Two NBA Gambling Looks For Tuesday, January 3

The NBA is practicing a form of "load management" league-wide, only scheduling three games on a non-football Tuesday. That's good enough for me though and I have gambling looks in the Celtics-Thunder and Kings-Jazz.

You can listen to the audio versions of these handicaps on my recently launched NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets podcast feed.

Boston Celtics (26-11) at Oklahoma City Thunder (15-21)

In their last game, the Celtics lost 123-111 at the Denver Nuggets on New Year’s Day. While the Thunder got pummeled 115-96 at home on New Year’s Eve night in their previous game. 

Boston is 4-1 Over/Under (O/U) when playing with a rest disadvantage with a +13.5 total margin. OKC is 6-3 O/U when playing with a rest edge with a +6.2 total margin and 5-1 O/U when playing on 2-3 days of rest with a +11.7 total margin. 

Also, the officiating crew assigned to the Celtics-Thunder has a combined 30-16 O/U record this season. Neither team has a high offensive FT/FGA rate.

But, both should be more aggressive Tuesday after laying an egg offensively in their previous games. The Thunder averages the most drives per game and attempts a bunch of field goals at the rim.

Because of its aggressiveness, OKC has the third-highest wide-open 3-point attempt rate in the NBA. However, the Thunder don't close out on 3s and the Celtics rank eighth in 3-point shooting percentage.

In fact, Boston’s offense typically responds after an ass-whooping. The Celtics are 5-1 O/U in their last six games following a double-digit loss.

The Thunder’s offense comes alive against top-tier teams and at home. OKC has gone Over the total in five of its last six games vs. teams with a winning record. The Thunder are 12-7 O/U at home with a +5.5 total margin.

Finally, Celtics-Thunder has gone Over the total in four consecutive meetings, including earlier this season. Boston eked past OKC 126-122 on Nov. 14 after out-scoring the Thunder 37-26 in the fourth quarter.

This is despite Boston shooting poorly from behind the arc (27.0%). The reason being Celtics-Thunder played at a break-neck speed, averaging a 112.3 possessions per 48 minutes. The NBA leader in pace is the Golden State Warriors at 102.4.

NBA Best Bet #1: OVER 233.5 Celtics-Thunder (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to 234.5


Sacramento Kings (19-16) at Utah Jazz (19-20)

The Kings beat the Jazz 126-125 at home Friday thanks to a go-ahead 3-pointer by Sactown SG Kevin Huerter with 9.2 seconds remaining. Most of the money and action at DraftKings is on the Jazz, per VSIN, which makes sense.

Utah is power-rated alongside Sacramento in the market. Plus it’s hard beating the same team twice inside a week, especially in their home building. 

However ...

The Kings are better from behind the arc


Sactown has the fifth-most wide-open 3-point attempts in the NBA, defined by if a defender is six feet or further from the 3-point shooter. The Kings allow the fewest wide-open 3-point attempts in the NBA.

Also ...

You want to back Utah as a ‘dog but fade it as a favorite


The Jazz are 7-9 straight up (SU) and 5-11 against the spread (ATS) as favorites. The Jazz are 4-7 ATS as home favorites and 1-4 ATS as 3-to-4.5-point favorites as well. The Kings are 10-7 ATS on the road.

'Styles make fights'


Both teams have similar profiles i.e. good offenses, bad defenses, a ton of 3-point attempts, and poor defensive FT/FGA rates.

Sacramento is 9-3 SU vs. bottom-10 defenses with a +7.1 adjusted net rating (ranked seventh), per Whereas Utah is 7-7 SU with a +3.8 adjusted net rating (15th).


The Kings are a much better team in tight contests


Sacramento is 12-8 SU with a +13.6 net rating in the “clutch,” which is defined by games within a 5-point margin inside five minutes to play. Utah is 10-14 SU with a -5.2 net rating in the “clutch”.

NBA Best Bet #2: Kings +3.5 (-110) at DraftKings, down to +2.5