NBA Perfect 10

January is nearly behind us and teams are busy making moves to strengthen their playoff prospects. Terry Rozier headed to South Beach this week and there will surely be more moves to come. Stay tuned as we check out this week’s Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten (Week of January 31st)

#10. Cleveland Cavaliers (28-16) (+1800/+5000) - The Cavs welcomed back Mobley a little early and have jumped to fourth in the conference. Strengths: With Garland close to returning, the Cavs can once again feature one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league with Garland and Mitchell. Weaknesses: Would the Cavs dare part ways with Mitchell while they keep on winning? Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#9. Philadelphia 76ers (29-17) (+500/+1200) - The Sixers have dropped four straight games this week and are now out of the top three in the Eastern Conference. Strengths: Nick Nurse certainly has experience with weathering the storm with a lineup of fragile stars. Weaknesses: Uh oh. Embiid’s injuries are starting to mount and the Sixers have fallen in his absence. Load management may be essential down the stretch. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#8. Phoenix Suns (27-20) (+550/+1200) - Now with two dynamic scorers around him and healthy, Devin Booker has been unleashed. Strengths: The Suns proved their grit this week after a big comeback win over the Bulls. Weaknesses: The Suns could use a reliable veteran point guard to help the second unit. Kyle Lowry might look good in purple. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#7. OKC Thunder (32-15) (+900/+2000) - The Thunder dropped a couple of games this week while other teams have climbed the rankings. Strengths: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to shine and develop into a true superstar for this team. Weaknesses: The Thunder looked very flat in their loss at Detroit. They are a team that plays with little room for error. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#6. New York Knicks (31-17) (+1400/+3500) - The Knicks have now won eight straight games and their win over the Nuggets at home was impressive this week. Strengths: The Knicks roster has defined roles and it shows on the court. Weaknesses: The Knicks are still another move away from being legit threats. The Randle shoulder injury comes at a very bad time as well. Last Week’s Rank: 10th

#5. LA Clippers (30-15) (+310/+600) - The Clippers laid notice to the rest of the NBA that they are legit after blowing out the Celtics in Boston. Strengths: The Clippers have the formula: multiple scoring weapons, the ability to switch seamlessly on defense, and excellent long-range shooting. Weaknesses: Watching Harden play, you have to wonder if he can be an effective third or even fourth wheel in the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#4. Minnesota Timberwolves (33-14) (+900/+2000) - The Wolves are still a long shot in the eyes of the oddsmakers but they keep on winning. Strengths: The Wolves have a two-headed scoring monster in Towns and Edwards and a defensive backbone in Gobert. A very solid jumping-off point. Weaknesses: The youth of Edwards is concerning in that he has shown some inconsistencies in recent weeks. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#3. Milwaukee Bucks (32-15) (+250/+550) - The Bucks pulled the trigger on dismissing their head coach and brought in Doc Rivers. Strengths: Rivers brings a championship pedigree to the Bucks and has the talent to get it done with this team. Weaknesses: Doc Rivers hasn’t won a title since 2008 with a veteran Celtics team. Can he put his stamp on this team with less than half the season left? Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Denver Nuggets (33-15) (+220/+450) - Denver hasn’t quite taken over the top spot in the Western Conference yet but they still look like the team to beat. Strengths: Jokic looks to be in fine MVP form as we get deeper into the season. Weaknesses: Denver is definitely in the market for a reliable swingman off the bench. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Boston Celtics (37-11) (+135/+300) - A brief scare with a Porzingis ankle injury and two straight home losses have not slowed the Celtics train one bit. Strengths: Boston had a clunker against the Clippers at home but then picked up two straight wins over the Pelicans and Pacers that featured the team’s improved defense down the stretch. Weaknesses: Porzingis’ injury did highlight the Celtics’ need for a bit more size. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Top-Five MVP Candidates:

Here are my Top Five MVP candidates in the NBA at this point along with their current odds to take the award.

#1. Nikola Jokic (-120) - Jokic jumps back to the top of the MVP pile and his odds are the lowest of any player this season. Embiid’s missed games are mounting and that’ll drop him out of the MVP race. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+300) - Gilgeous-Alexander jumps up to the #2 spot with it looking more and more likely that Embiid will not qualify for MVP under the new league rules. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Luka Doncic (+750) - When Doncic is right, he’s the most gifted player in the league as he showed in his 73-point masterpiece this week. He may put up even more numbers with Irving potentially out for another lengthy absence. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+750) - Rivers is in town and will certainly look to build the offense around Giannis as he did in Philly with Embiid. Better numbers and a hot finish could vault Antetokounmpo back in the MVP discussion. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#5. Jayson Tatum (+4000) - Tatum’s odds went up again this week but with Embiid’s uncertain MVP status, Tatum could end up with a fairly nice number while on the NBA’s best team. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Game of the Week, Season Record 6-8: We went with the champs this week and it paid off in a win against the Sixers.

Milwaukee at Dallas: Doncic should be rarin’ to go against Giannis in a battle of MVP candidates. He always seems to rise to the occasion in big-time matchups. Take Dallas at home on Saturday night.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.