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Wednesday NBA Odds, Picks, Projections: Betting Analysis for Bulls vs. Nets, Lakers vs. Kings, More (January 12)

Wednesday NBA Odds, Picks, Projections: Betting Analysis for Bulls vs. Nets, Lakers vs. Kings, More (January 12) article feature image
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Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Lonzo Ball #2, Zach LaVine #8 and DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

  • It's Wednesday during the NBA season, and you know what that means.
  • Raheem Palmer breaks down the entire slate with his projections every week on Hump Day during the regular season.
  • Check out his best bets for the night below.

This might be one of the best Wednesday slates we’ve had this season with a handful of must-see matchups happening at the same time. Let’s get right into how my model sees the night shaping up.

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
Dallas Mavericks vs. New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. ET
Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks
7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets
10 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Lakers 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 nine-game slate.

Dallas Mavericks vs. New York Knicks

Pick
Mavericks -2
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

The Mavericks come into this game winners of six straight and seven out of their last eight with the only loss coming on a last second buzzer beater three pointer against the Sacramento Kings. During this eight game span the Mavericks are first in Net Rating at 14.4 behind an Offensive Rating of 115.1 and a Defensive Rating of 100.1.

Over the past two weeks they rank first in Defensive Rating (99.7) according to Cleaning the Glass. The biggest difference is that the Mavericks are finally seeing their shooting regress to the mean.

For the entire season the Mavericks are shooting 33.5 from behind the arc. Over their last eight games they’re shooting 38.3 from deep — fourth among NBA teams. This is key considering they’ll be facing a Knicks team that ranks 25th in opponent 3-point shooting frequency (39.9%) so the Mavericks could get a ton of open looks here.

The Knicks have won three out of their last four games but they needed a double digit comeback to defeat the Celtics in a game in which Evan Fournier scored 41 points on  15-of-25 shooting while making 10-of-14 threes.

Over the last two weeks the Knicks are scoring just 106.1 points per 100 possessions and they’ll be facing the Mavericks team that is first in Defensive Rating over the past two weeks (99.7).

Although the Knicks’ defense has improved their perimeter defense will come back to bite them in this matchup. I’ll back the Mavericks in this spot to win their seventh straight game.


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Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks

Lean
Hawks -2.5
Gametime
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

The Heat are at the tail end of a six game road trip and now travel to take on the  Hawks after their 123-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns without Jimmy Butler for the first of a home-road two game series. The Heat were red hot from behind the arc, shooting 22-of-44 (50%) from behind the arc.

The Hawks have been reeling, losers of three of their past four games, including going 3-7 in their last 10 games. However, they could get some reinforcements with DeAndre Hunter listed as a game-time decision. Having him back could have a big impact on their bottom ranked defense that is allowing 125.5 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass. Despite how bad the Hawks have been defensively recently, it’s tough to imagine the Heat running as hot from three as they did in their last game against the Suns.

The Hawks have been thriving offensively where they’re scoring 116.8 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks. Miami’s perimeter defense could be an issue in this matchup where they rank last in opponent 3-point shooting frequency and 16th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage (35.2%).

The public is all over the Heat, but with the Hawks coming off back-to-back blowout losses against both the Clippers and Lakers, I really like this spot for the Hawks to return to form against a Heat team at the tail end of a long road trip. This isn’t a model play, but the spot lends itself to playing the Hawks or passing.

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Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls

Pick
Bulls -1.5
Gametime
10 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

This is arguably the most intriguing matchup on the board between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Chicago Bulls are third in Offensive Rating, scoring 113.4 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes and they’ll be playing a Brooklyn Nets team which has struggled defensively, allowing 118.5 points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, 27th among NBA teams. The Nets will be missing LaMarcus Aldridge and Nic Claxton is questionable with a hamstring injury should see this team struggle inside dealing with Nikola Vucevic.

The most intriguing thing about this matchup is that the Nets will have Kyrie Irving for this game and they’re scoring 120.4 points per 100 possessions with him the floor. However he is dealing with an ankle injury and while James Harden is on pace to play, he is also dealing with a knee injury.

The Nets have failed to cover seven straight games and it’s tough to back them here against a Bulls team which is 15-4 at home. I’ll lay the short price with the Bulls.


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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

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

The Kings and the Lakers have played three times this season with game playing out to total scores of 278, 209, 236. The one game that went under was their second matchup in which the Kings were just 6-of-29 (20.7%) from behind the arc.

Over the past two weeks the Lakers offense is rolling with them scoring 120.2 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes. The biggest difference in this Lakers team is the lineups with LeBron James at center. In 407 minutes with James at center without Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan or Anthony Davis on the floor, the Lakers are scoring 117.65 points per 100 possessions.

The Kings rank 27th in Adjusted Defensive Rating, allowing 113.3 points per 100 possessions, according to Dunks and Threes. The biggest issue the Kings should have tonight is their inability to stop teams in transition where they’re 28th in points added per 100 possessions at 3.4. The Lakers should have no problems getting what they want in this spot.

On the other side of the ball, the Lakers rank just 20th in Defensive Rating themselves and have given up an average of 119 points during their last three games. The Lakers are 29th in opponent field goal frequency at the rim (35.6%) and are just 19th in opponent field goal percentage at the rim (65.3%), so I expect De’Aaron Fox to get to the rim at will.

Although the Kings offense isn’t anything to write home about, they should do enough to help this game fly over the total with the Lakers putting up a big number offensively.

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