NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | January 3

NBA Picks and Best Bets
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

We’re keeping our winning streak going on a great Wednesday night of action in the NBA. When the Bucks play the Pacers, expect a lot of points, but just how many? Oklahoma City had a big win Tuesday night and now they go on the road to face always-dangerous Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. Plus, the Pistons look for win No. 4 against the Jazz.

Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Best Bet

Under 256.5 (-110) at FanDuel

For Michigan sports bettors, a match-up between the Bucks and Pistons has been exciting to watch. When these two teams play, the scoreboard goes bananas. This was the game a month ago when the total was posted as a record 258 and the Bucks won 140-126.

This is the fifth – and final scheduled – meeting of the season between these two teams. Indiana has won three of the four. In the four games, Indiana is averaging 125 points, one off their season average. Giannis Antekokounmpo has averaged 46 points in the four games, including a career high 64 back on Dec. 13.

This is the second game of a home and home series. Indiana won 122-113, basically by locking up Bucks star Damian Lillard and letting Giannis cook. Hey, it worked.

My theory is home and home games usually mean less points because it’s like quarter number 5, 6, 7 and 8. By this time you know the moves of the other team. This is trending under.

fanduel sportsbook
Under 256.5 (-110)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks Best Bet

Thunder -1.5 (-110) at BetMGM

If you didn’t know Oklahoma City was for real, you found out Tuesday night when they roared back to beat the Eastern Conference leading Celtics by four. The Thunder is 23-9 overall and 23-8-1 against the spread.

Meanwhile, we keep coming back to this, but the Hawks are 13-19 overall and a league worst 7-25 against the spread. That’s like, not even possible.

Atlanta has had two days off to prepare, while the Thunder are playing for second time in as many nights. But the Thunder are better. I see this as a close game going into the fourth, but the Thunder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will dominate down the stretch. He’s averaged 33.3 points in his last 10 games.


betmgm sportsbook
Thunder -1.5 (-110)

Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz Best Bet

Jazz -8.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Piston fans dreaming of a winning streak were disappointed when the Pistons followed up their win over the Raptors with a flop against the Rockets, losing by 23 in Houston. Cade Cunningham was held to just six points.

Was it a victory hangover? Very likely. The Pistons did end their 28-game losing streak. The good news is they may have figured some things out with their rotation and just who fits in where. James Wiseman is a rim protector, that’s all, but the Pistons need some shooting.

The Jazz are good at home, 10-5 straight up and 20-14 against the spread overall. They are the mirror Hawks in that they are only 15-19 in the standings. Utah was shorthanded when they beat the Pistons a couple of weeks ago. I think it was loss No. 24 in the streak.

But tonight, Utah is full strength. Lauri Markkanen should have a big night, and the Pistons will hang, but not win.  

draftkings sportsbook
Jazz -8.5 (-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.