizards and finished with just five points and eight rebounds. The Hawks are 3-8 in their last 11 games and they need him to step up and play up to his potential. Ilyasova is capable of producing way more. He is averaging 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 13 games with the Hawks and facing one of his former teams should get him fired up and ready to prove why Atlanta traded for him. 

The Bucks are coming off an impressive 116-98 win over the Kings behind 32 points, 13 rebounds and six assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo. They have won five of their last seven games to move to 36-35, one game behind the Hawks for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings so this contest has huge implications for both teams. 

The Bucks are just 3-12 ATS against Southeast Division opponents and they rank 29th in the NBA with 40.6 rebounds while the Hawks are 10-4 ATS after a division game. Look for Atlanta to exploit Milwaukee's weakness on the boards with Dwight Howard's rebounding skills making a difference. I'm taking the Hawks to get the cover at +5.5 on the NBA odds board behind the play of Ilyasova and Howard (12.8 rebounds per game, 4th in the league) and it wouldn't surprise me if they snap their losing streak here.

Free NBA Pick: Hawks +5.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Pelicans vs. Rockets

These two teams met last Friday and the Pelicans beat the Rockets 128-112 at home as 5-point underdogs behind a career-high 30 points from Solomon Hill. New Orleans hasn't lost since and now they've won four of their last five games, including an impressive 95-82 victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday, when DeMarcus Cousins exploded for 41 points and 17 rebounds. 

I took the Pelicans +5 last week and I like them again this Friday for the same reasons, the team's chemistry has improved significantly as Cousins gets more comfortable and Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Jordan Crawford along with other role players like Hill are stepping up and playing well. Overall their offense looks more fluid and keep in mind that DeMarcus Cousins didn't play in last Friday's win against the Rockets.

Cousins will be available on Friday and him and Anthony Davis might cause matchup problems for the Rockets because their main weakness is their frontcourt. I'm adding the Pelicans +7 to my NBA picks, they might not win this time because the Rockets are strong at home but they will keep the game close enough to cover. 

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

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