NBA Expert Betting Picks (Thursday, Jan. 2): Best Bets for Pistons vs. Clippers & Grizzlies vs. Kings

NBA Expert Betting Picks (Thursday, Jan. 2): Best Bets for Pistons vs. Clippers & Grizzlies vs. Kings article feature image
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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Rose #25 of the Detroit Pistons.

  • The latest betting odds for Thursday night's NBA showdown between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons make the Clippers big home favorites (spread: Clipper -12.5) with the over/under set at 223.5.
  • Blake Griffin remains doubtful to play. Our experts give their favorite betting picks for that matchup and a few others on Thursday, including Grizzlies vs. Kings.

There are nine games on Thursday evening’s NBA schedule, and our experts are betting on three specific matchups:

  • 7 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers
  • 10 p.m. ET: Memphis Grizzlies at Sacramento Kings
  • 10:30 p.m. ET: Detroit Pistons at LA Clippers

See which bets they’re making below.


Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.


Brandon Anderson: Nuggets at Pacers

  • Spread: Pacers -1.5
  • Over/Under: 209
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Pacers are really good at home, and the Nuggets don’t travel well. Indiana is 15-3 straight-up at home and 10-5-3 against-the-spread. The Pacers are one of those teams that shows up each night out and makes you actually come out and win the game. They’re not going to give you anything, and the Nuggets haven’t covered any of their past five games after that big win against the Lakers.

So why are we riding Denver? Two words: Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon has been a revelation for the Pacers, a legit All-Star over the first third of the season, and he would’ve given Denver problems on both ends of the floor. “Would’ve” because Brogdon is out with a back injury, and so is rotation guard Edmond Sumner. That leaves Aaron Holiday running point, and I just don’t trust the other other Holiday to get the job done.

If you need a little more reason to believe, the Action Network app tells me that home teams are 3-13 ATS this season with Brett Nansel on the call, and guess who the lead ref is tonight? You got it. Take us home, Brett Nansel and Aaron Holiday.

The PICK: Nuggets +1.5


Wob: Pistons at Clippers

  • Spread: Clippers -12.5
  • Over/Under: 224.5
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBA TV

I smell …. sniff sniff …. load management.

Like we saw at Staples Center last night between the Suns and Lakers, no lead in the NBA is ever safe. Even when it gets to 35.

The Clippers are going to clobber these dudes if the full squad plays, but 1) I don’t think they will and 2) they won’t remotely care until the fourth quarter. The Pistons stink out loud, but they bring it every night as a majority of their roster is playing for contracts, playing time or to get on the trade block.

That alone is enough for me to take 12.5 in a regular season NBA game in which the favorite will be just punching the time clock.

The PICK: Pistons +12.5


Bryan Mears: Grizzlies at Kings

  • Spread: Kings -4.5
  • Over/Under: 224.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

Don’t look now, but the young Memphis Grizzlies since Dec. 14 — a span of nine games — have ranked second in offensive efficiency, scoring 116.3 points per 100 possessions. They’re shooting the ball very well right now, and while the overall number may be unsustainable long-term, there aren’t glaring marks. They’re doing well in the restricted area, led by Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., and poor on long-2s. They haven’t been that lucky.

Meanwhile, they’ve still played fast and atrociously on defense. The matchup should be one they can have success with, as the Kings are 29th this season in opponent shooting at the rim. Further, with De’Aaron Fox back, Sacramento has been better on offense and has predictably gotten out in transition with more frequency. Given all of those factors, I like the over in this one.

The PICK: Grizzlies/Kings over 224.5


John Ewing: Grizzlies at Kings

  • Spread: Kings -4.5
  • Over/Under: 224.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET

The NBA season is long. The 82-game schedule is a grind for players, which makes rest more important as the season progresses.

Historically, it has been profitable to bet well-rested teams (four or more days off) against opponents on normal rest (two days off) late in the season.

A $100 bettor following this simple strategy would have returned a profit of $3,078 since 2005.

The Grizzlies have had four days off. The Kings are coming off two days rest. A well-rested Memphis squad (+4.5) is a match for this system.

The PICK: Grizzlies +4.5

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