NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 4 Best Bets For Saturday, Including Hawks vs. Bucks, Grizzlies vs. Jazz (October 29)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- There are seven NBA games on the slate today, meaning there are plenty of betting opportunities.
- Our experts have found value in various totals and share their reasoning below.
- Continue reading for our best bets.
Saturday's NBA slate features seven games to bet, including a national TV matchup between two potential Eastern Conference contenders looking to get back on track: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls (8 p.m. ET).
Our analysts are focused on games elsewhere on tonight's schedule and see value in three other Saturday night clashes. They are betting various totals and a first-half spread in those three games. You can find their analysis and best bets for Saturday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets
Brandon Anderson: Don't expect much defense in this one.
Brooklyn is one of the league's worst defenses so far by many advanced metrics, and Indiana isn't far behind. With all due respect to Myles Turner and Ben Simmons, one man does not make a defense, and these guys just aren't getting much help.
True to their name, the Pacers play at the league's fifth fastest pace. They just scored 75 in the first half last night, so they can drop a huge number when they're out running and letting Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin do their thing.
The Nets should be more than happy to comply. This is not the team you want to get into a track meet with and just see who can outscore the other, but that's really the only way these Pacers can play.
Brooklyn games are averaging 234.6 PPG this year, right at this number, but that includes that season opener blowout against the Pelicans and a game against the league's finest defense in Milwaukee. Pacers games are at 239.0 PPG, with at least 221 in every game and at least one team at 120 in all but one game. We'll need that here, and I think we get it.
Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets
Munaf Manji: I am going back to the well and fading the Pacers' defense. Despite holding the Wizards below 30 points in the first quarter on Friday night, the Pacers have their hands full tonight facing the Brooklyn Nets.
According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Pacers are dead last in defensive rating (132.1) in the first quarter. That is 4.6 points worse than the second-worse team in the league.
The Pacers are allowing an average of 34.3 points per game in the first quarter. Despite the Nets only averaging 23.8 points in the first quarter, the Nets have not faced a subpar defense like the Pacers. Additionally, the Pacers are the worst 3-point defense in the entire league. They are allowing opposing teams to knock an average of 15.5 3-point shots per game and allowing a league-worse 44.9% from beyond the arc.
Tonight, they'll have to face lethal shooters like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Royce O'Neale and the possibility of the season debut of Seth Curry. I expect this Nets team to come out and fire on all cylinders.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Chris Baker: The Bucks have started to ramp up their pace once again as they have exceeded 102 total possessions in each of their last two games. They scored 110 and 119 in those games despite shooting below the 50th percentile in effective FG% in each game.
The Bucks are currently shooting 51.4% effective FG% which is 27th in the league (league average is 53.5%). They are also just 28th in FT rate in the NBA.
I expect both of these numbers to regress towards their average as this is not a poor shooting Bucks team even without Middleton and Connaughton. A Giannis-led team is not going to remain bottom-five in Free Throw Rate for very long.
This is a great matchup for them to get right as Atlanta currently ranks 28th in rim frequency allowed on defense and I expect Giannis, Lopez, and Portis to have some success down-low. Atlanta also ranks 24th in FT rate allowed on defense so we should expect Milwaukee to get to the line more often as well.
The other thing leading me to this over is the shot-profile of teams that play Milwaukee. The Bucks' defense is currently 27th in the NBA in mid-range frequency as they force their opponents to take a lot of mid-range shots.
Normally, this would lead me towards an under but Atlanta currently ranks first in mid-range frequency on offense taking close to 40% of their shots from mid-range. Atlanta is clearly comfortable taking mid-range shots and between Deandre Hunter, Trae Young, and Dejounte Murray they have the shooters to make them. Atlanta also ranks 11th in pace so we shouldn’t have to worry about them slowing the game down.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz
Austin Wang: The Utah Jazz are in a dreaded schedule spot, playing their second game of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights.
They played on the road in Denver on Friday and had to travel home for tonight's game. Even though it is a short flight, I think fatigue will come into play early in the season when these teams' conditioning is not yet up to par.
Ja Morant is listed as doubtful for tonight's game due to a non-COVID illness. He is having a stellar start to the season, so it is no surprise the line has been bet down from the opening line of 5.5 down to 2.5. However, the Grizzlies have fared fine without him. Last season, the Grizzlies were 20-5 straight up and 18-7 ATS in regular season games when Morant sat, per the SDQL at Gimme The Dog.
Morant's absence will hurt, but Tyus Jones should be a nice fill-in and I expect Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks to pick up the slack in scoring. The Grizzlies also possess a strong rebounding advantage, which will be provide even more of an edge against a fatigued Jazz team.
I'm playing the Grizzlies -1 in the 1st half, as they have been one of the best 1H teams, going 62-36-1 ATS in the 1st half since the beginning of last season.