NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 5 Best Bets Including Hornets vs. Pacers (Sunday, January 8)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers.
- It's an exciting Sunday in the NBA with games all day long.
- Our NBA betting experts have five best bets, including a play on Hornets vs. Pacers.
- Find their picks and analysis below.
The NBA continues with nine games across Sunday, and our experts have a handful of best bets for you to consider. All five of our best bets are from 5 p.m. ET or earlier as our experts have plays of 76ers vs. Pistons, Trail Blazers vs. Raptors and Hornets vs. Pacers. Find their picks and predictions below.
NBA Odds & Picks
76ers vs. Pistons
Austin Wang: I am targeting the total in one of today’s afternoon games as the surging Philadelphia 76ers visit the Detroit Pistons.
The 76ers have gone over in seven of their last eight games. They are third in Offensive Rating (120.5) during this eight-game timeframe, per NBA Advanced Stats. In addition, the Sixers are 7-1 to the over as road favorites this season. They’ll be missing Joel Embiid and P.J. Tucker, two of their best defenders, so I expect tempo will be faster with their offense centered around James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
Teams with an Assist-to-Turnover Ratio greater than two for their three previous games have gone 275-198-18 (58.1%) to the over since the 2019-2020 season, per the SDQL at Killer Sports. This system is active on the Sixers, as I expect this consistent streak of efficient offense to continue.
On the other side, the Pistons are 12-6 to the over at home this season and have gone over in seven of their last nine home games. They are ranked 29th in Defensive Rating and are allowing 122 points per game to their opponents in their previous five games.
Rookie standout Jalen Duren is questionable, which will give this play even more upside if he is ruled out. Saddiq Bey will move back into the starting lineup in such case–a boost to their offense. Furthermore, this is a team that struggles with fouls and defending the 3-pointer, both of which the Sixers excel at.
My numbers make this total 234, so I would play the over on this game up to 232. Alternatively, an over on the Sixers team total of 117.5 makes sense as well. I have them projected at 121, and you will not have to rely on the Pistons offense to hold up their end of the bargain.
Trail Blazers vs. Raptors
Matt Moore: The Trail Blazers are on an East Coast road trip and have lost six of eight, so they’re going to be lower in the market than they should be. The Blazers are getting a lot of respect for a team that has lost seven of the last eight at home and is currently 17th in offense and 15th in defense. The Raptors are in a free fall; the Blazers are more of in a gentle glide downward.
Now, I have a trend that goes against Portland here: since 2018, opponents are 7-19 straight up and 10-16 (38.5%) ATS when on the road in Toronto for a game that starts before 5 p.m. ET.
But the Raptors’ offense is horrendous right now; over the last two weeks they are 27th in offense. Now, the Blazers are 22nd in offense the last two weeks but third in defense while Toronto is 15th. The Blazers’ offensive floor is simply much higher than the Raptors’.
So the matchup leans Portland, as they can actually shoot, and the spot leans Toronto, as “White Vegas” tends to catch teams on early starts.
But the number says Portland here. My projection on this game is Portland -1.5 on power rating. This is too generous to Toronto. I’ll play a full unit on the 3.5 (I got a worse number at open at +2.5, so I obviously like it even better now) and play a half-unit on the moneyline.
Trail Blazers vs. Raptors
Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The market is still catching up to the way the Blazers have been playing basketball the last 10 games. Their defense has gone from 114.2 (22nd in the league) to 113.2 (14th), just one spot ahead of the Raptors, according to Dunks and Threes.
Pace is more important than defense, and the Blazers and Raptors are bottom of the league in Pace at 24th (97.9) and 25th (97.7) respectively. The Blazers don’t get out in transition much. They rank 27th in Transition Frequency (13.7%), which measures how often teams’ possessions start with a transition play, per Cleaning the Glass.
Another helpful metric for determining a game’s speed is possession length. The Blazers are tied for the third-longest Offensive Possession Length in the league at 15 seconds, while the Raptors are tied for second in Defensive Possession Length at 14.7 seconds. When Portland has the ball, things will slow down.
The over is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between the teams, but there are a few other trends I like that favor the under:
- The under is 6-1 in the Blazers last seven overall.
- The under is 5-0 in the Blazers last five road games.
- The under is 4-1 in Raptors last five games following an ATS loss.
- The under is 6-1 in Blazers last seven games following an ATS loss.
- The under is 4-0 in Blazers last four games playing on one day of rest.
Take the under down to 224.5.
Trail Blazers vs. Raptors
Chris Baker: This is a great spot for an over as these teams do not match up with each other well. The Raptors should have their way in the paint against a Trail Blazers defense that ranks dead last in the NBA in Rim Rate Allowed (38.5%).
Another edge for the Raptors is their ability to offensive rebound, and they should have no issues generating second chances against a Blazers squad that ranks 18th in the NBA in Defensive Rebounding Rate. Center Jusuf Nurkic might miss this game, and his absence would significantly hurt their ability to finish possessions as Nurkic is their most effective defensive rebounder by far. Backup Drew Eubanks offers next to nothing on the glass and as a rim-protector, so I expect Siakam, Barnes, and the Raptors’ slashers to have their way in the paint today.
The Raptors offense will also have an edge in transition where they rank first in the NBA in Offensive Rating. This Blazers team doesn’t do a good job of setting their defense as they rank just 20th in the NBA in Transition Defensive Rating. The Raptors defense also does a good job of forcing turnovers as they lead the NBA in Turnover Rate. They should generate some easy opportunities off these turnovers as this Portland offense ranks 26th in Turnover Rate.
On the other side of the ball, this Trail Blazers offense should generate consistent 3-point looks as the Raptors rank 20th in the NBA in 3-point Attempt Rate and 30th in Corner 3 Rate. The Raptors don’t do a good job defending the 3-point line, and that is a necessity against this Dame-led Portland team.
This Raptors defense may also be a bit overrated after playing the sixth-easiest schedule of opposing offenses thus far, according to dunksandthrees.com. However, their offense is likely slightly undervalued considering they have played the fourth-most difficult schedule of opposing defenses on the year.
Hornets vs. Pacers
Matt Moore: The Hornets knocked off Milwaukee in a huge game for them on Friday, which was their best win of the season. Consequently, this is a letdown spot against a surprisingly strong Pacers team that the market keeps underrating.
After a win this season, the Hornets are 2-8 ATS and 1-9 straight up. Teams coming off a game in Milwaukee in the Budenholzer era are 42% ATS; playing the Bucks’ size and physicality takes it out of you.
The Pacers are 10-2 this season at home against teams coming off a road game. The Pacers actually have the offense to go at Charlotte if they have a good game, whereas the Bucks do not. The Pacers are like the Hornets if they were good.