Free NBA Picks: Bulls Over Raptors and Saturday’s Predictions

by Kevin Roberts
on January 7, 2017

Look no further for your free NBA picks for Saturday night, as we’re once again touching on all of the games to see which way you’ll want to lean with your bets. We were mostly spot on for Friday night’s NBA picks, even with a pretty crazy night of basketball.

The New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies delivered shocking wins, as both stormed back from massive deficits in wins last night. The Grizzlies had the more impressive win, of course, as they overcame a 24-point hole in the second half to force overtime and eventually beat the Warriors in Golden State.

We got those two games wrong, but still wound up with a successful night, going 5-3 on the night.

The action keeps going at a steady rate on Saturday night, as we get eight more NBA games to bet on. Let’s dive into the latest odds and see how you’ll want to be conducting your NBA betting tonight:

New York Knicks (+7.5)
Indiana Pacers (-7.5)
Total: 216

The Knicks hit the road for the second night in a row and could both be tired and end up resting some key players in this one. They used up a ton of energy storming the gates of Milwaukee last night and that could put veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at risk of being rested, while big man Kristaps Porzingis (Achilles) could also be someone to watch.

Their statuses may not matter all that much, of course, as they’re terrible on the road (6-12) and have lost 7 of their last 8 to these very Pacers. Unlike the Knicks, Indiana is fresh after not playing last night and is also arguably the healthiest they’ve been all year. They’ll lean on a flat out elite 14-5 home record pretty hard in this one.

Neither of these teams play much defense, so the real anchor arguments are the Pacers won’t be tired, will for sure have all their guys and will be at home. The spread seems too rich, but we like an Indiana win.


New Orleans Pelicans (+7.5)
Indiana Pacers (-7.5)
Total: 213

We’ve got a potentially fun one at the TD Garden tonight, as Boston will host Anthony Davis and the Celtics on the second game of a back-to-back set. That’d normally spell trouble – especially since it took a lot for Boston to stave off the 76ers last night – but New Orleans isn’t very good on the road.

To be more specific, The Brow personally regresses sharply compared to his production at home and the Pels as a whole are just 4-12 away from their home base during the 2016-17 NBA season. That’s not good, plus the Celtics are superior on both ends of the floor and own a solid 10-6 home record. Boston has also dominated this series, winning 4 of the last 6 games.

It’s possible the Celtics are tired and cave here, and if you believe that, you can attack a pretty rich spread. But New Orleans isn’t very deep and struggles on the road. The Celtics might be a little embarrassed for letting the Sixers play them so tightly last night, too, so we wouldn’t be shocked if they came out with a little extra pep in their step. This could be a fairly close game, but Boston should pull it out to notch their fourth win in a row.


Denver Nuggets (+7)
Oklahoma City Thunder (-7)
Total: 221

Denver is probably headed for a nightmare tonight, as one of the worst defensive teams in the league gets to handle Russell Westbrook on the road tonight. That alone is enough to make the heart jump out of the body, but the Nuggets are also not great on the road (7-11) and specifically have had a tough time with the Thunder (lost 7 in a row in this series).

The biggest point may be this: OKC has dropped three straight and are now back at home (where they’re a strong 13-6) against an inferior team that they’ve historically abused. Westbrook could have a career night and this one may not be close.


Toronto Raptors (-2)
Chicago Bulls (+2)
Total: 208

There is no denying the fact that the Bulls lack consistent shooting and as a whole are usually tough to trust. Two things have been clear about this team, however; they tend to play well at home and they get up for big games.

Chicago has dropped some very winnable games over the past month, but they’ve also twice beaten the defending champion Cavaliers, as well as the Spurs. When Jimmy Butler is dialed in on both sides and the opponent isn’t a cakewalk, the Bulls seem to be focused and firing on all cylinders.

That’s very possibly the case tonight, as Chicago prepares for a good Raptors squad. Toronto has remained steady, winning 6 of their last 10 and displaying pretty balanced basketball. They’re also operating one of the most efficient offenses we’ve ever seen. In addition, they’re among the best road teams in the NBA, as they’re a strong 12-6 away from home on the year.

Of course, for whatever reason, they can’t figure out these Bulls. Chicago has ripped off an insane nine straight wins in this series, and should feel pretty good at home tonight (11-7 at the United Center). On top of having to worry about a road game against a team they haven’t beaten since 2014 and covering both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, Toronto also has to worry about…Doug McDermott?

