The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Monday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA January 8 Best Bets
Houston Rockets (-8) at Atlanta Hawks
The Rockets have had a huge break by NBA standards, with their last game coming five days ago on Jan. 3. The Hawks, meanwhile, have played tight games against the Celtics, Pacers, and Nuggets during that span and are 3-7 ATS with a rest disadvantage this season. Houston is 6-2 ATS with the fifth-best offensive rating (115.8) in the NBA over its last 8 whether at home or on the road. Getting Eric Gordon back from a lengthy absence has a lot to do with that and this break should help Clint Capela get right ahead of a very exploitable matchup.
Houston’s defense has been vulnerable at times, but the Hawks offense has been putrid lately with the third-worst rating (102.2) over their last 10 games. Atlanta has managed a high of 111 points while losing five straight to Houston, including a 158-111 thrashing this past November in which James Harden did whatever he wanted en route to 60 points over 31 minutes. Harden is averaging 39.8 PPG with a 126 offensive rating on the road and dropping 42.5 PPG with a +22.5 plus/minus rating when playing on at least two days rest this season.
Toronto Raptors (-3.5) at Charlotte Hornets
The Raptors dropped a brutally close game to Portland last night thanks to an uncalled illegal screen, deep dagger from Damian Lillard, and a game-winner from 35-year-old Carmelo Anthony. That can’t sit well with Toronto, which is playing top 3 defense right now and will likely come out with even more energy thanks to the motivation of that loss.
Charlotte is just 2-5 ATS with a rest advantage and 8-11 ATS at home this season. More importantly, the Hornets are 28th in PPG (104.4), 28th in defensive rating, and dead last in PPG (24.8) in fourth quarters this season. Devonte Graham is a promising young player, but is still not creating his own shot, and Terry Rozier is hardly a go-to-guy in crunchtime with a 15.1 PER.
Toronto allows the third-fewest PPG in third quarters and fourth-fewest PPG in fourth quarters while posting the second-best defensive rating overall this season. The Raptors defense hasn’t suffered at all with Pascal Siakam (groin) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) out, and they’ve turned those stops into production while dominating two of the worst teams in the east (Cleveland and Brooklyn) for 19- and 20-point wins over the past two weeks.
Milwaukee Bucks (-13.5) at Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green (ankle) is set to return to the Warriors lineup for this contest, which could give this lifeless team a bit of an edge. Yet their motivation might not matter since the vastly superior Bucks are going to be just as motivated after dropping a game in San Antonio on Monday.
Since the start of last season, Milwaukee is a league-best 23-8 ATS after a loss and 38-26-2 ATS on the road. The Bucks 11.5 net rating is best in the NBA by far this year and the Warriors are 0-5 with a league-worst -11.9 net rating during that streak. Golden State coughs up the highest 3-point percentage (.387%) in the NBA and make and take the fourth-most triples. Milwaukee leads the league in fast break PPG (18.7) and total RPG (59.7), while the Warriors are bottom 10 in both categories. Their -7.8 PPG margin of defeat is third-worst in the league and the Bucks are on pace for an historic +11.9 PPG margin of victory.
NBA January 8 Picks Against The Spread
Utah Jazz (-11) vs New York Knicks
This is a brutal B2B spot for the Knicks after they lost by 30 at the Lakers last night. They’ll likely be without Marcus Morris (neck) again and won’t have much means for creating offense against Utah’s stout front line.
Chicago Bulls (+5) at New Orleans Pelicans
With Jrue Holiday (elbow) out, the Pelicans could lose outright to a Bulls team that plays great defense and simply doesn’t quit. Chicago (+160) is worth a look on the moneyline.
Dallas Mavericks (-3) vs Denver Nuggets
The Mavs should be able to contain Nikola Jokic, but like every other team in the NBA, the Nuggets won’t have many answers for Luka Doncic.
Washington Wizards (+10) at Orlando Magic
The Wizards have found something offensively with Ish Smith at the point and their defense has been brimming with energy as they try out a bunch of G-League players.
San Antonio Spurs (+6) at Boston Celtics
The Celtics are in the midst of a brutal stretch in their schedule and might be without Kemba Walker (illness) again. Even if Kemba returns, this has the makings of a tight finish in Boston.
Indiana Pacers (-1) vs Miami Heat
Indiana won four straight over Miami before a 1-point OT loss earlier this season. These teams both have night and day home/road splits, so we’ll take the home team, which is likely to return PG Malcolm Brogdon (back).