O'Sullivan's Saturday NBA Picks: Knicks at Pelicans, Hawks at 76ers, Jazz at Bulls, Nuggets at Timberwolves
Joel Embiid called out his team to play better and tonight they match at home against the Hawks.@sixers on Twitter

O'Sullivan's Saturday NBA Picks: Knicks at Pelicans, Hawks at 76ers, Jazz at Bulls, Nuggets at Timberwolves

New York Knicks at New Orleans Pelicans, 7 pm Eastern, Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:30 pm, Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls, 9 pm, Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves, 9 pm.

Seattle O’Sullivan 2021-2022 NBA Season so far: 25-32-1, -$127.75

New York Knicks at New Orleans Pelicans, 7 pm Eastern

The Pick: New Orleans +6 (-110), bet $11 to win $10

(sigh) New Orleans continues to frustrate me, but this is just too many points to get at home. The Pelicans didn’t cover last night (sigh) but fought hard and were in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter. Yes, they’ve lost three games in a row at home, but overall they’re 3-3 against the spread. New York won a tough game on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls, in Chicago, and I do feel they’ll be a bit of a letdown today. It’s a “home dog,” and if the spread were, say, 4.5 or 5, I might feel differently, but six points tip the scale in the Pelicans’ favor, for me.

Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:30 pm Eastern

The Pick: Philadelphia -138, bet $20.70 to win $15

Both Atlanta and Philadelphia are 3-2. Philadelphia is at home, they’ve got to have the stinging memory of the Hawks beating them in last season’s playoffs and the maelstrom it created, and 76er center Joel Embiid just called out the team, insisted they need to play better. Well, here’s your chance, Joel. I know it’s fewer than two weeks into the season, but this feels like an important game for Philadelphia. I expect Embiid to back up his statements tonight and throw up a monster game.

Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls, 9 pm Eastern

The Pick: Utah -162, bet $24.30 to win $15

Given their history, I expect to readjust my expectations come playoff time, but for the regular season, I’m going to ride Utah until they prove they’re no longer trustworthy. The Jazz play hard all the time and continue to thrive on the fact that the rest of the league (and the world at large) is bored by them. Chicago, on the other hand, might be improved but they’re not yet in Utah’s class. The Jazz are fourth in the NBA in points per game at 115.2; the Bulls are 18th at 106.6. (shrug) Okay.

Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves, 9 pm Eastern

The Pick: Under 221.5 (-109), bet $10.90 to win $10

Playing totals isn’t my favorite thing to do, especially unders, because it feels like I’m hoping that raindrops magically stop falling from the sky. But going back to points per game, Minnesota is 17th in the NBA (107.8) and Denver is 23rd (103.0). I barely graduated from college, but my math tells me that totals 210.8. As far as defense, Denver is third in defensive efficiency and Minnesota is fourth. I never can remember the difference between “ascending order” and “descending order” but my interpretation is, third and fourth are high. So I think the total here is too high. Stop raining!

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