The NBA season is back tonight, and we go straight in early on this time with a pick in order to try and take advantage of some poor lines early on.
ATL Hawks -3.5 to beat BKN Nets @ 1.78 (Pinnacle) – 2.5 points
The Atlanta Hawks will be looking to turn around their slump in form that saw them drop 2 straight games against the Jazz and the Celtics; one that will not be acceptable by them especially as they plan to continue their strong hold of the South East Division which they won last season. The Hawks were 8-2 till they dropped those 2 games, and a major reason is injuries to 2 of their starters in Bazemore and Teague. While both of them will also miss tonight’s game, they will look to Dennis Schroeder and Thabo Sefalosha to step in for them to chip in. The Hawks should have actually beaten the Jazz until the go ahead shot didn’t fall through from Millsap. With him and Horford in the front court, it should be a great match up against Lopez and Young especially since the former 2 average 35 points per game this season.
The Nets are all over the place, and only grabbed a victory against a poor Houston Rockets team 3 games ago. Since then they dropped 2 straight against Sacramento and Golden State. The Nets have failed to find any consistency in their offence with Lopez averaging 19 and Jack at 14 as their top 2 scorers. Hollins team has actually struggled horribly in this front averaging among the worst teams in points per 100 possessions. They have played decent defence, but unless the scoring improves, where they are 29th in the NBA with 94 points per game; they won’t be winning many games.
The Hawks have had the better of this match up over the last 3 match ups, winning by over 10 points in each of them; and I expect the Hawks to take advantage of a struggling Nets and put them to the sword.
CLE Cavaliers -3.5 to beat DET Pistons @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 3 points
The Cleveland Cavaliers have started out well this season to the 2nd best record in the NBA with 8-2 start and will be looking forward to visiting the Detroit Pistons to try and get back to winning way after dropping the last game against the Milwaukee Bucks in a Double OT game.
LeBron James has already jumped out to the great form that he needs to be in to lead his team this season especially with injuries to Shumpert and Irving ruling them out at least until January. LeBron has continued on his merry way averaging 27 points per game to go with 6 boards and 6 assists per game, while shooting 51% from the field. He has the other element of the big 3 in Kevin Love contributing well this season after settling in with the team scoring 17 points along with 12 boards. The 2 of them are anchoring this offence with the supporting crew of Smith, Thompson, Mozgov, Jefferson and Mo Williams leading them to this fantastic start; which looks to be the favourite team to win the Eastern Conference at least.
The Pistons have been an extreme mixed bag going 5-5 so far this campaign; but surprising losses to poor teams such as Lakers and Kings along with the good ones in Clippers and Warriors; makes you wonder if this team is actually ready for big things yet. The Pistons have relied consistently on Drummond to provide is 19 points and 19 boards to lead their offence and defence; but other than him its just Reggie Jackson, Morris and Pope who are averaging double digits for them. They are still the 5th worst offensive team averaging just 96 points per game, while shooting 42% from the field and 30% from 3-pint for 27th worst team in both those categories.
This game looks one for Cleveland to lose considering their recent form shown and players like Smith and Varejao getting back to full fitness. The Cavs are a top 10 defensive team so far this season, which was one of the areas they needed to improve v last year; and I think they will cover the 4 points against the Pistons tonight.
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