- Will Charlotte’s Kemba Walker up his trade value with another big game against Sacramento tonight?
- Can the Rockets stay perfect with their version of a “Big Three” when the Heat come to Houston?
- How does Rudy Gobert’s return impact the betting outlook for Jazz vs Hawks?
To most modern NBA fans, the moniker “Big Three” conjures up images of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. It’s a fair connection given the amount of scrutiny and attention the high-powered trio has received, but they’re far from the best troika in the league. That distinction belongs to James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela, who are 17-0 when they share the court together. Houston’s fearsome threesome showed just how dangerous they can be on Saturday night against Golden State, combining for 73 points, 18 boards, and 15 assists and coming up with a series of gritty defensive stops late in the fourth quarter to seal a 116-108 win. They may not be on the same level as some Big Threes of yesteryear, but they give the Rockets’ a legitimate chance against the three-time defending Western Conference champs.
In this week’s betting tips, we’ll look at another surging squad and share some analytic oddities that have caught our attention. We’ll also provide you with essential insights to help you make informed wagers on daily games and props.
Kings vs Hornets (-10.5)
The Kings are Dead, Long Live the Hornets
Sacramento and Charlotte have been making more news off the court than on it lately as both franchises seek to shake up their rosters. The Kings are dangling George Hill to free up more time for rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox, while the Hornets are hoping for a fresh start by unloading Kemba Walker and at least one of their many overpriced and underperforming starters. The good news for Buzz City is that Walker will be in the line-up tonight, and that alone should give bettors reason for optimism. The high-octane point guard is leading the team in minutes, points, assists, and steals (again) and has a well-known penchant for torching the Kings. Walker is averaging 19.1 points per game against Sacramento over his seven-year career and hung 26 points and seven assists on them last January.
Betting Advice: Few teams have struggled more on the road this season than the Kings, who are 6-18 away from Golden 1 Center and are averaging just 91.7 points in their last four road games. Bovada has set tonight’s total at 210 points [read our full Bovada sportsbook review]. But it’s easy to imagine this game staying well under that mark as the Kings struggle to score from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. Take the Hornets — and the under — all the way.
Bulls vs Pelicans (-6.5)
The Pelicans are Flying High and That’s No Bull
Life is a lot rosier these days in New Orleans, where the Pelicans have the first power forward/center combo to start an All-Star Game since 1977. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are averaging 51.7 points, 23.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 3.7 blocks per game, and are a huge reason why NOLA has won four of its last five games.
Betting Advice: Chicago hasn’t been half bad lately either. The Bulls have gone 15-8 since their disastrous 3-20 start and just barely lost to the Pelicans the last time they met on November 4th. 5Dimes [read our full 5Dimes sportsbook review] has the Pelicans as 6.5-point favorites, but that’s a little generous considering recent history, as well as the fact that NOLA has won its last five games by an average of just 4.8 points. Take the Pelicans for the win and the Bulls to cover the spread.
Heat vs Rockets (-10.5)
Rockets are Fully Fueled and Ready for Lift-Off
One of the most impressive things about Houston’s 116-108 win against Golden State on Saturday night was that the Rockets were playing without Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green, both of whom were serving two-game suspensions for looking sideways at Blake Griffin. Ariza has been Houston’s best wing defender all season long and is back to playing the kind of complimentary role on offense that suits his personality and limited skill set. The 31-year-old Green, meanwhile, is finally in a system that embraces his chucker mindset, and is averaging 15.6 points in 26.7 minutes per game. You’re still far more likely to see Halley’s Comet than see Green pass to a teammate, but it somehow works on these fun-and-gun Rockets.
Betting Advice: While the Rockets finally have a full roster at their disposal, the Heat may be without the services of Goran Dragic, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Hornets with a bruised left knee. The Slovenian point guard is averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 assists and is the key to keeping this game within reach. Houston will win this one regardless of his availability, but take the Rockets and the -10.5 spread available at Bet365 as of January 22, 2018 [read our full Bet365 sportsbook review] if Dragic sits.
Jazz (-2.5) vs Hawks
The Jazz Look to Make Sweet Music in Hot-lanta
The Jazz have been off key for most of the 2017-18 season, but there’s reason to believe they’ll hit all the right notes in Atlanta tonight. Utah put together one of its finest wins of the year on Saturday against the surging Clippers and finally have Rudy Gobert back in the lineup. The Stifle Tower is averaging 19.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and three blocks in his first two games since returning from a knee injury and appears to have shaken off the rust from his month-long lay-off. To say that the shot-swatting Gobert is a transformative player is an understatement. The fact of the matter is that the 7-foot-1 Frenchman spends so much time in the heads of opposing players that he should probably be paying rent. Expect him to have another monster game tonight.
Betting Advice: It’s easy (and kinda fun) to take potshots at the Hawks, but Atlanta has been surprisingly good at home lately, pulling out impressive wins over San Antonio and New Orleans. Both games came down to the final possession and the Hawks demonstrated the kind of expert clock management and sang froid you rarely see in sub .500 teams. BetOnline has Atlanta listed as 2.5-point underdogs tonight [read our full BetOnline sportsbook review] and they’ve shown just enough moxie lately that you may want to steer clear of the spread. You’re likely to see far better returns by picking the Jazz to win outright, and for the game to go over the 204.5 total.
Knicks vs Warriors (no moneyline yet)
Warriors Win Streak Begins on Tuesday
We hope the Knicks remembered to pack their white flag for Tuesday’s game in Oakland. The Warriors are a league best 9-0 after a loss this season and 7-3 when they have 2-3 days of rest. Steve Kerr and co. will be anxious to start a new winning streak following Saturday’s loss to the Rockets, and the Knicks have the misfortune of being their first victim.
Betting Advice: There’s no line available for this game yet, but brace yourself for a spread bigger than Charles Barkley’s waistline. The Knicks have already racked up an NBA-high five 20-point losses this season and are averaging 11.2 fewer points per game than the Warriors. Take the Warriors for the win and pounce on any spread of 11.5 or lower.