Palmer’s NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Pacers vs. Hornets, Nuggets vs. Spurs (Friday, Jan. 29)
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic.
- Raheem Palmer is betting four totals and one prop in four of Friday's 10 matchups.
- See where his model is finding an edge in Pacers vs. Hornets, Kings vs. Raptors, Nuggets vs. Spurs and Mavericks vs. Jazz using his betting model.
For the 2020-2021 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
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 10-game slate.
Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets
These two teams played Wednesday night and while there was no adjustment to the total. I found the matchup telling of what we should expect going forward.
Despite the Pacers putting up an Offensive Rating of 123.4 and the Hornets putting up an Offensive Rating of 112.8, it took a Doug McDermott layup with 30 seconds to go to push this game over the total. It was a particularly slow paced game for today’s NBA, clocking in at 94 possessions. You have to wonder what this total would be if both offenses weren’t as efficient.
The Pacers made 16-of-40 3-pointers, including a Domantas Sabonis buzzer-beater to end the first half while the Hornets shot around their average 3-point shooting, making 13-of-38.
With a slow-paced game and the Hornets on a front end of the a back-to-back, I have a hard time believing we see this total go over again. My projections make this game 219.5, so I’ll play this one to go under.
Sacramento Kings at Toronto Raptors
These two teams last met on Jan. 8 in a game that resembled the All-Star game as opposed to a regular season game. The Raptors won in a 144-123 thriller with both teams shooting nearly 60% from the field.
Even if these teams don’t run well over expectation from the field in this matchup, you have a game that’s likely to go over based on the Pace with the Kings ranking top 10 in possessions this season. With the Raptors missing one of their best defenders in OG Anunoby, Norman Powell gets the start, which means the Raptors will be playing a lot more small ball.
Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Powell will be playing together and we should see lots of running and 3s in this one. The Raptors are allowing teams to score 108.8 points per 100 possessions with OG Anunoby on the floor and 114.1 without him, which is a difference of 5.3 points per 100 possessions.
Nonetheless, this Kings team should be able to get theirs offensively and they do come off a game in which they score 121 points and put up a 123.4 Offensive Rating against the Orlando Magic.
While the Kings held the Magic to just 107 points on Wednesday Night, that feels like an aberration for a team that is dead last in Defensive Rating (119.1) and is allowing the highest eFG% (56.6%) among all NBA teams. They only area of the floor in which the Kings aren’t allowing teams to shoot above average is the long mid-range shot, where no NBA team wants to shoot from these days.
In every other area of the floor from the rim (67.6%) to behind the arc (39.1%), where the Raptors take nearly 40% of their field goal attempts, the Kings rank towards the bottom of the league.
This is a really bad defense and it’s not a surprise that they’re 11-6 to the over. We played their over on Wednesday and we’ll continue to do so tonight.
Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
This is somewhat of a clash in styles as the Spurs play at the ninth-fastest Pace (101.30) in the league while the Nuggets play at the second slowest (98.19).
The amount of possessions aside, the Nuggets have one of the best offenses in the league scoring 117.1 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Of course the defense leaves a lot to be desired as well as they’re allowing a whopping 111.6 points per 100 possession on the other end of the floor. These two teams played last season and have gone over this total twice and I have trouble believing that changes here, especially considering the small ball lineup the Spurs play at this point.
Nikola Jokic is currently averaging 25.2, 8.9 assists and 11.8 and we should expect him to have his way with a frontcourt that consists of LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl. With the Spurs’ struggles at defending the perimeter, I’m not seeing them slowing down Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. off the bench either.
The Nuggets are 12-5-1 to the over and 7-2 to the over on the road, per Bet Labs data, where they don’t have the altitude advantage to help reduce opposing teams’ offensive outputs. My projections make this game 226 and I have no problem playing this game to go over.
Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
I wrote why I like this game to go over in our Friday version of best bets with my projections making this game 222.
It’s not a huge edge — and the line is continues to move up — but what we saw from these teams on Wednesday makes me feel confident.
If you’re looking for a prop that correlates to this play, I like the Luka Doncic Over 27.5 points. While he’s averaging 27.4 points per game, he’s been on a tear recently, averaging 31.8 points over his last four games.
With a primetime game on ESPN and the Mavericks losing in blowout fashion Wednesday I think we see him continue his recent output.