Monday, January 6

Miami Heat vs Portland Trail Blazers, 10 am
Heat -5.5

The Heat are currently 5.5-point favourites here and I expect them to build on their 16-1 home record this season. They match up quite well with this Portland side, especially on the wing.

The Blazers have definitely been a disappointment thus far, going just 15-21 and sitting outside the playoff places. Their road record has been particularly abysmal, only 7-12 on the season.

They’re essentially injury free, with Justise Winslow a decent shot at returning here. Portland should be somewhat fatigued heading into this one, playing their 3rd game of this East Coast trip.

While Dame and CJ should still be able to get theirs in the backcourt, I can see the rest of the lineup struggling. Miami have one of the more efficient offences in the NBA, one which I’d expect to succeed against a lacklustre Portland defence.

5.5 points is a relatively small line, suggesting that the Blazers would be favoured if this was in Portland. I think the gulf between these two is a bit bigger than that and I’ll gladly take Miami here.

Phoenix Suns vs Memphis Grizzlies, 12 pm
Grizzlies +6.5

After starting out well this season, Phoenix have won just 3 of their last 10 to sit 14-21. I plan to fade them here, catching 6.5 points with the upstart Grizzlies.

This Phoenix side just isn’t particularly good and they were playing above their heads to start the year. I’d say these teams are relatively even in quality, with the Memphis youngsters improving all the time.

Phoenix has hardly been a fortress either, with the Suns only going 7-11 at home this season. It should be noted that Memphis aren’t that great on the road either, winning just 6 of 16 thus far.

The Grizzlies are also fully healthy for this one, with all of their key players expected to play. Kaminsky has been ruled out for Phoenix, while Rubio is questionable with a hip injury.

Realistically, this has all the makings of a game that is close late. Memphis should have no trouble scoring here, doing enough to keep this within 7 at the bare minimum.

Sunday, January 5

Cleveland Cavaliers vs OKC Thunder, 11:30 am
Cavs +7

I like the look of Cleveland here as substantial 7-point home underdogs. This aligns strongly with the contrarian angle, with 80% of punters backing OKC early.

Now 19-15 on the season, I think OKC have become somewhat overrated in the current market. They’ve had their share of struggles on the road, going just 7-9 away thus far.

Cleveland has shown some better form of late, going .500 over their last 10. They enter this contest relatively healthy, with Larry Nance their only rotation player expected to miss.

This has the makings of a decent matchup for the Cavs, particularly on the interior. I can see OKC struggling to guard Love from the perimeter, while Thompson is certainly capable of matching up with Adams.

Overall, this is just too many points for OKC to be laying on the road. Cleveland has played hard this season and I’d expect them to keep it within this exorbitant number.

Milwaukee Bucks vs San Antonio Spurs, 12:30 pm
Bucks -12

Relatively devoid of options today, so I’ll back the consistent and reliable Bucks here. They’ve been essentially unbeatable at home thus far, compiling an impressive 17-2 record.

Despite facing some gaudy spreads, they’re still a strong 21-15 ATS and a respectable 11-8 ATS at home. In contrast, San Antonio have been dreadful on the road, going just 3-10 straight up thus far.

After dealing with some injury concerns, Milwaukee also appear to be nearing full health here. Bledsoe has played the last few games and I’d also expect Wes Matthews to return for this one, giving them a full compliment. San Antonio are also rather healthy, but the absence of Dejounte Murray will certainly be felt on defence.

One of the best things about this Bucks team is how consistently hard they play. Even when favoured by a large margin, they appear to bring it for all four quarters.

Ultimately, the Spurs just don’t have anyone who can contain Giannis and they could be in for a very long day here. I’d expect Milwaukee to continue their strong season and win comfortably.

Saturday, January 4

Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat, 11 am
Heat -1.5

After getting a win and cover over Toronto yesterday, I’m going to back Miami on the road here laying just 1.5 points. The Magic are dealing with several key frontcourt injuries here, which I think will be too much to overcome.

