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NBA Best Bets and Free Picks Tonight, 1/21

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Another full night of basketball looms with 11 games scheduled in the NBA on Friday. In a week that has been filled with surprising results and several outright upsets (we’re looking at you, Indiana Pacers!), bettors are advised to choose their picks for Friday’s action with care. Basketball Insiders takes a look at the NBA best bets and free picks for the January 21st NBA betting slate. Odds for the picks can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

NBA Best Bets and Free Picks Tonight, 1/21

Clippers-76ers Over 212.5 (-110)

When it comes to season-long defensive efficiency ratings, the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers have combined to allow only 211.7 points per 100 possessions. That falls less than one point lower than tonight’s NBA betting total of 212.5. However, L.A. is a completely different team defensively in the absence of Paul Goerge. 

One need not look any further than the Clippers’ last four games for evidence pertaining to the claim above. In chronological order, L.A. allowed 113 points to New Orleans, 101 to a shorthanded San Antonio team, 133 to Indiana and 130 to Denver in an overtime loss on Wednesday.

When it comes to offensive efficiency, the 76ers have a better mark than each of the Clippers’ four previous opponents listed above. While the Sixers play at one of the slowest tempos of any team, there is reason to believe they will be highly efficient with their possessions tonight as the Clippers have no true defensive answer for Joel Embiid on the interior. Considering that this total has already jumped up to 213 at several prominent Las Vegas sportsbooks, bettors can also feel confident that they are getting ahead of a line move by playing over 212.5.

Raptors-Wizards Under 219 (-110)

This is an interesting play given that it goes against an NBA betting line move that has driven this total up from 217.5 to 219. Despite having scored no fewer than 110 points in each of their last five games, the Washington Wizards actually play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA. According to the Hollinger Pace Factor statistic, the Wizards rank 20th using only 99.5 possessions per game. One of the teams sitting lower still is the Toronto Raptors. Their pace factor statistic of 98.6 ranks 24th in the NBA.

Recently, Raptors games have trended heavily to the under both on the road and at home. The winning side has scored no more than 105 points in any of Toronto’s last six contests. A number of those games came against opponents who rank much higher in Pace Factor than the Wizards. It’s also worth pointing out that several of Washington’s recent games have come against either fast-paced or very poor defensive opponents.

One final point worth noting with regard to betting this total under is that the two teams have already played three times this season. None of those games came anywhere close to tonight’s NBA betting line of 219. Final point totals were 181, 209 and 192, respectively. Based on the numbers and the three previous data points in head-to-head matchups, bettors have enough ammo to buck the surprising line move.

Nets-Spurs Over 232.5 (-115)

When it comes to Pace Factor, both the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs are among the eight quickest teams in the NBA. The Spurs come into tonight’s home game using 102.3 possessions per game on average while the Nets aren’t far behind at 101.9. Brooklyn also boasts a top-10 ranking in adjusted offensive efficiency while the Spurs rank just 18th in adjusted defensive efficiency. All of these numbers help support betting the total for tonight’s game over.

Of course, both sides have had various personnel changes throughout what has been a wild NBA season thus far. While the Nets remain without Kevin Durant, the good news is that they will have Kyrie Irving available given that tonight’s game takes place on the road. However, while Irving provides a tremendous offensive boost, Brooklyn is actually worse off on the defensive end with him on the floor.

Meanwhile, the Spurs are also back to being pretty much fully healthy. The return of guard Derrick White from virus protocols cannot be overstated when it comes to assessing the competency of San Antonio’s offense. Bettors should expect plenty of points in this nonconference clash.

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