In an effort to keep you updated on the NBA betting scene on a daily basis, our NBA betting page will provide overall advice while highlighting the best bets and promotions of the day. We’ll be updating this page every day throughout the season into the NBA playoffs, giving you a great starting point to research betting angles for any slate of games.
NBA January 26 Betting Picks
Houston Rockets vs. Washington Wizards
Revenge is the name of the game in Houston tonight with Russell Westbrook and John Wall facing off against their former teams. Wall returned from a 5-game absence to play 20 minutes on Saturday and helped spark an offensive explosion as the Rockets dropped 133 points on a solid Mavericks defense. Washington is tied with Sacramento for the most PPG allowed (121.2) this season and they’re allowing opponents to shoot a league-best 42.6% from 3-point range in road games.
Houston is averaging 113 PPG with a 7.2 net rating over their last 3 games. They’ve stayed afloat despite an injury to Christian Wood (ankle) and have done a great job defending the perimeter with guys like David Nwaba and Mason Jones playing for their careers. However, nobody has been able to stop Bradley Beal this season and the Wizards star averages 35.3 PPG on ridiculous 65.5% FG shooting over his last 3 meetings with Houston. Washington leads the NBA in pace and Houston is 10th. We expect an uptempo game tonight that should end with at least one team producing 120-plus points.
Eric Gordon is sporting a 26.5% usage rate and averaging 24 PPG since the Harden trade. He should thrive in this setting and is getting good odds (-110) to top 18.5 points at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Pick: Over 231.5 or better
Secondary Pick: Eric Gordon Over 18.5 points
Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Clippers
If the Clippers have enough bodies to play this game, the Hawks should have no trouble holding serve at home. Even without Trae Young (back) and Clint Capela (hand), they hung tough in Milwaukee on Sunday. They could have both of those stars back in the lineup tonight and the Clippers are guaranteed to be without their two superstars with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the COVID List. Patrick Beverley (knee) is also out and he would be the Clippers best option to guard Young. Unless Lou Williams can turn back the clock with a 30-plus point outburst, it’s hard to imagine the Clippers finding enough playmaking ability to keep their 7-game win streak alive.
The Pick: Hawks -2.5 or better
Utah Jazz vs. New York Knicks
Utah is dominating right now with the third-best defensive rating and second-best offensive rating during a 7-game win streak. They’re doing it at the seventh-slowest pace in the league and the Knicks are dead last in pace of play. The Knicks allow the second-fewest PPG in the paint (40.7) during that span and hold opponents to a league-low 31.4% mark from 3-point range on the season.
Since the Jazz are producing a league-high 44.4% of their points from 3-point range this season, this could be a tough matchup for them offensively. The Knicks are dead last in fastbreak PPG and allow the 10th-fewest PPG in transition. They’re 4-7 against the Over on the road and 5-11 against the Over when listed as underdogs. The Jazz are 6-8 against the Over when favored and had gone Under in 4 straight games before lighting it up against some horrible defensive teams (Pelicans twice and Warriors) over their last 3 outings.
The Pick: Under 214 or better
NBA odds for January 27, 2021
Best NBA betting apps
The biggest provider of Daily Fantasy Sports is also taking serious betting handle on U.S. sporting events for residents of states with legalized gambling. New Jersey is the east coast hub for sports betting, with Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Indiana joining in offering online or live sportsbooks. Many other states are in the process of passing legislation to follow suit.
Users who sign up at DK Sportsbook are eligible for three bonuses for up to $1,025. That includes a $25 bonus for signing up, a 20% matched bonus for the initial deposit up to $500 and a $500 risk-free bet with the first wager.
DraftKings employs several wrinkles to the sports betting experience. There are Odds Boosts to give bettors a chance at more value before a big game. There are “DraftKings Pools” where users can bet on every game in a slate with prizes awarded to the top three finishers.
In addition to the NBA, DK Sportsbook takes bets on events in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA, PGA, MMA, MLS, and more. There are a wide array of betting options for point spreads, totals, propositions, as well as a season-long and futures bets.
Right up with DK Sportsbook in terms of providing an excellent mobile platform with live betting options in New Jersey, FanDuel Sportsbook is another great place to wager. It offers almost all of the same betting options at DK Sportsbook in the same states and often has slightly different odds to create opportunities for value.
FanDuel also offers a $500 risk-free bet for first-time users. The site will refund your wager up to $500 in site credit if you lose. FanDuel also has daily Odds Boosts and Multi-Sport Parlay Insurance, which offers kickbacks to bettors who win most (but not all) of their picks in a parlay. FanDuel offers a loyalty program for accomplished DFS players on their platform.
Run by the casino titan, BetMGM offers an online platform in New Jersey, Indiana, and West Virginia with expansion planned for other states. MGM is partnered with several sports leagues including the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Like DK and FD, MGM offers a $500 risk-free bet for new users. This is one of the best apps to use for live betting on sporting events in progress.
There are a ton of promotions offered at the live MGM Sportsbook location in Atlantic City, New Jersey. These include a free $10 bet on Mondays for bettors that wagered at least $50 the week prior, a 20% kick back for all handle placed on live basketball games, and a Power Parlay Leaderboard where wins and losses earn bettors points towards weekly prizes.
How to bet the NBA and win
Moneyline picks: The simplest way to bet on an NBA game is to take the Moneyline, which means betting on a team to win without any point spread. In order to level the playing field, favorites are given worse odds on the ML and underdogs get plus odds. For example, when the Kings play at the Lakers earlier they could be listed at +330 on the ML, while the Lakers are listed at -450. So a $45 bet on the Lakers would pay out $10 if they won and a $10 bet on the Kings would pay out $33 if they won.
