NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Best Bets for Saturday, Including 2 Ways to Bet Knicks vs. Celtics
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Williams (left) and Julius Randle.
- The NBA is back Saturday with six more games of action.
- The reigning champs start our picks with a trip to Charlotte, followed shortly after by the Knicks and Celtics running it back.
- See how are experts are betting those games, below, and if the Celtics can best the Knicks.
Welcome to the party, New York.
We’re celebrating the Empire State on Saturday night with two of our three best bets coming from New York’s team’s rematch on Saturday night in Boston. After a regular-season classic on Thursday night, the Knicks and Celtics are back at it, this time in Beantown.
NBA Odds & Picks
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets
Austin Wang: The Bucks are in a tough scheduling spot, playing on the second night of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights.
Last night, Milwaukee won big against one of their biggest competitors, the Brooklyn Nets, and could be in a letdown spot with little rest. Also, the Bucks had to travel from Brooklyn to Charlotte after the game.
The Bucks are also without several key players (Jrue Holiday, Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen and George Hill) in league health and safety protocols and will not be available. They will need to count on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to shoulder the burden once again.
The Hornets, on the other hand, should be well-rested with the last two days off. Their last game was on Wednesday, where they obliterated the Detroit Pistons at home.
Charlotte also has a strong track record at home, going 12-3 against the spread (ATS) at the Spectrum Center, including a 5-1 market as a home favorite, per Bet Labs.
After dealing with issues with multiple key players rotating in and out of health and safety protocols for several weeks, the Hornets are finally healthy. None of their rotation players are on the injury report, and they should be recharged to show the defending champions that they should not be taken lightly.
In their last matchup on Dec. 1, the Bucks squeaked out a 127-125 victory at home. LaMelo Ball scored 36 points and knocked down eight 3-pointers. Without Holiday, expect Ball to have a big game and the Hornets to get the best of the Bucks in a revenge spot on their home turf.
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Matt Moore: Boston has had a double digit lead in all three games this season vs. the Knicks.
I bet the Celtics on Thursday night, and as soon as they got a 25-point lead I felt sick. But I just can’t let myself get rattled. There’s not a matchup problem. There’s just that Knicks “Bing Bong” chaos and the Celtics’ penchant for massively vomiting on themselves.
I use two different projection systems. One is a matchup-based estimate that uses halfcourt and transition data. That number has this at Celtics -6.9, so no edge on the -7 spread but value on the Celtics’ ML. My power rated system has this Celtics -3.2, so value on the +7, but still indicating Celtics should win.
Meanwhile, I have the Celtics projected at 108 points. New York’s adjusted defense ranks 21st at DunksAndThrees.com. Boston scored 134 in the first matchup in the opener and 114 in its win on Dec. 18.
So we’re going to do a single-game parlay on these two at +110. Betting is open in New York, and what’s more New York than betting against the Knicks making their fans happy?
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Brandon Anderson: I’ll continue to play Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointers prop until the books adjust the line.
Just look at the numbers over the past 12 games. After returning from a couple weeks away, Brown’s 3-point volume has clearly taken a jump. During these 12 games, he’s making 3.3 shots per game from beyond the arc on 9.1 attempts with multiple makes in all but one game. He has at least three makes in eight of the 12, covering this line 67% of the time.
And maybe even more importantly, Brown has taken at least seven 3-point attempts in every one of those games. That’s establishing a very high floor, and for a guy who typically shoots around 36%, that sets a floor of around 2.5 makes, right at this number.
Now look back at the numbers before these 12 games, and you’ll see why the line is what it is. Brown was attempting only 6.5 treys per game and hitting 2.4 of them. That’s why this line is 2.5, but it’s not accounting for the clear jump in attempts over the past month.
This is also a spot where you can get aggressive and play alternate overs if you want. You can play Brown to hit at least four 3s at +176. That’s an implied 36% hit rate, but he’s done it in five of these last 12 games, 42% of the time. It’s a much bigger margin in our favor if you play Brown to hit at least five treys. That one comes off at +440 and implies only a 19% hit rate, but he’s done it three times in the last 10 games, a 30% success rate.
Of course, we should also consider the data from his last game out, when Brown made two of eight 3s. That goes under all our lines, but the eight attempts should make us feel good about the process. If we get eight attempts again tonight at his typical 36%, we have about a 60% chance of hitting the over. But 10 attempts instead pushes us to a 75% success rate and a 27% shot at that +440.