NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Best Bets for Bucks vs. Magic, Pacers vs. Kings (Monday, Jan. 11)
Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA rolls on Monday night with seven games scheduled for the evening slate.
Our staff is honing in on three spreads on Monday night — Bucks vs. Magic, Knicks vs. Hornets and Pacers vs. Kings — that provide some value. They give their analysis and picks on those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Bucks vs. Magic
Brandon Anderson: Remember when the Milwaukee Bucks played the Boston Celtics on opening night and battled back to take a late lead, only to lose by a point on a final Jayson Tatum dagger? That was the last time the Bucks played a game within single digits this season.
The Bucks won by 39 a couple days later on Christmas. Their next wins were by 47 and 30. They’ve lost four times so far this season, three by double digits, and all six wins are by double digits. Milwaukee’s average win margin is over 25 points right now.
The Bucks may be 6-4, but they grade out as the top overall team in my metrics right now, and that’s even without the defense or the reigning two-time MVP playing particularly well just yet. The Bucks lead the league in Offensive Rating and when they are on — which they usually are — they are throttling teams.
On the other side, you’ve got the Orlando Magic who are struggling mightily. Nikola Vuevic has been a monster and maybe even honorable mention as an MVP contender thus far, but he’s not getting any help.
Vooch is down a pair of starters with both Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac out for the season, and the Magic are struggling to create and knock down shots. Rookie Cole Anthony is not getting it done in a bigger role so far since the Fultz injury, and the hot Magic start feels long ago.
These teams are both 6-4, but this is a good reminder that not all records are equal. Milwaukee has the metrics of an 8-2 team while Orlando looks more like a sub-.500 club. The Bucks typically roll bad teams, and I expect them to do that here.
I’ll play to -9.5, and if the line gets any higher than that, I may switch to a first-half play and avoid garbage time.
Knicks vs. Hornets
Joe Dellera: Despite this being the Knicks’ third game in four days, I think this is a good buy-low spot. While the Hornets had Sunday off, this is also their third game in four days so I don’t think this is as significant of an advantage for Charlotte as it appears.
Over the past two seasons, when the favorite has the rest advantage against a team on no rest, they are just 83-99-6 against the spread. When those teams are .500 or worse, they are even worse, 37-53-1 ATS. Fading those teams would return a 14.9% ROI, per our BetLabs database.
This matchup does not favor the Hornets with the Knicks’ ability to defend the rim and close out on 3-pointers, they should limit the Hornets’ second-chance points as they try to steal this one on the road.
The Knicks should bounce back after a tough loss and the Hornets are on a three-game win streak, both straight up and ATS. Something’s got to give. The Hornets have not fared well as a favorite this season, and Thibodeau can get his roster up for this game.
I also lean toward the under since the Knicks and the Hornets are a combined 15-5 to that this season, and neither is particularly efficient offensively.
Pacers vs. Kings
Justin Phan: The Sacramento Kings are in free fall, losing five of their past six games and failing to cover in their past five matchups, which means they haven’t covered in 2021.
They are also pretty banged up — Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes are questionable while De’Aaron Fox and rookie Tyrese Haliburton have had their minutes monitored. It’s possible Victor Oladipo sits in first leg of the Indiana Pacers’ back-to-back, but there’s more downside on Kings side so I’m fading them here.