The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Wednesday.
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 22 Best Bets
Los Angeles Lakers (-11) at New York Knicks
This is an obvious bounce back spot for the Lakers after they got rolled in Boston on Monday. The Knicks have a very marginal home court advantage and MSG should be taken over with LeBron James fans tonight. LeBron has always been motivated at the world’s most famous arena and he’s averaging 26 PPG with a 32.7% usage rate on the road this season. James could also be further motivated after his son was disrespected when a fan tossed some debris at “Bronny” during a national high school showcase Monday. The Knicks, who rank 28th in average scoring margin (-8 PPG), are likely to become the object of his frustration.
The Lakers struggled to re-incorporate Anthony Davis on Monday, but the elite forward should be able to top the 22 minutes he played in that game while making a tremendous impact on both ends of the floor. The Knicks are dependent on low-post scoring to stay in games, yet still rank 26th in PPG (46.2) in the paint. They also allow the third-most PPG (43) in the paint and the Lakers average the second-most PPG (53.8) down low.
Denver Nuggets (+8.5) at Houston Rockets
Houston looks to turn things around after dropping 5 of 6 games with a -3.3 net rating during that span. Yet the Nuggets aren’t a great team to bounce back against considering they rank third in scoring defense and have been much better on the road this season with a 13-7 record and 3.7 net rating this season. Granted the Nuggets gave up 130 points in a blowout loss the last time they visited Houston, but the Rockets offense has taken a nose dive since then with a 107.2 offensive rating over 8 games.
James Harden is launching shots with reckless abandon and his teammates are becoming less productive the less involved they become. Denver is 6-2 with a 114.6 offensive rating since losing in Houston and Nikola Jokic has been virtually unstoppable with averages of 23.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 5.4 APG while shooting 54.5% over his last 10 outings. But perhaps the biggest change since these teams tangled a few weeks ago is the sudden ascendancy of Michael Porter Jr. The phenom is averaging 20.2 points per 36 minutes and has scored in double figures in 5 straight thanks to some increased opportunity. Combining MPJ with Jokic should give the Nuggets confidence in this rematch.
Memphis Grizzlies (+7) at Boston Celtics
The Celtics turned in their most complete effort of the season and stunned the Lakers solid defense by dropping 139 points on MLK Day. But that doesn’t necessarily mean this team has turned a corner. Boston still ranks 27th in defensive rating (115.9) with a modest 2.2 net rating over its last 4 games. If the Celtics look to push the pace against this young Grizzlies squad, they could get into a wide open game that should be competitive down to the wire. Sharp action has already moved this line from +9 to +7 and that trend could continue given how good the Grizzlies have been lately.
The Grizzlies are 8-2 with the fifth-best net rating (8.1) and third-best offensive rating (117.5) over their last 10 games. Memphis has been even better offensively with a 120.4 rating and the second-best net rating (15.4) on the road during that span Ja Morant is leading an offense that averages a league-high 28 APG and getting plenty of help from talented forwards Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. Boston has not been consistent at home lately and could be without budding star Jaylen Brown (ankle) tonight. Look for the Grizzlies young bigs to press their advantage inside and potentially win this game, giving Memphis (+235) plenty of appeal on the moneyline.
NBA January 22 Picks Against The Spread
Detroit Pistons (-1) vs Sacramento Kings
A combination of youthful forwards and the resurgent Derrick Rose has the Pistons posting the sixth-best net rating (7.8) over their last 4 outings. Sacramento is 26th (-9.1) in net rating during that span.
Miami Heat (-10) vs Washington Wizards
Miami has been unbelievable with a 19-1 record at home this year and the Wizards have been blown out in 4 straight road losses.
Orlando Magic (-1.5) vs Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC is starting to regress and Orlando has found offensive balance with Markelle Fultz finding his rhythm.
Indiana Pacers (-1) at Phoenix Suns
The Pacers are 19-7 against teams with losing records and are a fine bet with a virtual “Pick ‘Em” line in Phoenix.
New Orleans Pelicans (-3.5) vs San Antonio Spurs
Zion Williamson debuts tonight and while he’s likely to play limited minutes, his presence could help galvanize a Pelicans team that’s red hot right now regardless.
Minnesota Wolves (-1) at Chicago Bulls
The Wolves have been playing good ball since parting was with Jeff Teague and have actually been more consistent ATS in road games.
Philadelphia 76ers (+6.5) at Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have dominated weaker teams over the past 4 outings, but the 76ers have proven that they’re no pushovers even with Joel Embiid out of the lineup.
Utah Jazz (-8) at Golden State Warriors
They might have failed to cover in their last trip to Chase Arena, but Utah has been the most prolific offensive team in the NBA over the past few weeks.
Los Angeles Clippers (-4) at Atlanta Hawks
The Clips are on the second half of a B2B set, so they won’t have Kawhi Leonard, but they still have enough talent to take down the lowly Hawks.