NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Bets for Pistons vs. Hawks, Kings vs. Clippers (Wednesday, Jan. 20)

NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Bets for Pistons vs. Hawks, Kings vs. Clippers (Wednesday, Jan. 20) article feature image
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Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul George (left) and Kawhi Leonard (right).

  • Wednesday brings us a huge nine-game slate, and Raheem Palmer is all over it.
  • Palmer has projections and analysis coming for Wednesday's Hawks vs. Pistons and Clippers vs. Kings games.
  • Check out all of Palmer's picks complete with full betting analysis and projections below.

Editor’s note: Tonight’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers has been postponed due to contract tracing on the Grizzlies’ side.

For the 2020-21 NBA season, I’ll be publishing my projections for every NBA game. Here’s what you’ll find in my model: projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline.

Note: My projections won’t be updated in real-time throughout the day, but Action’s PRO Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury and lineup news.

I’ll also be highlighting some of the slate’s most intriguing matchups with in-depth, game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.

NBA Projections Model

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks
7:30 p.m. ET
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
10 p.m. ET
Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers
10 p.m. ET

Although projections give us a solid baseline for what a number should be, it’s also important to handicap each matchup for things that the numbers can’t tell us. So, we’ll also be relying much on our handicapping ability when looking for an edge.

Check out my analysis for three games from tonight’s massive 10-game slate.

Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks

Pick
Under 221.5
Best Line
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

This may come as a surprise to many, but the Atlanta Hawks are actually 15th in Offensive Rating and eighth in Defensive Rating this season.

The Hawks started off the season red hot, winning four out of their first five games while averaging 125.8 points per game with an Offensive Rating of 121. Since then, the wheels have completely fallen off for this team.

During its last eight games, Atlanta’s just 2-6, scoring 102 points per game. Over the past two weeks of the season, it’s had an Offensive Rating of just 104.8 which ranks 26th among NBA teams.

Trae Young, in particular, has seen a major drop off after last year’s All-Star campaign in which he averaged 29.6 points, 9.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 43.7% from the field and 36.1% from 3-point range.

This season, he’s averaging just 22.9 points per game and a career-low 38.6% from the field and an abysmal 27.4% from behind the arc while attempting 10.9 3s per game.

He’s essentially in the Russell Westbrook category in terms of being one of the worst volume 3-point shooters we’ve seen in recent memory.

When you add in the losses of Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (ankle), you have a recipe for an offense not meeting it’s early-season potential, even struggling to score against a dreadful Trail Blazers defense,  albeit on a back-to-back.

Fortunately for the Hawks, their defense has been one of the best in the league, ranking third in Defensive Rating (104.8) over the past two weeks. They’ll be facing a Pistons team that ranks just 20th in Offensive Rating (107.8) while playing the eighth-slowest pace in the league.

With Hawks totals being priced too high throughout this season, they’re just 2-11 to the over through the first 13 games. You have to expect that to regress at some point, but I’m not sure this is the spot.

My projections make this game 219, so I’ll take the under 221.5

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Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers

Pick
Memphis Grizzlies +1.5
Best Line
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

I’m not really big on these revenge spots, but I can’t help but feel like this is the perfect situational spot for the Memphis Grizzlies, who were eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in play-in game at the NBA Bubble.

The Trail Blazers are reeling after losing CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) for an extended period of time.

Nurkic’s loss hurts, but the loss of McCollum might as well be a death sentence for this team, as the Blazers are a whopping +13.4 points per 100 possessions better offensively with him on than off and +15.0 points per 100 possessions better in general.

For a Blazers team that is 26th in Defensive Rating and gives up 113.7 points per 100 possessions, this team was highly dependent on offense, particularly from Damian Lillard and McCollum, who were averaging 28.1 and 26.7 points per game, respectively.

I faded the Blazers in Monday’s matchup against the Spurs and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I just don’t see the Blazers being able to overcome the loss of McCollum, especially with the number of minutes they have to play defensive sieves like Enes Kanter and Carmelo Anthony.

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Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers

Pick
Over 230.5
Best Line
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Want to take a wild guess as to what team is the league leader in games going over the total? It’s the Sacramento Kings, who are 10-4 to the over this season and are dead last in Defensive Rating, giving up 120 points per 100 possessions.

The 2019-20 Dallas Mavericks had the greatest offense in NBA history in terms of points per possession, scoring 115.8 points per 100 possessions. This year’s Kings allow five points per 100 possessions more than the most efficient offense in NBA history scored.

Despite the presence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, two of the league’s best two-way players, the Clippers haven’t been great on defensive end of the floor, allowing 110.9 points per 100 possessions to rank 22nd among NBA teams.

The Clippers can also light up the scoreboard with the best of them, as they have the NBA’s second-most efficient offense, scoring 117.5 points per 100 possessions.

While the Clippers will be without Lou Williams, who is day-to-day with a hip injury, this team has enough firepower behind Leonard and George — with Serge Ibaka, Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac  —that this team can score at will.

The Clippers have scored fewer than 108 points in just three of their 14 games this season, and they lost all three of them.

It’s no coincidence that the Clippers are 9-5 to the over this season, tied for fourth among NBA teams. I’ll take the over 231.5 and would take this up to 233.

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