NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Saturday: Our 6 Best Bets for Heat vs. Grizzlies, Jazz vs. Bulls, More (October 30)
Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic.
- With a full slate of NBA action on the docket, our betting analysts have spoiled bettors with six picks.
- It starts with the Celtics and Wizards in D.C. and goes all the way to Minnesota.
- Check out their picks for Saturday night below.
We have a full slate of NBA action on Saturday night and plenty of picks for bettors to thrive with.
Our team of basketball betting analysts have stacked our best bets for Saturday, with six picks from Washington to Minnesota.
NBA Odds & Picks
Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards
Austin Wang: These teams meet for the second time in four nights, with the first meeting going under the 224.5 total in a Washington win.
When teams face each other for the second time within a week’s span after their first game went under, the second matchup has gone 84-50-4 (37.3%) to under, per my personal database based on the Sports Data Query Language. The familiarity clearly benefits both defenses.
After playing at a fast tempo for the past few years, the Wizards are 12th in Defensive Rating (20th last season) and 14th in Pace (first last season), per NBA Advanced Stats. Kyle Kuzma has been a solid addition for their defense.
The Celtics rank fourth in the league in 3-point rate (46% of total shots). However, the Wizards are defending against the 3-pointer well — they rank second in opponent’s 3-point rate allowed (33%) and 6th in opponent’s 3-point percentage (31.4%).
Jaylen Brown has been up and down this season as his body is still recovering from COVID-19. Conditioning is a huge issue for these players, and I think this could contribute to fatigue for these Celtics players.
Something about this matchup brings out the best in both of these defenses. Their last seven matchups have all gone under, by an unreal average margin of 21 points. I think they add onto the streak.
Matt Moore: You’ve got a full slate of college football, you’re making your NFL bets, and the Heat and Grizzlies square off tonight.
So naturally, let’s bet Pistons-Magic!
Here’s a secret: Orlando’s offense has been … not completely terrible? The Magic are 21st in offensive rating, and the over is 5-1 in their games.
Detroit, on the other hand, has been completely terrible on offense. However, the Magic are playing their third game in four nights and the back end of a back-to-back, so their defensive intensity is likely to slip. They’re dead last in defensive rating anyway.
Detroit’s defense ain’t bad, ranking fourth in schedule-adjusted defensive rating per DunksAndThrees.com. But look at the combo here: a better-than-expected Magic offense against a buy-low Pistons offensive spot.
Oh, and by the way, Cade Cunningham (likely) makes his debut Saturday.
Cunningham specifically helps in all the areas the Pistons need. He’s a playmaker; Detroit is 25th in assist rate. He can shoot; the Pistons are dead last in 3-point percentage at 25.8% (good god).
Cunningham is the type of guy I call an impact player. It’s not just stats with him; he’ll genuinely make the players around him better.
Meanwhile, we’ve got an over at 207.5. The Magic’s line vs. the Raptors went to 206 Friday night; that game’s actual total was 219. The Pistons’ offense isn’t as good as Toronto’s, but it doesn’t have to be.
Joe Dellera: The New York Knicks have been a pleasure to watch this season. They’ve played gritty basketball but have coupled that with an improved offensive output.
One thing about the Knicks that’s most impressive is their depth. They showcase it day in and day out but it’s particularly evident in the second quarter where reserves on most teams get extended run.
The Knicks are 5-0 in the second quarter this season with an absurd +29.9 Net Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats. They’re led by a bench unit that’s typically made up of Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickly, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin and Taj Gibson. That lineup crushed last season and is replicating this effort again with a +16.6 point differential, per Cleaning the Glass.
On the flip side, the Pelicans have the fourth-worst second-quarter Net Rating of -14.7 and are 2-4 in the second quarter. This is in large part due to the team’s 44.6% eFG% — for comparison, the Knicks’ hold a 58.0% eFG% in the second quarter.
Raheem Palmer: Ja Morant is a rising star and darkhorse MVP candidate through the first few games of the season. So far this season, he’s averaging 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists.
