NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 2 Favorites Bets for Sunday’s Games (Jan. 10)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Lowry (right) guarded by Steph Curry.
- The Sunday NBA slate concludes with Spurs vs. Timberwolves at 8 p.m. ET and Raptors vs. Warriors at 8:30 p.m. ET.
- See how our staff is betting these two matchups below.
Football might be the focus once again on Sunday, but the NBA closes out its packed weekend slate with a pair of intriguing matchups.
NBA Odds & Picks
Spurs at Timberwolves
Brandon Anderson: Karl-Anthony Towns is finally back!
The Wolves were the worst team in the NBA without Towns. Full stop.
Remember when Minnesota started the season 2-0 and expectations started to simmer after wins against the Pistons and Jazz? Towns got hurt that second game, and the Wolves lost the next six without him, and by an average of 20 points per game. It was U-G-L-Y.
Minnesota ranks dead last in Defensive Rating and not much higher on offense. It already looks like another lost season in the ultra-competitive West.
Towns returned yesterday and, voila, the Wolves were competitive again. Minnesota led the Spurs by 6 at the half but ended up going to overtime and losing there, a seventh straight loss. Towns started and played well, tallying 25 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. But he also played a full 37 minutes, a shocking number for a guy who was supposed to be playing on a minutes limit.
Now it’s Wolves-Spurs again for a second straight night — one of these weird pandemic double-headers — and I don’t think we see Towns for anything close to 37 minutes again. With KAT out there, the Wolves are on even footing with the Spurs. But if he plays more like 25 or even 30 minutes tonight, that leaves a whole lot of truly terrible Wolves minutes out there against a Spurs team that can take advantage.
DeMar DeRozan had a monster game last night, exploiting this defense for 38 easy points, and there’s little reason to think Minnesota will suddenly have an answer one night later. Gregg Popovich’s teams have always performed well in the regular season in part because they take care of the bad teams, and Minnesota is definitely a bad team.
With a low line here, I like the Spurs to do the double and take care of Minnesota again. I’d play to -3.5.
Raptors at Warriors
Raheem Palmer: We’ve already seen some movement on this game, as the Raptors opened up as -1.5 point favorites before being bet up to -3, which is right where my model has this spread.
While the value from a numbers perspective is all but gone, from a handicapping perspective I believe the Raptors have the edge here. Despite Steph Curry returning to form as an MVP candidate, this Warriors offense is still anemic to say the least, ranking 20th in Offensive Rating and scoring just 109 points per 100 possessions. Also, I’m not sure there’s not a more ideal candidate of guards to defend Curry than Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, who should also make Curry work on the defensive end of the floor given their ability to score.
Offensively the Raptors have struggled in the half court but we’ve seen what they can do against bad defenses after their 144-123 win against the Sacramento Kings, who are 29th in Defensive Rating (118.0). The Warriors aren’t much better defensively, allowing 112.1 points per 100 possessions, coming off a game in which they expended a lot of energy coming back from a 22-point second-half deficit.
While some of this could be a product of variance, teams are shooting lights-out from behind the arc against the Warriors. They’re allowing opposing offenses to shoot 40% from 3, which is 29th among NBA teams. Unfortunately, this is an area where the Raptors thrive, as 43.5% of their shots come from 3-point range.
The Warriors are also 20th in transition points on defense, allowing 109 points per 100 possessions. This is another area in which the Raptors thrive, and we could see the Raptors get out and run and take advantage of a poor Warriors defense.
The Raptors are just 2-6 on the year but they’ve lost close games against the 76ers, Pelicans and Spurs. They could easily be 5-3 as opposed to 2-6 right now. I’ll lay the 3 points with the Raptors.