Seven games of NBA action and we seven more opportunities to get some winners. Our NBA picks are ready to go and we are picking more upsets than ever before to round out the year.
Houston is finally back to full strength, but does that mean they will get their first win of the season? New York has won two in a row but are being given nine points against the undefeated Toronto Raptors…
Find out who the winners are for tonight in our NBA picks below.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Indiana Pacers – 3PM ET
A Central division clash between two sides who just lost their first game of the season, Cleveland travels to Indiana to see who can get back on track.
The Cavaliers suffered a nine point loss at the hands of the Knicks with Collin Sexton scoring 20 points, his fourth consecutive game scoring at least that, and Andre Drummond dominated inside with 18 points, 17 boards and 6 blocks.
They did however let Julius Randle get a triple-double and Domantas Sabonis should be licking his lips with the matchup. Sabonis had a quiet game on Tuesday but still managed 14 points, 11 boards and 8 assists. The Pacers were led by Victor Oladipo who had 24, 6 and 6 while looking like the All Star level Oladipo we knew before his quad injury last year.
While the Cavs have been playing some inspired basketball to start the season, Kevin Love going down with a calf strain is a big loss and the Pacers look to be firing on all cylinders in the early part of the season and should get the win at home.
NBA Pick – Indiana Pacers (-291)
Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards – 5PM ET
A rematch of Tuesday night where Chicago ran away with the game to end up eight point winners, but the game was never really that close.
Zach LaVine led seven Bulls players in double figures with 23 points, 5 boards, 6 assists and 4 steals. What did it for Chicago was their defense, keeping Washington to just 107 points, their first game keeping an opponent under 124 points so far.
Zach LaVine has effortless bounce. pic.twitter.com/8pNw3DwVLP
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 30, 2020
Russell Westbrook had another triple double and combined with Bradley Beal for 50 points, but the three other starters combined for just 22 points. Davis Bertans came off the bench for 20 points but Washington still hasn’t pieced it all together yet.
Westbrook posted a cryptic instagram implying that Washington is coming together and eager to get their first win, but can they actually do it?
Rui Hachimura will be playing his first game of the season for Washington while Lauri Markkanen is a game time decision with a calf complaint for the Bulls. That is a massive swing in favor of the home side and it may be enough to help them get win number one.
NBA Pick – Washington Wizards (-255)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic – 6:30PM ET
A battle between two playoff teams from last season, the 3-1 Philadelphia 76ers travel down south to take on the undefeated Orlando Magic.
Philly bounced back after their first loss of the season to defeat the Toronto Raptors by seven points with Joel Embiid having a monster game with 29 points, 16 boards and 2 blocks while Tobias Harris chipped in with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The story for Philly, going back to the start of last season, is the difference in their performance when playing at home and at the road. Home wins over Washington and Toronto but a road loss to the Cavaliers continue the trend of last season where the Sixers had the best home record in the league, 31-4, but were just 12-26 on the road.
Orlando has a very balanced attack, led by Nikola Vucevic who had another double-double on Tuesday with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Markelle Fultz had a double-double of his own with 11 points and 10 assists.
This will be both side’s toughest test to date, but the fact that the 76ers are on the road, Joel Embiid is on the injury list with back spasms, but still listed as probable, and Orlando is still undefeated is making us lean towards the Magic in this one.
NBA Pick – Orlando Magic (+130)
Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 7PM ET
Who would have expected the Sacramento Kings to be 3-1 with two wins over Denver and win over Phoenix to start the season. Houston still having James Harden and being 0-2 is just as surprising, however they have been without John Wall, Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins and others due to COVID-19 quarantining protocols.
The Rockets are expected to be back to their full roster for this matchup meaning that James Harden and Christian Wood will get the assistance that they have needed. Through their first two games, Harden is averaging 39 points and 12.5 assists while Wood has averages of 27 points and 8 rebounds.