Jonathan Isaac has been ruled out for multiple months, while Aaron Gordon is also questionable for this one. This should leave Orlando very short on the wing, which is far from ideal against Jimmy Butler and Co.

Miami are also in very strong form, winning 7 of their last 10, as opposed to just 4 for Orlando. While their road form hasn’t been great this season, I think the matchup for them here is still quite favourable.

Bam Adebayo is a great defensive option to put on Vucevic, while they’ve also got several perimeter defenders to contain Evan ‘Don’t Google Me’ Fournier. They’ve got a fairly clean injury report and I expect their depth to propel them to victory here.

Houston Rockets vs Philadelphia 76ers, 12 pm
76ers +4.5

Despite being just 7-11 on the road this season, I continue to see value on Philly as road underdogs. There has been a lot of talk in the media about their offensive struggles of late, which I think will galvanise them going forward.

While Houston are a respectable 12-4 at home this season, they’ve largely struggled against the better teams. Given their size and defensive ability, Philadelphia is just a terrible matchup for them.

I don’t anticipate Westbrook having any success against Embiid at the rim, meaning a lot of the offensive load should fall on James Harden. Richardson, Simmons, and Thybulle are all very capable perimeter defenders that should keep Harden in check.

This Houston side has typically been quite weak on the interior, which bodes very poorly against this Philly side. I think Embiid and Horford will be too much for Capela on the inside, allowing the Sixers to control this one.

Given that they’ve got no key injuries, I think 4.5 points is pretty solid value for Philly here. They’ve got every chance to win outright, but this line is great insurance as long as they keep it close.

Friday, January 3

Miami Heat vs Toronto Raptors, 11:30 am
Heat -5.5

The 24-9 Heat welcome the 23-11 Raptors here, currently laying 5.5 points. With Toronto still dealing with a myriad of injuries, I like Miami to win and cover in this one.

Miami continue to be one of the best home sides in the NBA, going 15-1 straight up and 11-4-1 ATS. While Toronto are a decent 9-6 on the road this year, they just aren’t the same of late.

This is predominantly due to injuries, with Siakam, Gasol, and Powell all missing time of late. 3x champion Pat McCaw is also questionable to play in this one, really limiting their wing depth against a strong Miami perimeter.

Jimmy Butler is having a strong first season on South Beach, while Bam Adebayo has been a revelation at Center. A backcourt of Nunn and Robinson has provided quality minutes, supplemented nicely by Dragic and Herro off the bench.

After an inexplicable loss to the Wizards last time out, I think Miami will come out motivated here. They’ve got more talent on the floor here and I’d expect another home win and cover.

Sacramento Kings vs Memphis Grizzlies, 2 pm
Kings -4

The 12-22 Kings host the 13-21 Grizzlies here, currently laying 4 points. Although they’ve struggled mightily of late, I see this as a get right game for the Kings.

Sacramento have been in some abysmal form of late, winning just 1 of their last 10 games. This is somewhat misleading, with some very narrow losses to the Knicks, Suns, Wolves, Nuggets and Grizz in there.

As such, I think they’ve become somewhat underrated in the betting market. They’re more talented than this Grizzlies side, who only have 6 road wins on the year.

De’Aaron Fox appears to be rounding into form after his injury, which should be a huge boon for the offense. They also enter this one almost fully healthy, with Marvin Bagley the only rotation player expected to miss.

The main matchup edge the Kings have here is in their backcourt. Memphis has some pretty poor perimeter defence and I’d expect big days from any of Fox, Hield, or Bogdanovic. Contain Morant on the other end and it should be a relatively routine win and cover here.

Thursday, January 2

New York Knicks vs Portland Trail Blazers, 11:30 am
Blazers -3.5

The 14-20 Blazers travel to the 9-24 Knicks, currently laying 3.5 points. In a day that appears very devoid of options, Portland look like one of the better bets available.

