NBA Weekend: How to Bet the Big Games
Ready for NBA action this weekend? Here are five of the most exciting games on the slate, and our winning picks.
The NBA season is really heating up. Trade rumors are swirling. Teams are still managing to upset expectations, with winning streaks and losing streaks galore.
Fans can expect even more exciting action this weekend. Here are five of the biggest matchups, and a pick for who will win each.
Boston Celtics (20-21) @ Philadelphia 76ers (23-16)
Friday, 1/14 @ 7 p.m. ET – NBC, ESPN
All-Star Ben Simmons is still holding out of the lineup for a trade, but the Philadelphia 76ers are currently enjoying a seven-game win streak. The Charlotte Hornets edged Philly 109-98 at home Wednesday night, ending the streak, but even so, the team will enter Friday night’s rivalry with a strong win record.
For the second consecutive season, Joel Embiid is jumping right into the thick of the MVP race. He has dominated team after team, and has led the Sixers to victories seemingly on his own. The Boston Celtics, meanwhile, have endured a toxic locker room environment this year, leading to a record just under .500, plus plenty of trade rumors.
While the Sixers haven’t been as dominant at home (8-8) as in the past, the Celtics have been even worse on the road (7-13). This chapter in the Sixers/Celtics rivalry should go Philly’s way.
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Golden State Warriors (30-10) @ Chicago Bulls (27-11)
Friday, 1/14 @ 7:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
When it comes to momentum, these teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Golden State Warriors have dropped three of their last four and will be coming off a tough matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night, which very well could be another loss. The Chicago Bulls, on the other hand, had won 10 of their last 11 games heading into Wednesday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets, then racked up another loss, 138-112. Both teams could very well be coming off recent losses, but of the two, Chicago is more likely to bounce back and return to form.
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are both playing the best basketball of their respective careers, and the Bulls match up well against the guard-oriented Warriors team. Chicago is 15-4 at home this season. I expect this trend to continue Friday night.
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Dallas Mavericks (22-18) @ Memphis Grizzlies (29-14)
Friday, 1/14 @ 10 p.m. ET – ESPN
Without a doubt, the Memphis Grizzlies are the most unstoppable force in the NBA right now. They’re enjoying a 10-game winning streak, which seems likely to sit at 11 by the time Friday rolls around (Thursday vs. MIN). Point guard Ja Morant is playing like an All-Star starter this season, and if he keeps it up, he may be campaigning for MVP votes by season’s end.
Once again, the Dallas Mavericks don’t have enough quality pieces around Luka Doncic to be a true contender. While this is sure to be an entertaining matchup, Dallas isn’t strong enough to put a stop to the Memphis steamroller.
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Los Angeles Lakers (21-20) @ Denver Nuggets (20-19)
Saturday, 1/15 @ 9 p.m. – NBATV
Both the L.A. Lakers and the Denver Nuggets have been disappointing so far this season. Both teams had high expectations for a top seed and deep playoff run, which don’t seem attainable for either anymore.
The Lakers veteran-oriented roster has been slow other than lone bright spot and perennial MVP candidate LeBron James. Denver has dearly missed the services of All-Star guard Jamal Murray, who has yet to play due to injury.
In this game, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic should draw a favorable matchup and find room to take over if he so chooses. I expect a trademark MVP moment from Jokic in front of his home crowd, leading to a Denver W on Saturday night.
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Utah Jazz (28-13) @ Denver Nuggets (20-19)
Sunday, 1/16 @ 8 p.m. ET – ESPN
The Denver Nuggets will again find themselves at home for the tail end of a back-to-back on Sunday. This time, they draw a tougher matchup in the Utah Jazz, who also have the advantage of a day’s rest heading into the game.
Stranger things have happened, but a Nugget win here seems unlikely. Take the Jazz with whatever spread they are giving for this one.
It should be an exciting weekend of NBA action to complement the first round of the NFL playoffs. Make sure to get these games in, there’s some money there is to be made. Good luck!
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