NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For Bulls vs. Magic, Wizards vs. Pelicans (January 28)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – NOVEMBER 12: Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts after scoring during the first quarter of an NBA game against the Houston Rockets at Smoothie King Center on November 12, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NBA Rivals Week culminates with a tasty triple-header on ABC: Nuggets vs. 76ers (3 p.m. ET), Knicks vs. Nets (5:30 p.m. ET) and Lakers vs. Celtics (8:30 p.m. ET).
For our Saturday best bets, our writers are taking their attention away from the showcased games and looking for value elsewhere in two matchups. They are betting the spread in one game and a player prop in the other.
Read on for their expert picks and predictions for Saturday night.
NBA Odds & Picks
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic
Munaf Manji: The Orlando Magic will welcome the Chicago Bulls to town tonight. We all know the narrative of players who seek revenge and love to play against their former team and Carter Jr. is no stranger to that.
Since Carter Jr., got traded from the Bulls to the Magic, he is averaging 21.7 points and 9.2 rebounds. In fact, Carter Jr. has gone over this projection in all six games he has played against the Bulls since he got traded.
Furthermore, Carter Jr. has been in great recent form. He has gone over this projection in three straight games for the Magic while shooting it close to 63% from the field. Additionally, the Bulls struggle defend the center position. On the season, they are allowing opposing centers to average close to 22.4 points while shooting it at 58% from the floor.
I expect a big night for Wendell Carter Jr. going up against his former team. I love this up number up to 16.6.
Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Chris Baker: The Pelicans have lost six straight games but I think this is a great “get-right” spot for them. I have respect for the Wizards but I don’t like the way they matchup with this physical Pelicans team. When healthy, the Wizards have a pretty solid interior defense but with Porzingis unlikely to play here I expect Valanciunas to get going against a small Wizards team.
With Porzingis off the court, the Wizards rank in the 26th percentile of net-rating (-4.2). Porzingis has been extremely impactful for this team and his absence will be felt here. This team also just lost some big depth by trading away Rui Hachimura to the Lakers.
The loss of both of these bigs may not be a problem against every team in the league, but when you are facing this Pelicans offense that ranks second in rim rate and ninth in offensive rebound rate it certainly is a problem. Furthermore, I expect Kyle Kuzma to struggle to score as he will likely be guarded by Herbert Jones for most of the game. Jones has the quickness and the length to give Kuzma issues.
I also feel like most people have forgotten that Brandon Ingram is back from injury and I expect him to have a huge impact in this game. Ingram struggled in his first game back shooting just 4-of-18 from the field for 13 points but the Timberwolves are a uniquely long team that does a good job of contesting mid-range looks. The Wizards defense ranks 27th in opponent mid-range rate so I expect CJ McCollum and Ingram to get to their spots tonight.
Trust this Pelicans team to cover the number at home and get back in the win column. I would play this up to -5.
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