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Best NBA bets, player props to consider on Jan. 2

The Heat welcome the banged-up Raptors to Miami and the Thunder visit the Spurs. What side of these matchups should you be on?

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo dunks the ball past Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid during the first half at American Airlines Arena.  Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a man who tends to enjoy the mundane patterns of everyday life. Sure, I’m all about having fun on occasion, yet there’s something peaceful and assuring about certain things happening as expected. Well, this certainly isn’t the week to feel that way. As if it wasn’t enough that I now have to remember I’m living in a whole different decade, holidays have messed with the NBA’s schedule to the point where we now have a nine-game Thursday slate. What is this? A Friday?

At the very least, it does give us all a few more opportunities to find some value. Here are a few bets I like for this evening.

Raptors at Heat (-6)

Miami’s been ridiculously good at American Airlines Arena so far this season, playing to a 15-1 record and owning the league’s second-best home court net rating (11.0). Sure, the team just dropped a contest to what essentially amounts to Washington’s G League squad, yet I look at that as more of a blip on the radar than the start of a trend. Plus, this isn’t all about the Heat. While Toronto’s fought through its injury woes admirably, it should struggle to create offense against a defense of Miami’s caliber, especially with the team averaging just 107.1 points per 100 possession without Pascal Siakam (groin) on the floor.

Thunder (+2) at Spurs

Though San Antonio actually owns the ninth-best net rating of any team in the league across its past 10 games (3.5), I’m having a hard time trusting such an inconsistent squad. Within that same span of time, the Spurs have lost to the Cavaliers, been blown out by the Clippers and needed overtime to narrowly dispatch of the lowly Warriors. The fact that they’ve only covered five of their 18 home games in 2019-20 doesn’t help their cause too much, either. So, with that in mind, I’ll take the Thunder and the points without much hesitation. Oklahoma City is 6-1 ATS in its past seven road contests and have a nearly completely healthy roster with the returns of Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder on Tuesday.

De’Aaron Fox OVER 18.5 Points (-110)

Fox has only exceeded this threshold in six of his 14 starts so far this season, but one of those performances came two weeks back when the guard dropped 22 points in under 30 minutes against this very same Memphis team. Honestly, that result doesn’t feel like an outlier. The Grizzlies have been doing their best Wizards impression over their past 10 contests, not only sporting the league’s fourth-worst defensive rating (114.4), but also its third-highest pace (102.3). Considering Fox is no longer under any sort of restrictions, I’m not sure what prevents him from getting to this number.

Bam Adebayo OVER 31.5 Points, Rebounds & Assists (-118)

While he’s still not technically one of the highest usage players in the league, Adebayo’s involvement in Miami’s offense shot up across the board in December. The 22-year-old averaged 17.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the month; however, the most important aspect of Adebayo’s role might simply be his minutes volume. Only five players have averaged more court time than the Kentucky product since Dec. 1, with Adebayo seeing over 37 minutes a night. I’d expect the future All-Star to be able to exploit a Toronto interior defense that’s lacking the presence of both Siakam and Marc Gasol (hamstring).

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