NBA Betting: 3 Upsets to Consider For Friday, 11/17

By Noah Davis
Published on November 17, 2017
Crying Lebron James

Thursday’s tiny two-game slate didn’t give NBA bettors much flexibility, especially in the way of upset picks.

Few felt confident about the Boston Celtics winning their 14th consecutive game with the Golden State Warriors coming to town, while nobody wanted to take the Phoenix Suns over the Houston Rockets.

Everyone can breathe easier and take some chances on Friday, as the NBA schedule blossoms into a fun 11-game fiesta. Not even one game carries a point spread greater than -8, which leaves the door open to a string of upsets.

There are a few that stand out more than most, so let’s dive into Friday’s top three underdog picks:

Los Angeles Clippers (+230) Over Cleveland Cavaliers (-260)

My first upset pick goes down in Cleveland, where the Cavs are off to a weak 3-4 start. Cleveland has bounced back from their early season struggles (won three straight), but they’re still just 8-7 on the year and haven’t been able to win consistently at home.

That’s a problem, even as they welcome a severely banged up Clippers team to town. Don’t get me wrong, Los Angeles is a mess these days. Both Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari remain sidelined with injuries and Lob City hasn’t responded well with a brutal 6-game skid.

Blake Griffin and co. have to be better than this. Right?

I’m not so sure, but what I do know is Cleveland does not have a soul on their team that can slow down Blake Griffin, nor do they have another big who can effectively keep DeAndre Jordan off the glass.

Jordan and Griffin have a good matchup in front of them, while Cleveland still ranks dead last in the NBA in defensive efficiency. They’ve been fine with not defending the perimeter, too, so Austin Rivers and especially Lou Williams could have a field day in this matchup.

The Cavs are the better team, but you’re getting serious value at +230 at Bovada with the Clips. Should Cleveland not be over their early season struggles, another mental lapse at home against Los Angeles isn’t the craziest thing that could happen on this slate.

Phoenix Suns (+240) Over Los Angeles Lakers (-280)

The Suns gave up over 140 points last night and are truly horrendous on defense, but anytime you take on the Lakers you have a chance.

That hasn’t been the case yet for Phoenix, who have already dropped into an 0-2 season series hole against L.A. and has also lost each of the last three meetings.

Phoenix gets a shot at redemption tonight, however, as they head to the Staples Center to battle a Lakers team that is just 6-9 and has gone 4-6 over their last 10 games.

Los Angeles has a lot of interesting pieces and quietly provides the league with it’s 5th best defense. However, Lonzo Ball has looked horrific as a shooter and is starting to get benched late in games.

With Ball seemingly trending in the wrong direction and the Lakers struggling to get wins, one has to think the Suns see an opportunity here. For all of their flaws, Phoenix still possesses some offensive weapons in Devin Booker and T.J. Warren, after all.

It’s never easy to make a strong case for the Suns, but the bigger issue here is actually trusting the Lakers. Their -7 spread and -280 Money Line seem laughable on paper – even in a showdown with the pathetic Suns.

Phoenix isn’t a team that will get many chances for wins as they try to mature, so they need to take advantage when they can. At +240, this is a solid spot to gamble on them.

New York Knicks (+265) Over Toronto Raptors (-330)

New York is another fun upset pick tonight, as the Knicks will try to leap over the Raptors in the Atlantic Division standings.

Both teams have looked sharp to start the year, as Kristaps Porzingis leads an 8-6 Knicks team into Canada to battle the 9-5 Raptors. Both teams are in good form (7-3 over their last 10 contests), while the early edge understandably goes to Toronto at their home base (4-1 at home this year).

The Raptors are logical favorites, but I can’t quit the Knicks in this one. Serge Ibaka is questionable to suit up for this game, while Toronto has been busy lately and will be playing their third game in four nights and could be a bit fatigued.

Toronto usually finds home games to be a safe haven and this is one of the more efficient (and balanced) teams in the NBA. However, the Knicks have been solid offensively and could match up well if Ibaka is out.

Either way, the Knicks have shown well to start the season and are probably the best underdog play on the board at a steep +265 at Bovada.
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