Weekly NBA Betting Tips (Jan. 16, 2018)

  • The Timberwolves and Magic are trending in opposite directions, creating betting value for tonight’s meeting in Orlando
  • Al Horford’s defense will be the difference when the Celtics welcome Anthony Davis and the Pelicans
  • The Spurs bring a historic dominance over the Nets franchise to Brooklyn on Wednesday, something bettors should keep in mind

Monday was full of surprises in the NBA as underdogs won seven games straight-up, the Rockets stormed the Clippers’ locker room, and the Warriors were forced to endure cold showers after torching the Cavs. It was the kind of topsy-turvy day that can give bettors fits and cost coaches jobs.

In this week’s betting tips, we’ll look at more surprising developments from around the Association and share some analytical oddities that have caught our attention. We’ll also provide you with essential insights and context to help you make informed wagers on daily games and props.

Timberwolves (-8) vs Magic

The Magic Are All Out of Tricks

The Timberwolves and Magic are going in very different directions. Orlando has lost 16 of its last 17 games and look more confused than Columbo on Quaaludes. Minnesota, meanwhile, has won five straight and has led the NBA in offensive efficiency since mid-December. Tonight’s match-up is a less a matter of David vs. Goliath and more a matter of David vs five Goliaths.

Betting Advice: The Wolves beat the Magic 124-118 during their previous meeting on November 22nd, and should have no problem finishing them off tonight. The big question is just how much damage they can inflict. Minnesota has averaged 117 points over its five-game streak and has held three of its opponents under 100 points. That trend should continue tonight, which is why we recommend taking the -8 spread available at BetOnline and taking the over on the 216.5 game total.

Suns vs Trail Blazers (-10)

The Suns Will Set Early in Portland

Phoenix vs Portland isn’t exactly a clash of Titans, but it is a relatively safe wager for bettors looking to pad their record. The Blazers are coming off of impressive wins against the Thunder and Spurs, while the Suns have lost five of their last seven and look more disorganized than a hoarder’s garage. Nearly every team in the league would love to have Devin Booker, but the rest of the roster is a hodgepodge of untested rookies, unwanted veterans, and centers who play like they have rocks in their pockets. Frankly, it’s a testament to interim head coach Jay Triano that this poorly constructed, slapdash squad has managed to scratch out 16 wins.

Betting Advice: Portland has beaten the Suns twice already this season by an average of 27.5 points. Tonight’s game won’t be a massacre of that magnitude, but it should be another easy, breezy affair thanks to the Blazers’ superior roster and the return of a healthy Damian Lillard, who is averaging 24.3 points since coming back from a minor ankle injury. Also keep an eye on Shabazz Napier, who averaged 11.4 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in Lillard’s absence and appears to have carved out a niche for himself as a Vinnie Johnson-like scorer off the bench. Do yourself a favor and take the Blazers for the win and to cover the -10 spread available at SportsBetting.ag.

Pelicans vs Celtics (-4.5)

Pelicans Will Get Grounded in Boston

New Orleans and Boston are at opposite ends of the betting spectrum. The Pelicans have been one of the toughest teams to peg all season, winning just 52-percent of their games straight up, and covering the spread 53-percent of the time. It really is just a flip of the coin every time they take the court.

The Celtics, on the other hand, have been one of the most bankable teams in the league, winning 77-percent of their games straight-up, and covering the spread 64-percent of the time. They consistently keep games close with their lockdown defense and give themselves a chance to eke out wins with their excellent execution in clutch time. Brad Stevens’ club isn’t infallible, but they protect the ball and get stops when they need to.

Betting Advice: No team can fully neutralize Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but Boston is well equipped to slow them down. The Celtics rank in the top five in defensive rating, defensive rebounding, and opponent points in the paint, and they play the kind of relentless, swarming defense that will prevent both big men from getting into a groove. Defensive Player of the Year candidate Al Horford is also one of the few players in the league capable of playing Boogie to a standstill, and will keep the 6-foot-11 behemoth away from the low block where he does so much of his damage.

Boston has held five of its last seven opponents to under 100 points and it’s a safe bet they’ll do so again against an undermanned Pelicans squad that has about as much depth as a Kardashian. Snap up the -4.5 spread available at 5Dimes and take the under on the 215-point total as the Celtics turn this one into a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair.

Reggie Jackson drives to the hoop against the Wizards
The Pistons have missed Reggie Jackson’s aggressiveness and scoring during his layoff. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

Raptors vs Pistons (no line yet)

Raptors Are Ready to Go Prehistoric on the Pistons

One of the hallmarks of a quality team is an ability to bounce back from bad losses. Take the Raptors, for instance. Toronto has yet to lose more than two games in a row all season, and is averaging 116 points per game in their first win following a defeat. That’s a sign of a good team with the desire and determination to correct its mistakes.

Betting Advice: The Raptors will have a chance to end their current two-game skid on Wednesday night when they take on the Pistons. The two teams have yet to meet in 2017-18, but Toronto won three of their four games last season, downing Detroit by an average margin of eight points.

There’s no line available yet for Wednesday’s tip-off, but we’d strongly recommend taking the Raptors if you can secure a -5.5 point spread or better. Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka have the size and strength to neutralize Andre Drummond, while Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan should feast on the Pistons’ depleted backcourt.

Spurs vs Nets (no line yet)

If It Ain’t Brooklyn, Don’t Fix It

There haven’t been a lot of certainties in San Antonio these days as injuries and age have altered the Spurs’ lineup on a nightly basis. However, one thing we know for certain is that the Spurs absolutely own the Nets. The two franchises have met 90 times since joining the NBA in 1976, with San Antonio winning 69 of those match-ups. That’s as lopsided a record as you’ll find in the league, and it’s still holding true, as evidenced by the Spurs’ 109-97 victory over the Nets on December 26th. Kawhi Leonard and co. controlled the tempo throughout the game and limited Brooklyn to just 41-percent shooting from the field.

Betting Advice: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you’ve been paying attention, you should know by now that the Spurs should easily defeat the Nets on Wednesday night. Sportsbooks have yet to set a line for this game, but if you can get the Spurs at -7 or better, you should absolutely pounce on it.

Darren Myers

Darren Myers can list all 35 members of the Miracle Mets, knows every word to Casey at the Bat, and remembers exactly where he was when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics in the Boston Garden. Unfortunately, he has no idea where he left his house keys. If you happen to find them please contact him immediately as it's starting to get dark and he's pretty sure he just heard something howl.