Our free NBA picks are out for Friday, January 21st, 2022! Make sure you check our NBA picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA picks for the best five games on today’s schedule!
Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks – 8pm ET
The Chicago Bulls kick off a three game road trip on Friday night when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bulls managed to snap their four game losing streak last time out, with a win over the Cavaliers, 117-104. The Bucks have won two of their last four games, and this takes their season record to 28-19.
The Chicago Bulls managed to stop their losing streak with a convincing 117-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even without Zach LaVine, they have proved that they can still be competitive despite the disappointing results lately. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic came up huge for the team finishing off with 30 points and 24 points respectively. The latter added 12 rebounds for his double-double performance. The 22-year-old, Ayo Dosunmu, shined bright for the Bulls with his 7-8 shooting from the field, ending up having 18 points for the night. On top of that, he finished off with a double-double in his previous two appearances. The Bulls continue to be on top of the East with 28 wins and 15 losses, but it will be hard for them to keep that lead keeping in mind the uncertainty about LaVine’s condition.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been struggling recently as well. The defending champions are looking for the right rhythm in 2022 as they seemed to have been on top of their game both in the end of November and in the end of December. The Bucks, however, are highly dependent on Giannis Antetokounmpo who finds it difficult to come up with new ideas on offence. His combinations with Khris Middleton are becoming less effective and they will need the other players on the team to improve their performance in order to experience the much-needed transformation. They made the best out of Desmond Bane’s absence for the Memphis Grizzlies in their last meeting as they took a 12-point win over Ja Morant and his teammates. This put them in 4th place with 28 wins and 19 losses and I think they will be able to cut the Bulls’ lead even more with a narrow win on Friday.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-405)
A Chicago Bulls team that’s been so good when healthy this year received a big blow yesterday when they found out point guard Lonzo Ball will miss 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. He’s just another member of this Bulls team that’s headed to the injury report, which already includes Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr, and, for the time being, Zach LaVine. After a couple of rough games of adjusting without those respective players, the team had a huge win on Wednesday night against the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ll hope to carry that momentum over to Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) January 21, 2022
Milwaukee also picked up a massive win on Wednesday, as they outlasted the NBA’s hottest team the Memphis Grizzlies, 126-114. This was due in large part to Jrue Holiday’s return from COVID protocol/ an ankle injury. Having his defense on the perimeter was huge against Ja Morant and this Grizzlies team that can rack up so many points. They’ll hope to have the same pressure against the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan who is averaging nearly 26 points per game. If this was a full strength Bulls squad, or even if just Ball or LaVine were playing as well, I’d expect this one to be a real toss up. But, with Holiday being back for the Bucks, and with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton continuing to play at their best, the Bucks should be able to handle Chicago with ease.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -9 (-110)
The hits keep coming for this Chicago Bulls team, but they continue to try to make the most of what they’re facing. After reaching the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and then pulling away with it, they lost star Zach LaVine for an indefinite amount of time, which wreaked a bit of havoc on their next few games, before they finally snapped a losing streak with a win over Cleveland in their last outing. However, they’ve now learned that they’ll be without Lonzo Ball for 6-8 weeks as well, as he’s now dealing with injury too. This leaves it up to DeMar Derozan to step up and show that he can lead a team himself.
Now they take on the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, who have also been dealing with some struggles as of late as well. They did manage to knock off the Memphis Grizzlies in their last game, but right now they are a bit too reliant upon Giannis to put up monster numbers, as Khris Middleton hasn’t looked as solid as many would expect, and Jrue Holiday has been iffy in terms of whether he plays night in and night out as he deals with a minor issue. Even with the roster struggling, I like Giannis to have a big game here, and the Bucks to simply overpower a Bulls squad that is without LaVine and Ball. With this one in Milwaukee, give me Bucks and the spread as the safe play.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -9 (-110)
Brooklyn Nets @ San Antonio Spurs – 8.30pm ET
The road trip continues on for the Brooklyn Nets, who will face off against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. The Nets continue to be a bit inconsistent as of late, and this takes their season record to 28-16. The Spurs have won two of their last three games, and this includes wins over the Clippers and Thunder.
The Brooklyn Nets will have a tough visit to San Antonio on Friday as they will be without Kevin Durant, Joe Harris, Nic Claxton, and Paul Millsap. The top favourites to win the NBA Championship this year have been struggling recently due to having a lot of players out of rhythm following Christmas. The Nets, however, managed to keep their spot in the top 3 in the Eastern Conference with a 28-16 record. In their last game, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the team with 30 points and 27 points respectively as the Nets survived the late comeback from the Washington Wizards, 119-118.
