NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Hornets-Magic & Wizards-Spurs (Sunday, Jan. 24)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Bradley Beal.
- Sunday's NBA slate features seven matchups and plenty of betting opportunities.
- Our experts share their favorite picks below, including a pair of props and an over for two games later tonight.
Rumor has it there are some meaningful football games on tap for Sunday afternoon, but if hoops are on your mind, then you’re in the right place.
With seven games on the Sunday NBA slate (the Kings vs. Grizzlies games has been postponed due to contact tracing), our crew sees betting value in three matchups.
NBA Odds & Picks
Thunder at Clippers
Raheem Palmer: These two teams met Friday and we played this total to go over the total of 219. Now they meet again and the total sits at 222.5, which from my view is an overcorrection.
I find it troubling to see such huge adjustments game to game when teams meet twice in a row. We saw this during the playoffs in the NBA bubble. I faded the line move then, and I certainly have no problems fading it now.
The Clippers play at the fourth-slowest pace in the league, and while Oklahoma City tends to play faster, the Clippers scored 123.7 points per possession on Friday and the Thunder scored 1.09 points per possession — both above their season averages — and the game went over by just 7 points.
While the Clippers are 21st in Defensive Rating this season, allowing 112.5 points per possession, they’ve allowed just 108.4 points per possession over the past two weeks, which shows us their defense is improving. I’ll fade this line movement and look for this game to go under the total.
Hornets at Magic
Editor’s note: Aaron Gordon was ruled out for Sunday’s game with hip and back soreness.
Brandon Anderson: The Orlando Magic are trying, and starting, to figure themselves out.
The Magic are short two starters (and will be for the remainder of the season) with Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz out for the year with knee injuries. They were short a third starter the last few weeks, too, in Evan Fournier. All of that has left the Magic extremely shorthanded, especially because this wasn’t exactly a loaded team to start with.
Nikola Vucevic has taken on a monster role to help carry the team, but the Magic have badly lacked playmaking and scoring in recent weeks. They just haven’t had enough of either. Rookie Cole Anthony is starting at point guard and should help in both areas in time, but he’s raw, and many of the Magic role players are best on defense.
But Fournier is back now, and he’s helping with the scoring load immediately. Fournier returns to a veritable buffet of shots, all the shots he can eat. He hoisted 21 shots immediately in his return from injury, then 14 more his last time out, scoring 24 and 26 points in those games, respectively. Fournier’s shots and 3-point attempts are way up from his typical averages, and he’s getting to the line far more often. We may not have a 25 PPG-scorer here, but Fournier should be in the high teens or 20s each time out because the Magic just don’t have any other options. They need all the Fournier shots they can get.
The Magic are also finding some playmaking answers in Aaron Gordon, or “Point Gordon” as I’ve come to calling him. In the last six Magic games, Gordon has recorded eight, three, six, 10, seven and nine dimes. He is running this offense now, averaging 7.1 APG during this stretch, and he’s gone over this 5.5-assist line in five of those six games. Books are starting to catch on, ticking this line up from 4.5 the last couple games, but we’re still getting plus juice here, so I still like it.
I’ll play both props tonight, with Fournier’s scoring and Gordon’s passing leading the way for a revamped Magic team. I prefer Fournier, and so does our Props page by a wide margin, rating it as one of the top prop plays of the day, but I’m happy to play Gordon too. Let’s keep the Magic rolling.
Washington Wizards vs. San Antonio Spurs
Malik Smith: The Wizards haven’t played a game since Jan. 11 and I expect the rust will show immediately. Before their hiatus they had the fourth-worst Defensive Rating (114.4) in the NBA, and after missing six games they are now second-worst.
Even with a high total this feels like a spot to back the over — 68% of the money on this total is landing on the over at the time of writing, according to The Action Network’s public betting data. Both the Wizards and Spurs rank top-10 in Pace this season, but more importantly, the Wizards are the most profitable team to take over on when the total closes above 230 points (7-3 this season).
I don’t expect that time off improved this defense in the slightest so I’m taking the over at FanDuel with confidence up to 235.