Free NBA Picks – Thunder Over Bulls and Monday’s NBA Predictions

by Kevin Roberts
on January 9, 2017

Monday offers a very interesting slate of pro basketball games, as all three games on the schedule have spreads of -4.5 or better. That could make for three intense NBA games to kick off the new week, and with the likes of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns hitting the hardwood, tonight’s action could be even more compelling.

This is still an odd slate, as the only two teams over .500 (Thunder and Bulls) face off. That game is going to be hard to gauge, but the entire slate is projected to be tightly contested when you look at top betting sites like Bovada.

If you need some assistance finalizing your own NBA picks for Monday, we’ve got your back, as we break down all three games and off up our free NBA predictions:

New Orleans Pelicans (+4)
New York Knicks (-4)
Total: 215

The first game of the night goes down in Madison Square Garden at 7:30 pm ET and will be shown live on NBATV. The Brow will lead his Pelicans into the garden and take on Melo and co. for the second time since December 30th. The Pelicans won that game (104-92), giving them two straight victories in the season series.

This second meeting will complete the series for the 2016-17 NBA season and the Knicks surely won’t want to get swept – especially at home. New York has been slipping as of late (3-7 over their last 10 games), but maintains a strong record (11-7) at home.

Given New York’s shaky play of late, the Pelicans initially look like a fairly attractive underdog pick in this spot. New Orleans has certainly struggled on the road this year (4-13) and have dropped three in a row, but they’re as healthy as they’ve been all season and even added depth via big man Donatas Motiejunas.

While the Pels are worth a cursory glance, they still don’t defend and winning on the road is never easy. Carmelo Anthony () and Kristaps Porzingis have both had some health issues, but they got to rest up last night and tend to play well at home. We’ll give the Knicks the edge in what should be a fairly close game, but New Orleans could beat the spread.


Dallas Mavericks (+4.5)
Minnesota Timberwolves (-4.5)
Total: 196

We find a similar spread in Minnesota, where Karl-Anthony Towns and his Timberwolves defend their turf against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. Minnesota has not been in top form recently, as they’ve lost four straight and will look to improve upon a weak 6-13 home record.

Dallas hasn’t exactly been lighting the world afire, but they are getting healthier. J.J. Barea, Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bogut are all healthy and back in the rotation, while all three should be good to go for tonight’s action in Minnesota. The Mavs do come in riding a mini-slump, of course, as they’ve lost two straight and are just 4-6 over their last 10 games.

These teams share the same exact record (11-26) on the year, and with neither team being impressive at home or on the road in this specific matchup, it’s a tough one to gauge. What we can possibly lean on is the Mavs being able to dominate this series, which is precisely what they’ve done (7 straight wins in the series).

Minnesota could easily end up snapping that drought at home, but the Mavs have a good defender in Bogut to potentially counter KAT, while they also have a lockdown perimeter defender in Wesley Matthews who could slow down Zach Lavine. This should be a closely contested game, but the veteran Mavs may have the leg up here as they try to extend their hold over the younger Wolves to eight consecutive games.


Oklahoma City Thunder (+1)
Chicago Bulls (-1)
Total: 209

In what is without a doubt the top NBA game for Monday night’s slate, we get an intense battle between Russell Westbrook and Jimmy Butler in Chicago. Butler and the Bulls seem to be turning a corner lately, as they’ve ripped off three wins in a row and look to defend the United Center with their solid 12-7 home record.

OKC  looked like they were going in the opposite direction for a little while, but they finally got a big win in their last game and pulled back to within 0.5 games of first place in the Northwest Division. With a big road win tonight, the Thunder would tie the Jazz for first place and would have a new winning streak rolling at two games. Of course, OKC hasn’t exactly been elite on the road this year (8-12), while they’ll also have to find a way to snap Chicago’s hold in this series.

It’s been all Bulls lately in this matchup, as Chicago has won two straight and three of the last four meetings. That may not mean much in the end, however, as the Bulls have largely been erratic on the year and could be due for a loss after building a mini-winning streak.

On paper, this isn’t a good matchup for the Bulls. The Thunder have the size down low to give Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez trouble, as well as perimeter defenders in Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson to give Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade fits. And unless Butler wastes most of his energy on stopping Westbrook, OKC’s offense isn’t likely to miss a beat in this one.

The one thing that’s working out swimmingly for the Bulls these days is . If he can stay hot off the bench and take some pressure off of Chicago’s starters, the Bulls could have a chance to extend their winning streak to four games.

This is a tight spread, which makes this one a virtual pick’em. OKC is the better team and has a little more riding on this one, so look for them to squeak it out in what could be a high-scoring shootout.


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