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NBA Mid-Week Best bets and Aussie wrap: Dante making a point

Wed, Nov 9, 3:39pm by Bren O'Brien

Two weeks into the NBA season and Dante Exum may be finally starting to make the impression he wants to at Utah Jazz and he notched his highest-career points tally in the comfortable win over the 76ers on Tuesday.

A few days ago, Exum looked set to be playing fewer minutes after starting point guard George Hill claimed the honour of being the Western Conference player of the week.

Exum went pointless in 11 minutes against the Knicks, but rebounded with a much better performance with Hill sitting out Wednesday’s game in Philly with a sprained thumb. Playing 20 minutes against the 76ers, he hit three three-pointers from four shots as part of an 11-point cameo which carried his side to a 5-3 start to the season.

Joe Ingles played 21 minutes in that game and also had his best game, with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Earlier in the week, Andrew Bogut played his most minutes for the season to date against his former club Milwaukee, contributing 16 rebounds as the Mavs took their first win of the season 86-75.

Conversely, Matty Dellavedova had a poor game for the Bucks with just four points. Fellow Aussie Thon Maker sat out that game but did score six points in one minute against the Pacers earlier in the week, while he scored three points against the Kings.

Patty Mills’ strong start to the season for the Spurs has faded somewhat and in his most recent game against the Clippers managed just four points on 1-7 shooting,

ESPN in Australia are showing four games on Thursday and Friday Australian time, including the Spurs hosting Houston, which follows the Nets v Knicks clash at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Friday’s two matches see the Bulls travel to Miami, where Dwyane Wade visits his former club for the first time, while the later game sees the Lakers travel to the Kings.

Mid-week Best Bets:

Brooklyn Nets @ New York Knicks, Thursday November 10, 11:10am AEDT

It’s been the week of the underdog, especially in the battle of notable New Yorkers, so can the Nets, the lowest paid club in the NBA, upset the Knicks?

The bookies have the Nets, who are coming off a 119-110 in over the Timberwolves on Wednesday, as $4.50 outsiders with Sportsbet, with the Knicks, who lost their most recent game against the Jazz, at $1.22.

Centre Brook Lopez has been the man for the Nets this year, scoring 26 against the T-Wolves and averaging just short of 20 for the season to date.

He’ll face off against Joakim Noah, who has been a little underwhelming in his first season for the Knicks, averaging 7.4 rebounds but just 4.7 points.

Derrick Rose has made a stronger contribution, averaging 16.3 points, including 18 against the Jazz. Carmelo Anthony has boosted his scoring average up to 22.8 so far this year, including 28 in their most recent match.

Despite having a poorer win-loss record (2-4 to 3-4), the Knicks deserve to be favourites in this. They have too much power, although we like Brooklyn at the +8.5 start.

Suggested Bet: Brooklyn (+8.5) at $1.91

Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs, Thursday November 10, 1:30pm AEDT

San Antonio may have begun the season in spectacular style but their campaign has lost some momentum over the past week with two home losses, including a 24-point thumping by the Clippers on Sunday.

The Spurs have won their five games by an average of 15.4 points, but lost their two matches by an average of 19.

Their fortunes tend to follow that of Kawhi Leonard, who had a season-plow 14 points against the Clippers having averaged over 26 for the rest of the season. That’s been compounded by Tony Parker averaging just 5.5 points a game this season.

But they go in as $1.29 favourites to put their poor home form behind them against a Houston team which are 4-3 but are heavily reliant on James Harden. Harden has averaged a career-best 31.6 points per game this season, and led the Rockets to a 114-106 win over Washington on Wednesday with 32 points and 15 assists.

Harden is having an amazing season so far, but the Spurs are too professional to let another home game slip. Take them with confidence to cover the -7.5 line.

Suggested Bet: San Antonio (-7.5) at $1.91

Chicago Bulls @ MiamI Heat, Friday November 11, 12pm AEDT

The Bulls are on a brutal stretch of eight road games out of nine and back up from Thursday’s clash against the Hawks in Atlanta with a battle with extra spice against the Heat in Miami the following night.

Dwyane Wade spent 13 seasons at Miami, but now heads to South Beach as a visitor after bitter off-season break-up.

“I thought it was an opportunity I would be there forever, but s–t happens,” Wade told “And when s–t happens, you gotta be prepared to (move on). I found out very quickly that this is a business.”

So the 34-year-old is now spearheading a new era at the Bulls, who started the season with three wins, then suffered three losses before trouncing the Magic 110-82 in their most recent game.

Wade has averaged just under 17 points a game, but did have a 35 against the Knicks last Sunday. Jimmy Butler has carried most of the scoring load, averaging 21.4 points.

The Heat have battled this year to be 2-4 and come into this off back-to-back road defeats against the Raptors and the Thunder.

The loss against the Thunder highlighted the Heat’s reliance on centre Hassan Whiteside, who had a dirty night with just five points, by far his poorest of the season.

Their greatest contribution instead came from the bench, with just 35 points coming from their starting five. James Johnson led their scoring with 18 points.

It’s nice to have depth, but the Heat lack star quality in their starting five. The Bulls will be too good here.

Suggested Bet: Bulls to Win (Odds to come)

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