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NBA Betting Breakdown (Jan. 5)

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We have a fun five-game NBA slate on tap Tuesday night with some key injury news. Let’s get right to it.

The FTN Betting Breakdown is a new article series we are featuring this year on FTNBets where we will have a daily breakdown of the day’s NBA betting slate. This breakdown will feature key injury news and updates and how players and teams are affected by said news to give you the opportunity to potentially jump on some lines. 

New to FTNBets.com? We have a ton of great NBA content and tools. Find our expert picks in Bet Tracker. The Prop Shop, Parlay Calculator and NBA Odds are all free tools to use to help you find the possible odds for your action. Check out Advanced DvP and our NBA Splits tools when trying to measure impacts of NBA news.

Utah Jazz (-4.5) @ Brooklyn Nets

Total: 226.5

Key injuries

UTA: Derrick Favors QUEST
BK: Kevin Durant OUT, Spencer Dinwiddie OUT 

The Jazz head to Brooklyn to face a Kevin Durantless Nets team as 4.5 point favorites. Per our NBA Splits Tool, in minutes Durant has not played, the Nets defense has regressed dramatically with a 20.39 increase in defensive rating. (To clarify, an increase in defensive rating is a bad thing.) While I don’t expect them to play this poor defensively, as a reference their 125.33 defensive rating in minutes without him would rank dead-last in the NBA. Their Net Rating goes from +5.85 to -16.63 in these minutes. This is still a small sample size and slightly skewed, but it is data that backs up Durant’s impact. 

From a props perspective, this is an appealing spot to target Jazz players. Rudy Gobert opens at 13.5 rebounds with juice on the over between -110 and -115. Per Advanced DvP, the Nets rank 30th vs Rim Protectors and 18th vs Rebounders. Gobert is averaging 13.7 rebounds per game to start the year. Gobert is +110 to go over 2.5 blocks as well. While I was curious how Donovan Mitchell’s points prop would open considering the appealing matchup, 25.5 is a sharp line that I don’t have a strong lean on either way. 

With no Durant, we can expect increased usage from Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. We should also expect more set plays run for Joe Harris to try and replace Durant’s scoring. Irving opens at 27.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists with the overs all juiced. It’s a bad matchup, but Joe Harris over 2.5 3PM is being offered at plus-money. The books have yet to release any LeVert props. 

Los Angeles Lakers (-9) @ Memphis Grizzlies

Total: 218

Key injuries

LAL: LeBron James QUEST, Alex Caruso OUT, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope QUEST
MEM: Ja Morant OUT, John Konchar OUT, Jaren Jackson OUT

James has been questionable for the last week and a half and has played in every single game, so I once again expect him to play in this game. Overall, this game feels like a mismatch and the majority of my interest in this matchup is Lakers -9. The Grizzlies’ Net Rating has decreased by 1.87 in the games Morant has missed. 

Although I really like the game environment, I don’t have much interest in Lakers props. This is a game where I could see the Lakers stars coast and with other appealing props available on the slate, I’m OK fading. 

The same goes for the Grizzlies. With uncertainty on how or if DeAnthony Melton sees court time, I’m not rushing to target Grizzlies player props in a poor matchup. No one line stands out as being too high to target unders as well.  

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets (-10.5)

Total: 226.5

Key injuries

MIN: Karl-Anthony Towns OUT, Josh Okogie OUT 
DEN: Michael Porter OUT

This is another matchup that carries some blowout potential, as the Timberwolves have really struggled since Towns got injured. These two teams played each other Sunday, with the Nuggets winning 124-109. Since KAT got hurt, the T-Wolves have lost by 36, 23, 21 and 15. 

This is an elite matchup to attack and with Porter OUT, that opens up minutes for guys like Will Barton, Facundo Campazzo and Monte Morris. Barton opens at 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists with plus-money on all of the overs. I am most interested in over 14.5 points at +104 and over 3.5 assists at +140 on BetMGM.

The T-Wolves are a bit of a mess, and D'Angelo Russell hasn’t looked great to start the year. That said, we have seen him slightly improve his efficiency over his last three games and the Nuggets should not be viewed as a strong defense. I’m not desperate to place this bet, but if looking for T-Wolves action Russell’s points are listed at 19.5.

San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers (-9.5)

Total: 228

Key injuries

SA: Derrick White OUT, LaMarcus Aldridge QUEST
LAC: Marcus Morris OUT

NOTE: There is no report on whether Kawhi Leonard will rest this game. That said, the Clippers are on a front-end of a back-to-back as well as a three-in-four with two nationally televised games coming tomorrow and Friday. The NBA has said it will penalize teams resting players on nationally televised games meaning if the Clippers are to rest Kawhi on a back-to-back, it makes the most sense it comes Tuesday night on a non-nationally televised game. 

Considering that note, there is sound logic to think Leonard may end up getting scratched for this game. At this very moment though there has not been a single thing mentioned of this happening. For that reason, I am not interested in either the spread or total in this game. I don’t even think the -9.5 too high to cover even if Kawhi does end up getting scratched. 

I may dabble in some player props though, particularly Paul George. George is able to cover his 24.5 points regardless of Kawhi’s status in a plus-matchup against a bad Spurs team. If Kawhi does in fact get ruled out, George’s line will jump 2 to 3 points. I am also interested in his assists over listed at 4.5 with plus-money on the over. 

The Spurs will be without Derrick White, which ensures 30-plus minutes for Dejounte Murray. Murray has been an incredibly sound producer to start the year averaging around 28 points, rebounds and assists per game. He opens at 24.5 PRA. 

Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers (-9.5)

Total: 232

Key injuries

CHI: Tomas Satoransky OUT, Ryan Arcidiacono OUT, Chandler Hutchison OUT, Lauri Markkanen OUT
POR: Zach Collins OUT, Rodney Hood QUEST

We end the night in Portland with the slate’s highest total. Both of these teams play at a fast pace with poor defense. The Bulls remain shorthanded with four players still in the COVID-19 protocol. I’m not a big believe in this Portland team and while this should be considered a mismatch, I rarely take action on a heavily favored Blazers team. 

We can expect Zach LaVine to play big minutes with elite usage and the books agree with his opening lines at 26.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Some books list him with heavy juice on the over at 4.5 assists while others have him at 5.5 with plus-money on the over. While I really like this game environment, the Bulls are priced appropriately across the books. 

Damian Lillard has scored over 30 points in four of his last five games and the Bulls provide the right matchup to make it five in his last six. He’s listed unanimously across the legal books at 27.5 points with the over at -120. I project Dame for 31 points. 

Where we can maybe find some value is on Jusuf Nurkic has his minutes and production have been poor to start the year. This is about as good of a matchup as it is for Nurk and we are getting plus-money on overs for both points (13.5) and rebounds (9.5). A part of Nurkic’s poor minutes have been due to a lot of Blazers blowouts and on the year, he is averaging 9 points and 7.3 rebounds. Tough to chase Nurkic props here but do think the matchup is worth highlighting. CJ McCollum’s points open at 22.5 with heavy juice on the over. 22.5 is too low and is the safest Blazers prop to target if you are willing to pay the juice. 

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