NBA Expert Betting Picks (Friday, Jan. 24): Best Bets for Hawks vs. Thunder, Suns vs. Spurs
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) of the Phoenix Suns, LaMarcus Aldridge (12) of the San Antonio Spurs.
There are 11 games on Friday’s NBA schedule and our experts are betting the spread and over/under on three specific matchups:
- 8 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder
- 8 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat
- 8:30 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
See the two bets they’re making below.
Odds as of Friday evening and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Bryan Mears: Hawks at Thunder
- Spread: Thunder -10
- Over/Under: 229
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Thunder have really slipped defensively of late, ranking 20th in the league over the last two weeks, allowing 114.7 points per 100 possessions. Further, tonight they could be without Steven Adams, their center and best defensive player.
The on/off numbers for Adams aren’t extreme or anything in terms of raw impact, mostly because the other starters have struggled at times this year (while the bench has been pretty good).
But digging deeper, you can see his impact: With him on the floor, the Thunder are giving up 4.9% fewer shots at the rim (95th percentile of players) and 1.7% fewer corner-3s (93rd percentile).
Since the start of the new year, they’ve likely been a little unlucky in terms of opponent shooting, as they’ve allowed a league-high 53.8% eFG% on open shots. But given the quality of those looks in the last bit, it’s not entirely surprising that more of those are going down. In the last month, they’re in the bottom-10 in expected eFG% allowed.
Meanwhile, I’ve written a bit lately that I’m cautiously buying the Hawks to see some improvement over the last part of the season. Their main core wasn’t able to play together to start the year due to suspension (John Collins) or nagging injuries (Kevin Huerter). As a result, Trae Young just didn’t have good offensive talent around him, and opposing defenses could swarm him without worry.
But that’s come around a bit lately, and the numbers with those three players on the floor are much better than with other iterations of the starting lineup they’ve had to throw out there this year.
I think a lot of it has to do with Huerter’s shooting, which is just so badly needed for this roster. He started the year shooting 26.3% from 3 over the first month, but in January he’s at 46.4% and a 55.6% true shooting. When he played in the first month, the Hawks scored 95 points/100. In January, that’s up all the way to 108/100.
Further, the Hawks are also playing faster. Even in their last game against the Clippers, which easily hit the under, the Hawks played incredibly fast and really got out in transition frequently. They went cold from the field, as did the Clips, but the pace and shooting they’ve had in the last month with finally a more set rotation has been encouraging.
For all those reasons, I think there’s some value on the over here.
Lean: Over 229
Brandon Anderson: Clippers at Heat
- Spread: Clippers -2.5
- Over/Under: 221
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
Doth my eyes deceive me? The Miami Heat are underdogs at home? The same Heat with a 20-1 at home record this season, against the Los Angeles Clippers team that just lost to the Atlanta Hawks without Trae Young on Wednesday?
Okay fine, LA was missing Kawhi Leonard, who should play tonight and any team can have a bad outing. But this is not about losing to the Hawks. It’s about the Clippers being largely mediocre on the road this season at 12-10.
Jimmy Butler is questionable, but if you think he is sitting out against Kawhi after he getting snubbed out of a starting All-Star spot, then you haven’t been watching the same Butler as I have the past few years. I like this spread, but take Miami +130 on the moneyline if you’re a real believer.
The PICK: Heat +2.5
World Wide Wob: Suns at Spurs
- Spread: Spurs -4
- Over/Under: 227.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
There’s a reason why this total is plummeting. It’s not just because the Spurs are lords of the mid-range or the Suns are the biggest Jekyl & Hyde team in the league right now, it’s because these teams just don’t run all that much.
The Suns and Spurs come into tonight’s game as the 10th- and 12th-fastest paced teams in the league, nothing that jumps off the page to scare you, while carrying the 9th- and 14th-rated offenses respectively. This total should be 218, not 228.
If you’re against just throwing stats on paper and making a decision, the Spurs’ defense has been significantly more efficient over the past week during their compounding win streak. In those three wins they conceded 102, 118, 117 points. But spend five minutes watching their games and the eye test will undoubtedly prove to you that they are making a significant effort to give effort; Something they weren’t doing whatsoever until recently.
Unless Devin Booker goes nuclear, this game will be played in mid-range mud. The total reflects the Spurs’ season not their recent turnaround. Exactly what I want to see betting this under.
The PICK: UNDER 227.5