NBA Best Bets: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for Jazz vs. Spurs and Trail Blazers vs. Warriors (Sunday, Jan. 3)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors and CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
- With eight games on the NBA schedule, we've targeted three matchups out West with betting value.
- Check out our experts' favorite plays for Sunday, including one player prop, one full-game spread and one first-half spread.
Sunday’s eight-game NBA slate makes up for yesterday’s schedule that left much to be desired. Tonight, we’re treated to a triple-header on national TV: Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons (3 p.m. ET), Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets (6 p.m. ET) and Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors (8:30 p.m. ET) in the late slot.
Our experts dove into tonight’s games and found three bets — one prop, one full-game spread and one first-half spread — that they see value on. You can find their game analysis and picks below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Jazz vs. Spurs
Brandon Anderson: The San Antonio Spurs are … kinda fun again?
The Spurs were one of the least interesting teams to make it into the bubble last season, but ended up being something of a fascinating experiment. The team was missing its usual staid veterans, which led to a lot of playing time for young Spurs and also pushed the team away from the two big men Pop had been playing for so long.
Now that has continued into the new season, with guys like DeMar DeRozan and Keldon Johnson playing up a position as forwards and even nominal fours at times. DeRozan is averaging 21.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 8.0 assists through five games. Dare I say, the man I’ve long called Costco Kobe is doing a bit of a Costco LeBron impression thus far, playing point forward for this team while Derrick White remains sidelined.
So far this season, DeRozan has recorded nine, eight, 10, six, and seven assists. In case math isn’t your strong suit, that makes him a perfect 5-0 hitting this over.
The Jazz play bigger and slower, so that could hurt the cause a bit, but everything we’ve seen from this season’s Spurs hints towards DeRozan being featured as both a scorer and playmaker. Our props tool rates this a 10 and we project DeRozan at 7.0 assists, giving this a 29% edge in our favor. I’ll play DeRozan to -115.
Clippers vs. Suns
When you consider that they also have a top-10 offense, scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes, it’s no surprise they have the league’s third-best Net Rating (9.3) overall. The Suns are 13-1 in their past fourteen games and yet this team continues to be undervalued by the betting markets.
They rank seventh in 3-point shooting percentage (38.6%) and eighth in Effective Field Goal Percentage (56.2%). They also have multiple wings in Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder to throw at opposing swingmen. This is one of the best teams in the Western Conference and for whatever reason no one realizes it.
They face the Clippers who are still getting adjusted to a new head coach and rotation of players with the addition of Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard. Marcus Morris has yet to play this season with a knee injury and this defense hasn’t been what it was last season — they rank 25th in defense, allowing 115.2 points per 100 possessions despite ranking 12th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
The Clippers have yet to win a game in which the over-performed from 3-point range and with the Suns being the best defensive team they will have seen thus far, I think we’ll likely see a normal shooting percentage.
My projections make this game a PK, so I think you have a +EV wager on the Phoenix Suns at +3.5 or better.
Trail Blazers vs. Warriors
Matt Moore: I still a subscribe to the idea that playing a team twice in a week is a disadvantage to the team that won the first matchup. You’re more familiar with your opponent and more motivated after the loss.
Of the 10 games this season where teams have played twice in a week, teams that lost the first matchup have been within three points at half (the first-half spread for the Warriors) in seven of the 10 games.
If we back that up to the start of the 2014-15 season (when 3-point attempts exploded with the Rockets and Warriors revolutionizing the game), teams have been within three in the second game after losing the first 59.8% of the time, according to data from Killer Sports.
On top of that, Rodney Hood is out for the Blazers, which means more of the Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter combo that’s great to fade for the second quarter.
I’m not excited to bet this, but just as it is with most bets, you have to stomach the bet for the spot. I won’t be the Warriors first-half moneyline — I don’t feel that confident — but I’m getting +3 when our Action Network projection has the entire game at Warriors +3.8, and I don’t have to worry about the game getting away from the Warriors.
Also make sure you’re getting the full 3 using our ActionLabs Market Page.