NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | January 1

Bryan Zarpentine pic
Bryan Zarpentine
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

The NBA is ready to ring in the new year with a great set of games on New Year’s Day. While this is a busy day on the sports calendar, the NBA has put some marquee games on the schedule. If you’re hoping to celebrate the new year with some basketball betting, we picked out three NBA picks for Monday that we think will pay off.

Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks Best Bet:

Bucks -7.5 | -110 at FanDuel

The Pacers are heating up with three straight wins, although they play a style that doesn’t always lead to good results against top teams. Specifically, the Pacers are dreadful defensively, relying on Tyrese Haliburton and their high-paced offense to out-score their opponent in a high-scoring affair. That style of play may not play against the Bucks, as evidenced by a 140-126 loss in Milwaukee in early December. Look for a similar story with the Pacers facing the Bucks yet again on the road.

After all, the Bucks have won nine of their last 10 games, including that previous win over Indiana. To be fair, Milwaukee has a losing record against the spread this season. However, the Bucks are 6-4 against the spread over their last 10 games and 5-2 against the spread when favored by 10 points or less. Outside of a Christmas Day loss to the Knicks, Giannis and Damian Lillard have been able to take care of business in recent weeks. With the Bucks playing at home, where they are 24-8 this season, they should be able to take advantage of Indiana’s defensive shortcomings and win comfortably.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Bucks -7.5 | -110 at FanDuel

Detroit Pistons vs Houston Rockets Best Bet:

Rockets -7.5 | -110 at BetMGM

The Pistons finally ended their losing streak the other night, but that doesn’t mean they’ve solved their problems. We expect them to get right back to their losing ways on Monday when they travel to Houston. After all, the Pistons are just 1-15 on the road this season and just 7-9 against the spread in those games. One win isn’t going to fix all that has plagued Detroit thus far.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are getting desperate for a win after losing three in a row and six of their last eight games. While that might make Houston vulnerable, it also makes the Rockets motivated to grab a win against a Detroit time that’s undermanned in every game. Not long ago, the Rockets rattled off five straight wins before playing a tough schedule during the second half of December. Houston is also 5-2-1 against the spread when favored at home this season. In other words, there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Rockets can take care of business against the Pistons at home.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Rockets -7.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz Best Bet:

Under 245.5 | -112 at BetRivers

Based on the numbers, these are two of the best teams in the NBA at hitting the over. Dallas is at 62.5% percent while Utah has gone over the points total in 56.3% of games this season. Of course, that leads to an overinflated over/under from BetRivers. In fact, this is the highest over/under the Jazz have had all season while it’s close to the highest the Mavs have seen.

While the Mavs and Warriors combined for 254 points on Saturday, that was just the second time in the last eight games Dallas hit the over. Keep in mind that Kyrie Irving is still out, so they are relying a lot on Luka Doncic to carry the offense. Likewise, the Jazz is just 3-5 O/U over its last eight games. With both teams trending toward lower-scoring games, the over/under is far too high.

Under 245.5 | -112 at BetRivers

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