NBA Predictions and Best Bets – January 18, 2021

| January 18, 2021 3:04 am PDT

A new week of NBA action tips off on Monday, January 18th, with a big nine-game betting slate.

It’s a pretty massive day in the league (and everywhere), with The Association remembering the great Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day. See who is playing.

  • Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Atlanta Hawks
  • Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat
  • San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Dallas Mavericks vs. Toronto Raptors
  • Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The action gets started early in the day, with Orlando heading to New York for the first game of the slate at noon ET.

You’ll want to begin formulating your NBA bets well ahead of that, so join me as I look over the schedule and provide my NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks Predictions

  • Magic to beat Knicks
  • Predicted total: 210-215
The Magic aim to get back to .500 with a trip to the Knicks. They’ve been struggling after a hot start, and losing Markelle Fultz for the year hasn’t helped matters.

That said, the Magic have a little more talent with Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon leading the charge. Expect a close game, but the Magic should gut this one out.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Atlanta Hawks Predictions

  • Hawks to beat Timberwolves
  • Predicted total: 225-230

Both the Hawks and T’Wolves are floundering below .500 these days, but the more talented Hawks may hold the edge at home here.

Trae Young got going offensively in a tough loss to the Blazers in Atlanta’s last game, and nobody on Minnesota can really stop him.

Look for him to stay hot, and the Hawks to take advantage of the absence of big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat Predictions

  • Heat to beat Pistons
  • Predicted total: 210-215

The Heat have gotten off to a poor 4-7 start thanks to health woes, but they’re starting to get back on track. Bam Adebayo returned in Miami’s last game, and Jimmy Butler’s return is just around the corner.

Detroit comes in at 3-9, with the Pistons completely wasting a career-year out of Jerami Grant.

He makes the Pistons a bit easier to watch, but he can’t will them to wins on his own.

Miami is getting healthier, they’re at home, and they’re the far better team. Look for them to get the win.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers Predictions

  • Blazers to beat Spurs
  • Predicted total: 230-235

Portland is starting to round into form at 8-5, but they’ll have to weather the storm of a catastrophic wrist injury to center Jusuf Nurkic.

So far, so good, as Enes Kanter was fantastic in his stead in Portland’s last outing.

The 7-6 Spurs will probably give the Blazers a tough fight, but Portland is tough at home. I don’t fear San Antonio’s surprisingly great 5-2 road record in this spot.

Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Suns to beat Grizzlies
  • Predicted total: 215-220

Ja Morant finally returned from an ankle injury, and he chipped in to help the Grizzlies win their fourth straight game.

It’s an alarming streak given their injuries, but it’s one I suspect hits a snag against the Suns.

Phoenix should be able to limit Morant with Chris Paul up front, while the Suns are simply a better defensive team in general, so I favor them in this one.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Predictions

  • Nets to beat Bucks
  • Predicted total: 230-235

This is up for the game of the slate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. James Harden already made a splash in his Nets debut, and it’s possible Kyrie Irving is back for Brooklyn here.

Milwaukee will use this as a measuring stick to see if they can handle Brooklyn’s star power, but it won’t be easy keeping tabs on Irving, Harden, and Kevin Durant.

The Over is at risk here, and I think the Nets get the job done on their home floor.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Toronto Raptors Predictions

  • Mavericks to beat Raptors
  • Predicted total: 225-230

Luka Doncic wasted an epic triple-double in a loss yesterday, but I expect him to bounce back and deliver another elite showing against the Raptors.

Normally I’d favor Toronto against a potentially tired Mavs team, but the Raptors haven’t looked too formidable to start the year. I’d monitor the status of Kristaps Porzingis, but I’d favor the Mavs, regardless.

Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls Predictions

  • Rockets to beat Bulls
  • Predicted total: 225-230

The Rockets continue to march on in the aftermath of the James Harden trade, and they will get a boost with Victor Oladipo making his debut with the team on Monday.

John Wall (knee) won’t be on hand for this showdown in Chicago, but the Rockets have enough firepower to take out the younger Bulls.

Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers Predictions

  • Lakers to beat Warriors
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The last game of the night could be a bloodbath. The Lakers are a tough defensive team, and the Dubs have no hope of stopping either LeBron James or Anthony Davis.

There’s always the chance Stephen Curry gets hot, but he’d need to drop 50+ to even make this a game. The Over is a fun bet here, but the Lakers should win at home.

Best NBA Bets for Monday, January 18th

  • Magic (PK) -105
  • Timberwolves vs. Hawks Over 228.5 (-110)
  • Blazers (PK) -110
  • Suns (-3.5) -115

You can find the pricing above at BetOnline. There are other bets to be had, but for any others you feel obliged to target, refer to my NBA predictions above.

Orlando seems to have tapped into young point guard Cole Anthony’s upside. If he can keep things going in a positive direction, they feel like the more complete team in their matchup with the Knicks.

I also love the Blazers asa  -110 pick’em bet at home. The Spurs have been good on the road and Nurkic is out, but Portland is still the better team.

Phoenix by four against Memphis also feels like a steal. The Suns have had their question marks, but they’re still 7-4 and defend well most nights. I think they do that in a win here.

That Hawks game should also be flames. Minnesota is down their franchise cornerstone at the moment, but neither team defends, and both offenses can blow up pretty easily.

For more NBA betting options and the latest odds, check out the best sites to bet on the NBA.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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