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The NBA All-Star voting is heating up and the season is reaching the midpoint at the end of Week 13. The playoff picture is starting to shape and we'll see some interesting matchups until the end of the week, so here are top five games and betting picks along with all need-to-know betting trends and analysis.
Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets – Thursday, January 10th
The Nuggets suffered a painful 125-113 defeat at Houston to start the week, bouncing back at Miami 103-99 on the second day of their back-to-back set. Now, they are coming home to Pepsi Center where they've won 10 games in a row, covering the spread eight time in that span. On the other side, the Los Angeles Clippers are on a three-game winning streak following a 128-109 win to the Charlotte Hornets, occupying the 4th spot in the Western Conference 3.5 games behind the Nuggets at the top.
These two rivals have already met each other two times this season at Staples Center. Denver won the first clash 107-98 in Week 1, while the Clippers thrashed off the Nuggets 132-111 on December 22, 2018. LA has won two straight games on the road and is 4-4 straight up and 5-3 ATS in its last eight outings away from home, but the Clippers should have a tough night in Colorado. They are 3-2 straight up and ATS in their last five meetings with the Nuggets at Pepsi Center and just 3-7 SU and ATS over the previous ten H2H meetings in Denver.
The short-handed Nuggets couldn't cope with the Clippers last time out. Nikola Jokic was ejected, too, while the Clippers shot ridiculous 57.6% from the field. This time, the Nuggets are healthier and playing at home off a tough back-to-back set, so they should be highly motivated to get the payoff for that 21-point defeat in LA. Denver has won eight of its last ten games at home by 7 or more points, so I'm backing them to cover against the Clippers. Likewise, we could see another high-scoring affair as the Nuggets are allowing 113.3 points per game over their last ten outings, while the Clippers are the most efficient team in the league during that span with 120.8 points per game, allowing 114.3 points in a return.
My Pick: Denver Nuggets ATS & Over
Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors – Friday, January 11th
The Raptors have won three games in a row including a couple of big victories over Indiana 121-105 at home and Milwaukee 123-116 on the road, but they barely overcame Atlanta 104-101 at home to start the week. The Raptors are 8-3 straight up and just 4-7 ATS in their last 11 games overall and are 6-0 straight up and 3-3 ATS in the last six tilts at home. Kyle Lowry is back from injury, Pascal Siakam has been impressive recently, averaging 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds over his last ten games, so the Raptors should continue to roll.
On the other side, the Nets are battling for the playoff spot and are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference, just one game ahead of Detroit at the 9th place. Brooklyn is 3-1 straight up and ATS in its last four games, losing only at Boston 116-95 after a comfortable 117-100 back-to-back win at Chicago. Likewise, the Nets were 9-6 straight up and ATS in December even though they had some serious injury problems.
During that 15-game span in December, the Nets have beaten the Raptors 106-105 in the overtime as 8.5-point underdogs on the home court. It was their first win over the Raptors after 12 consecutive losses, while the Nets are 5-7 ATS during that 12-game span. Toronto has won six straight H2H duels in Canada and is 3-3 ATS during that span, while the Nets have been listed as double-digit dogs on all these six occasions. Considering the Nets' current form, we could see a single-digit line on this one, so I'm backing the Raptors to continue with a strong performance after a narrow win over the Hawks.
My Pick: Toronto Raptors ATS
Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors – Friday, January 11th
The worst offensive rating in the league meets the best offensive rating as the Chicago Bulls visit the Golden State Warriors Friday night. The Bulls are averaging 101.4 points per 100 possessions, while the reigning champions are tallying 115.3 points per 100 possessions. On the other side of the ball, Chicago's defensive rating is 19th in the league (110.9), whilst Golden State is slightly better 16th-ranked (110.4). Hereof, I expect the Warriors to dominate the Bulls and cover a certain huge spread to make it two in a row after smashing the New York Knicks 122-95 as 17-point favorites on the home court.
The Warriors are just 3-11 ATS in their last 14 outings at Oracle Arena, torturing both their backers and fans. Also, the Warriors are 4-10 ATS in their previous 14 games overall, but they are 11-4 ATS in 15 games this season when listed as double-digit favorites. Considering these stats, the Warriors shouldn't have any problems to smash the Bulls and finally earn some money to their backers.
On the other side, the Bulls are on a four-game losing streak, but they are 5-10 straight up and 7-8 ATS in their last 15 showings which is not bad at all. The Bulls are 3-2 straight up and 4-1 ATS in their previous five games on the road, so maybe it's time for some suffering against the mighty Warriors. Chicago is 0-11 straight up and just 3-8 ATS in its 11 games this season when considered as a double-digit out-of-towner and is 1-4 straight up and ATS in its last five trips to Oakland. Last season, the Bulls lost by 49 points at Golden State.
My Pick: Golden State ATS
Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings – Saturday, January 12th
The Kings are just 4-8 straight up and ATS in their last 12 games and the playoff spot is slipping away. They've won just one of their previous six encounters and need to get back on the winning track as soon as possible. The home clash with the Charlotte Hornets could be a perfect chance as the Kings are 9-4 straight up in their last 13 meetings with the Eastern Conference on the home court. However, the Kings have dropped three straight home games versus Charlotte including a heavy 131-111 defeat last season.
The Hornets are just 3-6 straight up and ATS over their previous nine showings, sitting at the eighth spot in the east one game ahead of Detroit. They are 2-9 straight up and 3-8 ATS in the last 11 games on the road, while the over has hit in their previous nine outings away from home. Also, the Hornets are 2-8 straight up and 4-6 ATS in their last ten road meetings with the Western Conference, and the over has hit in six of these ten encounters.
Considering all the stats and teams' current form, we should see a proper high-scoring affair where the Kings should be slight favorites to grab a win. Over their last 15 games, the Kings are allowing 118.9 points a night to their opponents (30th in the league), while the Hornets are conceding 113.9 points per game during that span (23rd). Hereof, I'm backing the over on this one, hoping to see both teams up for the challenge and ready to take advantage of rival's defensive flaws.
My Pick: Over
Featured Game: Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers – Sunday, January 13th
This should have been the second meeting of the season between LeBron James' Lakers and his former team that is looking for some lottery picks this season. The Lakers have beaten the Cavs 109-105 as 9-point favorites in Ohio with LeBron posting 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, but King James will likely miss this one at Staples Center.
The Lakers are struggling without their best player, but they should roll over the Cavaliers who are also having huge problems with injuries among their roster. While the Lakers are fighting for the playoffs in the Western Conference, the Cavaliers are the worst team in the league and are hoping to stay at the bottom to have the best chance at the 2019 NBA Draft. Therefore, the Lakers should have a much bigger motive to win Sunday night.
In the last seven games without LeBron, the Lakers are 2-5 straight up and 3-4 ATS, while they are just 1-4 straight up and ATS in their last five games on the home court. Likewise, the Lakers are only 3-5 straight up and 1-7 ATS in their previous eight home meetings with the Eastern Conference. Hereof, I'm backing them to improve those stats and cover against the hapless Cavaliers who are 3-16 straight up on the road this season, as it's a must-win situation for the Lakers if they want to reach the post-season. They just have to win the games like this one without James in the lineup.
My Pick: Los Angeles Lakers ATS