NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | January 19

NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

It’s time we got back to what we do best for our NBA picks. The biggest game of the night is in Boston where the Celtics put their 20-0 home record on the line against the defending NBA champion Nuggets. Nikola Jokic is a triple double machine. Should we take the Nuggets and the points? We also look at a couple of totals in Miami and in Portland.  

Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics Best Bet

Nuggets +6 (-110) at FanDuel

This is the marquee game of the night by far.

Boston is 32-9 overall, but 21-18-2 against the spread, but the big number here is 20-0. The Celtics have yet to lose at home this season. They’ve won three in a row and are coming off a beatdown of the Spurs. Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White are probable to play. That’s right, we finally have a game where both teams are full strength.

Denver is only 11-10 on the road. They had a chance Wednesday night against Philly, but struggled taking care of the ball down the stretch. Jokic’s scoring average has been a bit low lately as he’s become more of a facilitator.

Denver is the NBA champs. Boston is looking to make a statement, but I think the champs keep it close. Always take the points when its close.

fanduel sportsbook
Nuggets +6 (-110)

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Best Bet

Under 228.5 (-110) at BetMGM

I’m trying to get back on a hot streak with my NBA picks, and I’ve gotten away from what I like to do best, which is bet on the totals. I love the under play in Miami.

The Hawks are 23-17 over/under this season, but trending down offensively. But defense…ugh. The Hawks don’t know the meaning of the word. They rank 28th in the NBA in defense, and have given up 124.5 points on average in their last eight games. Hawks star Trae Young is also questionable with an illness. If he doesn’t play, no way does this game go over.

The reason I like the under so much is because the Heat do play defense and they don’t score a lot. They’ve scored under 100 points in three of their last four games. The last three games between these two teams have all gone under.

No Trae Young (maybe?), the Heat at home…I just can’t see a lot of points.

betmgm sportsbook
Under 228.5 (-110)

Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers Best Bet

Under 237.5 (-110) at DraftKings

My totals strategy is pretty simple. First, assume each team is going to score 100 points. Then see how big the number is after that. Here we’re talking 37 points. Will either the Pacers or Blazers score 137 points?

Definitely not the Blazers. They’ve lost four of five, but did beat Brooklyn Wednesday night. They are 18-22 over/under this season and rank last in the NBA in points per game and FG percentage.

Ahh yes, but the Pacers. They lead the NBA in scoring and are 25-16 over/under. However, they lost star guard Tyrese Haliburton with a hamstring injury. They made a big trade for Pascal Siakam from the Raptors but he has yet to play. It’s the second game of a back-to-back. And Indiana’s last five games have all gone under.

The Pacers are still finding a new offensive rhythm without Haliburton. The Blazers never had any offensive rhythm. Ride the under.

draftkings sportsbook
Under 237.5 (-110)

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Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.