NBA Odds, Picks, Projections: Betting Analysis for Spurs vs. Celtics, Hawks vs. Kings, More (January 5)

NBA Odds, Picks, Projections: Betting Analysis for Spurs vs. Celtics, Hawks vs. Kings, More (January 5) article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 and Lou Williams #6 of the Atlanta Hawks.

  • It's Wednesday during the NBA season, and you know what that means.
  • With a full 11-game slate on the docket, Raheem Palmer hits you with his projections for every game, as well as his best bets.
  • Check out his breakdowns and picks below.

It’s Wednesday in the NBA, so you guys know what that means. I’m breaking handicapping every game with my betting model and breaking down the four matchups I really like on tonight’s slate.

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 vs. Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET
Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks
7 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta Hawks vs. Sacramento Kings
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.

Check out my analysis for tonight’s 11-game slate.

Detroit Pistons vs. Charlotte Hornets

Pick
Under 228.5
Gametime
7 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

The Hornets have been boasted one of the league’s worst defenses all season, allowing 114.1 points per 100 possessions, 26th among NBA teams. However, over the past two weeks that number has improved slightly (110.6).

The biggest change is the decline of their offense, which went from second in Offense Rating, scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions to scoring 110.4 points per 100 possessions. While the Hornets have had players in the health and safety protocols, it’s no a surprise we’ve seen this team go under their total in five out of their last six games.

For much of this season, the Hornets were an over team but it appears the market has caught up them recently and I’m here to take full advantage against a Pistons team that has the worst offense in the league, scoring just 101.0 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes. This total has moved 3.5 points but there appears to be some market resistance.

My model makes this game 225 and with the Pistons still missing Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart, Corey Joseph and Kelly Olynyk, I’m not seeing how this offense improves from it’s recent output.

The Pistons are 16th in Defensive Rating (110.6) over the past two weeks and they are sixth in Transition Pts+/Possession (1.7), according to Cleaning the Glass, an area where the Hornets thrive. I think this could be a lower scoring game than the market is anticipating, so I’ll play the under here.


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Golden State Warriors vs. Dallas Mavericks 

Pick
Warriors -4 or Live
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

If you listened to the Buckets podcast with my colleague Matt Moore and myself, you should know that I gave out the Warriors -4 with my model making this game Warriors -6.5. It’s hard to recommend a play at the number, but I believe the Warriors have the advantage in a game where the Mavericks are missing Kristaps Porzingis and (possibly) Trey Burke for this matchup.

The Mavericks have been playing better recently, but they are still shooting 39.6% of their field goal attempts from behind the arc while converting just 33.3% of those shots, 26th among NBA teams.

The Warriors, on the other hand are nearly at full strength and rank first in Defensive Rating, allowing just 103.3 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass. Generating offense on the perimeter won’t be easy against the Warriors who allow opposing teams to shoot just 34% from behind the arc, which ranks fifth in the NBA.

To their credit, the Mavericks have been second in Defensive Rating (104.6) over the past two weeks. However, outside of the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Mavs haven’t exactly played the league’s best offenses, taking on the Blazers, Kings (twice), Thunder and Nuggets over the past five games. The Stephen Curry-led Warriors are a huge huge step up in class and I expect the Mavs to take a step back in this spot even with Luka Doncic back in the lineup.

For whatever reason, the Mavericks haven’t performed very well with Doncic on the floor this season. Their offense is scoring just 108.2 points per 100 possessions with him on vs. 111.6 with him off. Much of this could be noise and while the Mavericks aren’t actually better without him, it’s clear, things haven’t worked as well as they have in the past on the offensive end this season.

As I said up top, I’m on the Warriors at -4 and with this number moving up as high as -5.5 I don’t really want to recommend you getting the worst of it, so look for an in-game spot to take them as they should come away with the victory and cover tonight.


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San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics 

Pick
Spurs +7.5
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

The Celtics are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA this season. They were 10-point favorites against the Orlando Magic on Sunday and needed a double-digit fourth quarter comeback and 50 points from Jaylen Brown to escape with 116-111 victory in overtime.

My model makes this game closer to Celtics -3 and with Dejounte Murray returning from the health and safety protocols, so I see the Spurs being in prime position to challenge this Celtics team in this spot.

The Celtics rank 20th in Offensive Rating (109.2) and while the defense is solid, this is definitely not a team I’d want to lay close to double digits with. The Spurs rank 10th in Offensive Rating (115.7) and eighth in Defensive Rating (108.4) over the past two weeks. I’ll back them to keep this one close.


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Atlanta Hawks vs. Sacramento Kings

Pick
Hawks +1
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

My model makes the Hawks -2.5 point favorites with both of these teams at full strength however they’ve been hit with a wave of absences with John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Gorgui Dieng in the health and safety protocols. Trae Young and Cam Reddish have also popped up as questionable for tonight’s games.

Fortunately for the Hawks they welcome the return of Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Huerter and after losing seven of their last 10 games, this team is desperate for a bounce back.

The Hawks are coming off a 136-131 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers despite 56 points from Young as they allowed a Blazers team missing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to score 1.389 points per possession. Of course a lot of that is 3-point variance with Anfernee Simons making 9-of-16 (56.3%) 3s on his way to 43 points with the Blazers shooting 18-of-41 (43.9%) as a whole.

The Hawks are solid offensively despite all the absences — they rank second in Offensive Rating, scoring 114.0 points per 100 possessions — but the defense has allowed 122.7 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, which ranks 28th over that span.

That may not be the biggest issue tonight against the Kings who are coming off a 122-114 loss to the Lakers and now host the Hawks on a back-to-back. The Kings rank 27th in Offensive Rating (105.8) over the past two weeks and are equally as inept on the defensive end of the floor where they allow 114.1 points per 100 possessions. They are downright abysmal in the half court where they’re scoring just 90.0 pts/play, 24th among NBA teams. If there’s any advantage the Kings have is their ability to score in transition facing this Hawks transition defense.

I like the Hawks to pick up a win in this spot, provided they are healthy, and I already played the Hawks at +1.


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