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NBA betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Friday 20 January 2023

20 Jan | BY Shane McNichol | MIN READ TIME |
NBA betting tips: 4 picks and predictions for Friday 20 January 2023

Shane McNichol makes his NBA predictions for Friday night with four best bets.

All the latest NBA odds can be found on the Betway sportsbook. Before finalising your online sports betting selections, make sure to check out our expert’s NBA picks and NBA predictions.

We are ripping through the NBA season, with the All-Star game quickly approaching.

Friday offers another slate of games for some of the top teams and players in the league to make their stamp on the season.

Here are my four favorite bets across the NBA tonight.

New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5) at Orlando Magic {ODDS:1069440931:1.90}

This line feels a little short on respect for a Pelicans team that has played like a playoff team when healthy this season. New Orleans has been particularly good against the lesser teams of the NBA. When favored this season, the Pelicans have won 18 games compared to just six losses, covering the spread in 14 of those 18 wins.

With such a small spread to cover here, the Pelicans look poised to get a road win and a cover. That is particularly true with Franz Wagner’s status in jeopardy for the Magic. The versatile swingman is listed as questionable. If he’s out or hobbled, the athletic New Orleans frontcourt should be able to take advantage.

LeBron James under 33.5 points vs. Memphis Grizzlies {ODDS:1069623881:1.90}

Look, I understand that it is not super fun to bet against one of the greatest players of all time. Again and again this season LeBron has defied Father Time and looked like he once did in his prime.

I have no doubt he can continue to do that and lead this Lakers team closer to the playoff hunt.

On the other hand, King James doesn’t always affect the game just by scoring the basketball. This number is simply too high. LeBron James has played 34 games this season and cleared 33.5 points in just nine of those outings.

While the general public happily bets on LeBron’s over, the smart money is to eye the under here.

Dallas Mavericks (-110) vs. Miami Heat {ODDS:1069440156:2.00}

These teams seem evenly matched, prompting the tight point spread and moneyline numbers for this matchup. In reality, Dallas has taken a half step backward in the standings after a brutal five-stop road trip. The Mavs managed just one win in five games, playing two back-to-backs as they jumped from Dallas to Oklahoma City to Los Angeles to Portland.

Luka Doncic and company are 16-7 at home this season. And while that number is slightly lower against the spread, the moneyline number here is juicy enough to simply back one of the best players in the NBA in his home building in what should be a great game to get back in the win column.

Jalen Brunson over 26.5 points vs. Atlanta Hawks {ODDS:1069625266:1.95}

This is an intriguing number for an intriguing matchup.

At first, the big-bodied Brunson seems like the perfect point guard to attack Trae Young’s defensive limitations. So far this year, however, that hasn’t happened when New York and Atlanta have met. In two games against the Hawks, Brunson is averaging just 14 points.

When digging into the context of those games, that becomes less of a surprise. In the most recent meeting, New York routed the Hawks and Brunson played only 26 minutes. In the first meeting, Brunson had 20 points despite only 1-4 shooting from long range, while playing 31 minutes.

Both of those games also occurred earlier in the season, prior to Brunson’s brief injury absence. In his first 34 games this year, Brunson averaged 20.2 points on 15.8 field goal attempts in 32.5 minutes per game.

Since returning from a short injury break, Brunson has blown all of those numbers away. During his last night games, the Villanova product is posting 31.7 points per game on 23.1 field goals in 40.2 minutes. He has not played fewer than 37 minutes at any point in that stretch.

Clearly something has shifted for both Brunson and the Knicks. Now that he is the focal point of the New York offensive attack, we should continue to see scoring outburst beyond this prop number.


Shane McNichol

Shane McNichol is a basketball writer who makes weekly NBA picks for the Betway Insider. 

Shane McNichol

Shane McNichol is a basketball writer who makes weekly NBA picks for the Betway Insider.