NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Monday’s 76ers vs. Heat, Pacers vs. Pelicans, More Games (Jan. 4)
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Malcolm Brogdon #7 of the Indiana Pacers
- Football's regular season is over, which means the NBA hardwood can take center stage.
- See the four bets our crew is making for tonight's nine-game slate, including one parlay, one moneyline and two spread bets.
From now until the end of the summer, the NBA owns Monday nights. With regular season football in the rearview mirror, tonight’s nine-game slate is headlined by a fun matchup of Western Conference teams from the great state of Texas: Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets.
That game will be impacted by injury news (more on that here), but our experts are looking for value in four other matchups as well.
Check out their analysis and bets on those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Hornets-76ers | Thunder-Heat
Brandon Anderson: Some days, I just don’t feel like messing around with spreads. The Heat and 76ers are both playing at home as sizable favorites (-400 at each at the time of writing) against bad teams, and I’m looking for an easy win.
The Heat have been one of the league’s best home teams in recent years, and the Thunder are the worst team in the West by a wide margin. With Jimmy Butler back in the lineup, the Heat are basically at full strength
The 76ers were a totally different team at home compared to on the road last season, and face Hornets in Philly Monday. The Hornets have been solid thus far, but still aren’t expected to contend for the playoffs. With Cody Zeller out, that leaves Bismack Biyombo to contend with Joel Embiid. Embiid loves to mash against poor, outmatched opponents, and this feels like a game in which he can do anything he wants at any time.
Anything can happen in the NBA, and we’ve seen plenty of big upsets already. The Hornets and Thunder play hard, and with both lines on the verge of double digits, it wouldn’t be a shock to see either team stay within single digits. But I trust two solid contenders who are great at home to take care of business, so I’ll just parlay the moneylines here and let them win however they get there.
A moneyline parlay is playing at around -178 as of writing. If these lines move toward the underdog by tip off, I may end up teasing these teams instead and laying a few points on each at closer to even odds.
I may throw an easy Bucks moneyline in there too, though those odds are so high that the extra risk probably isn’t worth the minimal reward. Dealer’s choice, really, but I’m looking for Miami and Philly to take care of bad teams tonight and don’t want to mess with the high covers.
Matt Moore: Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to the grandest show of them all!
Brad Stevens as a road dog on the second night of a back-to-back!
Since Stevens took over the Celtics, Boston is 44-19 against the spread (69.8%) on the second night of a back to back as a road underdog. The only season they did not go over .500 in that spot? The cursed season with Kyrie Irving in 2018-19.
Meanwhile, the Raptors have the 29th-ranked Offensive Rating so far this season. Their defense has been solid, fifth-best in the league. However, they’re playing a much more traditional defense after losing Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
The Raptors have played a traditional drop scheme much more this season than last — about three more times per game. They’re in the top five league wide in using drop coverage.
That works against most teams, but Jayson Tatum has scored 1.259 points per possession vs. drop coverage this season (85th percentile) and Jaylen Brown is playing the best offensive basketball of his career.
I’m not even sure if the Raptors should be favored in this spot.
Matt Moore: I dug into the Pelicans’ defense over the weekend. They have changed their scheme up under Stan Van Gundy. They’re playing an up-to-touch coverage, hedging with the screener’s man. This helps in containing pick-and-roll.
This season, they’re allowing just 0.653 points per possession to the ball-handler in pick-and-roll, which is the second-best mark in the league. (It helps when you have two guys defending the ball-handler)
Unfortunately, if you’re defending the ball-handler with two guys, that means someone is open. Not many of the Pacers’ opponents played up-to-touch this season, but the Knicks used it on a handful of possessions. It didn’t go well.
But the big key is Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis will tear up this coverage by slipping loose and then passing out of it. Sabonis is shooting 57% from behind the arc and dishing out 6.7 assists per game. He should destroy this coverage.
That up-to-touch coverage works if the offensive team is dependent on the ball-handler scoring. And while Malcolm Brogdon has been incredible this season, the Pacers are a great passing team ranking fourth in points per possession on spot-up attempts. They can swing the ball and find the open man.
The Pelicans rank 21st in Offensive Rating with a vulnerable scheme to this team, and are favored. It’s a prime spot for the Pacers. It would be better with the injured TJ Warren, but this is good enough. I like a number of props in this matchup: Sabonis over 5.5 assists, Sabonis over 20.5 points, Myles Turner over 13.5 points. I’m also playing the Pacers’ moneyline and spread.
Joe Dellera: The Pacers take on the Pelicans as short road dogs and they’ve rebounded well in the absence of T.J. Warren (left foot surgery).
Although Warren is a valuable starter and rotation player, his value is almost inflated due to his play in the NBA Bubble this past summer. He is a positive impact on the floor, and has a +3.1 point differential in all lineups with him, per Cleaning the Glass. However, in all lineups with him off the court, the Pacers have a +8.4 point differential.
One of the major takeaways for the Pacers without Warren, is they actually improve on their seventh-best eFG% of 56.3% (as of Sunday Night) and have a mark of 57.4%, per Cleaning the Glass. The impact of the coaching change in Indiana is demonstrated through the Pacers taking the most shots at the rim, some of the fewest in the league from mid-range, and just about league average from behind the arc.
This matches up well with the Pelicans who allow the third-highest (meaning worst) shooting percentage at the rim, and the most 3-point attempts per game in the league (43.7), although they close out on those effectively. The Pacers should not struggle to score against the Pelicans, despite their improved defense under Stan Van Gundy.
The bigger issue in this game is the Pelicans’ offense. It has looked absolutely anemic and ranks just 20th in Offensive Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats. Although there are some signs of life based on the Pelicans location eFG% (53.1%), which outpaces their actual (51.2%) by nearly three percentage points, they’ve been unable to score from 3-point range.
The Pacers limit 3s at the second-highest rate in the league, and between the Pelicans giving up 3-point shots, and the Pacers limiting them, this could present quite the math problem for Van Gundy’s squad. The Pacers are undervalued here, and I’ll take them to handle business in New Orleans.