Monday night’s NBA basketball slate features eight games in total. There are a number of intriguing matchups to follow closely as well as several worthwhile opportunities for bettors to capitalize on. Basketball Insiders takes a look at the NBA best bets and free picks for the January 31st NBA betting slate. Odds for the picks can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.
NBA Best Bets and Free Picks Tonight, 1/31
Indiana Pacers -2.5 (-110) | NBA Best Bets
Tyronn Lue deserves full marks for keeping the L.A. Clippers afloat in the Western Conference with a .500 record despite playing without both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately, Lue’s coaching likely won’t be able to account for the Clippers’ lack of talent and depth on the road against the Indiana Pacers tonight.
While the Pacers are still playing without a pair of starters themselves in Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner, they at least have Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert to lean on. Indiana’s defense has been wretched recently, but the Clippers don’t exactly have any superior scorers to take full advantage.
It should also be noted that the Pacers will have a rest advantage in tonight’s matchup. The Clippers will be playing their second road game on the east coast in as many days after beating Charlotte yesterday. This NBA best bets spread has already risen up a half-point across the market after opening at Pacers -2. Look to play Indiana soon in an effort to get ahead of any further movement.
Raptors vs Hawks: Over 220.5 (-110) | NBA Best Bets
If one considers only pace of play, this NBA best bets play of taking the total over 220.5 in tonight’s matchup between the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks doesn’t make much sense. When it comes to the Pace Factor metric which considers the average number of possessions a team uses per game, the two teams rank 23rd and 24th in the NBA respectively. Both use less than 99 possessions per contest on average.
Where things get tricky for tonight’s matchup is when one also considers the efficiency metrics of both teams. While the Hawks may only use 98.7 possessions per game, they have been extremely efficient on the offensive end. An average of 112.2 points scored per 100 possessions ranks as the second-best offensive efficiency in the Association.
It is also worth considering the inefficiency of the Hawks on the defensive end. Despite their slow pace of play, Atlanta has still surrendered 111.2 points per 100 possessions to opponents. That mark is the fourth-worst defensive efficiency coming into Monday. Note too that the Raptors rank right around the middle of the pack in both offensive and defensive efficiency and are not likely to sway things one way or the other.
Trail Blazers vs Thunder: Under 217 (-110) | NBA Best Bets
It may come as a surprise to some that the Portland Trail Blazers actually rank among the bottom eight teams in Pace Factor this season. Of the two teams in tonight’s matchup, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a much higher rate of possessions used per game. However, OKC is also dead last in offensive efficiency this season. The Thunder average only 100.0 points scored per 100 possessions, a putrid efficiency rating that figures to more than cancel out Portland’s third-worst defensive efficiency ranking.
A key injury absence further aids in this NBA best bets prediction. Oklahoma City’s bad offensive efficiency rating only figures to be worse tonight without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor. The absence of OKC’s best offensive weapon figures to also help the Trail Blazers outperform their defensive numbers. Of course, Portland continues to be without superstar point guard Damian Lillard as well.
The NBA betting market has been pounding the under hard so far. An opening line of 218.5 has plummeted to a consensus total of 216.5. Thus bettors can snag a half-point of value by making this NBA best bets pick through BetOnline.