NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Pistons vs. Bucks and Raptors vs. Suns (Wednesday, Jan. 6)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 and Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns.
- Wednesday's NBA slate is absolutely loaded.
- Our NBA crew gives their favorite betting picks for tonight's 11-game slate below, including picks on Pistons vs. Bucks and Raptors vs. Suns.
The NBA is in full force Wednesday night with 11 games on the evening slate, anchored by two star-studded national TV matchups: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (7:30 p.m. ET) and Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors (10 p.m. ET).
With so many games to choose from, our has pinpointed three games that stand out in terms of betting value. They’re betting three full-game spreads for tonight’s action and you can check out their analysis and picks on those matchups below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
Raheem Palmer: I gave this bet out on The Action Network podcast. This is more of a situational play than a model play for me as my projections puts this game at a pick’em without factoring in travel.
This will be the Celtics’ third game in four nights after playing the Detroit Pistons on Sunday and flying to Tampa, Fla. to play the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
Although many will cite the revenge angle for playing the Celtics here, I’m just not seeing how the market can have a 1-5 Raptors team that closed as a 6.5-point favorites power rated higher than a 3-3 Miami Heat team. Are the Raptors four points better than the Heat when playing in an arena in Tampa that isn’t even their natural home court?
Smart and Teague didn’t play in that matchup and are questionable tonight, but I’m not sure the line movement we saw Monday was warranted. I’m also not sure the Heat should be power rated lower than the Raptors.
The Celtics are essentially being held together with stellar play from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the losses of Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward have removed any depth from this lineup.
While the Celtics were able to get a blowout win Monday night behind Tatum’s 40-point effort, their stock is sky high and it is time to sell. I’ll lay the 2.5 points with the Heat.
Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Brandon Anderson: The new season is giving us these interesting NBA double-headers, and I grabbed the Bucks at -14 against the Pistons a couple days ago. After all, the Bucks were 11-0 straight up against the Pistons over the past two seasons and had won all but one of them by double digits. Milwaukee was 10-0-1 against the spread over that period against Detroit.
Well, the Bucks are now 12-0 against the Pistons with yet another double-digit win, but they didn’t get the cover on Monday. The Pistons made a bit of a fourth quarter push and lost by 10.
So it goes sometimes.
The Pistons should presumably get Blake Griffin back for this game after he sat out last time, but that doesn’t deter me at all. Griffin played in a bunch of those other games the last couple years too and the Bucks are just too good. Milwaukee routinely dominates bad East teams. This is just what they do.
Don’t overthink this. The Bucks are the better team by a wide margin and should be ready to dominate a bad Pistons team yet again. You’re forgiven if you prefer to play the Bucks -8 first half line and get away from the late backdoor Pistons cover, but I trust Milwaukee. I’ll play them to -12.5.
Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns
Matt Moore: I almost want to stay away because this feels like such a trap. That’s how wrong this line feels.
This opened Suns -1.5. As of this writing it’s still -3 most places.
Let’s review some numbers.
- Net Rating: Suns: Fifth (+7.3) | Raptors: 22nd (-3.9)
- SRS (which measures net rating vs. strength of schedule): Suns: Fourth (+7.29) | Raptors: 21st (-4.17)
What are we doing here? The Raptors are living off of their reputation. This is not the team that won the title two years ago. You can’t live off championship pedigree and savvy forever.
Even if the Suns are regressing a little bit from their hot start, they’re more than three points better than the Raptors. Toronto’s schedule is uninspiring, their bench is dreadful, and there are few positions the Suns have the advantage in this game.
The Raptors have the 24th-ranked defense against pick-and-roll offense, the Suns have the ninth-best pick-and-roll offense.
The Suns have underperformed vs. drop coverage this season, scoring just 0.8 points per possession vs. soft drop via Second Spectrum. That doesn’t vibe with Phoenix being the No. 1 team shooting mid-range shots.
Both Chris Paul and Devin Booker should have open mid-range shots all game, with Toronto having played much less of their exotic zones and coverages and instead are playing more drop this season.
Meanwhile, the Raptors create the most corner 3s per 100 possessions than any other tea, but the Suns allow the fewest. If you take away the Raptors’ excellent shooting profile, they have to rely on talent, and with Pascal Siakam a shell of the most improved player he was two years ago, that’s a tall order.
Again, this line is so low it feels like bait, but after digging in, I’m left with no other choice. If this loses, the cap wasn’t wrong, the result was. I would bet this up to -5.
Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns
Justin Phan: I have had to adjust my numbers more for the Toronto Raptors than any team early in the season.
This, to me, is a prove it spot.
The Phoenix Suns have a far higher floor among these two teams. And the Raptors still have major issues: Aron Baynes a disaster, Pascal Siakam is too much of a jump shooter and the bench is very weak.
At the time of writing, the market has the Suns as three-point favorites, but there are some -2.5s out there. I’m taking the Suns here and I like this bet up to -4.