NBA Sharp Betting Picks (Jan. 3): Pro Action Hitting Heat vs. Magic, Hawks vs. Celtics

NBA Sharp Betting Picks (Jan. 3): Pro Action Hitting Heat vs. Magic, Hawks vs. Celtics article feature image

Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler

A busy time of the year for sports bettors can often leave regular season NBA slates in the dust, at least as far as daytime betting action goes. That doesn’t apply to sharps, of course, as they’ll be picking out soft lines as soon as they can find them, regardless of the sport.

As of Friday afternoon, they’ve jumped on a couple spots on tonight’s six-game NBA schedule, including a surprising spread out of the Sunshine State.

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Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

7 p.m. ET

A matchup between a 25-9 Heat team and the 15-19 Magic doesn’t exactly scream “coin-flip.” Oddsmakers, however, were pretty darn close to that label with their opening number.

Miami opened as just a 1.5-point favorite, and as you’d expect, most bettors have been more than happy to take the better team at such a short price. Seventy-eight percent of bettors — the highest percentage on the slate — have taken the Heat since this line opened, a backing that initially sent the spread up to -2.5.

That’s when sharps stepped in.

Sports Insights’ Bet Signals, which track and record instances of sharp, market-moving action in real time, triggered three waves of pro money hitting the Magic at the adjusted number, driving it back to +2.

Following that, yet another move hit Orlando to get sportsbooks back to the opening number, and some have even dropped further to +1.

Also worth noting is the discrepancy between the percentage of bets on the Magic (22%) and actual money (64%). That means bigger bets — the ones more likely to come from sharps — are landing on the home dogs.

Sharp angle: Magic (moved from +2.5 to +1.5)

Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

7 p.m. ET

A near mirror image of a betting market story is unfolding in tonight’s Hawks-Celtics game, though the line movement is a bit tougher to judge given the absence of Kemba Walker.

Still, the Celtics opened as 11-point favorites, and with most bettors (57%) happy to lay the points, that spread increased to -12. However, the actual money percentage once again favors the underdogs, as 84% of dollars have landed on the Hawks.

That, plus another two SI Bet Signals on Atlanta, has brought this spread down to Boston -10.5.

Sharp angle: Hawks (moved from +12 to +10.5)

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