NBA Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets For Kings vs. Jazz (January 3)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: The Kings bench celebrates.
- The NBA season rolls on after a historic night with a three-game slate on Tuesday night.
- Action Network's best bets come from two games: Celtics vs. Thunder and Kings vs. Jazz.
- Check out their NBA Odds, expert picks, predictions below.
Monday night was a historic one in the NBA with a 71-point performance and a 54-point performance in the same night (not to mention three other 40-point games).
Tuesday’s schedule is light on games with just three matchups on the slate (Wizards vs. Bucks, 8 p.m. ET; Celtics vs. Thunder, 8 p.m. ET; Kings vs. Jazz, 9 p.m. ET), but our crew of betting analysts are always willing to dog for value.
They are targeting two of the three matchups on the slate and they break down their best bets for Tuesday below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Kenny Ducey: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is coming off of a rough outing against an elite Philadelphia 76ers defense where he managed just 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting in 32 minutes, but that won’t scare me off buying the dip here and backing him to hit the over on his point total.
While the Celtics, too, are elite on the defensive end, they’re allowing 22.7 points per game to opposing point guards, which grades out in the middle of the NBA. This also shouldn’t be a defense that Gilgeous-Alexander fears, either, considering he dropped 37 on Boston the last time these two teams met, going 13-for-26 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Another factor here, and perhaps the biggest one, is that Tuesday will mark the third straight game that Aleksej Pokusevski has missed. When the forward has been off the floor this year, Gilgeous Alexander has seen a 1.2% boost in Usage Rate, the highest of any member of the Thunder rotation, and he’s averaging 2.7 more points per 36 minutes.
Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz
Jim Turvey: Tuesday offers a small slate, but one of the three games on the docket offers some good value.
The Kings have jumped in the standings this season in large part thanks to an improved defense under head coach Mike Brown. Their defense has slipped a bit in recent weeks as they have struggled with their team health, but with most of their rotation back in action, that defense should be back to around league average.
Where this defense really excels is in not giving teams any points from beyond the arc. The Kings give up the fewest 3-pointers per 100 possessions of any team in the NBA, and they are also good at closing out on those threes they do give up. No team in the Association gives up fewer wide open 3s (defined by NBA Advanced Stats as 6+ feet of space from the closest defender) than the Kings.
That should spell trouble for the Jazz, who have relied heavily on the math problem (3s greater than 2s) to drive their surprise success in 2022-23.
It’s also good news for the Kings on the other side of the ball, where their sixth-ranked transition offense gets to go up against the second-worst transition defense by points allowed per game, in the league.
The Action Network Pro Report shows that the Kings have taken sharp money already, and I favor the spread rather than the moneyline. The Jazz have been able to pull out some crazy tight wins at home this season where the crowd really seems to propel them, so those extra few points could end up mattering in what should be a fun game Tuesday night.
I would play this to +2.5 (-120), but not much beyond there.