The New Orleans Pelicans are in bad company to get the 2016-17 NBA season going: they’re one of two winless teams in the league.

No one thought Anthony Davis and co. would be title threats suddenly after a bad 2015-16 run, especially with Jrue Holiday away from the team (personal) and Tyreke Evans (leg) still on the mend. But few probably thought they’d be here, either, staring at an ugly 0-8 start – one that is actually worse than the Philadelphia 76ers.

New Orleans hasn’t had it easy, to be sure. Not only are Holiday and Evans not around to help out The Brow, but the team let Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson walk this summer in free agency.

Suffice to say, it’s not all that surprising the Pelicans have struggled to find wins.

Of course, one would think they would have at least one by now, seeing as Anthony Davis is having a career year, averaging over 30 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Will those numbers finally help the Pellies get a win on Thursday night? Read on in Thursday night’s NBA picks to find out:

Chicago Bulls (+2) @ Miami Heat (-2)

Dwyane Wade should get ready for the tears on Thursday night, as he prepares to return to South Beach for the first time since leaving behind the Heat for his hometown Chicago Bulls. Chicago lost in Atlanta last night and could be a tough underdog bet to have much faith in with this road game coming on the second game of a back to back set, but it’s going to be awfully difficult to eliminate the Wade revenge factor.

The other issue is Miami is slumping, having lost two straight (just 2-4 on the year). They haven’t even been great at home (1-2) and tonight may be too much for them to handle with Wade returning in an emotional environment. The Bulls (4-4) have collapsed after a 1-3 start and could be tired, but this is basically a pick’em and they do look to be the better team on paper.

Ultimately, we can’t deny Wade in his return to Miami.

Pick: Bulls 101, Heat 99

New Orleans Pelicans (+5) @ Milwaukee Bucks (-5)

The big question arrives at the Bradley Center tonight; can the Pelicans win a freaking game, already? This would certainly be a good spot to imagine that happening, as betting sites like Bovada are giving the Pellies a decent spread here and they did give the Bucks (4-3) a run for their money in a wild 117-113 loss earlier this year.

The reality is neither of these teams are very good, as they both can’t defend and the Bucks don’t have a single player who can slow down The Brow. We’re surely headed for another back and forth game with a good amount of points, but the Pellies are the easy play here as they desperately hunt that first victory.

New Orleans should at least beat the spread tonight, but we’re also targeting them for a big road win.

Pick: Pelicans 108, Bucks 105

Golden State Warriors (n/a) @ Denver Nuggets (n/a)

The Dubs enter Denver tonight on the second game of a back to back set without any betting info available, largely due to Stephen Curry (ankle) being somewhat questionable for this one. Curry said he’s fine and that he’ll play, for what it’s worth.

Still, the Dubs should probably rest some of their guys in a road game they’d have a decent chance of winning, no matter who they sat. Denver isn’t terrible, of course, as they can certainly put up points and have looked solid during their 3-4 start. This is just their second game at home, too, which arguably makes their competitive start all the more impressive.

With or without Curry, however, the Warriors are the obvious favorite. Look for them to win and unless the spread is something crazy like +15, they’ll likely cover, as well.

Pick: Warriors 110, Nuggets 104

Los Angeles Lakers (+5.5) @ Sacramento Kings (-5.5)

This is the third game of the night that might be tough to call, as both the Lakers and Kings look better than they did a year ago. Los Angeles is a decent 4-4 after eight games and are putting up over 108 points per game. That could be troubling for the Kings, who are just 4-5 and have not displayed elite defense this year.

Of course, Los Angeles has not been nearly as good away from home this year (1-3) and their lack of defense (allowing 108 points per game) tends to put them in a tough spot. That likely will be the case tonight, with the Kings looking for their third win in a row in an effort to get back to .500. We could get a fairly tight game, but a big game from DeMarcus Cousins is safe to expect in a Sacramento win.

Pick: Kings 106, Lakers 102

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