NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, January 8th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

January 8, 2023 08:04 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. Stay up to date on injury news with our injury report page as well.

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 35-42 | Units: -8.38 | ROI: -11.15%

Portland Trail Blazers at Toronto Raptors (-2.5, 225.5)

Toronto lost its third straight and fifth of six games on Friday night when it fell to New York at home. The team cannot seemingly catch a break, and the frustration might be playing out on the court. However, this seems to be a solid matchup to get back on the right side of a result. Portland has been scuffling for a minute as well, coming into this game with a 3-7 SU and ATS record in its last 10 games. The Trail Blazers’ offense, thought to be its strength, has been somewhat inconsistent during this slide, and in the last two contests it has been held to under 1.1 points per possession. That might continue in this meeting with the Raptors.

Toronto, for all of its struggles lately, still ranks 12th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (113.6) and they force turnovers on 17.6% of opponent possessions, the best defensive turnover rate in the NBA. Portland ranks 27th in offensive turnover rate (15.8%) and allows the second most points added per 100 possessions through transition offense off steals (2.2). The Trail Blazers have been an ineffective defensive rebounding team, ranking 18th in defensive rebounding (72.6%) and 27th in opponent putback points per 100 misses (23.8). There are certainly areas in which the Trail Blazers have their advantages, but the Raptors’ strengths on defense should win out here and it seems the market is in agreement as the line is heading in their direction.

Play: Raptors (-2.5)

Best Bet Recap

Raptors (-2.5)

The Rest

Philadelphia 76ers (-5.5, 229.5) at Detroit Pistons

Joel Embiid remains sidelined with foot soreness and PJ Tucker joins him on the sideline today with a non-COVID illness. In the two games without Embiid on the floor Philadelphia has allowed 125.4 points per 100 possessions while scoring 119.9 and both games have gone Over the total. The 76ers have started three-guard lineups of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton in these contests, and it has greatly hurt its defensive efficiency while maintaining their ability to score and that trend is likely to continue tonight. 

*Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies (-9, 233)

After the loss in Chicago last night the Jazz are 1-6 SU/2-5 ATS in their last seven games, and now they must play in one of the strongest road venues in the league on no rest. The Grizzlies have won and covered five straight, and at home this season they are 15-3 SU/14-4 ATS with a league best +14.3 net rating in non-garbage time. The key to Memphis’ success at home is its defense, which allows just 104.3 points per 100 possessions, and it will be vital once more against Utah tonight. However, the status of Steven Adams is in question and having him on the court is necessary. Adams is a dominant rebounder and he alone can cut into the Jazz’s ability to crash the offensive glass. If Adams plays then a wager on Utah’s team total (112.5) to go Under would be the play tonight.

Charlotte Hornets at Indiana Pacers (-6, 239.5)

Since Dec. 14 the Indiana Pacers are 8-4 SU/10-2 ATS with the eighth best offensive rating in non-garbage time (118.4). Given how well the team has been playing it is not surprising that oddsmakers have come around once again and adjusted its rating on this team, but we’re seeing some market pushback. Despite the great offensive numbers Indiana is only +1.8 per 100 possessions in non-garbage time because its defensive rating of 116.6 is below average. Specifically, the Pacers struggle to defend in transition, something it excels at on offense. The Hornets might come into this game 30th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency, but the team ranks seventh in transition frequency and will test this subpar defense. Indiana might be without rookie Bennedict Mathurin, which would be a blow.

Brooklyn Nets (-3.5, 222) at Miami Heat

This is a game which I had circled to play, but the injury report has kept me away from it. Miami is looking better with improved health, but the injury report for this game with Brooklyn is too noisy to jump on the Heat this early in the day. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are questionable to play, and Caleb Martin is listed as doubtful. Until there is clarity on their status my planned wager on Miami will have to wait. The Heat are 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven games, and Adebayo is playing some incredible basketball, averaging 26.5 points and 10.8 rebounds with a 2.3% block rate and 2.0% steal rate. His status is the most important, as Miami is +9.6 per 100 possessions with both him and Jimmy Butler on the floor together.

*Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (-1.5, 227.5)

Luka Doncic played 39 minutes last night, and head coach Jason Kidd all but confirmed the MVP favorite would be resting tonight in Oklahoma City. Thus, the Thunder are now 3.5-point favorites across the board. Without Doncic on the floor the Mavericks are outscored by 5.6 points per 100 possessions and their 105.2 offensive rating ranks in the fourth percentile of qualified lineups. Their defensive rating in those possessions is above average, but many of those possessions include Maxi Kleber, who is still sidelined with injury. The market has already accounted for the absence of Doncic, but do not be surprised if this moves even more when the news becomes official that he is resting.

Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Clippers (-4.5, 231.5)

It seems to be one step forward, two steps back consistently for Los Angeles. The Clippers were riding a 7-4 SU/9-2 ATS run into the end of their east coast road trip just over a week ago, but now the team has lost four straight and inconsistent player availability has plagued them once more. Paul George, Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum are all questionable tonight, and their presence is vital for a Clippers team which has been terribly inconsistent on offense. The market is moving in Atlanta’s direction due to the injury report for Los Angeles despite some pretty poor recent play. The Hawks come into this game 1-5 SU/2-4 ATS in its last six games, and Clint Capela remains on the sidelines with injury. Which of these teams is the lesser of two evils at this point?

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