NBA Predictions and Best Bets – January 8, 2021

| January 8, 2021 4:18 am PDT

The NBA is back in full force to close out the regular workweek, as Friday’s slate offers up 10 games. See who will be in action if you plan on watching or betting tonight.

  • Phoenix Suns vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets
  • Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks
  • Brooklyn Nets vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors
  • Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings

This is another massive slate, and it’s something we will have to get used to with the league truncating its schedule this year.

It’ll be plenty of fun, as you can pick your spots and find the best bets possible without taking on unwanted risk.

Just keep an eye on the latest news, as some injuries could impact how you bet, and it’s possible some players get rested. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both played last night, so they probably headline the list of players to keep tabs on.

With that, let’s dive into Friday’s NBA predictions and top betting picks.

Phoenix Suns vs. Detroit Pistons Predictions

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

Detroit plays host tonight, which is about the only good thing you can say about this team. The Pistons are not playing good defense, and they’re 1-7 with no end in sight.

Meanwhile, Phoenix owns the second-best record in the league (6-2), and they’ve shown they can stifle anyone. Their offense should get a break in a plus matchup, and it’s tough to see how they would blow this one.

Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics Predictions

  • Celtics to beat Wizards
  • Predicted total: 230-235

Boston is the understandable favorite at home against the Wiz. Boston is a solid 6-3 to start the year, and they come in hot with three straight wins.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are carrying Boston right now, and it’s unlikely they struggle against a really bad Wizards defense.

Bradley Beal dropped 60 points in his last game, and Washington is good for 120 points per game right now. You know there will be points from this squad, but Russell Westbrook’s status is in doubt for Friday.

Charlotte Hornets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Predictions

  • Pelicans to beat Hornets
  • Predicted total: 215-220

The Hornets are a surprisingly fun team to watch, as LaMelo Ball is dazzling off the bench, and Gordon Hayward wowed in his last game with a career-high 44 points.

Unfortunately, Charlotte’s defense comes and goes, and the rest of their supporting cast has been tough to trust. Their offense won’t get many opportunities to show up in this spot, as the Pels have played at a slower pace this year and are defending well.

New Orleans has more talent and more offensive upside. Look for them to get over .500 in this one.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks Predictions

  • Knicks to beat Thunder
  • Predicted total: 220-225

I am definitely curious to see what happens with the Knicks when they start having legit expectations thrown at them. Even so, they are 5-3 so far and they’re grinding out competitive games.

Julius Randle has developed into a star this year, and if his versatile game is here to stay, maybe New York is really a playoff team.

Whether they are or not, I’m not sure handling OKC at home tells us much. I still expect it to happen on Friday, of course.

Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets Predictions

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

The Magic have a tough road game on their hands in Houston, and they’ll probably be playing with heavy hearts now that point guard Markelle Fultz is out for the year.

Rookie Cole Anthony is thrust into a key role, and a banged-up Magic squad will be tasked with a tough game against a desperate Houston team.

Orland is 6-2 and looking good, and it’s easy to admit they’re the better team between these two right now. That said, Houston is at home and if they can get Christian Wood back, they’ll be the healthier squad.

Utah Jazz vs. Milwaukee Bucks Predictions

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

The Bucks struggled out of the gates this year, but they’re 5-3 after ripping off three straight wins. They welcome the Jazz to town, but should probably take care of business here.

Utah can be feisty, but they’ve lost two in a row and have not been themselves offensively this year. Milwaukee’s offense is undeniable (125 points per game!), and if their defense can rise up a bit, this one could be over after three quarters.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Memphis Grizzlies Predictions

  • Nets to beat Grizzlies
  • Predicted total: 220-225

The Nets blew a team out for the second straight game without Kevin Durant, who will continue to miss time due to COVID-19.

They also won their last game without Kyrie Irving, however, and he’s not expected to join them for this road game in Memphis.

Brooklyn appears to be deep enough to handle these absences from their superstars, and both the Nets and Grizzlies share the same fatigue after playing last night. Memphis is also dealing with the absence of Ja Morant, so it’s a total wash.

I’ll side with Brooklyn, who are a little more exciting offensively and have looked really good in their last two contests.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors Predictions

  • Clippers to beat Warriors
  • Predicted total: 215-220

This game is impossible to call, as you never know which Clippers star could take the night off. That, and Stephen Curry (ankle) is no lock to suit up for this one.

Golden State could be in trouble even if he’s out there, as the Clips locked him down in a win in their last meeting. But without Chef Curry, the Dubs would be in serious trouble.

Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers Predictions

  • Lakers to beat Bulls
  • Predicted total: 215-220

I won’t call for the Bulls upset here, but I’d watch the lines here. Anthony Davis and LeBron James both played last night and have been battling ailments all year.

Don’t be shocked if one or both take the night off. If that happens, Chicago would be very appealing ATS or even as a straight-up pick.

That said, L.A. is still not by themselves in first place in the Pacific Division, so they could just keep pressing here. I’ll go with the Lakers for now, but be ready to hop on Chicago.

Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings Predictions

  • Raptors to beat Kings
  • Predicted total: 220-225

There are some teams that are struggling this year that I can’t quit just yet. Houston is one, and Toronto is another.

It’s likely that the Raptors just won’t be very good this year, but this 1-6 start is shocking. They have a pretty great shot at getting a win here, as the Kings aren’t very good to begin with, but could also be without top point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Whether Fox plays or not, the Raptors need this one. I think they get it done.

Best NBA Bets for Friday, January 8th

  • Suns (-6.5) -110
  • Knicks to Win (-143)
  • Bucks (-6) -110
  • Rockets to Win (-220)

The NBA betting lines aren’t out for a lot of games, as injuries and potential inactives understandably could change things.

For now, I love the Suns, Knicks, Bucks, and Rockets to win. Phoenix is a great defensive team, and I just don’t see how their game against a bad Pistons squad stays close.

New York at -143 feels weird, but they’re honestly a solid team right now. They’re at home and they host a Thunder team that is going to start to lose a lot more frequently.

Milwaukee is usually looking at a way bigger spread than this. Utah is a solid team, but the Bucks to cover six points at home feels like a steal.

Houston is a dangerous team to bet on right now, but they need a win, they’re at home, and they’re hosting a banged up Magic team. I like their chances.

Hopefully these NBA picks serve you well. If you plan on betting tonight, just make sure you’re using the safest sports betting sites you can find online.

If you’re hungry for a little more NBA content beyond these picks, hit the posts below.

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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