Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards (+3.5, 200)
Can the Wizards stop Dwight Howard? No.
Howard is virtually unstoppable around the basket and is putting up career numbers in numerous statistical categories. He is averaging more than 20 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
But let’s not forget about his supporting cast. Hedo Turkoglu (17.1 PPG) and Rashard Lewis (17.9 PPG) are both nearly seven-feet tall and cause major matchup problems for most clubs.
In fact, in a November 8 victory over the Wizards, Howard, Turkoglu and Lewis combined for 47 points and 25 rebounds. Howard had no problem finding his shot against the Wizards, going 11-for-13 and scoring a season-high 31 points but Turkoglu and Lewis both struggled, going 6-for-23.
The fact that the Magic were able to coast to a 25-point win over the Wizards, despite horrible shooting from Turkoglu and Lewis doesn't bode well for Washington.
The Magic are 8-2 straight up (SU) and 6-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 overall.
Pick: Orlando -3.5
New Orleans Hornets at Denver Nuggets (-2, 196.5)
Chauncey Billups (17 PPG, 6.6 APG) has certainly made an impact with his new club. Billups has led the Nuggets to an impressive 8-2 record since being acquired in a trade that sent Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons.
Billups gives the Nuggets a different look at the point guard position and definitely brings some needed defensive intensity to Denver.
"I'm sure he’ll have many special nights for us," Nuggets coach George Karl told reporters after Billups’ first game. "I think its fun to have an ally in Chauncey."
Karl is hoping Billups has one of those special nights against the Hornets Thursday. Billups has the difficult task of guarding Chris Paul, who leads the league in both assists (12.2) and steals (2.92).
Luckily for the Nuggets, Billups is a stingy defender who will use his size and strength to take the speedy Paul out of his comfort zone and force him into running a halfcourt offense.
Denver is 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 overall.
Pick: Denver -2