NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Knicks vs. Kings (Friday, Jan. 22)

NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Knicks vs. Kings (Friday, Jan. 22) article feature image
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Buddy Hield #24 of the Sacramento Kings.

  • Even with two COVID cancellations, Friday's NBA slate is packed with matchups.
  • Check out our experts' favorite bet for the nightcap of the 11-game slate, Knicks vs. Kings.

With 11 games on Friday’s NBA slate (Wizards vs. Bucks and Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers have been postponed due to COVID) it’s only natural that three of our experts are betting the same matchup.

While two of our analysts are on opposite sides of that games, one is looking elsewhere to find value. Check out their bets and analysis for Friday’s games below.

NBA Odds & Picks

 

Click on a game to skip ahead
Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET
Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET
Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET
New York Knicks vs. Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. ET

Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets

Pick
Bulls +3.5
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: This is one of the more perplexing lines of tonight’s 11-game slate. My projections, which weigh recent games more heavily, make the Charlotte Hornets a -1.3 point favorite in this matchup while the market has this spread pegged at -3.5.

Looking deeper, the market appears to be severely undervaluing a Bulls team that has won two straight games over the Mavericks and Rockets and played the Clippers and Lakers down to the final possessions.

If the Bulls don’t blow a 16-point fourth quarter lead against the Thunder with 4:40 to go in regulation, it’s likely we’d see this game priced differently coming off three straight wins. While these teams have the same record at 6-8, the Bulls have played the 14th ranked schedule of opponents and the Hornets have played the 21st ranked schedule.

As a whole I think the Bulls are the better team and trending upwards after starting the season 0-3. Led by Zach LaVine who is averaging 27.4 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.7% from behind the arc, the Bulls have had one of the best offenses in the league over the past two weeks. They’ve scored 116.7 points per 100 possessions, 7th among NBA teams over that time period.

The Bulls are sixth in Effective Field Goal Percentage (56.3%) against a Hornets team that’s given up 111.4 points per 100 possessions over the past week, 17th among NBA teams.

Although the Bulls do have some defensive concerns of their own, they’ll be facing  a Hornets team ranks just 22nd in Offensive efficiency (107.5) and hasn’t played basketball in a week due to COVID-19 concerns so rust could be a factor.

The Bulls will welcome the return of Tomas Satoransky and Chandler Hutchison who were out with COVID-19 and the Hornets welcome back Cody Zeller from a fractured left hand. Still, I think this spread is a bit mispriced. I’ll take the Bulls with the +3.5 at PointsBet and they should have a chance to win this game outright.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets

Pick
Hornets -2.5
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: The Hornets and Bulls are both floating right around .500 in the East, with each team looking like they’ll hope to contend for those final play-in game spots. From that respect, this could actually be a big game if this race stays tight down the stretch.

The Bulls have been bad at defense but decent on offense, with Zach LaVine putting up big numbers to lead the way. Billy Donovan has improved this team’s floor and taken away the truly terrible performances they had at times under Jim Boylen.

The Hornets have also had a higher floor this year, thanks to the additions of Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball. Charlotte always had a cadre of useful players, guys like P.J. Washington, Devonte’ Graham, and Terry Rozier, but they were playing outsize roles on a team with no leads.

With Hayward and Ball the best two players on the team, everyone else has settled into a much more comfortable role this year, and the Hornets are better because of it. Charlotte ranks top 10 in the NBA on defense, but the offense comes and goes.

I like this matchup a lot for the Hornets because of the edges they have under James Borrego. Charlotte helps itself by removing mistakes. They don’t turn the ball over much but force a high number of turnovers, and they rarely foul the opponent. Chicago relies heavily on free throws for its offense and has the second highest turnover rate in the league.

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s biggest weaknesses are on the defensive glass and in overall offensive shot profile. But the Bulls look like they’ll be without Wendell Carter Jr. per our NBA Insiders tool and don’t hit the offensive glass well anyway, and Chicago gives up some of the easiest looks in the league, even if they have their best defender (WCJ) out there.

All of that adds up to a bunch of little advantages in Charlotte’s favor. The Hornets also haven’t played in six days, while the Bulls had two games in that stretch and had to fly from Oklahoma City to Dallas to Chicago to Charlotte. Chicago is also playing the first game of a back-to-back. Those hidden advantages also help Charlotte, allowing their better players to play more.

Neither of these teams is particularly good, but the Hornets’ strengths make this a bad matchup for Chicago. The Hornets rank first in the league in assist rate, with highest assist rate since the 1950s!

Charlotte is finding its offense by moving the ball faster than the defense can react, and the Bulls are particularly bad at that. I like the Hornets to win and cover the -2.5 at BetMGM and would play to -4.5.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets

Pick
Over 55.5 (2Q)
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: The Hornets rank 14th overall in Pace during second quarters. However, their most used four-man lineup of Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridgets, and P.J. Washington averages a blistering 117 pace.

The Bulls rank first in second quarter Pace and both teams are bottom-10 in second-quarter Defensive Rating. The over is 11-3 in Bulls second quarters, 10-4 in Hornets second quarters this season. If you haven’t picked up on the theme here, I like the over in the second quarter on FanDuel.


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New York Knicks vs. Sacramento Kings

Pick
Kings -3.5
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Matt Moore: The Kings use switch defense more than any other team in the league — it’s effectively their base defense. The Knicks average just .910 points per possession against switching defenses.

Tom Thibodeau with Minnesota Timberwolves and the Knicks (so outside of that great Bulls team) are 10-14 against the spread on the second game of a back-to-back.

BetMGM has the best line on the Kings spread, but I also like the under here. The Kings struggle against drop schemes which Knicks run more than any other type of defensive scheme.

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