Portland have looked like a much better team of late and now appear likely to secure a playoff spot out West. New York are still one of the worst sides in the NBA, going a pretty poor 4-12 at home thus far.

The Knicks tend to really struggle against perimeter threats, which is far from ideal against Portland. Damian Lillard is easily the best player on the floor here, with CJ McCollum a capable sidekick.

I can see the Knicks really struggling to contain the Portland backcourt here, especially with their injuries. Dennis Smith and Wayne Ellington have been ruled out, while Ntilikina, Dotson, and Bullock are all questionable.

Not only do Portland have a strong talent edge, they’re healthier, have a coaching advantage and should be more motivated here. Laying just 3.5 points, the straight up win and cover are definitely fairly correlated.

LA Lakers vs Phoenix Suns, 2:30 pm
Lakers -11

The 26-7 Lake Show host the 13-20 Suns here, currently laying 11 points. I’d expect all of LA’s key players to play here, meaning they’re good value to cover against the falling Suns.

Phoenix have fallen off a cliff of late, winning just 2 of their last 10 and covering only 4 times over that same period. LA remain one of the better home sides in the NBA, compiling an 11-4 record so far.

I think they’ve got some pretty significant matchup advantages here, particularly in the frontcourt. As solid as Kelly Oubre has been this season, he just isn’t a quality matchup for LeBron James.

As far as the starting lineups go, they’ll probably have Saric matched up on AD in the early going. This is another very poor matchup, one which I’d expect to be exploited early and often.

Without Ayton and Kaminsky, the depth of Phoenix’s front court will surely be tested here. The big and athletic Lakers are one of their worst matchups in the league and I’d expect them to lose pretty comfortably.

Wednesday, January 1

Indiana Pacers vs Philadelphia 76ers, 7 am
Sixers -1

The 21-12 Pacers host the 23-12 Sixers here, currently getting 1 point as an underdog. I really like the matchup for Philly here and will take them at this relatively low number.

Philly have admittedly been an awful road team this year, compiling a miserable 7-10 record away from home. Indiana has also been great at home, going 14-3 thus far. I think this hot start actually overvalues Indiana’s home court, giving value to Philly here.

The Sixers enter this one in full health, with all of their key players expected to play. Indiana are still contending with the injury to Oladipo, while Malcolm Brogdon is also questionable here.

The Pacers have struggled to generate consistent offence at times this season and I can see them struggling here. Philly have one of the best defensive units in the NBA and I’d expect them to really limit Indiana at the rim.

They should be well rested after two days off and motivated after suffering rare consecutive losses. At just one point, a straight up win is very likely to secure the cover here.

Houston Rockets vs Denver Nuggets, 11 am
Rockets -1

The 22-11 Rockets host the 23-9 Nuggets here, currently laying 1 point. As long as each of their big 3 play here, I like Houston at this relatively modest number.

These two teams are definitely pretty even and I think this short of a line really overvalues Denver. If the Nuggets have any major weakness, it is their inability to guard elite wing players.

They’ve struggled mightily in the past against James Harden and I can see more of the same here. This is only compounded by the fact that Gary Harris is 50/50 for this game and could be limited if he does play.

With Jokic at Center, Denver is also far from an elite rim protecting team. Not only could this prove hazardous against Harden, it isn’t ideal against the likes of Westbrook and Capela either.

While Denver are a decent road side at 8-5, they aren’t anywhere near as good as they are at home. Houston have been a very solid 11-4 at home thus far and appear much more likely to lay an egg on the road.

This is a favourable matchup for them and represents a chance at a statement win in the game of the day. At another very small line, I’d back them to both win and cover.

Tuesday, December 31

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Brooklyn Nets, 12 pm
Nets -1.5

The 11-20 Wolves host the 16-15 Nets here, currently getting 1.5 points. Given the myriad of injuries they’re dealing with, I’m inclined to fade them and back Brooklyn.

