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Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, left, looks to pass the ball as Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/)
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, left, looks to pass the ball as Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/)|Nell Redmond | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Friday: Greg Frank picks Nuggets vs Celtics and Hawks vs Pistons — can Blake Griffin swing the moneyline?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

0-1 Wednesday night, 31-23-1 overall.

Hawks (+6.5) @ Pistons (225)

Pick: Hawks +6.5

This was the first line that caught my eye in today’s rotation. In case you were wondering, the Detroit Pistons are not good. They have lost five straight games and are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five. If you double the sample size, it doesn’t get much better as the Pistons are 2-8 in their last ten games and 2-7-1 ATS in those 10. So why are the Pistons laying 6.5 points tonight? Atlanta visited Detroit in its season opener and won 117-100. Granted, Blake Griffin was out in that game one month ago for the Pistons, but is Griffin’s presence really going to swing the score 24 points and turn a 17-point loss for Detroit into a seven-point win? Atlanta has been struggling recently as well, as the Hawks enter tonight’s contest on a four-game losing streak. However, the most recent loss for the Hawks was a cover at home against Milwaukee in a game that Atlanta played right with one of the East’s powers most of the way. Detroit got embarrassed in Chicago on Wednesday night, losing by 20 to the Bulls, and before that lost in Charlotte against a Hornets team that will certainly be playing the lottery in the spring. Atlanta’s close loss against Milwaukee is a better indicator of which team is set to put one in the win column again. Lastly, these teams come into Friday night’s game with identical 4-10 records. Only the New York Knicks are worse at 4-11. Can you really trust any cellar dweller to win by three possessions? This might be too good to be true, but I’d rather lose on the Hawks plus the points, than not play the game or take the other side and watch the Hawks cover.

Nuggets (-4.5) @ Celtics (206.5)

Pick: Nuggets -4.5

Time to find out how smart we are. Last Friday night, Boston began a five-game west coast trip in the Bay Area against the Warriors. The Celtics started the road trip with the best record in the NBA after ten games at 9-1. We gave out Golden State +7.5 and said if you blindly fade the Celtics ATS in all five games of this trip, you’ll probably win at least three of those bets. Golden State covered for us, as did Sacramento on Sunday against the Celtics. Boston covered the next two games on the trip and now wraps it up in the Mile High City against the Nuggets. The Denver side is the only way we can look here. The Nuggets proved again on Wednesday against Houston that their home court is one of the better ones in the Association after posting a double-digit victory which halted the Rockets’ eight-game winning streak. The Nuggets have won home games against three marquee opponents already this year beating Miami, Philadelphia and Houston on their home floor. We’d expect Boston to be added to the list by night’s end and 4.5 is a short enough number for us to be willing to lay it.

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