NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | January 15

Bryan Zarpentine pic
Bryan Zarpentine
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

As usual, Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday is a huge day for the NBA. The league has made a commitment in recent years to honoring Dr. King, which includes a busy schedule. There are 10 games on the schedule, including a handful of matinees and some compelling matchups in primetime. Since Monday figures to be a busy day for basketball betting, we wanted to share three picks we think will hit.

Chicago Bulls vs Cleveland Cavaliers Best Bet:

Cavaliers -4 | -110 at FanDuel

These two teams aren't nearly as close as the betting line would indicate. The Cavaliers have won four in a row and are inching closer to being considered a serious contender in the Eastern Conference. While Darius Garland being sidelined is a problem, Donovan Mitchell can always do a little more while Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are a handful in the paint for any team. With the Cavs going 7-2 straight up and 6-3 against the spread in their last nine home games, look for that trend to continue.

In fairness, the Bulls have won four of their last five games, which is probably why the spread for this game is so small. Most of Chicago’s key players are healthy right now, which is a big help. However, the Bulls are 6-12 straight up and 8-10 against the spread on the road this season. They’ve also failed to beat the spread in their last three games as an underdog. It’s a tough sell on Chicago going on the road to beat the Cavs on Monday night.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Cavaliers -4 | -110 at FanDuel

Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors Best Bet:

Raptors +6.5 | -105 at BetMGM

On paper, this looks like a huge mismatch, but keep in mind the Celtics have lost three of their last four road games. They are also just 6-10-2 against the spread as a road favorite this season. Something just isn’t clicking for Boston right now. This is the part of the season when a little complacency could start to set in for a top team. With Jaylen Brown listed as a game-time decision, this feels like a game where the Celtics won’t be at their best and could struggle to win.

As for Toronto, while the Raptors have lost four of their last five games, three of those losses have come by six points or less, including close losses to the Kings and Clippers. Toronto isn’t the same team since acquiring R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley from the Knicks. The Raptors have a little more scoring depth and are more capable of keeping up with a high-scoring team like the Celtics. In what could be a trap game for Boston, look for the Raptors could keep this game close from start to finish and beat the spread.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Raptors +6.5 | -105 at BetMGM

Indiana Pacers vs Utah Jazz Best Bet:

Jazz -7.5 | -113 at BetRivers

Despite a loss in Denver on Sunday, it hasn’t been all bad news for Indiana since Tyrese Haliburton got hurt. They managed to beat the Wizards and the Hawks and then beat the 10.5-point spread in a loss to the Nuggets. However, a trip to Utah is the toughest test they’ve faced without their star point guard, especially with back-to-back road games. Keep in mind that Indiana’s one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and since they can’t score at the same rate without Haliburton, they may not be able to stay close with the Jazz.

Utah is arguably the hottest team in the NBA right now, winning 11 of its last 13 games. During the team’s current five-game winning streak, the Jazz is 5-0 against the spread, including wins over the 76ers, Bucks, and Nuggets. In fact, the Jazz is also 11-2 against the spread in its last 13 games. The kicker is that Utah is a league-best 15-4 against the spread at home, including 5-1 as a home favorite. That should be more than enough to back the Jazz in this game.

Jazz -7.5 | -113 at BetRivers

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