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NBA Expert Betting Picks (Saturday, Jan. 11): Best Bets for Bucks vs. Blazers, Pelicans vs. Celtics

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Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo

There are seven games on Friday evening’s NBA schedule, and our experts are betting on these specific matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: New Orleans Pelicans at Boston Celtics
  • 10 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Bucks at Portland Trail Blazers 

See which bets they’re making below.


Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Brandon Anderson: Bucks at Blazers

  • Spread: Bucks -5.5
  • Over/Under: 228.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

I’m always pretty happy to ride the Bucks this season, and Portland gives me little hesitation. This 5.5 line should mostly mean a win of any type except a close game late, and I don’t see any reason to think the Blazers will keep this close.

Remember Giannis Antetokounmpo? Exactly which Portland player is going to slow him down? Kent Bazemore? Carmelo Anthony? Come on now. This isn’t a one-man game, but sometimes it really is that simple.

And before you worry about Portland at home, know that the Blazers are a meager 8-9 protecting home court this season while Milwaukee is a dominant 16-4 on the road. These are not the same old Blazers and we need to treat them accordingly.

The PICK: Over 228.5
Click below to bet now.

Bryan Mears: Bucks at Blazers

  • Spread: Bucks -5.5
  • Over/Under: 228.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

It’s just a fact now: The Blazers are not a good team. After losing five straight games at the end of December, culminating with an embarrassing loss to the Knicks, the Blazers have rebounded with two wins in their next four games. But that was against a hurt Wizards team and a severely undermanned Raptors squad. They just got blown out by a poor Wolves team, allowing 133.3 points per 100 possessions.

There’s a lot of data that says that point differential becomes more predictive than preseason expectations around the 20-game mark. We’re way past that, which means that what the Blazers have been so far should be the expectations unless they make some significant changes to the roster.

And on the season, they’re 11th on offense and 22nd on defense. Over the last two weeks, they’re 10th on offense and an atrocious 29th on defense, allowing 119.6/100. This is who they are, and tonight they’ll have to take on the Bucks, who rank second in offensive efficiency and first in the league in pace.

I think 228.5 is too low given the Blazers defense, but if you’re worried about their offense then the Bucks team total over might be a better bet.

The PICK: Over 228.5 OR Bucks Over 117.5 
Click below to bet now.

Matt Moore: Pelicans at Celtics

  • Spread: Celtics -10.5
  • Over/Under: 225
  • Time:7 p.m. ET

The talk during the Pelicans’ resurgence has been about Lonzo Ball’s outstanding play. But much of what led to their improved play was their defense, and much of that had to do with Derrick Favors. Favors has helped stabilize their back-end defense and that’s also improved the rotations when he’s been off the floor, putting Jaxson Hayes vs. bench lineups.

Meanwhile, the over for teams that are bottom five in points off turnovers per 100 possessions (Pelicans) is 53-45-1 this season (54%).

However, the over in games under 230 where Favors has played is just 2-5. The Celtics’ team total is 117.5. The Celtics’ offense has struggled lately, but they have too much talent to be held down indefinitely.

The PICK: Celtics team total over 117.5

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