The San Antonio Spurs are still building their team as their main goal right now is not reaching the Playoffs, but more like experimenting with the roster, gaining experience, and learning and developing new skills through the process. They have also had their issues in 2022 as they went on a 5-game losing streak. Later on, the legendary team managed to get out of the unpleasant situation with victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Playoffs slowly slipping away from them, I think that they will try to make one last try to keep themselves in contention, so I will give my preferences to the Spurs in this exciting matchup.
Denis’ NBA Pick: San Antonio Spurs (+114)
Even with Kevin Durant sidelined, the Brooklyn Nets didn’t miss a beat offensively on Wednesday when they racked up 119 points against the Washington Wizards. This was thanks in large part to Kyrie Irving who scored 30 points, nicely filling the void left without Durant. Considering they’re playing on the road again on Friday, they’ll likely have Irving on the roster, as he looks to continue his return to form after missing the first couple months of the season. The Nets will look to continue towards the top of the Eastern Conference on Friday as they face a young and fearless San Antonio Spurs team.
The Spurs sit at 17-28; even though that’s not quite good enough for a playoff seed, the Spurs have been a whole lot of fun to watch. Especially Dejounte Murray, who is averaging 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists. The Spurs may not be the most consistent team right now, but they have been known to surprise more superior opponents this year. Brooklyn almost had a collapse against the Washington Wizards barely winning 119-118 after Washington outscored them 22-32 in the fourth. San Antonio has a vibrant team that should be able to test the legs of Brooklyn’s aging team. It should be another close one, but I’ll pick this Spurs team to grab the upset on Friday night.
Michael’s NBA Pick: San Antonio Spurs (+114)
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t looked like the team we expected to see as we’ve started the new year. Part of that is due to general struggles, and part is due to the absence of Kevin Durant, who is now out for a few weeks due to injury. The good news is that they still have James Harden and Kyrie Irving (on the road at least) to lead the way, as well as LaMarcus Aldridge down low to take care of the paint. It remains to be seen how KD’s absence affects this team in the long run, but for now it looks as if it’s taken them from being really good, to just decent.
The San Antonio Spurs come into this one playing better basketball as of late, even though there’s no point in getting your hopes up about this team as we continue to dive deeper into the season. They’re still too young, too inexperienced, and honestly I just don’t think the roster (as it’s currently constructed) is good enough to even allow them to make a real chance at the postseason. They’ve shown flashes of what they can be in the future, if they add a few pieces, but for right now, I just don’t like their chances to take down Brooklyn, even with KD, Joe Harris, and Paul Millsap all missing this one. I like the Nets to get a win, but I think it comes in extremely tight fashion.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets -2.5 (-110)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets – 9pm ET
The Memphis Grizzlies are in game two of their four game road trip on Friday night when they take on the Denver Nuggets. After the Grizzlies extended winning streak, they have lost two of their last three games, and this takes their season record to 31-16. The Nuggets have won three of their last four games, which includes wins over the Trail Blazers, Lakers and Clippers.
The Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets go head-to-head on Friday night in Ball Arena in Denver. This will be their third meeting for the season as the previous two were taken by the high-flying Grizzlies in their FedExForum. This time, however, Memphis will be without one of their most valuable assets in front positions, Desmond Bane. He tested positive for COVID-19 a couple of days ago and will remain in the health and safety protocols for quite some time. Moreover, Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones are also sidelined due to this reason which leaves Ja Morant slightly short-handed. The absence of some of their key figures took its toll on the Grizzlies who lost their last match against the Milwaukee Bucks, 114-126. Due to their incredible performance recently, the team kept its 3rd place in the West with 31 wins and 16 losses.
The Denver Nuggets have also been piling up victories lately. The team has been simply incredible against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers dropping 140 points and 133 points respectively. These two victories, however, didn’t help them much against the Utah Jazz as they were outlasted by 23 points by Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic and their teammates. However, they fought off well for the final victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in their last meeting, 130-128 OT. Nikola Jokic produced one of the best performances this season finishing off with 49 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. I think that this tough game will get the better of the Nuggets as they won’t be able to recover quick enough for the Grizzlies. My pick here goes in favour of Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies (+144)
The Memphis Grizzlies were humbled on Wednesday night as they lost by double digits to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. That being said, the Grizzlies were far from 100%: they were missing Desmond Bane, Kyle Anderson, and Dillon Brooks (who’s missed some time already). Still, the Grizzlies know they’ll have to push a little more with a few of their key starters on the sideline. They’ll have a chance to prove it against a Denver Nuggets team that hasn’t let injuries derail them in the slightest.
