Our free NBA Picks are out for Thursday, November 18th, 2021! Make sure you check our NBA Picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA Picks for the five best games on today’s schedule!
Golden State Warriors @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 7:30pm ET
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will complete a mini three-game series between them and the Brooklyn Nets. It started with Golden State beating Brooklyn by 18 points on Tuesday, before Brooklyn came out and beat Cleveland by 10 last night. Can the Cavs cause the upset at home or will the Warriors hold up the formline and dominate the matchup?
The Golden State Warriors will have what at first sight seems to be an easy away game in Cleveland. However, the Cavaliers proved to be quite a tough opponent this year. Their main superstar, Collin Sexton, tore his left meniscus in the game against the New York Knicks and ever since that moment, the Cavs can’t go past the 100-point mark. They have managed to defeat the Pistons and the Celtics, but lost to the Wizards, the Nets, and to the Celtics in the rematch.
The Golden State Warriors are back at the top after two years of fighting in the bottom of the NBA. Steph Curry has once again proved that form is temporary, but class is permanent. He is, without a doubt, the best player in the League at the moment. This was further proven in their direct matchup with Kevin Durant when Curry dropped 37 points on a 12-19 shooting and 9-14 from the 3-point range. He is awaiting Klay Thompson’s comeback so that the Warriors can have their “Splash Brothers” back in the starting lineup. As for the game, I think the Warriors might find some difficulties in denying Ricky Rubio easy shots, but I don’t see how the Cavs can compete with them without Collin Sexton, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. For me, that’s a match where Curry can go for a triple-double and where the Warriors will cover their spread.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -8.5 (-110)
Stephen Curry scored 37 points in 29 minutes Tuesday, his 23rd career game with 30+ points in fewer than 30 minutes played.
That is by far the most such games by any player in the shot clock era (since 1954-55). pic.twitter.com/JQIFndJXjq
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2021
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the NBA’s greatest surprises in this short season. They sit at 9-7 and are thrilled about their future, after seeing some positive growth from Darius Garland and the instant impact made by third overall pick Evan Mobley. Unfortunately, the Cavs have been hit by the injury but as of late. First leading scorer Collin Sexton went down with a meniscus tear, then key offseason addition Lauri Markkanen caught COVID, now Mobley is out for 2-4 weeks with a right elbow sprain—even center Jarrett Allen is uncertain for Thursday night’s game. This won’t bode well for the Cavs as they face the league best 12-2 Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors showed they’re the fruit of the NBA, as they blew out the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Steph Curry hit 37 points as the Warriors avoided back-to-back losses by running away with a big third quarter and eventually beating Brooklyn 117-99 in what many saw as a potential Finals matchup. The Warriors are so dangerous on both sides of the ball, and with Cleveland being hit by the injury bug, this one comes across as a no-brainer.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -8.5 (-110)
Two weeks ago, this would’ve been one of the better games in the NBA. However, with Cleveland running into major injury and a few Covid issues, and now this game looks like nothing more than a blowout. With Collin Sexton being out presumably for the year with a torn meniscus, and rookie Evan Mobley being sidelined for 2-3 weeks, the Cavs are running out of weapons to compete with the team that is currently the best team in basketball.
Golden State has looked like arguably the best and most balanced team in the league, with Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins leading the way offensively, and allowing Draymond Green to take care of much of the rebounding and defensive duties. While I think Cleveland could’ve competed at a high level in this one if they were at full health, being as injured as they are, I simply think this one gets out of hand in a hurry. Cleveland has hardly been able to score more than 95 or so per game since Sexton went out, and against the Warriors, that’s not a number that’s going to get the job done. Golden State runs away with this one, so give them the points, as well.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -8.5 (-110)
Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat – 7:30pm ET
Top spot in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs as the Miami Heat hosts the Washington Wizards tonight. While Washington weren’t able to overcome the Hornets last night, shooting disastrously from deep, the Heat welcomed back Jimmy Butler from injury and he helped them beat the Pelicans for their 10th win of the year.
After their loss to the Charlotte Hornets, 97:87, the Washington Wizards will try to make an upset against one of the best teams in the NBA at the moment, the Miami Heat. The Hornets put an end to their 5-game winning streak and they will look to bounce back against an injury-prone Miami team. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler will most likely miss the home game against the Wizards due to knee and ankle injuries respectively. They are the core elements for success in this Heat team as it’s hard for Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson to lead them towards victories. Moreover, Miami’s second center, Dewayne Dedmon can be sidelined as well due to a groin injury.
