NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Knicks vs. Cavaliers, Hawks vs. Jazz (Friday, Jan. 15)

NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Knicks vs. Cavaliers, Hawks vs. Jazz (Friday, Jan. 15) article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.

  • Despite having two games canceled due to COVID-19 issues, Friday night's NBA slate is still packed with eight matchups.
  • Our NBA betting analysts are focusing on two of those games where the total is offering value: Knicks-Cavs and Hawks-Jazz.
  • Check out the full breakdown of their favorite picks below.

There’s a clear trend in the picks our NBA crew is making on Friday. With eight games on the slate (two games have been postponed due to heath and safety protocols), they’ve found two matchups where the total has value.

You can check out their analysis and picks on those games below.

NBA Odds & Picks

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New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. ET
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET

New York Knicks vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Knicks -2 | Under 197.5
Bet Now
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Raheem Palmer: The Cleveland Cavaliers are missing their young duo famously known as Sexland, Collin Sexton (ankle) and Darius Garland (shoulder). To make matters worse, they’ll be without the services of Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince who landed in the four team deal that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Cavaliers are +3.3 points per 100 possessions better with Sexton On vs. Off and a whopping +18.3 points per 100 possessions better with Garland On vs. off.

The biggest difference is the hit this offense takes as the Cavs offense goes from scoring 103.1 points per 100 possession with Sexton on vs 98.6 points per 100 possessions when he’s off the floor. The drop-off without Garland is even greater as the Cavs are scoring 108.8 points per 100 possessions with him on vs 96.2 points per 100 possessions with him off the floor.

It’s no coincidence that over the past two weeks, the Cavaliers are dead last in offense, scoring just 94.6 points per 100 possessions. They’ll be facing a Knicks team that ranks 11th in Defensive Efficiency in their non garbage time minutes, holding opposing teams to 109.8 points per 100 possessions.

Overall these are two bad offenses which happen to play among the least amount of possessions in the league. The Knicks are dead last in pace at about 96.71 possessions a game while the Cavaliers are 27th in pace playing at 97.52.

My projections for this season not using priors actually puts this total at 187 so it’s no surprise we’re seeing this total being steamed down.

I’m going to play the under and take the Knicks to bounce back from four straight losses give that they have a better offense than what we’re seeing from the Cavs without Sexland.

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New York Knicks vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick
Under 197.5
Bet Now
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: Uhh, what year is it?

The line for this game opened a hair above 200 and is plummeting quickly. Most NBA lines these days are in the 220s, and it’s increasingly common to see high 230s and not even bat an eye about betting an over.

Well, leave it to the New York Knickerbockers to take us back a couple decades. The Knicks rank dead last in pace — hi, Thibs!! — and third to last in Offensive Efficiency. Julius Randle is having himself a season but the rest of the cupboard is bare. R.J. Barrett has had a rough sophomore campaign and there’s just not enough talent here.

The Cavs rank fourth to last in pace and dead last in Offensive Rating. In this case, at least it’s not entirely their fault. Cleveland badly misses Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and just doesn’t have anything at guard without the too, and obviously Kevin Love is a big miss too.

Without those guys, this has turned into the Cedi Osman and Andre Drummond show, and I promise you, that is not a show you want to be watching. One can only see Drummond iso so many times before going insane.

Let’s spell it out with a bunch of numbers. The Cavs game under is 10-2 this season. The Knicks game under is 9-3. That’s 19-5 combined, making the under a 79% hit rate.

The Cavs under is 4-1 at home while the Knicks under is 5-1 on the road, so that’s a combined 82% hit. The Knicks have only been favored once all season and the under hit in that one. The Cavs under has hit in 10 straight games.

So … yeah … these teams hate scoring.

The Cavs are averaging 91.1 points per game over their past nine games. The Knicks are at 98.1 PPG outside of one outlier 130-point performance against the Bucks.

Do not watch this game. I beg you. Find an old throwback pre-shot clock game from the 1950s on ESPN Classic or something. Heck, you can even watch a college game if you want.

But we are absolutely betting this thing. How often do we get to bet under 200 in 2021? Let’s do this. Grab it quickly because it’s falling fast. I’m on the under at 199.5 and I’ll play down to 196.

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah Jazz

Pick
Under 227.5
Bet Now
Tipoff
9 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Malik Smith: The Atlanta Hawks are on the road facing the Utah Jazz Friday and at the time of writing, this game has the second-highest total of the night at 227.5. That contrasts with the advanced metrics on both teams and their betting trends early this season.

According to NBA Advanced Stats, The Hawks rank 11th in both Offensive (112.2) and Defensive Rating (108.2) and the Jazz rank 13th on offense (111.0) and ninth on defense (107.6). The Jazz are near the bottom of the NBA in Pace as well at 99.18 on the season.

The under is 7-4 in Jazz games and 8-2 in Hawks games so far and the prospects look even better when you adjust for games where the total closed above 225 points. The under is 8-2 for both teams combined in that situation. The two games that went over were a Hawks matchup with the Brooklyn Nets that mirrored an all-star game box score and a Jazz blowout over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Our Action Labs markets tool sees the true line being 226.5 so I’ll back the trends here and take the under.

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