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 29 Best Bets
Memphis Grizzlies (-2.5) at New York Knicks
While the Knicks are young, they’re in no way impervious to the pitfalls of playing on zero days rest. That’s why it’s shocking to see them listed as minimal underdogs tonight on the second half of a B2B set against a really good Memphis team. The Grizzlies are 10-3 with the fifth-best net rating (5.4) and seventh-best offensive rating (114.4) this month, whereas the Knicks are 4-11 with the sixth-worst net rating (-6.0) and fourth-worst offensive rating (106.3) in that span.
The Knicks have been able to keep games close by playing at a slow pace, but have ramped up under interim HC Mike Miller and rank 17th in pace this month. With Ja Morant calling the shots, Memphis thrives in an uptempo setting, and the Grizz are fourth in fastbreak PPG (17.6) this season. Memphis is 8-4 ATS when listed as a favorite and 12-9 ATS following a win. The Knicks are 2-4 ATS with zero days rest and are just 3-17 against teams with winning records (Memphis is technically 23-24, but is a winning team right now).
Oklahoma City Thunder (-3) at Sacramento Kings
We have another opportunity to take the routinely undervalued Thunder, a team that leads the NBA with a 32-16 record against the spread this season. OKC faces a flawed Kings team that appears to be overvalued after Buddy Hield’s inspired performance allowed them to erase a 14-point deficit in the final minutes and stun the Wolves in overtime. Sacramento still ranks in the bottom 10 in every major offensive category and is 26th in opponent’s shooting efficiency this year. The Kings rank second in transition defense, but so what? The Thunder scores the fewest fastbreak PPG (9.3) in the league and is still 21-6 against teams with losing records.
The Kings are 2-9 ATS over their last 11 home games, while the OKC has amazingly covered in 10 straight road games. Sacramento has a critical lack of frontcourt depth with Richaun Holmes (shoulder) and Marvin Bagley (foot) both out and De’Aaron Fox can only look to shut down one of the Thunder’s three-headed monster in their backcourt.
San Antonio Spurs (+5) vs Utah Jazz
The hottest team in the NBA somehow fell flat on Monday and lost at home to a Rockets team that was resting its two best players. Is that a blip on the radar for the Jazz, or a sign of coming regression? We could argue its the later, since Utah didn’t really face any top teams in the West during its torrid month. When the Jazz did face quality WCF teams this month, they split close games with the Pelicans, and beat the Mavs by 5 at home last Saturday. Now they hit the road, where they’ve posted the third-slowest pace in the league to win 6 of their last 7. The Spurs are comfortable in a halfcourt game with the sixth-slowest pace at home in January and they’ve won two in a row at home over Utah since 2018.
Hopefully this line grows even more since LaMarcus Aldridge (finger) is set to miss a second straight game. His absence was felt against the feisty Bulls on Monday, but the Spurs are equipped to handle the space-and-pace Jazz with guard heavy lineups featuring some combination of DeMar DeRozan, Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills, and the white-hot Derrick White. The key stat: San Antonio allows the fifth-fewest 3PTA and sixth-fewest 3PTM (12.8) this season, a number that drops to 12.2 3PTM per game at home. Utah leads the NBA in 3-point shooting but has struggled to score in the paint at times, so this is a tough matchup for the Jazz.
NBA January 29 Picks Against The Spread
Indiana Pacers (-8.5) vs Chicago Bulls
The Pacers make mince meat out of bad teams and are even more reliable at home. Plus, they get Victor Oladipo (quad) back on a minutes restriction.
Portland Blazers (+1.5) vs Houston Rockets
The Blazers beat the Rockets by 10 this year when James Harden (thigh) was active and Houston is unlikely to stun another team if he sits tonight. Portland leads the NBA in offensive efficiency over its last 3 outings and Damian Lillard is on a ridiculous tear.
Brooklyn Nets (-8.5) vs Detroit Pistons
Too much motivation for the Nets right now with Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie both capable of turning in transcendent performances to honor Kobe’s memory.