Free NCAA and NBA Basketball Picks: Friday Night

NCAA Hoops Picks:

Morehead State Eagles (+21) @ Kentucky Wildcats: I know Kentucky got their new coach and a bunch of prized recruits, but this Morehead State team is resilient. They return 4 starters form a year ago, and while they lost a key player in Senior, Leon Buchanan, they have some solid players that have played well against big time competition. Better yet, this team fights, they lost 2 games by more than 20 points last season. The first was just an off night in the 2nd game of the season against Vanderbilt, the 2nd was to Louisville. In the NCAA tournament last season, the Eagles lost by 20 to that same Louisville team. I expect it to take the Wildcats a few games to mesh, and while I fully expect them to win, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one is much closer than 20.

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Wright State Raiders @ Washington Huskies (-14): I just think UW’s overall size and athleticism is too much for the Raiders. It might stay close for a while, but with the way UW gambles and runs the floor, a five point lead could turn into twenty in just a few minutes. Wright State does return 4 starters from last year’s team that finished the season much better than they started. UW loses Justin Dentmon and Jon Brockman, two key cogs in the Huskies success a year ago, but Dentmon’s services will be replaced by fantastic freshman Abdul Gaddy, and Brockman’s absence will only allow the Huskies to run the floor more against lesser teams. UW is long enough to rebound at all positions. I haven’t even talked about Isiah Thomas yet – the sophomore was awesome in his first season with the Huskies, and I only expect him to be better this time around.

NBA Hoops:

Atlanta Hawks (+9) @ Boston Celtics: The first game in ESPN’s double header seems like a great bet. The Hawks are one of the better teams in the East, they play good defense, and this game has definitely turned into a rivalry after a tough playoff match-up. This game is often a close one, finishing 6 points or closer in 5 of the last 8 contests. The road team has won 8 of the last 10, Atlanta has won 3 of the last 5 in Boston. Both teams are coming off a free day. Should be a good one.

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L.A. Lakers @ Denver Nuggets (-3): Gotta like Denver tonight, they haven’t played very well lately, but get the benefit of coming off a long road trip early in the season, and getting to play at home. Whew, what a load off. L.A. didn’t have a real tough game against Phoenix last night, but they still played, and they still are missing their second best player. The Lakers have a chance, of course, they have Mr. Bryant, but I like the Nuggets’ chances. This is the late game on ESPN Friday Night Basketball.

Dallas Mavericks vs L.A. Lakers Free ESPN Pick

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Dallas Mavericks (+8.5) @ L.A. Lakers: This game can be seen on ESPN at 10:30pm ET, and it should be a good one. The Lakers are definitely getting a lot of love here, especially considering that they aren’t at full strength, and the Mavericks are much improved. When you add on the fact that L.A. struggled with the Clippers for much of their opening game, I just like the Mavericks and those 8.5 points to cover here. It’s a big game for Dallas when it comes to proving they’re back, and for L.A. it’s just another game in a long line of “should win” contests on way to their next title. Give me the underdog on this one. Underdog Friday!

L.A. Clippers vs L.A. Lakers NBA Free Pick

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Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers (-9.5) NBA Free Pick: The Lakers haven’t lost to the Clippers since April of 2007. Yep. Seriously. The Lakers have beaten the Clippers by double digits in 7 of the last 8 contests, beating them by 20 or more four times. Yep. Seriously. I know the Clippers are a popular pick to improve this season. I know it’s opening night and anything can happen, hopes are up, and the Clippers are excited to prove themselves. I also know that Pau Gasol is out, and he’s been a huge part of the Lakers success since Memphis gave him up for a pack of smokes, a guitar with just three strings, and Kwame Brown’s expiring contract. I know. But I also know the Lakers will win. Why? Because these are the Clippers, folks. And they know how to help other teams win, they’ve been doing it for a long time. I also know that with Blake Griffin and Marcus Camby out, that potent exciting front court becomes less potent and less exciting, and with Chris Kaman playing more minutes, infinitely more disturbing in appearance. I like Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to cover here, as I don’t think Gasol being out hurts that much with Odom taking his place.