The Wizards are looking great this season as they lead the Eastern Conference with 10 wins and 4 losses. Players like Dinwiddie, Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, and Harrell might have found their place at last and they are ready to make history together for Washington. Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans are injured for the Wizards, but even without them there is enough potential in their squad. I think this will be a tight match going all the way down the wire and it will be decided with a shot in the dying seconds. Hence, I will pick the Wizards to cover their spread as the safest option in this game.
On Wednesday night, the Washington Wizards were blanked by a confident Charlotte Hornets team in North Carolina losing 97-87. While they got quality games out of Bradley Beal and Daniel Gafford, Spencer Dinwiddie had his worst game of the year scoring 0 points in 29 minutes; also Kyle Kuzma only scored 5 points, shooting 2-12 from the field. Those two have been such instrumental parts in the Wizards early success. If Washington wants to continue their great play, those guys can’t afford to have an off night against other playoff teams. Now, the Wizards sit in a three-way tie for first in the conference with Brooklyn and Chicago.
But, just .5 games out and breathing down their necks are the Miami Heat. After a couple of frustrating games in which Jimmy Butler was injured, the Heat got big wins against the Thunder and Jazz. Then, Jimmy Buckets returned on Wednesday night with a triple-double against the New Orleans Pelicans. Miami is feeling confident again, as they truly believe they’re the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They’ll get a chance to further prove that on Thursday night as they take on a Wizards team that’s been pretty neck and neck with them on defensive stats. That being said with the game at home and with Miami’s offense looking like they’re thriving again, I’ll take the Heat.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat (-295)
Washington just saw their five game winning streak snapped on the road against the Charlotte Hornets, a team that is playing with immense confidence after a slight lull over the past two weeks. The Wizards have been reliant upon Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell to get their season off to the hot start that we’ve all seen, and on Wednesday night, poor shooting from Kuzma and Dinwiddie played a major role in dooming their chances to extend the winning streak. Beal, despite being banged up, has still managed to play well, but he’s going to need more help than he got last night if the Wizards plan on keeping up the great results.
Despite dealing with injury issues of his own, Jimmy Butler managed to play last night, and even recorded a triple-double along the way. This goes along with solid play from Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, which are both key pieces to this Heat team being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The problem is that Bam Adebayo has been having injury problems, which could prove to be an issue when Miami has to take on elite teams. While I think Miami is the better team, with the Adebayo injury questions, along with the fact that I don’t expect Kuzma or Dinwiddie to shoot poorly again, and I like Washington to sneak out a close win in this one, but just to be safe, simply take them to cover the points and take what you can get along the way.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Washington Wizards +7 (-110)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies – 8pm ET
The Los Angeles Clippers were able to end their six-game home stand on a high, beating the Spurs to go 5-1 over that span. They now kick off a short stint on the road against a young and hungry Memphis Grizzlies side that was able to snap a three-game losing streak with an easy win over the Rockets on Monday night.
After having to play against some of the weakest teams in the NBA like the Pelicans and the Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies will have a hard task facing the Los Angeles Clippers at home. Although the Grizzlies managed to defeat the Clippers earlier this season in an away game, this time the situation is quite different. The team from Los Angeles is coming into this game with an 8-1 run and is looking to chase down the Warriors and the Suns. On the other side of the coin, the Grizzlies were with three straight losses coming into their previous game against the Rockets. They were defeated consecutively by the Hornets, the Suns, and the Pelicans. However, Memphis managed to secure an early lead against Houston that was later on extended to 40 points at some point in the match.
Paul George dropped 41 points in his last meeting with the Grizzlies, but his teammates didn’t deliver and his team eventually lost to Ja Morant, De’Anthony Melton, and Jaren Jackson. This time, it seems that Reggie Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, and Terrance Mann are in a lot better form and are ready to continue draining buckets. I don’t see how exactly Memphis will stop each one of them and based on the current circumstances, I will go with the Clippers.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-116)
— NBA (@NBA) November 17, 2021
After a fairly hot start, the Memphis Grizzlies have fallen on some tough times. Their defense is among the worst in the NBA—and it’s shown. They lost three straight games including an inexcusable loss to a one-win New Orleans team. Luckily they got a little life on Monday night as they beat the Houston Rockets by 30+. They’re looking forward to having Dillon Brooks back in their lineup. Even though they dropped his first two games back, he’s a guy that’s capable of scoring 20 points per game, and will be able to take some of the weight off of Ja Morant’s shoulder. Memphis looks to make it consecutive wins as they host the L.A. Clippers on Thursday night.
