NBA Picks & Parlay of the Weekend | January 5

Bryan Zarpentine pic
By:
Bryan Zarpentine
01/04/2024
NBA
NBA Picks and Parlay of the Weekend

After a rather slow night on Thursday, the NBA is poised to kick off the weekend with a bang on Friday night. There are 14 games on the schedule, meaning nearly the entire league is in action. Among those 14 games are some true heavyweight matchups. Of course, rather than being too focused on the biggest games, we took a close look at all 14 games and picked out three bets that would be perfect to put in a parlay together at BetMGM.

New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers Best Bet:

76ers -6.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Since Philly’s six-game winning streak in early December, the 76ers have cooled down a little bit. But they haven’t cooled down enough to lose to the Knicks at home. Joel Embiid has been a machine lately and is coming off a triple-double on Tuesday. Let’s not forget that the Sixers have the second-best record against the spread in the NBA at 23-10, including a 12-3 record against the spread as home favorites. 

There’s just too much working against the Knicks in this game, including the fact that they’ve lost three straight road games and seven of their last 10 games away from Madison Square Garden. In fact, the Knicks have had some dreadful games on the road against quality opponents this season. They’re also trying to adjust to a new lineup after trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. Even if that trade works out for them in the long run, it’s hard to envision them being ready to stay competitive with the 76ers at the moment, especially since New York is 4-8-1 against the spread as a road underdog.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets Best Bet:

Thunder -5.5 | -110 at BetMGM

There’s no question that the Nets have seen better days. They head into Friday’s game with OKC in the middle of a five-game losing streak. Brooklyn has also lost six in a row against the spread and is just 1-11 against the spread in the team’s last 12 games. Offensively, the entire team is in a huge funk with leading scorer Cam Thomas coming off one of the worst games of his career. Mikal Bridges has also scored below his season average four times during the five-game losing streak.

Of course, there are just as many reasons to back the Thunder as there are to fade the Nets. Oklahoma City just had a five-game winning streak snapped but is still 10-3 in the last 13 games. More importantly, the Thunder is one of the most reliable favorites in the league this season, going 14-5 against the spread as a favorite. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an unstoppable force at the moment while the frontcourt tandem of Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren is combining for 35 points per game this season. In short, this looks like a game the Thunder can win by double digits, so we’ll gladly swallow the points in this game.

Utah Jazz vs Boston Celtics Best Bet:

Under 239.5 | -105 at BetMGM

This pick is going against the grain a little bit because both teams hit the over more often than not. However, the point total that BetMGM is giving out for this game is a little higher than the Celtics are used to seeing. Also, while Boston is clicking offensively right now and averaging more than 120 points per game, the spread indicates a lopsided result, meaning the Jazz may not score much more than 100 points, which will make it tough to push the total to 240 points or more.

Meanwhile, Utah has stayed under the point total six times in its last 10 games. That means the Jazz are trending toward more low-scoring games over the last couple of weeks. Utah’s defense is the biggest reason for that. The Jazz has held five of its last nine opponents to 112 points or less. Even if all they do is keep Boston below 120 points, there isn’t much of a path to reach 240 total points in this game.

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