Usually, we look for ML bets on games with close spreads because of the superior odds. A game with a +1.5-point spread might have the underdog listed at -120 odds to cover that small number, but +110 on the ML. In a close matchup, it can often pay to take a winner rather than worrying about 1 or 2 points on the spread.
Spread picks: Betting the point spread can be trickier since the end of NBA games fluctuates due to the amount of intentional fouls and free throws converted. Home teams are often listed as the favorite with spreads usually ranging up to -14.5 or higher if a title contender is hosting a weak opponent. Spreads can fluctuate rather drastically if teams are in a B2B situation or if a star player is out with injury. Based on the circumstances, it can be possible to identify value when those numbers change, such as the Nets consistently getting listed as underdogs despite performing better when Kyrie Irving missed a wave of games.
Total (over/under) picks: Point totals indicate the expected combined score between teams. In today’s NBA, high-scoring games are becoming the norm, which makes a typical total in the 220-230 range. In order to properly bet against totals, it’s important to check stats on the pace of play for each team per 100 possessions. Faster teams such as the Rockets and Pelicans will routinely top 230 points in their contests. Checking the offensive and defensive rating of each team is also vital information. When identifying a poor defensive team, or a decent defensive team that could be tired on a road trip or back-to-back situation, it makes sense to bet the Over. For example, the Sixers rank sixth in defensive rating, but their games played on zero days rest are 7-2-1 in terms of going Over the total.
Props picks: Many sportsbooks will offer propositions on how a team or a player might perform on a given night. You can bet team totals per quarter, which team will be ahead at the half, and even take a proposition on the estimated range of victory (5-10 points). Player propositions are even more popular and profitable, since there are a range of outcomes that can allow some of those props to cash. Star players are often given a prop on their expected total for points, rebounds, and assists. When Damian Lillard was on his tear in January or Jayson Tatum couldn’t be stopped in February, those players were virtual locks to top their props for combined stats even if they didn’t top their prop for points scored.
Teaser picks: Sometimes a point spread is just too dicey to bet confidently against either way. After all, oddsmakers are great at what they do and are invested in setting a competitive line. If you want to bet a game but don’t love the spread, you can “tease” the number down a few points at worse odds. While “buying” a few points on an individual game can cause a swing from -115 to -140 odds, teasing multiple games can afford bettors 4, 6, or more points at slightly diminished odds. These odds are better because every bet in the teaser has to be correct in order for the bettor to cash anything. On a night where three favorites are giving -6.5 points at home, it could be prudent to tease all three teams down to -2.5 or -0.5 to bet with more confidence.
Parlay picks: A parlay is similar to the idea of a teaser, but with no changes to the spread. These wagers offer the best odds possible since they string together multiple outcomes that all have to convert for the bettor to cash. While parlaying multiple bets against the point spread is a risky proposition, parlaying several favorites on the Moneyline can be profitable. For example, if three teams are likely to win and are around -250 on the ML, you could parlay them together and turn those negative odds into +150 in the event all three win.
NBA betting strategies
Bankroll management is absolutely crucial if you want to be successful gambling on basketball. Conventional wisdom estimates that gamblers who win 52% of the time are successful, with the best case scenario sitting somewhere around a 60% success rate. You can’t expect to win every wager, but if you manage your expectations and your wagers wisely, you can stay afloat and avoid having to deposit again into your account.
Not everyone plays with the same stakes, so we often refer to wagers in “units” that represent 1 or 2 percent of a bettors’ bankroll. Sticking with a consistent bet in terms of units can help you track your wins and losses and determine where you’re succeeding or failing as a bettor. There are several strategies that can help you conservatively build bank roll. A few of these include: Betting one unit at a time, betting a little more than a unit for a good “potential return” and setting a range of units (1-3 for example) for bets that come with more confidence.
In the NBA, it’s absolutely vital to follow injury reports and keep up to date on roster news and trends. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should bet against a team when star players are in danger of missing a game. In fact, we’ve often seen the supporting cast of NBA teams step up to cover or win games when their leader is out with a short-term injury. There are other key roster trends to watch, such as how a team is responding to its coach, whether there is strife in the locker room, or whether the team seems to be rallying around some sort of adversity. There are resources all over the web to keep you posted on general NBA news, and beat writers provide all sorts of updates on twitter.
The NBA schedule can be just as important and often related to roster and injury news. Some teams function completely differently on the road, and some are bound to regress towards the end of a road trip. Some teams fall off a cliff when they play on back-to-back nights, and some young teams don’t seem affected much by playing with a rest disadvantage. There are online resources to track these trends and gain a better understanding of how teams perform in these spots as the season progresses.
The public tends to lean a certain way based on the aforementioned information. For example, If a star rests on a back-to-back set, bets may start to flood in against the shorthanded team. There is a tendency to use “groupthink: when placing bets in the NBA. Some bettors may choose to “fade the public” by taking the opposite side of the line, but another option is to simply wait for a spread to move due to all the action throughout the day, then snatch up the line when you see added value. Conversely, betting on a game early when the line comes out the night before or morning of a game can allow you to get some value before action comes flying in on a perceived easy bet.
Putting all these ideas together is the key to profiting through situational betting on the NBA. Some situations go beyond the straightforward trends of home/road splits and injury news. Sometimes a team is suffering from low morale and has very little incentive to win, while sometimes a team that might be perceived as a “tanking” candidate could get fired up for what appears to be a meaningless game to an outsider. Identifying storylines that could contribute to the nature of a result can quickly turn a novice bettor into a successful gambler.