Hawks vs. Pelicans Pick NBA – November 6th

Can we all agree to pump the brakes on the “Derrick Rose is back” talk? Please? I’ve seen five or six stories already heralding the return of the 2011 MVP. Look, it was a really nice quarter and a really good win for the Bulls.   But the guy has missed most of the last four years with an insane array of injuries, says wacky things when pressed in media sessions, and recently has claimed to be having double vision. I think the less-reported angle of this story is that the Bulls don’t NEED Rose to be that guy, and in fact, I’d argue they are better if he ISN’T the same ball-dominant point guard of the past. This team has a ton of scoring options and plays better through Gasol and Butler. They need Rose on the floor but as PART of the team, not all of it.

Meanwhile, what is going on with OKC? They are 3-3 and one of their wins was a fluky miracle at Orlando. They are a Russell Westbrook 40-footer away from 2-4 and legitimate concern. Yes, their schedule has been tough; losses at Chicago and Houston and to Toronto and a win over San Antonio, but this team still looks to have some holes when compared to Golden State and even the Clippers.

We’ve also had a few holes in the early season as I’m trying to find that nice groove. We took the loss last night for the first consecutive losses of the young season, so let’s get it back on track tonight.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Atlanta Hawks -3 at New Orleans Pelicans (Total: 204)

I don’t think the Pels are anywhere near as bad as the other winless teams in the league (cover your eyes for tonight’s Lakers/Nets debacle). But there is no denying they have yet to win a game and they have a stern test tonight with the visiting Hawks. Atlanta threw some attention off them with their opening night clunker, but since then, they’ve ripped off five straight wins. So, advantage Atlanta tonight, right?

Well, not so fast. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find Atlanta’s wins include a pair of one-possession victories over Charlotte and a win over Brooklyn. Not exactly the slate the Pels have faced which included a pair of dates with Hurricane Steph. Neither team is quite as good or bad as their record, but the resulting records get us to a place where we are getting a decent amount of points to back the Pelicans at home.

Atlanta will likely be without Kyle Korver tonight, which robs them of some valuable floor spacing. This bodes well for funneling even more activity towards The Brow. And speaking of AD, despite the slow start, he is right where he needs to be, averaging 21 and 10. The Pelicans have won four of their last five meetings with Atlanta and Davis has averaged nearly 27 and 12 in the process. I like him to have a big game tonight and for NOLA to finally get the monkey off their backs and notch their first win of the season. I’m taking them officially at +3, but have no issue with getting a little greedy and going for the +140 moneyline. That’s a pretty good value to shed a measly three points. All they gotta do is win. And I think they do tonight.

Free Pick: New Orleans Pelicans +3 (with a lean towards a +140 moneyline)