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Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – January 1st, 2024

By Hank Blaine

The NBA Trade Deadline is Thursday, Feb. 8, but the market was kickstarted over the weekend when the Toronto Raptors traded OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a 2024 second-round pick. The Raptors probably aren’t done dealing as they shipped out Anunoby because he’s set for free agency after this season and so is star Pascal Siakam, so he might be next to go. Here are two intriguing early-week NBA matchups and picks.

Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week (January 1st, 2024)

Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • When: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK
  • TV: Bally Sports OK, NBC Sports Boston
  • Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub (Celtics) // WWLS-The Sports Animal 98.1 FM (Thunder)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: Celtics (-3.5) // Thunder (+3.5)

Possible NBA Finals preview. Boston is favored to win the Eastern Conference and should be favored. Oklahoma City isn’t the favorite to win the West but is up there and certainly talented enough – although it’s such a young core with little playoff experience.

Boston enters on a six-game winning streak after trouncing the Spurs 134-101 in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve. Jayson Tatum had 25 points and six rebounds in his return from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury. Tatum has connected on five or more threes in six games this season while posting 25 or more points in 20 outings. Jaylen Brown chipped in 24 points and six rebounds in only 26 minutes. Brown has tallied at least 20 points and five rebounds in 15 games this season, including in seven of his last 10 contests.

The last time Boston headed out on the road, it scored more than 125 points in four straight road games for the first time in franchise history during their California road trip from Dec. 19-25. During that stretch, the Celtics had five players score 18+ in two of the last three games and marked the first time in franchise history that the C’s scored 144+ points in consecutive games.

Last Thursday against Detroit, Tatum became the only Celtic in franchise history to record at least 31 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals in a game and became the 22nd player in NBA history to do so. Tatum joined Larry Bird (8x) as the only two Celtics to post a 30/5/5/5 stat line. Tatum tied his career high with five steals tonight and is one of five Celtics to register at least five steals in a game since 2021. Jrue Holiday has become the sixth active player with 6,000 career assists, trailing Chris Paul, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Conley.

The only chance to beat Boston is away from home as the Celtics are currently riding a 23-game win streak at TD Garden dating back to March 8, 2023, which is the third-longest regular season home win streak in franchise history – 38 wins (12/10/85 to 11/28/86); 33 wins (12/17/86 to 11/18/87). The Celtics’ 16 straight wins at TD Garden is the 18th longest home winning streak to start a season in NBA history.

Oklahoma City has won four straight following a 124-108 home victory over Brooklyn on Sunday. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 24 points, six assists and four rebounds. son: Shai is currently averaging 31.2 points per game on 54.6 percent shooting from the field through his first 30 games. On top of his scoring frenzy, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 5.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and a league-leading 2.6 steals per game. SGA became only the third player ever to average 30+ points and 2.5+ steals per game through the first 25 games of a season. No player in NBA history has averaged 30+ points on 55.0 percent shooting and 2.5+ steals.

Rookie big man Chet Holmgren contributed 18 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in Sunday’s win. It was his 11th double-double of the season, a decent mark for a rookie, considering he’s played only 31 games. Holmgren is averaging 17.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.7 blocks and may win NBA Rookie of the Year.

It’s the first meeting of the season between these teams. They split last season, each winning at home. The Thunder are 15-15 versus the Celtics during the Oklahoma City era. In this span, OKC is 6-8 at home.

NBA Betting Pick: Celtics

Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers

  • When: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024, 10:00 PM ET
  • Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
  • TV: NBC Sports Bay Area, Bally Sports Sun
  • Radio: 560 The Joe WQAM (Heat) // ESPN LA 710 (Lakers)
  • Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Odds: TBA

ESPN national TV game as LeBron James faces his former Miami Heat team. Will Miami have All-Star Jimmy Butler in the lineup? He missed Monday’s game against the Clippers due to right foot irritation. Butler suffered a foot injury during Saturday’s loss to Utah and was unable to return to the game. X-rays came back negative. Forwards Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith also missed Monday’s game. Martin has been out since picking up his sprained ankle on Christmas Day. Highsmith is dealing with a jaw contusion.

Miami has started 18 different lineups in their 32 games this season, with 14 different players registering at least one start, only Dru Smith (who is out for the season) and two-way players Jamal Cain and Cole Swider have yet to start a game this season. Seven different Heat players are currently averaging at least one steal per game this season, including Tyler Herro (1.21), Bam Adebayo (1.18), Kyle Lowry (1.11), Highsmith (1.10), Butler (1.04), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (1.00) & Smith (1.00).

The Heat will play 10 teams this month that made the playoffs last season, the most for any month this season. Five of Miami’s nine home games and five of their seven road games will be against teams that made the postseason. Miami has 10 road wins so far this season, tying the most in the Eastern Conference and the second-most in the league, only Dallas has more at 11.

One of the Lakers’ big offseason moves was signing former Heat guard Gabe Vincent in free agency, but Vincent is out two months at least after a successful arthroscopic surgical procedure on his left knee last week. Vincent has played just five games this season while continuously dealing with swelling in his left knee. With LeBron being moved to point guard, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Max Christie will all compete for bench minutes in Los Angeles’ backcourt.

Forward Rui Hachimura suffered a left calf strain during Sunday’s game versus the Pelicans didn’t return. He might miss some time. Hachimura moved into the starting lineup for Sunday’s game, and coach Darvin Ham said the forward would stay there for the foreseeable future. However, this latest injury could put that plan in jeopardy.

This will be the 71st meeting between the two franchises, with the Lakers holding a 39-31 all-time lead. In Los Angeles, the Lakers are 15-9 all-time against the Heat at Crypto.com Arena. This series has included five overtime games, with the Lakers winning three of five such games. The two squads met in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 2020, with the Lakers capturing the franchise’s 17th world title with a 4-2 series win in the 2020 NBA Finals in the bubble.

The Lakers visited Miami on Nov. 6 and lost 108-107. Adebayo had the first 20-rebound triple-double in Miami history, Butler scored 28 points and the Heat survived a big offensive drought at the end — a game in which no points were scored in the final 2:38. Adebayo had 22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. Herro also scored 22 for the Heat and Duncan Robinson added 12 for Miami — which won despite having no field goals in the final 4:14.

James led all scorers with 30 points for the Lakers. The Lakers didn’t have Anthony Davis for the final 14 minutes; he left the game twice with a left hip spasm and finished with nine points and six rebounds. A win Wednesday will give Miami a season sweep for the second time in four years but we don’t think it happens.

NBA Betting Pick: Lakers

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2023-24 NBA season previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest basketball betting odds on our online Bitcoin sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – January 8th, 2024