There’s not a player in the league who can stay in front of Morant, whose quickness is reminiscent of prime Russell Westbrook while presenting a layup package like Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving. He faces a much tougher task against the Miami Heat, who sport the league’s best Defensive Rating, allowing just 93.4 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes.
They’re limiting field goal attempts at the rim, allowing just 29.7% of opponent field goals in that area, which is where the Grizzlies are taking 34.6% of their attempts. While the Heat are coming off a back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets, the Grizzlies return from a four-game West Coast trip, during which they played the Clippers, Lakers, Blazers and Warriors.
Brandon Anderson: The Chicago Bulls are going to have to prove it to me.
Oh sure, the Bulls have had a great start. It’s always a good thing to start the year 4-0, no matter who you’ve played. Chicago had an outstanding preseason and kept the good times rolling with wins over the Pistons (twice), Pelicans and Raptors.
Forgive my skepticism.
All three of those teams are arguably missing their best player right now, depending on how highly you think of Cunningham. And yeah, you still have to beat the bad teams too but that doesn’t really tell us anything about what happens against a real opponent.
We got our first taste of that Thursday night when the Knicks came to town, and it was a disappointing look. New York built a big lead right out of the gates and dominated for most of the game before a frenzied final three minutes that almost saw the Bulls come back.
I think that final three minutes is giving us some value here. The Bulls have played one opponent that is not expected to pick in the top 10 of the draft and looked pretty bad against them in a huge home spot.
Now, the Utah Jazz come to town. The Jazz are an absolute juggernaut, at least in the regular season. They’re a totally different animal both offensively and defensively than anything this Bulls team has been tested with.
Can the Bulls score against Rudy Gobert? Will the elite 3-point percentage hold up against a great defense? Is the Bulls defense really this improved or is it benefiting by playing poor offensive teams? Will Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan chase down all those Jazz shooters as the ball flies around the perimeter?
I have my doubts.
I already know the Jazz are an elite regular season team. Maybe the Bulls will prove they belong in a similar conversation soon, but they’re gonna have to prove it to me against a great team. With the Jazz such short favorites here and by far the better team, I have to back Utah. I’d play to -4.5.
Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Matt Moore: Here’s the key: don’t try and get ahead of the regression.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are fourth in defensive rating, fourth in half-court defense, and 1st in transition defense. The under is 4-0 in Wolves games.
The Denver Nuggets are third in defensive rating, eighth in half-court defense and third in transition defense. The under is 4-1 in Nuggets games.
I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, but that’s not going to hold.”
And you’re right! The Wolves and Nuggets will very likely not finish the season as top-10 defenses.
But trying to time exactly when that knife is going to fall is impossible. I’ve learned not to try and predict when regression hits, but instead be ready when the signs show that it’s begun. It hasn’t yet.
Meanwhile, Denver is on a back to back (which is baked into the line) after a late game on national TV (a destruction of the Mavericks) which saw them reach Minnesota sometime after 2 a.m. CT.
Now, I like Denver in adversity spots, which is why I’m not betting the Wolves, especially not as favorites. However, the Wolves’ big difference so far this season has been their rabid (no pun intended) intensity defensively. They feast on creating turnovers, generating the third-most per 100 possessions league-wide. Denver has a turnover problem.
The Wolves are playing aggressively at the point of attack in pick and rolls and dribble hand-offs. Minnesota generates the most turnovers in hand-off situations per 100 possessions league-wide according to Second Spectrum data provided to Action Network.
Minnesota is also just swarming with athletic bodies by using more defensive players in the staring unit with Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Wolves will exhaust and annoy an already exhausted and annoyed Denver team.
I have this number a lot closer to 200 than 220, skewed by the early results and small sample. But the cap matches up. Don’t try and guess when these teams are going to look like the defensive teams we expect and play a good spot for who they’ve shown to be so far.
I bet this at 221.5 late Friday night, and I like it to 217.