It looks like another stellar weekend of NBA action is on the way, with competitive matchups across the schedule. We’re just two weeks away from the All-Star break and less than a week from the NBA trade deadline, and teams across the league are starting to look at their positions and prospects for the playoffs, play-ins or landing Victor Wembanyama.
People looking to make wagers on the best NBA betting sites have a great couple of days of matchups to look forward to, including a competitive interconference matchup at the Vivint Arena and the latest attempt for the New Orleans Pelicans to dig themselves out of a hole. There’s also a playoff-caliber matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat. Keep reading for our NBA picks for the weekend.
An intriguing interconference battle awaits on Friday night for the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz, who meet for the second time in the NBA this season. Both teams sit in eighth place in their respective conferences, looking to rise up the standings and avoid the play-in.
Atlanta has struggled of late, losing four of its last six. However, the team snapped its latest two-game slide with a commanding 132-100 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Dejounte Murray scored 21 points in that game to add to his 40 in the Portland Trail Blazers game two nights earlier. The 26-year-old guard has had a hot hand recently, shooting 20+ in 10 of his last 11. While Hawks’ guard Trae Young missed the Trail Blazers game, he returned to post 20 points against the Suns.
The Jazz go into the matchup having won four of their last six games and looking to extend their current winning streak to three. They have defeated the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers in recent weeks, thanks to Lauri Markkanen, who has scored 20+ points in 19 straight games. Some NBA betting apps have odds of -110 for him to shoot over 26.5 in this one.
Utah won the November matchup between the two sides, winning 125-119 on the road. The Jazz relied heavily on the three-ball to triumph in the previous meeting, shooting 17-from-39 from beyond the arc. Atlanta, on the other hand, depends more on the creativity of Young and Murray to overcome teams. This matchup should be an exciting and even one, and either side could make a case to be the favorite. At present, USA sports betting sites make the Jazz 1.5-point favorites.
What will fall first? The NBA’s all-time scoring record, or the New Orleans Pelicans’ losing streak? By tip-off on Saturday, it will have been 21 days since New Orleans last won a basketball game, beating the Detroit Pistons on January 13. A 13-game losing streak in 2019/20 is the franchise’s longest losing run, so the current team is just three defeats away from matching that streak.
LeBron James is just 63 points away from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record. History is just around the corner for both these franchises, but for different reasons.
New Orleans was second in the Western Conference when the streak began and is now at risk of dropping out of the play-in places. A win for the Lakers will put them level with the Pelicans. Not many sportsbooks would have given you odds on that a few weeks ago.
The slide began when a hamstring injury ruled out Zion Williamson for an extended period. While everyone expected the Pelicans would regress without their star man, this losing streak has been something to behold. Since his injury on January 3, New Orleans has won just three games against the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. During that stretch, they have scored above 110 points just four times.
For Los Angeles Lakers fans and bettors, the focus going into the game is on LeBron – did we mention he’s looking for the NBA’s all-time scoring record? Excitement is building in the league in anticipation of the achievement, and US betting apps are now offering odds on when he will score his 38,388th regular-season points. You can get up to +20000 for him to reach the milestone against New Orleans. Having scored 40+ in five games since Christmas, would you completely rule out him scoring 63 on Saturday? He may be a brilliant NBA player prop bet option if he does break the record.
The last time the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks met in a two-game series in mid-January, Milwaukee was short-handed and missing Giannis Antetokounmpo. The result was a series sweep for the Heat, after which fans and bettors asked questions about the Bucks’ supporting cast.
Not only is Giannis back for the third and penultimate meeting between the teams on Saturday, but he’s possibly on his best run of the season. He has notched six consecutive double-doubles in six straight wins, scoring 50+ twice in the last three games.
The Heat have also been on a great run recently, despite a Thursday night loss against the New York Knicks. They’ve won three of their last five, including beating Eastern Conference leaders, the Boston Celtics 98-95 on January 25. They are 6-4 in their previous 10 games but have only won four of their 10 against Central Division opponents this season. They are now heading to the team with the third-best record on their home court in professional basketball.
This matchup is sure to be a different affair from the mini-series a few weeks ago. These are two teams without significant injury worries and playing good basketball facing off. With Milwaukee starting to go into overdrive offensively, Giannis and co. are likely to be favorites with betting sites before tipoff.