NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: 3 Thursday Best Bets for Warriors vs. Bucks & Clippers vs. Pelicans (Jan. 13)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Khris Middleton (left) and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- With five games on the slate, our NBA betting analysts have targeted two for their three best bets.
- We start with a huge matchup between the Warriors and Bucks before shifting to Clippers vs. Pelicans for a pair of picks.
- Check out our trio's best bets for Thursday night in the NBA below.
Thursday nights in the NBA are reserved for elite matchups, and our staff’s best bets sure kick off with a bang.
Two of the NBA’s elite face off in Milwaukee, where the Bucks host the Golden State Warriors. Then, two of our guys move south to New Orleans with the Clippers taking on the Pelicans.
We have one pick on the spread, one on a total and the last one on a player prop. We have you covered.
NBA Odds & Picks
Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Matt Moore: I have this projected as Warriors -1.5 at full strength. Now, that number is affected by the Bucks not having been at full strength the whole year, and they are closer to that right now. But even if we take that overall projection, the question becomes, “How much is Draymond Green worth to the spread?” He’d have to be worth at least 3 points.
I think he is.
Draymond’s defensive impact is probably worth two full points. Even though the Warriors’ defensive rating is worse with him on the floor vs. off, much of that has to do with how much time Green spends matched up with elite starters. Without Green to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo, particularly in transition, this increases Milwaukee’s advantage in key areas of their win probability.
Offensively, Green is probably worth 1.5 points to the spread. He’s the best passer, recognizes better than anyone when to get the ball to Stephen Curry and has been better attacking in dribble handoffs where the defense blitzes Curry more this season.
So that gets us to a slight edge on Milwaukee, before we factor in that Milwaukee’s ratings are affected by missing guys, and then homecourt on top of it. The Bucks come in with a +3.7 Net Rating at home.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Raheem Palmer: If you listened to the Thursday Workshop podcast, you know I gave this out at a better number last night.
This is likely to be a low-scoring matchup because both of these offenses are downright abysmal to say the least. The Clippers are just 26th in adjusted Offensive Rating, according to DunksAndThrees.com, and coming off a game against the Nuggets that saw them score 28 in the first half. They were only up to 37 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Fortunately for the Clippers, their defense has been dominant, ranking 5th in adjusted Defensive Rating (107.1) for the season and first over the last two games, during which they’ve held opponents to just 94.2 points per 100 possessions.
While that could say a lot about the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets at this point, the Pelicans certainly aren’t juggernauts offensively either. New Orleans ranks just 24th in adjusted Offensive Rating (108.6) per DunksAndThrees.com.
The biggest thing that can influence the scoring output is the slow pace that both of these teams play at. The Pelicans are 20th in Pace (97.7) and 19th in Offensive Length of Possession (14.8 seconds), while the Clippers are 15th in Pace (98.5) and 17th in Offensive Length of Possession (14.7).
My model makes this game 209, so I’ll play this under 215, however I did put this in at 216.5 if you follow the Thursday Workshop podcast and have me tracked in the Action app.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Kenny Ducey: Two of Jonas Valanciunas’ four best games this season came against the Clippers. On Nov. 19, he went for 26 points and 13 rebounds, and on Nov. 29 he scored a season-high 39 points to go along with 15 boards.
This is no coincidence. Los Angeles has been a dastardly team up front, and it ranks dead last in rebounding rate at just 44.7% over the course of the last two weeks. Valanciunas should have a high floor when it comes to his rebounding numbers. While his scoring has fluctuated over the past month, his boards have remained solid.
Considering Valanciunas averages 30.6 combined points and rebounds per game, it seems like a ridiculous proposition to expect a below-average performance given these conditions. I’m also particularly encouraged by the fact that Valanciunas has seen such heavy minutes against the Clippers this year despite their infatuation with small ball.