The L.A. Clippers shot to the top of the Western Conference after a seven-game win streak that dated back to November 1st. Unfortunately a grotty Bulls team ended that run on Sunday. The Clippers took that loss and moved on with ease as they beat the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night by double-digits. One of the NBA’s new top duos of Paul George and Reggie Jackson scored a combined 55 points and the team got a surprise 13 points from Brandon Boston Jr., who prior to Tuesday’s game, had only played four minutes all season. The Clippers are getting great help across the board, while Kawhi Leonard recovers from his injury, I think they’ll continue to click and take down a young Memphis team.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-116)
The Memphis Grizzlies have once again gone to the ghost-like defensive strategy, as it’s simply one that you can’t see. This has caused them to drop games that should never have been losses, which is a problem if you’re a team that’s going to be right around the bubble when it comes to playoff contention. Ja Morant has been playing great basketball, but the rest of the roster has struggled, which is a problem when playing a team like the LA Clippers, who are sitting at 8-1 over their last nine.
For LA, Paul George has been playing at an MVP-level, and he’s also been getting help from his supporting cast, especially Reggie Jackson. If this help from the role players can continue, I just can’t see a way that a reeling Grizzlies team (especially on defense) can keep the Clips from scoring at will, which causes me to give the nod to the road team in this one. I think Ja has a good game, and potentially gets help from one of his role players, but the consistency has been more problematic with the Grizz, causing me to take the Clippers. I think it stays close for much of the game, but in the end, the road team leaves FedExForum with the victory.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-116)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Denver Nuggets – 9pm ET
This was supposed to be a matchup between 1st and 2nd in last season’s MVP voting, but Joel Embiid is out due to COVID-19 protocols leaving the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic to dominate proceedings. The Sixers are now 0-5 since Embiid entered the protocols and will want to turn things around against a very good Denver side, that is an incredible 7-1 at home this season.
One of the most exciting games on Thursday night in the NBA is the one between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets might be without Jamal Murray, but their results suggest otherwise. They hold a 9-5 record and they were enjoying a 5-game winning streak before going down to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The Nuggets have already defeated some of the best teams in the NBA including the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Heat, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Phoenix Suns. Nikola Jokic regularly comes close to triple-doubles, which further cements the fact that he is the best Nugget out there. Aaron Gordon and Monte Morris also come up huge in particular games and they also had their contribution for the 5th place of the Nuggets.
The Philadelphia 76ers started promising, but then COVID-19 issues arose as first Tobias Harris had to be sidelined for a couple of games and later on, Joel Embiid had to join him. The Cameroonian will miss the game tomorrow as he is expected to return in a matter of days and this will surely affect the whole squad of the 76ers. Tobias Harris is way out of rhythm after missing six consecutive games for his team. Philly is 0-5 with Embiid being sidelined and things are not looking anywhere near bright for them. Ben Simmons is struggling with mental health issues and is uncertain whether he will step on the court for the 76ers again. I think these issues are just enough to pick the Nuggets as the winners of the match. However, I will dig deeper and trust them to cover their spread.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets should’ve been hyped as a battle between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Unfortunately, Embiid will continue to miss time while recovering from COVID and the Sixers will also be without defensive stopper, Matisse Thybulle and veteran shooter Danny Green. Since Embiid’s leave of absence the team has struggled mightily, losing all five that he’s been out for. It won’t be easier as they face Nikola Jokic and Co. on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets have also had their fair share of injuries—but, they’ve continued to overcome adversity. Prior to a Monday night loss against the Mavericks, the Nuggets were winners of five straight. Nikola Jokic continues to look like he’s ready to repeat as MVP as he’s averaging 26 points and 14 rebounds per game. I’ll expect him to continue to feast against a team that’s missing its best player and a couple of their best perimeter defenders. With no Embiid, the 76ers will continue to suffer, whereas the Nuggets will look to get another streak going.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets -7.5 (-110)
Philadelphia can’t win without Joel Embiid.
