NBA Odds & Betting Picks: Our Best Bets For Pelicans vs. Jazz, Nuggets vs. Thunder (January 19)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Denver’s Will Barton III and Gary Harris.
After a day filled with action on Monday, the NBA schedule takes a bit of a break on Tuesday with just two games. In Utah, the 9-4 Jazz will look to keep rolling and win their sixth straight game against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. And in Denver, Nikola Jokic will look to tame the Thunder, who have won three straight road games and are coming off a thrilling OT win over the Bulls on Friday.
Our staff previews the games with a pair of best bets.
NBA Odds & Picks
Jazz vs. Pelicans
Matt Moore: I grabbed this at open at 220, but I still like this at anything above 215. The Pelicans this season have changed their defensive pick and roll scheme to “up to touch,” which means playing at the level of the screen with the screen defender, putting pressure on the ball-handler, and then rotating on the backside. The Jazz are 23rd this season vs. that scheme, averaging .844 points per opportunity against it. Utah’s back up to sixth in defensive rating. The under is 5-1 when the Pelicans are dogs.
Jazz vs. Pelicans & Nuggets vs. Thunder
Brandon Anderson: Are you exhausted? I’m exhausted. As awesome as MLK Day was, and as much fun as it would be to have daytime sports all day every day, it’s probably for the best that we are throttling down to second gear today with only two games on the schedule.
I’m keeping my pick nice and easy today, too. I’m grabbing both favorites on the moneyline, parlaying them at -137, and calling it a day.
The Nuggets are the easier pick. Denver has an elite offense and not much defense to speak of, but the Thunder are one of the league’s worst offenses and can’t hurt the Nuggets much on that end. Nikola Jokic should feast on OKC’s inexperienced front line.
The Jazz could have a harder time with the Pelicans, but I like Utah even so. The Jazz have won five straight and have quietly ascended into the top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating. Meanwhile, the Pelicans’ defense has fallen back below league average after a strong start, and New Orleans is still figuring things out. They can show up one day or go missing the next.
Denver and Utah are two of only a few NBA teams with a true home-court advantage this year, thanks to the elevation. I like both these teams at home and don’t feel like sweating out a backdoor cover tonight. At -137, let’s just get the wins and get home safely.