Minnesota Timberwolves @ Orlando Magic – Amway Center at 00:00
These two teams might be in the bottom half of the NBA in terms of what kind of quality they have on the roster, but both the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves are expecting big improvements this season. They have made some moves to show improvement, but at the moment inconsistent results have been the feature of their early season form.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
Orlando have employed Frank Vogel to improve their results and Minnesota employed Tom Thibodeau and both of those Head Coaches have had success previously with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls respectively. Both are known for their Defensive Coaching, but it will take time for their new teams to really understand what the new voices in the locker room are going to want from them.
It is the younger Minnesota roster which is taking a little more time getting to grips with what Thibodeau wants from them and they have only held one team under 100 points so far this season. The Timberwolves have particularly struggled on the road and are playing in a back to back spot which is difficult especially as they heading home after this one.
Orlando can take advantage of that spot and they have played better at home for the most part. The concern has to be that the Magic are 0-2 against the spread as the favourite this season, but they are 5-1 against the spread against Minnesota at home and I do think Orlando are catching them at the right time in this one.
Handicap Betting Pick: Orlando Magic – 3 Points at 2.04 with Pinnacle
Chicago Bulls @ Atlanta Hawks – Philips Arena at 00:30
The Atlanta Hawks came out fired up and motivated when they visited the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, and they came away with an upset win on a night where Donald Trump had one of the biggest upset wins of the year.
Backing up emotional wins on a back to back is tough, but when you’ve invested as much as Atlanta have had into that win then it is even more difficult without the rest between games. They will have to bring the same intensity into this game as they take on the Chicago Bulls who have been inconsistent behind their new look roster.
The Bulls have a big game on Thursday night when they visit the Miami Heat for Dwyane Wade’s big homecoming, but you have to think they will come out in this one with something to prove. Chicago have had a couple of big wins at home, but the motivation has to be to show they can take that toughness on the road and take on one of the quality teams in the Eastern Conference.
They don’t have a good record in Atlanta in recent years, but Chicago can challenge the Hawks on the boards and that will give them a chance in this one. With the Hawks likely to struggle to bring the same intensity to the court as they had in Cleveland I can see the Bulls keeping this one close and taking the points looks to be the play.
The bench could be important for Chicago in this one and I like the Bulls here.
Handicap Betting Pick: Chicago Bulls + 3.5 Points at 1.92 with Unibet
Prices correct at time of writing.