Happy New Year! The NBA will begin 2021 with a 10-game slate that promises some high-quality action. We should see the return of Jimmy Butler, too, as the Heat look to build some momentum as the Eastern Conference’s defending champions.
Here are the top NBA betting plays for Friday, January 1, provided by BettingPros experts Raju Byfield, Isaiah Sirois, and Vaughn Dalzell (Main game odds courtesy BettingPros Consensus; lock and prop odds sites may vary):
Betting Locks of the Day
Byfield: Heat -1 (-112 at FD Sportsbook)
Jimmy Butler is probable and expected to play tonight, Kristaps Porzingis will not. Miami is the better team with a healthy Butler, something that’s been reflected in the odds moving from +1.5 on the Heat to -1. I expect Luka to do enough to help the Mavs keep this contest competitive, but the team defense of the Heat should prove to be too much for his less-than-stellar supporting cast. Miami will just need to avoid a poor night from the field to put together their first winning streak of the season.
Sirois: Clippers -3.5 (-114 at FD Sportsbook)
The Clippers are only 3.5-point favorites over a Jazz team that just lost to the Suns last night. Of their star players, Donovan Mitchell played 36 minutes, Mike Conley played 35, and Rudy Gobert played 34. Any one of them could be a candidate for some rest tonight, and that will make it extra difficult for the Jazz to keep up. Meanwhile, the Clippers are averaging 112.4 points per game to the Jazz’s 109; the difference between those averages gives us a margin that’s 0.1 points below the spread. The Jazz may have played excellent defense thus far, but that’s built into this spread, and the Clippers should cover against them.
Best Team Props of the Day
Byfield: Nets Over 125.5 Points (-110 at FD Sportsbook)
This is a ridiculously high number that has likely changed since the line was first posted. This total had appeal even before the line was posted for two reasons: the Nets’ opponent and their own potent offense. Atlanta allows opponents to score 120.3 points per game on .508 shooting from the field. That’s a recipe for disaster against a team like Brooklyn. The Hawks have enough pace and on-paper talent to keep the Nets interested in this contest, and only a monumental blowout should cause a rest-fueled under.
Sirois: Bucks First Quarter Over 30.5 Points (-132 at FD Sportsbook)
The Bucks will come out shooting against the Bulls. Milwaukee averages the third-most first-quarter points per game (31.8), and Chicago gives up the fifth-most first-quarter points per game (32). With four of the Bulls’ players sidelined tonight, including starting forward Lauri Markkanen, the Bucks should have an even easier time scoring tonight. The Bucks have scored at least 31 first-quarter points in three of their games so far, but they only busted in games that they ended up losing, and I expect them to win as heavy favorites over the depleted Bulls.
Best Player Props of the Day
Byfield: James Wiseman Over 9.5 Points (-116 at FD Sportsbook)
Minutes and field goal percentage remain issues for Wiseman, but he has certainly flashed in his first four games of the season. His last two contests were forgettable and saw him shoot under the .400 mark despite just three total attempts from deep. Portland has talent in the middle, but with Whiteside no longer on the team, they have no one who can stop Wiseman consistently if he is feeling it. He has fallen under this total in each of his last two contests, but as mentioned, that was mostly due to aberrant field goal percentages. We likely will not see too many more nights of Wiseman attempting two or fewer threes and still shooting under the .400 mark. He has taken at least eight shots in each contest and has attempted eight from deep on the season. Wiseman will just need to pull his percentage up a bit to hit the over, something that is very doable against a horrendous .514 opponent field goal percentage (third-worst in the league).
Sirois: Bam Adebayo Over 9.5 Rebounds (-132 at FD Sportsbook)
Adebayo played the Mavericks twice last season, and he earned 11 rebounds in both games. That was with Kristaps Porzingis on the court, too, who finished with 14 and 13 rebounds himself. With no Porzingis to compete against tonight, Adebayo should easily secure double-digit boards for Miami. Adebayo is averaging only 7.3 rebounds per game this year, but he averaged 10.2 last year, and three of his games this season were against elite rebounding teams. The Pelicans have given up the second-fewest boards per game to their opponents, while the Bucks (who the Heat played twice) have given up the sixth-fewest. Since the Mavericks give up the ninth-most rebounds per game to their opponents, I’m confident in Adebayo’s ability to hit the over.