While a fully healthy Sixers roster is among the most talented in the Association, without Embiid to hold it all together, it clearly seems to fall apart at the seams. Tobias Harris has shown an inability to be the number one guy, and with Embiid out, he’s the guy who has to step up if they want to compete. Embiid will still be out for this one, which makes the pick easier.
Add in the fact that Denver is finally getting into form, with last year’s league MVP Nikola Jokic leading the way, and I don’t think this game stays all that close. Look for Jokic to go absolutely bananas in this one, with a relatively open lane to dominate in, as he will simply abuse whoever Philly tries to put in his way with Embiid out, and this domination, along with a Sixers team that already on its heels, and I think we’re looking at an incredibly easy win for Denver, so be confident in taking them and the points in this one.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets -7.5 (-110)
Toronto Raptors @ Utah Jazz – 9pm ET
We round out the night with the Utah Jazz hosting the Toronto Raptors. Both sides have been struggling for form of late, with Utah going just 2-4 over their last six while Toronto has gone just 1-5 over the same stretch, but which side will turn their fortune around tonight?
The Toronto Raptors will travel to Salt Lake City in an attempt to upset the Jazz in their Vivint Smart Home Arena. Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa will miss the game for the guests, while Rudy Gay is the only one missing for the Jazz from the beginning of the season. Utah was convincingly leading the Western Conference with 7 wins and 1 loss before going down to the Miami Heat in a narrow game at FTX Arena. Then, everything went south for the Jazz, who suffered losses to the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers, and once again to the Miami Heat. It’s uncertain whether Donovan Mitchell and his teammates can bounce back, since they have only defeated teams who are struggling with sidelined players for one reason or another. It will be curious to follow their progression throughout the season, as they have the ambition to be one of the top contenders for the NBA Championship.
The Raptors, themselves, will take it as a success if they reach the Playoffs in the spring. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet can team up and do miracles for them, but they will need some help from the rest of the roster. It’s interesting to see how Scottie Barnes will develop his game this year as he promises to be one of the best prospects in the League. However, as of this game, I think that both teams struggle on the offensive end and they will take it slow when building the attacks. That directs me to choose the option for “under points”, as I see the most value in it.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Under 213 (-110)
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 17, 2021
After getting out to a 7-1 start, the Utah Jazz looked like they were headed for another Western Conference one-seed. Then, despite being pretty much at full-strength, they dropped four of their next five. Luckily on Tuesday night they got a 35-point win against a hobbled 76ers team. Sometimes that’s all you need to regain your confidence, but for the Jazz they probably thought that after they beat the Hawks on 11/9—only to drop consecutive losses again. So they’ll hope to not make that a repeat against a somewhat unpredictable Toronto Raptors team.
Toronto started the season as a top defensive squad, and while they still lead the league in steals per game, they’ve dropped a bit in opposition points per game and opposition field goal percentage. But, they’re one of the best at not turning the ball over, and they face a Utah team that’s terrible at creating turnovers. We’ll see how this battle turns out, but I’m a little shocked that the spread is at -9.5. Even if the Raptors are missing OG Anunoby (who’s questionable with injury), I think the Raptors at least make it a game and cover.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors +9.5 (-110)
The Jazz were poised and cruising to once again being the best regular-season team in the league, and then the wheels came off. Donovan Mitchell has struggled, much like Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles have, and Rudy Gay has been dealing with some issues, which in part explains the lapse in performance. However, they did seem to right the ship a bit on Tuesday night, as they destroyed the depleted Sixers by 30+. I think that performance is going to be enough to jumpstart everything for this Utah team, and I expect them to come out with that same energy in this one.
Toronto has been one of the most unpredictable teams in basketball so far this season. They started the year hot on the defensive end, which had many questioning whether they could make a deep run in the Eastern Conference, and then the energy on the defensive end slowed and suddenly they piled up some losses along the way. I simply don’t think the Raptors have the talent (especially with OG Anunoby being listed as questionable) to actually come out of Salt Lake City with the win, but this line seems like a head-scratcher. Utah has been struggling lately, which is why the Utah -9.5 number just seems way too large. The musical notes get the win, but I think Toronto plays well enough defensively to keep this one relatively close.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors +9.5 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.