Minnesota have been one of the worst home sides in the NBA this season, compiling a dismal 3-11 record thus far. Brooklyn have been fairly competent on the road, with their record hovering around .500.

The Wolves have been battling a ton of injuries of late, most notably to star big man Karl Anthony Towns. He is questionable to play here with a knee injury, with Andrew Wiggins also questionable and Jake Layman already ruled out.

Despite being without Kyrie Irving for a prolonged period, Brooklyn have looked like a more complete team of late. Spencer Dinwiddie has been excellent as the offensive focal point, while the role players have really stepped up.

This is only the second game of their road trip and they’ll get a full two days off afterwards, so I don’t anticipate fatigue being an issue either. They’re a more consistent and talented side than these injured Wolves and I’d expect them to cover a relatively modest spread here.

Utah Jazz vs Detroit Pistons, 1 pm
Jazz -9.5

The 20-12 Jazz host the 12-21 Pistons here, currently laying 9.5 points. Especially with star big man Blake Griffin unlikely to play, I like Utah to win and cover.

They’re still one of the NBA’s most formidable home sides, compiling an early 12-3 record. They tend to dominate lesser sides at home, a moniker which can be applied to this middling Detroit side.

They are close to full health here, with Mike Conley’s long-term injury the only remaining absence. New addition Jordan Clarkson should really help their second unit and I’d expect him to play a key role here.

With Griffin unlikely to play, I’m not sure how Detroit reliably generates offence here. Andre Drummond is a solid offensive Center, but I’d expect him to be nullified by Rudy Gobert.

The Pistons haven’t been that great on the defensive end of late, which doesn’t bode well against Utah’s talented wing players. I can see Donovan Mitchell controlling the pace of play here, with solid secondary contributions from Bogdanovic and Ingles.

Currently set at 9.5 points, I can see this line only going up with the Griffin injury news. Expect Utah to continue their strong home form as they claim this one by double digits.

Monday, December 30

Toronto Raptors vs OKC Thunder, 10 am
Raptors -2.5

The 22-10 Raptors host the 16-15 Thunder here, currently laying 2.5 points. Despite being on a back-to-back, I think Toronto have more than enough quality for the win and cover.

They’ve proven to be one of the best home teams in the NBA, going 13-4 straight up and 11-6 ATS. They do have a few key injuries heading into this one, although I think their depth and elite coaching can make up for this.

OKC has been on a decent 7-3 run of late, but I believe they’re overvalued in the market as a result. They’re just 5-9 on the road this season and have tended to struggle outside of Oklahoma. They’ve also been battling the injury bug of late, with both Gallinari and Schroder ruled out of this one.

Ultimately, I expect the elite guard play from Lowry and VanVleet to guide Toronto to another home victory. Laying just 2.5 points, I also think they’re very solid value to cover the spread.

LA Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks, 1:30 pm
Lakers -3

The 24-7 Lakers host the 21-10 Mavericks here, currently laying 3 points. This line appears awfully low to me and there’s a definite chance that it rises before tip-off.

Both sides are playing a back-to-back, but I can’t see any of the major players sitting out here, especially for LA. They’ve been a strong 10-4 at home this season and I like their matchup against this upstart Dallas side.

The Mavericks are incredibly reliant on Luka and can really struggle to get going if he isn’t 100%. Unfortunately, he comes up against a very tough wing matchup here against both LeBron and Danny Green.

I think they can limit him on the offensive end, making it much more difficult for Dallas to score. Anthony Davis also has a favourable matchup against Porzingis, one which I’d expect him to exploit repeatedly.

LA have more top-end talent of these two sides and also possess the depth needed to win on a back-to-back. 3 points is fairly light with LA being comfortably the better side and I’d recommend this line up to 4.5.

Sunday, December 29

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies, 9 am
Nuggets -9

The 21-9 Nuggets host the 12-20 Grizzlies here, currently laying 9 points. Denver were very flat against New Orleans on Christmas and I expect a much better effort here.