Tomorrow night is gonna be fun 🍿
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 21, 2022
The Nuggets are being led by Nikola Jokic, who is on a mission to repeat as MVP. The Serbian big man is averaging 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 7.5 assists and has been a thrill to watch all season long. The Nuggets are coming off a huge overtime win on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers, where Jokic scored 49 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. He will look to keep the Nuggets alive in the Western Conference playoff race, against a very good, but very depleted Memphis Grizzlies team. I’ll take the Nuggets in this one; aside from a blowout loss to a full strength Utah Jazz team, they’ve been outstanding on offense lately. While Memphis has made drastic improvements on defense in recent weeks, they’ve also had their offense bail them out on a lot of occasions. With a couple key players gone they won’t be able to rely on that, so I’ll take the Nuggets at home in this one.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets (-172)
Despite the reversed roles this year, as the Memphis Grizzlies have looked like one of the league’s best teams, while Denver has been a major disappointment, I think the world straightens itself in this matchup. The Grizz have lost two of their last three since their 11-game winning streak, and while their play has slipped, part of this is due to COVID, as well as the fact they’re without two starters, Desmond Bane and Kyle Anderson. Ja Morant has continued to play phenomenal ball, but without two starters anyone would struggle, which I think is what we’re seeing right now.
Denver comes in as one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far, as they simply can’t get anything going on a consistent basis. They’ve dealt with injury issues, which hasn’t helped matters but even apart from that they’ve looked extremely average. The one bright spot has been last year’s league MVP Nikola Jokic, who has played like he wants to win the award again, including single-handedly carrying his team with 49/14/10 in their last outing. In this one, I like another huge performance from Jokic, and I’m going to take the Nuggets to get a win at home over a vastly depleted Grizz lineup.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets (-172)
Detroit Pistons @ Utah Jazz – 9pm ET
The Detroit Pistons are on the road on Friday night when they travel to Utah to face off against the Jazz, who are wrapping up their short two game homestand. The Pistons have won four of their last seven games, and this does include a win over the Jazz on December 10, 126-116. The Jazz have lost six of their last seven games, and this drops their season record down to 29-16.
Even after Rudy Gobert’s return to the Utah Jazz following COVID-19 issues, the team continues struggling in the NBA. They have lost 6 out of their last 7 matches as some of these losses were so bad that someone might think that the Jazz are a mediocre team. In their last match, they were defeated by the Houston Rockets who barely got 14 wins out of 46 games so far. The Jazz had to take a loss against their upcoming opponent as well. The Pistons took the better of Donovan Mitchell and his teammates, despite Utah’s point guard finishing off with 31 points. Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey were highly efficient and clinical enough in their attempts as they both ended up contributing with 29 points for the final win, 126-116.
Apart from this victory over the Jazz, the situation within the Pistons is far from bright. They are 14th in the current standings in the Eastern Conference with 11 wins and 33 losses. The team will be looking to build a decent roster around their rookie, Cade Cunningham, who has a lot of potential to become a great player one day. The Pistons have actually managed to defeat the Toronto Raptors and the Sacramento Kings throughout the last week, but there were also a lot of disappointments like the 27-point loss to the Suns or the 46-point defeat by the Chicago Bulls. In my opinion, the Jazz will be looking to take revenge for the loss a couple of days ago and they will completely dismantle the Pistons in their second meeting for the season. That’s why I will recommend picking Utah’s spread here and I would also suggest trusting Donovan Mitchell to cover his points as well.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -13.5 (-110)
The Utah Jazz just can’t catch a break in recent weeks. After they looked like a completely different team (for the worse) without Rudy Gobert, they played two games at full strength and then lost leading scorer Donovan Mitchell with a concussion. Without Mitchell, they fell to a far inferior team in the Houston Rockets on Wednesday 111-116. So many teams this season have been able to play with a “next man up” mentality when losing key players to injury. The Utah Jazz have not been one of those teams, and they really have no excuse. They’re one of the deepest rosters in the league, a roster which includes last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson. Even without Mitchell, this Jazz team should be an easy pick against one of the league’s worst teams the Detroit Pistons. But after they recently lost to the Pistons without Gobert, nothing’s for certain.
