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NBA Thursday Specials: 76ers and Pelicans our picks

Tue, Nov 28, 11:59am by Staff Writer

With nearly 20 games played by teams so far in the 2017-18 NBA season, the conference standings are beginning to take shape.

In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics continue to pad their buffer atop the standings, with a five game lead over conference favourites Cleveland.

In the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors continue to be the benchmark teams, with 15 wins each so far.

Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers

Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 11am AEDST

The 76ers are having their best season in years and a lot of that has to do with the play of star Australian rookie Ben Simmons.

The versatility of Simmons to play either as a point guard or power forward has made him nearly unguardable at times this season.

Simmons and centre Joel Embiid are finally health for Philadelphia and the team looks to have two superstars on their roster for many years to come.

The Washington Wizards were tipped to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference before the season began, but have failed to deliver thus far.

At 10-9, the Wizards have a poor 5-5 home record. Their most recent loss at home to Portland came after they held a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The Wizards will be without point guard John Wall for two weeks with a knee injury. Wall’s minutes will be covered by Tim Frazier,  but the replacement is nowhere near a like-for-like match.

At Wells Fargo Centre this season the 76ers are 5-3 and we expect that to continue on Thursday.

Back Philadelphia to cover any line under 7 at home against a short-handed and inconsistent Wizards team.

Best bet: Philadelphia 76ers at the handicap at Sportsbet

Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans

Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 12pm AEDST

Two resurgent teams in the Western Conference battle again on Thursday afternoon when New Orleans hosts Minnesota.

These two teams met earlier this year and it was the Timberwolves who won that game that was set up by a late Jimmy Butler and-1 jump shot 104-98.

The Wolves (12-8) have had their best start to a season in over a decade, with seven home win and five on the road so far.

The Pelicans have been hampered by poor starts in the last two seasons, but coach Alvin Gentry will be buoyed by the start his team has made this season.

At 11-9, the Pelicans have a strong 6-5 road record and sit in seventh place in the Western Conference.

The duo of Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis for the Pelicans always poses a threat to opposition teams and it’s hard to see the Wolves beating the Pelicans in New Orleans twice in one season.

Minnesota have not been playing their best basketball of late and have had a tendency to squander big leads in games and make certain results uncertain in the space of a quarter.

The Pelicans are returning form a short two-game road trip where they trashed Phoenix and lost to Golden State, but wil be well rested, having not played in five days.

A play here would be for New Orleans to cover the line and for those seeking more value, New Orleans 11+ would not be out of the question given the fact that Minnesota is on a back-to-back and will have to travel late Wednesday night.

Best bet- New Orleans Pelicans to cover the handicap at Sportsbet

Best bet- New Orleans Pelicans to win 11+ at Sportsbet

*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available

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