New Orleans started the season hot but injuries have cooled their run and now they're running into the the whirlwind force of the Golden State Warriors, writes Mark Kirwan....
'The problem is they're not so much playing another team as they're providing the junk that gets sucked up and swirled around by a rampaging tornado. Golden State put in a show for the ages in their last outing, charging through Chicago's Bulls in a first half that gave them a 92-50 lead at the interval.'
Davis health downs Pelicans
New Orleans Pelicans @ Golden State Warriors
November 1, 02:30
Live on Sky Sports Main Event & Arena
Going to play at the Oracle Arena is daunting at the best of times. With the Warriors 7-1 thanks to Curry, Durant and Thompson seemingly taking it in turns to post outlandish box scores, you could really do without heading to the Bay Area without your best player.
But that's what the Pelicans will likely do tonight with Anthony Davis questionable thanks to an elbow injury that has seen him miss their last two games, both defeats that have taken the pep from their early season step. Add to that Elfrid Payton's confirmed absence, and you might think this Halloween trip is cursed.
However, it's not all doom-and-gloom for NOLA. Nikola Mirotic was playing great before Davis disappeared and made them competitve in a tight loss to Denver. Jrue Holiday has also looked good through the early weeks.
The problem is they're not so much playing another team as they're providing the junk that gets sucked up and swirled around by a rampaging tornado.
Golden State put in a show for the ages in their last outing, charging through Chicago's Bulls in a first half that gave them a 92-50 lead at the interval. Klay Thompson broke teammate Stephen Curry's league record for three-pointers, hitting 14 trebles as they ran out comfortable winners.
Utah beat the Pels at home by 21 without Davis. Denver are a good team and got sloppy in their five point win. The spread is 12.5 here, which is a whole lot more palatable when you're backing the Warriors to cover it. Assuming Davis is out, take GSW to cover at [1.91].
Net some value with the Pistons
Detroit Pistons @ Brooklyn Nets
October 31, 11:30
Live on Betfair Video
For a team with expectations as low as the Nets, they showed a spirited side to their play in the opening week that suggested they could challenge some of the middle-range teams in the East. A rough 19 point beating by their Manhattan neighbours that puts them on a three-game losing streak gives pause for thought though.
Caris Levert had his worst game of the season, finishing -23, but the 24-year-old can't do it all. De'Angelo Russell went quiet after the first quarter, and Brooklyn shot under 41% and 29% from three-point range as the Porzingis-less Knicks coasted to a just their second win of the season.
Such a hammering suggests that, even though they're coming from Boston after a close loss last night, the Pistons could provide some value here getting points.
They're 2-1 as a road underdog this season. Since Blake Griffin hit the Sixers for 50 he has been shutdown at home by the Celtics, but they got him back on form last night with 24 points on 17 shots and 15 rebounds gathered in a tight loss at TD Garden the Pistons could've stolen.
The Pistons are 7-2 against the spread on the road in their last nine, and have won four of their last six on their travels, so the fact they're getting 2.5 points against a very up-and-down Nets team appals, even with the quick turnaround from Boston. They're a legitimate playoff team in the weak East, and should be able to handle this spot.
Take the better team here at [1.99] +2.5. Moneyline is worth looking at for those who want a bit more juice.
Lakers pieces still not clicking
Dallas Mavericks @ LA Lakers
November 1, 02:30
Live on Betfair Video
Neither of these teams are good at the moment. The Lakers are still fitting pieces together after shaking up the jigsaw box over the summer and finding the best player in the world falling out of it.
They are scoring heavily, but have lost five of their seven games because other teams just manage to score that little bit more.
Their last three losses have come by four points or fewer. Brandon Ingram has served his suspension and made nine of 18 shots against Minnesota for 24 points. That could help them keep up their scoring rate - they average 122 points-per-game, third best in the league - but they allow even more, and defensive solidity is only going to come with time.
Dallas are 2-5 as well, but there are bright spots through the opening weeks. Dennis Smith's returned from injury, and he and rookie star Luka Doncic have a total of 94 points in their last two games. That's an exciting glimpse of the future, but there'll be inconsistent production from young players, so this season is about building chemistry.
The Mavs score at a lower rate than LA, but concede at the same pace. That's what we expected coming into the season, and LeBron will exploit it tonight. Given both teams scoring stats and three-point shooting, this looks like a high-scoring game. Of the fourteen games these teams have played so far, 10 have gone over. Take Over 233.5 at [1.86] or better.
1pt on Golden State -12.5 @ 1.91 on the Exchange
1pt on Detroit Pistons +2.5 @ 1.99 on the Exchange
1pt on Dallas LA Lakers Over 233.5 Total Points @ 1.86 on the Exchange