They’re still one of the better home sides in the NBA, compiling a 13-4 record thus far. Memphis are nothing special on the road, going just 6-8 straight up and 7-7 ATS.

I also like the matchups for Denver here, particularly on the interior. I’d expect Jokic to have a field day against Valanciunas, while Paul Millsap is also expected to go here.

Memphis have really struggled to guard on the perimeter, which doesn’t bode well against a guy like Jamal Murray. I can see him controlling this game from the outset, leading to a dominant offensive display.

I think the Christmas day performance was a bit of an aberration for Denver, one which I expect them to right at the first opportunity. The line has come in from 10 to 9 and I see good value in pulling the trigger here.

Houston Rockets vs Brooklyn Nets, 12 pm
Rockets -9

The 21-10 Rockets host the 16-10 Nets here, currently laying 9 points. As with Denver, Houston suffered an embarrassing defeat on Christmas Day, one which I’d expect them to avenge here.

They’re one of the better home sides in the NBA, going 10-4 thus far. Brooklyn aren’t any great shakes on the road either, sporting a below .500 record at 7-8.

The Nets remain without their starting backcourt, with both Irving and LeVert already ruled out for this one. Spencer Dinwiddie has carried the load admirably, but he tends to struggle against top sides like Houston.

On defence, I’m not sure this Brooklyn side is well equipped to stop the duo of Harden and Westbrook. They’ve struggled against dynamic playmaking guards all season and these are two of the most difficult they’ll face.

They looked really out of sorts last time out, putting up just 82 points against the lowly Nets. They’ll come up against a much tougher test in Houston, one which I’m not sure they’re ready for.

Houston losing on Christmas was a major storyline, but I view this as a blip in an otherwise solid season. Expect them to put the clamps on Brooklyn here, with strong days from Russ and Harden leading to the win and cover.

Saturday, December 28

Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers, 12 pm
Heat -5

The 22-8 Heat host the 21-10 Pacers here, currently laying 5 points. Miami have proven to be one of the best home sides in the NBA and I like them again here.

The Heat have gone a very strong 13-1 at home thus far, including an impressive 11-3 ATS record. Indiana are very much a mediocre road side, going just 7-7 straight up and ATS.

The Pacers are also dealing with a few cluster injuries on the wing here. Not only is Oladipo still out, but both Jeremy Lamb and Malcolm Brogdon are questionable. This is especially dangerous against a Miami side that is very strong on the perimeter.

Miami also enter this clash fairly well rested, having been at home for the past 9 days and only playing twice. This has allowed them to heal to the point where Justise Winslow is the only injury concern.

I also think the Heat have a pretty strong advantage here in terms of coaching. Erik Spoelstra has been a wizard in close games this year, while Nate McMillan still leaves a lot to be desired.

In a matchup between two solid sides, I think Miami’s top-end talent and coaching advantage gives them the edge here. Combine that with their stout home record and they’re good value laying just 5 points.

Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns, 2:30 pm
Suns -2.5

The 8-24 Warriors host the 11-19 Suns here, currently getting 2.5 points as a home underdog. The market may be starting to overvalue Golden State after 3 straight wins and this could be a good time to fade them.

This is a huge letdown spot for Golden State after their emotional win over Houston on Christmas. They’ve got a back-to-back in Utah tomorrow, a game they could very well be looking ahead to.

Phoenix have been a terrible 2-8 in their last 10, although they do have a positive ATS record in that time span. This tells me that they’re playing in relatively close games but can’t quite get the job done.

Having dealt with a ton of injuries all season, they’re finally approaching full health. Kelly Oubre is very likely to play here, meaning Ayton is the only rotation player projected to miss.

Phoenix ran Golden State off the court earlier this season and they’ve got the matchup edge to do it again here. They’ve got much more talent on the wing and a big like Aron Baynes should pose problems inside.

I’d expect a big game from Devin Booker here, one which propels Phoenix to get the win and cover.