NBA Projections: Odds, Picks & Betting Analysis for Spurs vs. Celtics, Mavericks vs. Jazz & More (Wednesday, Jan. 27)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.
- If NBA action is your cup of tea, Wednesday is going to be right up your alley.
- There is another stacked card on deck around the league, with 12 games on the slate.
- Raheem Palmer gives his detailed analysis and top picks below.
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. Nonetheless we’ll also be relying on our handicapping ability when looking for an edge.
Check out my analysis for tonight’s massive 10-game slate.
Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic
My projections make put total at 225, with the market currently set at 224. This got steamed up, but I’m not sure it’s enough. The words “dumpster fire” don’t even begin to do justice how bad this Sacramento Kings defense is, which is giving up a whopping 118.7 points per 100 possessions this season.
They’re dead last in the NBA, yielding the highest eFG% (57.1%) and sit in the bottom five of nearly every opponent shooting statistic, including shots at the rim (67.4%), which is troubling when facing the Orlando Magic and Nikola Vucevic.
The Magic’s offense might not be anything to write home about, but if you combine a bad defense plus a team that is top 10 in pace, you have the recipe for an over. It’s no coincidence, the Kings are 10-6 to the over this season.
I’ll keep playing their overs until the markets adjust.
Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks
These teams played twice already, once in a 145-141 thriller on Dec. 30th, in which the Nets squeaked out a win and then a game just two days later where the Hawks triumphed, 114-96, after Brooklyn had one of its worst shooting performances of the year.
They shot 7 of 37 from three-point range and just couldn’t get over the hump for much of the game. Now, they meet again and Atlanta will be facing a completely different team after the Nets traded Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs for James Harden.
This should lend itself toward a track meet, but at the current number I’m not seeing much value in it.
My projections don’t value Brooklyn as much as the market does in this spot. However, with the Hawks coming off a back-to-back set in a game which they couldn’t generate consistent offense against a Los Angeles Clippers team sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, I’ll pass here.
Nonetheless, I do think if you were to get +7, you’d be getting the best of it.
San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics
My numbers aren’t capturing the strength of this Celtics team, given the absence of Jayson Tatum and others due to to COVID-19 protocols. With Kemba Walker recently returning from his knee injury, this is now a full strength Celtics team facing the Spurs.
While my numbers make this game Celtics -2.6, I think 5 is the right number number here. Even with the absences due to COVID-19 issues, Boston is still top 10 in both offense and defense, but it’s that much better with Tatum in the lineup. The Celtics are scoring 115.5 points per 100 possessions, and giving up 108.2 on defense.
Tatum didn’t skip a beat in Monday night’s win over the Chicago Bulls, recording 24 points, five assists and four rebounds. Against a Spurs’ defense that struggles to defend the perimeter, Tatum, Walker and Jaylen Brown should have their way.
San Antonio is allowing opposing teams to shoot 38.2% from three, which is troubling against a Boston side that has the fifth-highest three-point field goal percentage this season.
The Spurs had to fight for a win against a short-handed Wizards team, so I expect them to have their hands full with the Celtics.
Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
Given how well Utah is playing offensively, along with Luka Doncic on the other end, on first glance this under is tough to play. However, the Jazz are coming off a tough game where they rallied from 15 points down Tuesday to beat the New York Knicks.
Utah faces a Dallas team which welcomes the return of two of their best perimeter defenders in Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Richardson. These teams are both in the top ten in pace, with the Jazz ranking 25th (99.03) and the Mavericks ranking 21st (99.62).
While the Mavericks are better defensively, they’ve yet to come close to reaching last year’s levels offensively where they had the most efficient offense in NBA history at 115 points per possession. By comparison this season Dallas is scoring just 109.3 points per possession, 16th in the NBA.
The loss of Maxi Kleber particularly hurts this offense, as he was their best three-point shooter, hitting nearly four attempts a game at .471. Having him available to pick-and-pop for Doncic was a dangerous weapon for this offense.
While Kristaps Porzingis is back in the lineup, he’s shooting a career low 29.5% from three-point range this season. With the Jazz being one of the best defensive teams in the league, this could have a lower score than the market indicates.
I make this total at 222, so at 224 I’ll play the under.