NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: Our 4 Best Bets, Including Knicks vs. Hawks & Magic vs. Mavericks (Saturday, Jan. 15)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic.
- The NBA features 10 games on another busy Saturday across the league.
- Our experts have their eyes on four in particular, including a pair for the Magic vs. Mavericks.
- See how are experts are betting those games, below, including multiple plays on tonight's night cap.
We have 10 games on the docket in the NBA on Saturday night and four picks to go along with it.
We start in the East, where the Wizards will host the struggling Trail Blazers and the Knicks and Hawks face off in what will surely be an intense playoff rematch. Then, we have a pick on the total and spread for Magic vs. Mavericks in the Lone Star State.
NBA Odds & Picks
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Washington Wizards
Joe Dellera: Kyle Kuzma has been cooking of late, and he just missed a triple-double in his last game. Without Bradley Beal, Kuzma has become Washington’s primary offensive option, and he’s thriving.
However, I’d like to pivot off of Kuzma against this Blazers team that has a defender like Robert Covington to throw at him. Instead, I think we should take a look at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
This Portland defense is one of the worst in the league, with a 115.6 Adjusted Defensive Rating (29th) and the worst allowed eFG% in the league (56.0%).
Caldwell-Pope’s biggest strength is his shooting. Luckily for him, the Blazers allow opponents to shoot 37.8% from 3-point range, the highest in the league. This is a good spot to play his escalator because Portland allows the high percentage, as well as many 3-point attempts.
Over his last 10 games, KCP has cleared 2.5 3-pointers in six of them, and he’s averaging 6.5 attempts over that stretch. He’s shooting 39.1% from 3 point range on the season, and I think this is juiced the wrong way.
New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks
Kenny Ducey: This line is slightly ridiculous, right?
Here are the Hawks, losers of eight games in their last 10 and less than 24 hours removed from a pretty crushing loss to Miami, against which they led for the majority then failed to cover the 5.5 points they were handed. Atlanta faces the Knicks, who just put the hurt on the league’s hottest defense the last time we saw them to pick up their seventh win in 10 tries.
Atlanta is still playing terrible defense, posting a 130.5 Defensive Rating on Friday night against the Heat and remaining the league’s second-worst defense since Trae Young came back on Dec. 27, judging by the efficiency stats. In the same period in time, New York ranks second in Defensive Rating.
We’ve yet to see the injury report, but we can expect Clint Capela and Jalen Johnson to miss this one again, while Kevin Huerter is playing through an injury and has not shot the ball well in his last three games.
This seems to favor New York, who has been able to get some great contributions out of its guards and should have an easier time scoring inside if Capela is indeed out. The big man was the sole reason Julius Randle struggled in last year’s playoff series and, in turn, why the Knicks had such a tough time scoring.
Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks
Austin Wang: Both of these are on the back end of a back-to-back and playing in their third game in four nights, and both had to travel overnight. These are teams with tired legs.
The Mavericks have hit the highest rate of unders in the NBA, going 28-14 (66.7%) to the under this season. The average combined total of their games is 208.4 points. In addition, they are 14-5 (73.7%) to the under at home and the average score of those games comes out to 207.5.
Eight of the Mavericks’ last nine games have gone under the total. The only over came against the Rockets, who believe defense is optional.
Dallas has established itself as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The Mavs are first in Defensive Rating (98.8) in their previous five games and fifth overall for the entire season, per NBA Advanced Stats.
The Orlando Magic don’t put up many points. They only average 102.1 points per game this season. Their scoring appears to be higher as of late, but they have been playing some poor defenses such as the Hornets and Wizards. I think they will get a wake-up call against the stifling defense of the Mavericks.
The Magic will be missing Wendell Carter Jr., their third highest scorer. Also, the Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis continues to be out, which makes me like this under even more.
Expect a low-scoring game between two tired teams and play the under at 211, down to 207. A second half or a live under is also intriguing since I expect the fatigue to really set in during the second half.
Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks
Matthew Trebby: The Mavericks have simply been taking care of business of late. They’ve won seven of their last eight games, all of which by at least nine points and six of them by 14 or more. The only loss was in New York on Wednesday against the Knicks. Dallas bounced back with a very impressive performance on Friday night against the red-hot Grizzlies.
While Dallas’ early results were positive, their advanced metrics indicated there might have been some fortune in them. Of late, though, the Mavs are clearly legit.
Over every teams’ last 10 games, Dallas leads the NBA with a 12.0 Net Rating, paced by its 100.5 Defensive Rating in that span. How much better is that than what the Mavs previously showed? Dallas’ Defensive Rating for the season is 106.7.
Orlando, meanwhile, is awful, but you probably knew that already. The Magic have lost 10 of their last 11, although that one win came last night against Charlotte. Orlando has actually covered in each of its last four games.
While the Magic have kept games close of late, I trust the Mavericks’ depth much, much more on the back end of a back-to-back for both teams. I also trust Dallas’ results, and those have primarily been impressive blowout wins.
It’s a big number, so I wouldn’t go higher than Mavericks -12.