It’s a huge night in the Association with 24 teams in action today which includes marquee matchups between the 76ers and Raptors, and a battle of two of the best in the West, as the Rockets host the Nuggets. However, all eyes will be on New Orleans as Zion Williamson finally makes his NBA debut.
Monique Vág is here to bring you the must-read betting notes from around the NBA to help you make the day’s best wagers.
LOW SCORING EARLY
The finally healthy Toronto Raptors are 7-point favorites as they host the Philadelphia 76ers, who will be without Joel Embiid. The 76ers have won four straight games by playing stellar defense holding two of their last four opponents under 90 points. But despite that good defensive play, the Sixers have struggled mightily in Toronto, having lost 16 of their last 17 games at the Scotiabank Arena.
Look for a slower pace out of the gates as both teams rank in the middle of the pack in terms of first half points per game, and seem to up the intensity when they face off. Over the last three head-to-head meetings they have struggled putting up points early with the average score at halftime being 48-45. Bet Under the first half total of 112.
The Sacramento Kings hope to snap their five game losing streak as they travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons. Detroit has struggled at home this season covering the spread only once through its last nine tries, but has played well at home versus the Kings posting a 7-2 record.
Although they have yet to meet up this season, in two meetings last season Buddy Hield averaged 26.5 points per game on an insane 60 percent shooting from the floor and 64 percent from beyond the arc. Look for similar numbers today and bet Over his points total of 18.5.
A SNAIL’S PACE
The Orlando Magic are 1.5-point home favorites as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Orlando has struggled offensively being held under 100 in two of its last three games. And both teams play at a very slow pace with Orlando ranking last in the Association at home averaging 100 possessions per game, while OKC ranks 26th on the road averaging 101.9.
The Under has hit in seven straight at home for the Magic and the slower pace should keep this one low scoring. Take the Under 210.
CONFIDENT ON THEIR HOME COURT
The Denver Nuggets will once again be shorthanded as they travel to Houston to take on the Rockets. Denver will be without Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Mason Plumlee, and Jamal Murray. Despite the injuries, the Nuggets have split their last two games. However, they face a real tough task versus a Rockets team that can put up points in a hurry and recently defeated the Nuggets on December 31st by a score of 130-104.
Over their last three games the Nuggets have only averaged 50 in the first half and rank 22nd overall in that category. Expect a quick start out of Houston who rank as the highest scoring first half team in the Association averaging 60.6 points. Bet the Rockets on the first half spread laying 4.5-points.
It’s a day of celebration in New Orleans, as it’s not only the debut of Zion Williamson for the Pelicans, but they also receive another healthy dose of offense as JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday are upgraded to probable. As a result, the Pels are 3.5-point home favorites as they host the San Antonio Spurs.
The Pelicans have been the highest scoring team in the Association over their last three games averaging 131.3 points per game on an excellent 52.1 percent shooting. With the Spurs giving up 115.8 away from home, and the Pels finally getting to full health, look for the New Orleans offense to prove to be too much. Take the Pelicans on the spread laying 3.5-points.