NBA Expert Tips and Best Bets | January 4

James Salmon
NBA Tips, Predictions & News
NBA Tips & Best Bets
Best Bets 2023 / 2024

With the NBA season nearing its halfway point, the genuine contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the pack. And on Thursday Australia time, a whole bunch of them will take to the floor with a huge slate of games which will see 24 of the league’s 30 teams play. Below, we take a look at our three best bets for this big day of NBA action. 

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Atlanta Hawks

Thunder -1.5 | $1.92 with GetSetBet 

The huge quantity of games that NBA teams play means that, invariably, circumstances such as travel and when a team last played can have a big impact on results. NBA betting sites obviously know this, but in the case of this game they may have placed a little too much emphasis on it. The Thunder are a hell of a lot better a team than the Hawks – they have established themselves as a legitimate championship contender, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander now one of the best players in the league and guys like Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams all rapidly developing into quality players themselves. The Hawks, meanwhile, are limping along once again as a mid-tier team, and are not in particularly good form to boot. Prior to their latest outing they had lost four consecutive games, and they only broke that streak by sneaking over the line by four points against a pretty average Wizards outfit. Despite that, this game is set at close to even money. Why? For starters it’s in Atlanta, while the Thunder also had to play a tough game against the Celtics, in Oklahoma City, the day prior. Travelling back to backs are never the ideal preparation, but the Thunder can afford to play a fair bit beneath themselves and still knock off the Hawks. To me this line certainly looks too low, and the Thunder should be able to cover it pretty comfortably. 

Thunder -1.5 @ Hawks | $1.92

Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns

Clippers -2.5 | $1.86 with BlueBet

This should be one of the games of the day, with two teams who, all going well, have the potential to compete for a title this year. But things haven’t been all smooth sailing for either team, the Clippers taking a long time to adjust to life with James Harden and the Suns looking all at sea as they’ve attempted to navigate injury after injury and a distinct lack of cohesion with their new look roster. For both teams, however, things are looking up. After a couple of disappointing losses in a row the Clippers have won three in a row, the latest an impressive 17-point effort against the Heat, while the Suns have won four in a row of their own. Bradley Beal returned in their latest outing, but continuing the extraordinary theme which has seen he, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant barely touch the floor at the same time together, Durant sat out that game. Beal nullifies the loss of Durant to an extent, but they’re still a better team with Durant playing and Beal out than the inverse. It didn’t matter in their last game, which they won by 21 points, but that was against the lowly Trail Blazers. The Clippers will pose a substantially more difficult proposition than the Blazers did, and Durant has once again been rule out for this one. Were Durant playing this would be a must-watch game that the Suns may well be favourites in, but without him the Clippers look to have the edge, and with a small line set by betting sites the Clippers can get the cover. 

Clippers -2.5 @ Suns | $1.86

Detroit Pistons @ Utah Jazz

Jazz -7.5 | $1.90 with PlayUp 

It feels mean to punt for the Pistons to lose big after they finally broke their historic losing streak, but this is more a reflection on how the Jazz are playing than anything. The Pistons, for their part, at long last won a game a few days ago when they held off the Raptors by two points, but they promptly went and lost by 23 points to the Rockets. Hopefully that trend doesn’t continue – they’re not a good team but they have more talent than their record suggests. But while the Jazz aren’t exactly world beaters, this doesn’t shape as a game where they’re going to secure their fourth win for the year. The Jazz are a bit of a mismatch team but somehow, coach Will Hardy has them playing some quality basketball of late. They’ve won five of their last six games, and the last two have been against teams that on paper look a hell of a lot better than them. In the first they beat the Heat, while in their last outing they absolutely decimated a Mavericks team with Kyrie Irving rejoining Luka Doncic to the tune of 37 points. They are in some really dangerous form, and against a Pistons team which has been the worst performed all season they should be able to win by more than the 7.5 point line set by betting agencies

Jazz -7.5 vs Pistons |$1.90

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James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.