The Kings are coming off their second victory over the Nuggets where De’Aaron Fox led seven players in double figures with 24 points and 9 assists. Sacramento has the second longest playoff drought in NBA history, currently sitting at 14 years, and their hot start has their fans excited at the prospect of ending that streak, but coming up against a full strength Houston side is a bit of a worry.
Despite being 0-2, Houston are the favorites and we are siding with the odds and picking Houston to get their first win with the band all back together.
NBA Pick – Houston Rockets (-186)
The squad is back and it’s a whole vibe for the city. 🤘🚀🏀 pic.twitter.com/J7Qu1s6iXo
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 30, 2020
New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors – 7:30PM ET
The disrespect that New York gets is incredible. They are on a two game winning streak, beating the Milwaukee Bucks by 20 and beating the previously undefeated Cleveland Cavaliers by nine on Tuesday. They now travel to Tampa Bay to take on the 0-3 Toronto Raptors. Yet Toronto is nine point favorites for this contest.
Julius Randle had a 28 point, 12 rebound, 11 assist triple-double against the Cavaliers while Elfrid Payton had 14 points, 8 boards and 7 assists in the win. Alec Burks missed that one and is listed as questionable for tonight, but has provided a spark off the bench through the first three games, averaging over 20 points and over three rebounds, assists and threes per game.
After a 14 point loss to the Pelicans in their opening game, Toronto has lost by just five points to San Antonio and seven points to the Sixers, in Philly. The Raptors have had three different players lead the team in scoring in their three losses, with Kyle Lowry being the lead man on Tuesday with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. They are yet to have a full team effort on offense however and until they can do that, they won’t be able to win.
But can they do it against the Knicks?
Toronto is a very defensive team and has the pieces to slow down Randle, Payton and RJ Barrett, New York’s main three offensive powers in the starting lineup.
The Knicks getting nine points is a very appealing bet, but in the money line market Toronto couldn’t lose their fourth straight could they?
NBA Pick – Toronto Raptors (-411)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 8PM ET
Heading into the season, this would have seemed like a clear win for New Orleans, with the Pels having playoff aspirations while the Thunder are embracing the tank. However, after winning their first game, OKC has been very competitive in two losses to playoff teams from last season, Utah and Orlando.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has scored at least 23 points and dished out at least seven assists in all three games so far this season while getting steady contributions from Luguentz Dort and George Hill on both ends of the floor.
New Orleans on the other hand just had an embarrassing 25 point loss to the Phoenix Suns where they never looked close after one quarter. Zion Williamson had an efficient 20 points but lacked supporting stats while Brandon Ingram cooled off with just 13 points.
Both sides are young and inconsistent, however Oklahoma City has played better through their three games so far and could surprise with an upset win here.
NBA Pick – Oklahoma City Thunder (+170)
Cameron Johnson: 18 PTS, 4 3PM
Deandre Ayton: 13 PTS, 12 REB
Chris Paul: 9 PTS, 9 AST pic.twitter.com/SY4g2LF5df
— NBA (@NBA) December 30, 2020
Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz – 9PM ET
Phoenix has won two straight, including the previously mentioned 25 point victory over the Pels in their most recent outing and head to Salt Lake City to take on the 2-1 Utah Jazz who have had two days break after their one-point win over the Thunder.
Donovan Mitchell has scored at least 20 points in all three games, but would be disappointing Jazz fans and his fantasy owners as his 20.3 per game is the lowest season average of his career, including his rookie season and he is shooting a career worst 32.3% from the field. Mike Conley is the second leading scorer for the team and is looking revitalized in the early season while Jordan Clarkson is averaging 18 points off the bench.
The Suns have started 3-1 and are getting even contributions across the board on both ends of the floor, but what was most impressive about their 25-point win on Tuesday, Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined for just 17 points and 13 shot attempts.
The Jazz would be a massive scalp for the Suns, and this is a very winnable game for them with Utah not playing their best basketball to start the season.
NBA Pick – Phoenix Suns (+135)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.