NBA players got a nice day off for Thanksgiving yesterday, but they’ll be back to the hardwood on Black Friday in a big way with a huge 12 game slate. Not only is just about every team in action today, but the slate is highlighted by some entertaining, high-profile match-ups that should be great for viewers planted on the couch all day, having those delicious leftovers. As always, there are great betting opportunities as well, so here are some picks from a selection of today’s top games.
Atlanta Hawks 6-4 at Charlotte Bobcats 6-4
For a team that won just seven games all of last season, it’s been a pleasantly surprising start to 2012 for the Bobcats, who have an opportunity to actually get off to their best start in franchise history today with a win. They’ll have a decent chance at home today, where they are 5-2 so far this season. However, the Hawks are coming in as winners of four of their last five and have the fifth best scoring defense in the league, giving up just 92.1 points per contest. Atlanta should be able to win this one, even on the road and cover -4 points.
Oklahoma City Thunder 9-3 at Boston Celtics 6-6
Typically known for their stellar defense, the Celtics have struggled recently on that side of the floor, giving up more than 100 points in each of their last two efforts. Things won’t get any easier for them tonight, as they take on the 9-3 defending Western Conference champions, who are averaging triple digits in scoring. Look for the Thunder to stay hot and take this one on the road, covering -3 points.
Los Angeles Clippers 8-3 at Brooklyn Nets 6-4
The Thunder snapped the Clippers’ six-game winning streak Wednesday night, but don’t expect that to slow this team down. Los Angeles is still averaging 102.4 points per game and it has played well on the road, as evidenced by its 3-1 record away from Staples Center. The Nets have been solid in their first 10 games in Brooklyn, but the Clipps’ combo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin should prove to be too much for them to handle. Take LA to cover -3 points on the road.
Los Angeles Lakers 6-6 at Memphis Grizzlies 8-2
The other LA squad will also have a tough match-up against the Grizzlies, the team that currently owns the league’s best record. Both teams are coming off a loss; Memphis dropped its first game after an eight-game winning streak and the Lakers lost their first under new coach Mike D’Antoni, but both teams are undoubtedly two of the hottest in the league coming into the game. Los Angeles is 6-2 since starting 0-4 on the season, but is the middle of a three-game road trip tonight and is yet to win a road game this season. Memphis is the 4.5 point favorite, but look for the talented Lakers to start making a move. I like LA to cover +4.5 and even win outright tonight.