NBA Perfect Ten: 01/16

Things are rounding into form as the NBA is in the midst of the second half of the 82-game schedule. Yet, it still feels like there will be many more twists and turns before the season is over. Let’s take a deep dive into this week’s Perfect-Ten and the Top Five MVP Candidates.

Perfect Ten (Week of January 16th)

#10. New York Knicks (+7000/+20000) - The Knicks have bounced back with the return of Barrett and have won four straight entering this week. Barrett’s return has allowed players to shift to the bench to give the Knicks a solid rotation. Strengths: Jalen Brunson’s ascension into a starring role and Randle’s ability to dominate the interior. Weaknesses: Consistent scoring behind Brunson and Randle. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#9. Sacramento Kings (+3000/+9000) - Mike Brown has the Kings back on a roll and they remain a dangerous team to face due to their offensive firepower and Sabonis’ willingness to play the Draymond Green role in Brown’s Warriors-style offense. Strengths: Wings and floor spacing Weaknesses: Lack of interior defense. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#8. Cleveland Cavaliers (+900/+2000) - Cleveland is happy to be back at home after a Western road swing. They are healthier than they’ve been all season, including the return of Rubio to strengthen the backcourt. Strengths: Newfound backcourt depth. Weaknesses: Struggles away from home. Last Week’s Rank: 7

#7. New Orleans Pelicans (+900/+2200) - McCollum has elevated his play in recent weeks as he’s been the team’s #1 option. Help may be on the way soon. Strengths: Several late game options and team defense. Weaknesses: Williamson’s injuries and team’s lack of wing depth. Last Week’s Rank: 9

#6. Philadelphia 76ers (+850/+1700) - Philly, like Brooklyn, is a tough team to predict. If healthy, they have all the pieces but health is always fleeting with this team. Strengths: Floor spacing and Embiid’s presence creating quality looks for shooters. Weaknesses: Embiid’s availability and halfcourt defense. Last Week’s Rank: 7

#5. Milwaukee Bucks (+380/+750) - There are times that this Bucks team seems to be going through the motions until the playoffs start. A 5-5 stretch recently indicates that. Strengths: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s continued dominance and Holiday’s role as a #2 closer. Weaknesses: The Bucks indifference at times and Middleton’s continued knee woes. Last Week’s Rank: 5

#4. Brooklyn Nets (+300, +550) - Brooklyn remains a tough team to pin your hopes on. Durant is not getting any younger and the injuries per season keep adding up. Strengths: Two of the best closers in the league and Simmons’ passing. Weaknesses: Age, health and Simmons’ continued unwillingness to take big shots. Last Week’s Rank: 2

#3. Memphis Grizzlies (+450/+1000) - Ja’ Morant and the Grizz are a dangerous team. When healthy and motivated, they are fast, aggressive and cocky. Strengths: Long range shooting and Morant’s overall dominance. Weaknesses: Closing out tight games defensively. Last Week’s Rank: 4

#2. Denver Nuggets (+400/+900) - If you jumped on early, you would have had great odds for Denver in the west. The number is still solid for a team that is just now hitting their stride. Strengths: Improved health and interchangeable defenders on the wing. Weaknesses: Legit number two scorer behind Jokic. Last Week’s Rank: 3

#1. Boston Celtics (+180/+360) - The Celtics have gotten back to their winning ways and now, once again, sit comfortably atop the leaderboard. Jaylen Brown’s injury hasn’t slowed them down yet. Strengths: Depth and ball movement. Weaknesses: Complacency at times and rebounding Last Week’s Rank: 1

Top-Five MVP Candidates thus far:

  1. Nikola Jokic (+175) - I said it weeks ago when his odds hovered near +1000, Jokic was an absolute gold mine at that price. Now, he’s the closest odds on the board as he leads the Nuggets to perhaps their best season ever. Last Week’s Rank: 2

  1. Luka Doncic (+250) - Luke would win the award for Most Outstanding Player going away this season. He may face a bias for MVP, however, if Dallas continues to hover around .500 Last Week’s Rank: 1

  1. Jayson Tatum (+500) - The Celtics are once again atop the NBA standings but it seems like something is missing from Tatum’s MVP resume. He may need a signature game of dominance to support his candidacy. Last Week’s Rank: 3

  1. Giannis Antetokoumpo (+370) - His efforts against the Hawks last week signified that Antetokoumpo will always be a strong candidate. He scored just seven points but dominated the glass and the paint on the defensive end and created open looks for his teammates. Last Week’s Rank: 4

  1. Ja Morant (+2200) - Kevin Durant’s injury opens up a spot in the Top Five. While Embiid is the safe bet, it is hard to ignore the night in and night-out dominance of Morant. Last week’s Rank: Unranked

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

By Mark Ruelle

Author Profile
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.