Yes, for one reason or another, Dougie Buckets loves him some Raptors, as he’s feasted in this matchup lately. McDermott has posted scoring totals of 29 and 30 in his last two meetings versus Toronto. It’s anyone’s guess if that keeps up, but if it does, the Bulls feel like a lock.

Vegas sees the way this could tilt, too, as Toronto are very light favorites. Due to the series history and Chicago’s ability to play up at home, perhaps they shouldn’t be.


Utah Jazz (-4)
Minnesota Timberwolves (+4)
Total: 194

We’ve been backing the Jazz lately and they’ve responded poorly with two straight losses. Not cool, Utah. Not cool.

While that was a downer for our NBA picks, we think tonight is a great time to go back to the well. The Jazz should still be without star point guard George Hill, but have everyone else they need to dispatch an erratic Minnesota team. The Timberwolves have loads of talent and will be at home, but it still hasn’t been cohesive at all and this team is just 6-12 on their home floor.

Minnesota just feels tough to trust in any matchup, as they botched a winnable game versus the 76ers the other day and wasted 41 Andrew Wiggins points in another loss last night. The Wolves have now dropped three straight (4-6 over their last 10 games) and in this series it has actually been worse (Utah has won four in a row).

There’s even more love for the Jazz, who will be the favorite tonight as they put a decent 10-8 road record on the line. Utah is still the owner of first place in the Northwest Division and they can’t keep losing games. Look for them to win and cover in Minnesota tonight.


Atlanta Hawks (-2)
Dallas Mavericks (+2)
Total: 197

The Hawks are a tough team to figure out, as they started insanely hot to begin the year, experienced an exhausting drought and now are back in the league’s good graces with five consecutive wins. Atlanta did just unload sharpshooter Kyle Korver in a trade with the Cavs, but it looks like they have the balanced offense and defensive effort to really do some damage. That’s if they don’t continue to blow their roster up, of course.

For what it’s worth, Dwight Howard and co. are playing great basketball and it largely has to due with their defensive effort. That’s bad news for the Mavs, who are just 7-10 at home this year and tend to need to grind games out if they’re going to get wins. They’re about as healthy as they’ve been all year and are actually a respectable 5-5 over their last 10 games, but this looks like a bad spot to trust in them.

Dallas can still be problematic when it comes to NBA betting, but the Hawks are on a roll. It’d be a minor shock if Dallas ended up being the team to end it.


Charlotte Hornets (+11.5)
San Antonio Spurs (-11.5)
Total: 210

The Hornets aren’t getting a whole lot of respect here, as top betting sites like Bovada aren’t giving them much of a shot to even compete with the Spurs tonight. On one hand it makes sense, as Charlotte is a disappointing 8-10 on the road and the Spurs (12-4 at home) yield one of the best defenses in the entire league.

Charlotte can beat this spread, though. The Hornets can defend on the perimeter and have enough bigs to at least give LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol a little trouble. Offensively, Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum can fire off from outside and should at least be able to keep this thing close. San Antonio has destroyed Charlotte historically, of course, having won 11 of the last 12 meetings. We like the Spurs to win, but the Hornets can beat this gaudy spread.


Detroit Pistons (+3.5)
Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5)
Total: 215

The last game of the night drops down into Portland, where the Blazers finally have superstar point guard Damian Lillard back. Thrillard returned to help the Blazers win their last game and they’ll surely enter tonight’s showdown with Detroit busting with confidence.

There is a lot of bad news on both sides in this one, though. Detroit is one of the toughest teams to trust on the road this year (just 7-12 away from home) and they’ve also been shaky lately (3-7 over their last 10 games). Portland is just as shaky, though, as they’re just 3-7 during that same stretch.

This might be the closest thing to a toss-up on Saturday night’s NBA schedule, as the Pistons can defend, but have an erratic offense and can go missing on the road. On the other side, Portland has literally the worst defense in the league in terms of efficiency, but can explode offensively and is always a threat at home, where they’re a decent 10-7.

This one comes down to not being able to trust the Pistons right now. They’re in just as bad of a slide as the Blazers, are less consistent offensively and tend to have a really tough time on the road. It’s impossible to feel good about this one, but we’ll take Portland to cover at home.


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