The Detroit Pistons are far from being able to compete, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had some highlights this year. Cade Cunningham is looking like he was the right pick at number one overall (well maybe Evan Mobley would disagree) and Saddiq Bey has made a big jump in his second season in the league. This Pistons team won 126-116 in their last meeting against Utah, with Bey scoring 29 points. Without Mitchell to worry about on both sides of the ball I’ll expect him and/ or Cunningham to have a big game. Playing in Utah will probably work in the Jazz’s favor, but I’ll still pick this Pistons team to at least cover the 13.5 spread.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Detroit Pistons +13.5 (-110)
This Utah Jazz team has some serious problems. At first, everyone assumed it was just that they were missing Rudy Gobert, but even with him returning they just got dropped by the Houston Rockets. To be fair, they are now without Donovan Mitchell as he’s in concussion protocols, and his absence will certainly make an impact, but it shouldn’t have mattered against a team like the Houston Rockets, who are one of the worst teams in not only the Western Conference, but as well as the league as a whole. Now the Jazz get to take on another team competing to be named worst team in the league, the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit has a lot of young talent that has the potential to make noise in future years, led by Cade Cunningham, but there’s no reason that this Detroit roster should be able to compete with Utah on a serious level, even with Mitchell out. The problem is that we all said the same thing about Houston and yet they managed to pull off the upset. In this one though, I think Utah finds its rhythm, having been woken up by the loss to the Rockets, so give me the Jazz and the points here, as they come out looking to make a statement at home against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -13.5 (-110)
Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors – 10pm ET
The final game on Friday night’s slate will see the Houston Rockets face off against the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets have won three of their last four games, which includes wins over the Spurs, Kings and Jazz. The Warriors are playing on back-to-back nights, and last time out they lost in overtime to the Pacers, 117-121.
The Houston Rockets will have a really tough visit on Friday as they will face the Golden State Warriors in their Chase Center. Despite their position in the table, the Rockets have managed to bounce back a little bit as they won three out of their last four matches in the NBA. All of these victories came on the road after the team found the right recipe to move past the San Antonio Spurs, the Sacramento Kings, and the Utah Jazz. Christian Wood, Eric Gordon, and Kevin Porter have been amazing these past couple of games as they will try to do the unthinkable and protect their winning streak against one of the top favorites for the title, the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors have been going through a lot of up and down moments recently as they suffered some really huge upsets, while at the same time achieving marvelous victories like the 42-point win over the Chicago Bulls. Klay Thompson’s return definitely had a positive impact on the spirit of the team, but not on their chemistry and performance. Steph Curry also started missing a lot of shots in a match which is never a good sign for the Warriors. However, they still have Andrew Wiggins, Otto Porter Jr., and Jordan Poole who can cover for the misses of the big names. That’s why I think they will be able to take a convincing lead before the end of the first half that will only increase towards the end of the match. Hence, I recommend picking the Warriors’ spread in this one.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -10.5 (-110)
The Golden State Warriors should have had it easy last night. They faced an Indiana Pacers team that’s 13th in the Eastern Conference, and coming off a tough game against the Los Angeles Lakers 24 hours prior. If that wasn’t enough, the Pacers decided to rest pretty much their entire starting lineup. This should have been a recipe for a Warriors blowout, but instead Golden State was upset by a Pacers “B-team” in overtime. It was a tough loss for a Warriors team that continues to look a bit lost without Draymond Green—even though they have the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors will have to put this disappointing loss behind them as they face a Houston Rockets team tonight that may have a bad record, but are fully capable of causing problems on offense.
Fought ’til the final buzzer. pic.twitter.com/YQ5mYZt3Gg
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 21, 2022
Houston might only be 14-32, but their offence has shown a lot of promise lately. They’ve scored 100+ points in 11 of their last 12 games. Unfortunately, their defense is atrocious, so they’ve gone 4-8 in those 12 games. Still, after the way Golden State played last night, the Rockets have got to feel like they have a fighting chance, especially with the likes of Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr. and a man who’s faced the Warriors many times, Eric Gordon. While Golden State has looked a tad unpredictable without Green, I just can’t see them losing to such inferior opponents at home on consecutive nights. I look for this Warriors team to come out playing angry tomorrow and take care of the Rockets with ease.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -10.5 (-110)
As the Golden State Warriors continue to struggle, one has to begin asking questions about where the problem lies. They’ve spent the entire year looking like the best team in basketball, but over the past week and a half or so, they’ve completely fallen apart, including losing last night to an Indiana Pacer team that has struggled all year, and was coming in on the second night of a back-to-back. Part of this is Klay Thompson struggling to find his form since he returned from a two and a half year layoff due to injuries, including shooting 0-7 from 3-pt range last night. The good news for Golden State is that it looks like Steph may have finally found his rhythm once again, which if that’s the case, if he can get some help from a really good supporting cast, I think this team can get right back on track in a hurry.
In this one they take on the aforementioned Houston Rockets, who are coming in after pulling off an upset over the Utah Jazz a few nights ago. Despite that upset, this isn’t a Rockets team that is going to make a habit of that, as the talent is extremely youthful and just not experienced enough to compete on that level consistently, but also because of the fact that the defense is truly abysmal. This horrible defense from Houston is the biggest reason why I’m taking Golden State in this one, despite the struggles and this being the second night of a back-to-back, as I just think they’re able to outscore a Houston team that refuses to play defense.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -10.5 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.