NBABet's 3 Best Bets From Saturday's Slate

Find out how Action Network's betting analysts are approaching two Saturday games: Pelicans vs. Hawks and Celtics vs. Knicks.

Eight games, three bets. Our analysts are working the weekend and targeting picks from two games as the best bets for Saturday.

Celtics vs. Knicks (7:30 p.m. ET) and Trail Blazers vs. Suns (10 p.m. ET) will get the attention as tonight’s NBA TV games, but two our analysts are split on another intriguing matchup: Pelicans vs. Hawks.

They make their cases for those games along with their expert picks for Saturday below.

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NBA Odds & Picks

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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks 7:30 p.m. ET
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks 7:30 p.m. ET
Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks 7:30 p.m. ET

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks

Pick Hawks -1
Book BetRivers
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Austin Wang: The Pelicans are on the second night of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights. They are also on the road, so they had to travel overnight. In addition, they are off a win, which could lend to a letdown spot. With some players nursing injuries on the Pelicans side, it would not surprise me to see some late scratches on their end.

The Hawks are off two days of rest after a win against the Knicks on Wednesday. After a slow start to the season, Dejounte Murray has adjusted nicely and has heated up in the past few games. His presence relieves the burden from Trae Young on offense and mitigates deficiencies on defense. Young is questionable for tonight’s game with an eye injury, so his availability will have a huge impact on this game.

Teams off two or more days of rest facing a team on the second game of a back-to-back and won their previous game are 36-17-1 ATS (67.9%) since the beginning of last season, per the SDQL at Killer Sports. This is active on the Hawks. I like this scheduling spot for them tonight. If Young is in, I would play this up to -3.

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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks

Pick Pelicans ML (+100)
Book Caesars
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass

Andrew O’Connor-Watts: I’m going the other way in Pelicans-Hawks. The Hawks started the season 5-3 as a result of an improved defense, which ranked in the bottom five last season. However, they still have a ways to go before they become good. defensively. They currently sit at 20th with their Defensive Rating of 113.2.

As expected their offense has not been the problem, ranking in the top 10. They are especially proficient at the rim, although they rank in the bottom of the league in attempts.

The Pelicans should play tonight’s game with a fully healthy roster. Prior to last night’s win over the road Warriors, Brandon Ingram had not played since Oct. 23 due to concussion protocols. But he and Herb Jones returned to action last night and appear ready for full workloads.

The Pelicans rank in the top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating (seventh and 10th, respectively). While they’re on a back-to-back, the Pelicans have fresh Ingram and Jones, and so early in the season I don’t put much stock in the significance of back-to-backs like I would near the 60-game mark.

They are also a much deeper team than the Hawks who have three players getting regular minutes that have a -9 or worse differential in Jalen Johnson, Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday.

The Pelicans only player who sees significant minutes with that poor a differential is Devonte’ Graham.

This game has been bet down to Hawks -1 from the opening line of -2.5. Expect the Pels to take one on the road where they are 3-2 this season.

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Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks

Pick Over 223.5
Book DraftKings
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET

Chris Baker: Both of these teams ranked bottom-five in Pace last season but they seem to be making conscious efforts to ramp up their tempo as the Knicks currently rank 15th in pace and the Celtics rank 21st.

The Knicks committed 24 turnovers last night but somehow found a way to win due to the 76ers inability capitalize in transition and inefficiency from beyond the arc. The team the 76ers rolled out last night just didn’t have enough offensive talent to consistently manufacture points but that won’t be an issue for the Celtics.

The Celtics rank first in Adjusted Offensive Rating and first in half-court points per 100 possessions averaging 107.4 per 100 (Dallas ranks second, 103.1). They have been extremely efficient on offense this year despite playing the single most difficult schedule of opposing defenses, according to Dunks And Threes. This offense is genuinely elite and I expect them to torch New York’s defense, which likely won’t have its primary rim protector Mitchell Robinson.

The Celtics offense currently ranks first in 3-point frequency and the Knicks defense is 27th in taking away the 3-pointer. The Knicks just allowed the 76ers to shoot 47 3s last night but were fortunate that they only made 13 of them. These weren’t chucks either, the vast majority of these were clean catch and shoot looks. The Celtics could legitimately hang 130 on the Knicks if they continue to allow this many open catch and shoot looks from behind the arc.

On the other end of the ball the Celtics have struggled mightily as they rank just 20th in adjusted defensive rating after ranking 1st last year. The absence of Robert Williams has certainly lowered their defensive ceiling and resulted in them having to play a bunch of weaker defenders like Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser off the bench. I think this defense will be fine in long-term as they are still doing a great job of taking away the rim and 3-point shot.

The Celtics are No. 1 in the NBA at forcing teams into mid-range shots but that isn’t an issue for a Knicks team that has a good amount of efficient mid-range shooters like Quickley, Brunson, and Rose. I expect the Knicks to have some success in this matchup as well.

Take the over 224 on Saturday night.

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