The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Friday.
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 17 Best Bets
San Antonio Spurs (-8.5) vs Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are capable of playing up against a superior opponent, as Trae Young and company are a respectable 7-8 ATS with 4 wins against WCF foes this season. But it’s been ages since the Hawks beat the Spurs, 108-100, in Atlanta on Nov. 5 and this version of the Spurs is unlikely to let the flawed Hawks hang around.
Since Dec. 23, the Spurs own the second-best offensive rating (117.8) despite facing 9 playoff teams with very good defenses during that span. San Antonio’s defense has been shaky during that tough stretch, but is good enough to post a 13.1 net rating over their last 4 home games. Atlanta is 0-3 with a league-worst 92.1 offensive rating over its last 3 road games. DeMar DeRozan is leading the Spurs with 20-plus points on 50% FG shooting or better over his last 12 appearances and the Hawks don’t have anyone efficient enough to match that output.
Memphis Grizzlies (-8.5) vs Cleveland Cavaliers
The toast of the NBA right now hosts a Cavs team tonight that’s been completely boom or bust. After a stunning win in Denver, Cleveland regressed to its cellar-dwelling ways with 29- and 25-point losses at the Staples Center. When the Cavs go down, they often go down hard, with 8 of their last 10 losses by double digits and a 16.2 PPG average margin of defeat on the season.
Memphis is only favored for the eighth time this season, but the Grizzlies are 5-2 ATS in those previous outings. The Grizzlies are on a 6-game winning streak and their last 8 wins have come by an average of 13.8 PPG. In January, Ja Morant has Memphis sporting the second-best offensive rating (120.2) and second-best net rating (10.6). Cleveland is 28th in net rating (-10.2) with the worst defensive rating (118.5) in the NBA during that span. The Cavs give up the second most FPPG to opposing PGs and rank 29th in APG and PPG allowed in the paint. Morant should carve up this defense with help from Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Philadelphia 76ers (-7) vs Chicago Bulls
Since there are so many good home favorites tonight to take tonight, including the Pacers (-8.5), Raptors (-10), and Mavs (-7), it’s a prime spot to take a few of those teams on the moneyline in a parlay. Or perhaps, to use the Round Robin feature to parlay several different combinations in case one of those teams suffers a surprising upset. But all of them seem well positioned to handle business, including the Sixers.
Even without Joel Embiid, the Sixers are posting a 10.2 net rating while winning their last two home games. They still have plenty of size with Al Horford and Tobias Harris, while the Bulls are forced to use Luke Kornet at center without Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) or even backup Daniel Gafford (finger) available.
Chicago has lost three straight in Philly by an average of 16.3 PPG. The Sixers own the second-best home record (19-2) with a 9.8 PPG average margin of victory. Their home/road splits are so stark that they’ve covered in 5 straight home games and lost 6 straight on the road. The Sixers won’t have to worry about defending the paint as much against the shorthanded Bulls, and they lead the NBA in 3-point defense. If Josh Richardson contains Zach LaVine, the Bulls will have few offensive options.
NBA January 17 Picks Against The Spread
Toronto Raptors (-10) vs Washington Wizards
The Raptors are healthy again and won’t be fooling around with their second-rated defense ready to pounce on a flawed Washington team.
Indiana Pacers (-8.5) vs Minnesota Wolves
The Pacers squeaked out a cover with a 6-point win in Minnesota earlier this week and should make pull away for another easy win.
Miami Heat (+1.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder
Miami’s inability to win key games on the road is starting to be dispelled, as the Heat throttled the Pacers in Indiana last week. We’ll take the more versatile Heat to take down the Thunder in a close one tonight.
Portland Blazers (+7.5) at Dallas Mavericks
Damian Lillard got into a supreme rhythm in a win over Houston Wednesday and he should be able to match points with Luka Doncic and the Mavs to cover this spread.