NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, January 1st

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

January 1, 2023 09:20 AM

Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 32-41 | Units: -10.11 | ROI: -14.21%

There is none as of now. Once there is clarity on the injury report for Memphis the Under for the game and a Sacramento team total Under will be plays if Jaren Jackson Jr. is on the floor.

The Rest

Sacramento Kings at *Memphis Grizzlies (-5.5, 240.5)

If there was any concern that Domantas Sabonis would be limited due to the thumb injury he suffered last week, those concerns can be put to bed. Sabonis has put up 59 points on 24-of-30 shooting from the floor with 21 rebounds and 13 assists in the two games since being diagnosed with an avulsion fracture in his right thumb. His offensive output has been one of the driving forces behind these explosive, high-scoring affairs the Kings have found themselves in lately. This one seems to be no different with a total of 240.5 at the open. Not only has Sacramento put up 1.252 points per possession on its last two opponents, but it has allowed 1.255 per possessions, leading to two games that have had over 250 total points. 

However, those last two opponents were Denver and Utah, two teams which rank 25th and 28th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency. That is not the case here with Memphis. Since Jaren Jackson Jr.’s season debut the Grizzlies lead the league in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (107.5) and at home they have allowed just 102.0 points per 100 possessions. This is the second leg of a back-to-back for Memphis so bettors should always wait to see who is and is not available, and if there are no major absences the Under in this game or Under on Sacramento’s team total of 118.5 would be a wager to make.

Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks (-8.5, 226.5)

Milwaukee snapped an 0-4 SU and ATS slide with a win over Minnesota on Friday, but its 6-8-1 ATS record in the month of December speaks to the team’s inconsistent efforts and health. Tonight, both Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will be sidelined once again, and that should give any bettor pause when it comes to laying this number with the Bucks. In the possessions without Holiday and Middleton on the floor Milwaukee’s offense is stagnant, averaging just 107.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. They are a fine defensive team even without those two on the floor (110.4 defensive rating), but the team’s constipated offense without its two best shot creators is hard to watch. One might think that the Wizards are a weak enough team to play the Bucks anyway, but they come into this game on a 5-2 SU/6-1 ATS run. Now, Washington has been getting it done with offense, putting up 129.5 points per 100 possessions in these seven games, and their best defensive opponent outside of Philadelphia was Sacramento which is 21st in non-garbage time defensive efficiency. This is obviously a much different defensive opponent to face with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez protecting the rim. 

Boston Celtics (-1, 234.5) at Denver Nuggets

Boston has found its offense once more, and it comes at a perfect time. The Celtics are 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS in the four games since a 1-5 SU/0-5-1 ATS slide which saw them average just 103.0 points per 100 possessions. In those four games Boston has averaged 123.6 points per 100 possessions, and while they are on the road in this spot they do face a team which ranks 25th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (115.8). Having said that, the Nuggets are an odd team and if this game is tight in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter they have a good chance of closing this out. Denver is tied with Brooklyn in clutch time net rating at +27.4 and their 88.6 defensive rating is third best in the league. That has led the Nuggets to a 12-5 record in games which enter clutch time, and we saw an example of that on Friday when they came back against Miami to cover after a 39-29 fourth quarter. Bettors should monitor that if this game enters clutch minutes, but it might be hard without Jamal Murray on the floor, as he is questionable to play.

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