NBA Best Bets Today: Our Top 3 Picks for January 1st including Bulls vs Wizards and Warriors vs Jazz

By Ethan Schimel   January 1, 2022 

NBA Best Bets Today: Our Top 3 Picks for January 1st including Bulls vs Wizards and Warriors vs Jazz

As we celebrate the dawn of a new year, many teams across the Association hope that 2022 brings with it a change in fortune as it comes to the league’s injury report.

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 means – among other things – that bettors need to be more careful when looking at the matchups for a given day. Trends that seemed rock solid a week or two prior can instantly become meaningless if a few players in a team’s rotation enter the league’s health and safety protocols.

As we await the healthy return of any and all who aren’t currently able to suit up for their respective teams, we’ve sorted through some of that uncertainty to find the best bets on tonight’s slate.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards

Best Bet: Over 214.5 / -110 (WynnBet)

The last two times the Chicago Bulls played with no rest, they put up 130 points against the Atlanta Hawks, and 133 points against the Houston Rockets. So, it’s safe to assume they’ll be able to score against a Washington Wizards team that has allowed 113 points or more in nine of their last 11 games.

Washington’s defense strikes fear in the hearts of absolutely no one: The Wizards’ Defensive Rating of 111.3 ranks 23rd in the league, and even at home, they allow opponents to average 108 PPG. The Bulls, meanwhile, are shooting 47.6 percent away from the United Center this year, and score at a clip of 109.1 on the road.

The Wizards’ offense figures to be a lot more potent with Bradley Beal (who went for 29/6/10 on Thursday) out of the league’s health and safety protocols, and with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine scoring at a ridiculous clip this season, the total should easily eclipse the over in this one.

New Orleans Pelicans at Milwaukee Bucks

Best Bet: Bucks -10.5 / -110 (BetMGM)

Both the Bucks and Pelicans have won five of their last six contests heading into tonight’s matchup, with Milwaukee looking for revenge after losing to New Orleans 116-112 back on December 17. Giannis Antentokoumpo, Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis all missed that overtime loss for the Bucks – with that trio back in the lineup, Saturday’s game should have a much different outcome.

Milwaukee has covered four of their last five games ATS as their rotation begins to round into form after a spate of injuries early in the season. New Orleans is also playing well as of late, but as a road underdog, the Pelicans are just 5-10 on the season. Be sure to keep an eye on the playing status of Brandon Ingram, who missed the New Orleans’ win against the Cavaliers on Tuesday with an Achilles injury.

Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz

Best Bet: Warriors +4.5 / -105 (FanDuel)

The Golden State Warriors getting points? In this economy? It feels like a Christmas gift that came a few days late, especially since Steve Kerr’s team has yet to lose two consecutive games this season.

Yes, the Warriors are playing the exceptionally hot Utah Jazz, but it’s fair to wonder how much Donovan Mitchell will have in the tank while playing the second leg of a back-to-back as he recovers from a lower back injury. As elite as Utah has been this season, they’re only 8-11 ATS as a home favorite heading into the weekend.

Meanwhile, Golden State is 3-2 against the spread in those rare cases when they’ve been a road ‘dog this year. Draymond Green’s absence (health and safety protocols) will be a huge blow for the Warriors, but catching Utah on no rest should help even things out a bit.

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