It’s been an exciting week in the NBA and it appears that the week will close on a high note as the weekend is also chalked full of big-time games in both conferences. Today, we’ve got nine games in all, so there’s plenty of juicy spreads to take advantage of. Here is a look at today’s slate of NBA contests and our quick picks.
Chicago Bulls +3.5 at Boston Celtics -3.5
The Celtics’ season-best winning streak was snapped against New Orleans on Wednesday, but there’s no doubt that Boston is playing much better in the month of January. They’ve also been stellar at home this season with a 13-7 record, so they should be able to cover -3.5 points today.
Toronto Raptors +3.5 at Philadelphia 76ers -3.5
The Raptors have rebounded nicely (in more ways than one) since the beginning of the season, while the 76ers have fallen off the face of the earth after a halfway decent start. The two teams now enter today’s match-up with virtually the same record, but you have to like the energy that Toronto is playing with. Take the Raptors to cover +3.5 and win outright today.
Charlotte Bobcats +7 at Orlando Magic -7
Things looked somewhat promising for the lowly Bobcats at the beginning of the year, but over the course of a month, everything has reverted back to normal for one of the league’s worst teams. The Magic haven’t played much better, but considering they’ve already defeated the Cats once this season, there’s no reason to think they won’t do it again at home. Take Orlando to cover -7 today.
Houston Rockets +4.5 at Indiana Pacers -4.5
It will be a match-up of offense versus defense as the Rockets invade Indiana to take on the Pacers today. Houston comes in scoring more than 105 points per game, but has still lost its last five, while the Pacers are giving up fewer than 90 per contest, but only score 91.1 per game. The averages should even out a bit today, but I give Indiana the edge on its home floor, where it is 15-3 this season. Take the Pacers to cover -4.5.
Atlanta Hawks +6 at Brooklyn Nets -6
It’s been a rough go for the Hawks recently, losing seven of their last 10, but things are looking up as Josh Smith will return to the lineup today from a suspension this week. Considering the Hawks beat up the Nets 109-95 without him on Wednesday means they should fair even better with their star today. Take the Hawks to cover +6 and win outright.
Sacramento Kings +9.5 at Memphis Grizzlies -9
The Grizzlies may be on a three-game skid, but they are still one of the best defensive teams in the league and at home they should be able to handle the hapless Kings. However, nine points seems a bit much for a team that is struggling, so take the Kings to cover +9.5 in the loss.
Golden State Warriors +11.5 at San Antonio Spurs -11.5
The same logic applies to this game. The Spurs should have the edge at home against Golden State, but without Manu Ginobili there’s no way they will cover 11.5 against a strong Warriors squad. Take Golden State to cover +11.5 in the loss here.
Washington Wizards +10 at Denver Nuggets -10
The Nuggets have caught fire recently, but the Wizards have picked up the pace since John Wall returned from injury. Look for the Nuggets to win at home, but for the Wizards to make a game of it and cover +10.
Oklahoma City Thunder -5 at Dallas Mavericks +5
Both teams are on nice win streaks (OKC 5 games, Dallas 4 games), you can’t go against the best team in the league and one that is scoring more than 105 points per game. Although Dallas is playing much better since the Dirk Nowitzki’s return, the Mavs will be no match for the surging Thunder. Take OKC to cover -5 even on the road.