Our free NBA picks are out for Monday, January 3rd, 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!
Memphis Grizzlies @ Brooklyn Nets – 7.30pm ET
The Memphis Grizzlies kick off a two game road trip in Brooklyn when they take on the Nets on Monday night. The Grizzlies are looking to build on their current four game winning streak, as they have wins over the Kings, Suns, Lakers and Spurs. The Nets will be playing their second game of the year, and are searching for their first win after losing to the Clippers, their season record stands at 23-11.
The Memphis Grizzlies are coming into the match against the Nets on a 4-game winning streak. Following Christmas, they defeated the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns on the road. Then, they outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum. The team now travels to New York to face the best roster in the city led by Kevin Durant and James Harden. Memphis is the pleasant surprise this season as they occupy 4th place in the West with 23 wins and 14 losses. Ja Morant is now back with the team after suffering an awful knee injury that could have been a season-ending one. However, with him back in the roster, it seems that the Grizzlies are capable of beating every single team in the NBA.
The Brooklyn Nets have lost their last two games which came as a huge surprise for their fans who saw their team lose to the 76ers and the Clippers. The second game was a real disaster for the ambitions of the team as they were defeated by a shorthanded squad. The Clippers came into the game without Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Luke Kennard, Ivica Zubac, and Brandon Boston. This has certainly raised some concerns in front of Steve Nash who will need to make some quick decisions if he doesn’t want to let the Bulls slip away from them on the top spot in the East. In my opinion, the Nets are in shambles at the moment and we can use that to our advantage. Although the Grizzlies are severely hit by COVID-19, I would still trust them to cover their spread.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies +7.5 (-110)
The Grizzlies continue to impress: less than a month after winning 10 of 11 games, the team is now in the midst of a four-game win streak. This young core, led by Ja Morant, are a top seven scoring team in the NBA—but everyone knows their offense is capable of big things. What’s been most impressive lately is their improvement on defense. At the beginning of the season, Memphis was one of the league’s worst teams in opponent points per game and field goal percentage. Now they’re out of the bottom ten in both those categories. They’ll need that defense to be at its best on Monday as they face the Brooklyn Nets. The good news for Brooklyn is that James Harden is starting to look like himself again. Since returning from COVID protocol on Christmas Day, Harden has scored 30+ points in each game, including triple-doubles in his last two.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 2, 2022
The bad news: the Nets have lost those last two games. It’s the first time all year they’ve dropped consecutive games, and with the Bulls and Bucks playing great basketball, the Nets can’t afford to make it three. While Harden has returned to his MVP self, the Nets have unfortunately strayed away from their improved defense, as they’re showing signs of last season’s team that squandered many leads. With Memphis’ dynamic offense coming to town, the Nets need to make sure they don’t have a second-half implosion. I think their loss to a depleted Clippers team on Saturday night will be a slap in the face, and they’ll find a way to win against this up-and-coming Grizzlies squad.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets (-320)
The Memphis Grizzlies have continued to surprise a lot of people this year, as they currently come in on a four-game winning streak. This comes only roughly two weeks after a run that saw them win 10 of 11 at one point, and that was without Ja Morant, the best player on the roster. While they’ve shown the ability to manage, and thrive, without Ja Morant in the lineup, the new challenge for the Grizz is whether they can handle the depleted roster that they’re currently left with right now, as Covid is working its way through the Memphis locker room. They get the East-leading Brooklyn Nets in this one, though it is a Nets team that is currently in a bit of a lull.
They come into this one on a two-game losing streak, including an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last outing, in a game in which the Clips were reportedly missing 11 players. Kevin Durant has continued to play well, and James Harden is finally beginning to look like the Harden of past seasons, but the defense has struggled, and those two haven’t been getting enough help as of late. I think that changes in this one, however, as I look for the loss to Los Angeles to be a bit of a wake up call for the Nets, and I look for them to win a tight one at home over a much improved Memphis squad.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets -7.5 (-110)
Orlando Magic @ Chicago Bulls – 8pm ET
The Orlando Magic wrap up their two game road trip on Monday night when they take on the Chicago Bulls. The Magic are playing on back-to-back nights and last night they lost to the Celtics, 111-116, in overtime, which takes their losing streak to five games. The Bulls are currently on a seven game winning streak, which takes their season record to 24-10.
The Orlando Magic will travel to Chicago to face off the Bulls in a contest that promises to be quite one-sided from the very beginning. The Magic have been terrible this season as they come into this game on a 7-30 record. They have lost their last 5 games in the NBA and there seems to be no sign of progress on their side. The team has been struggling to find a leader for yet another year. Their draft picks turned out to be a bust and those who managed to pick up their careers have already left the club.
On the other hand, the Chicago Bulls have enjoyed a fantastic first part of the campaign. They currently lead the Eastern Conference after recording 7 straight wins around Christmas. The team have been a monster in offense as DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are capable of scoring more than half of the points for the team on regular occasions. The Bulls have won 24 out of 34 games and I think this won’t be one of the exceptions. In my opinion, they are way better than the Magic who, on top of that, have a lot of players sidelined for the game. Anything other than the Bulls’ covering their spread would be a surprise for me.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -13 (-110)
The Chicago Bulls have won seven games in a row, which has propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan is looking like an MVP candidate, as he’s hit consecutive game winners to lead the Bulls to a 24-10 record on the year. Every week it seems like a new player is having COVID issues, but the Bulls never seem to let that bother them. When they’re able to be healthy as a unit again, they may just be the fruit of a very competitive Eastern Conference.
Luckily for Chicago, competitive isn’t a word you’d use to describe the Orlando Magic. While this team has some fun young stars (including Rookie of the Year front-runner Franz Wagner), they’re also 7-30, and have been pretty dismal to watch all season long. As we’ve seen in a season that’s been hammered with COVID cases, anything can happen, but these teams are polar opposites and with this one being at the United Center, it should be a no-brainer—Chicago covers.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -13 (-110)
The Chicago Bulls have proven to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and a team that I wouldn’t be surprised to end up in the Eastern Conference Finals come late May. With Lonzo Ball at the point, and DeMar Derozan and Zach LaVine leading the way from a scoring perspective, this is a team that is currently on a seven-game winning streak, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. It also doesn’t hurt that Derozan has hit back-to-back game winning shots at the buzzer, showing that as long as the Bulls can keep it close, he can go ahead and close it out when needed.
I wouldn’t expect Chicago to actually need a buzzer beater from anyone on the roster in this one, though, as they get an Orlando team that quite frankly isn’t very good. It’s a young Magic team, that while they have shown flashes, still sit at 7-30 on the year, and the veteran experience that a team would need to potentially turn the season around just isn’t there. Look for the Bulls core group to take control of this one early on, as I expect Chicago to cruise to an easy win at home over an outmatched Magic squad.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -13 (-110)
Detroit Pistons @ Milwaukee Bucks – 8pm ET
Two Central Division rivals face off on Monday night when the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks play each other. The Pistons managed to snap a four game losing streak last time out, against the Spurs, 117-116, in overtime, and this takes their season record to 6-28. The Bucks have won six games in a row, which is good enough for second in the Central Division, with a record of 25-13.
The Detroit Pistons had a fantastic breakthrough against the San Antonio Spurs as they closed out the game in overtime, 117-116. This put an end to their 4-game losing streak and the team also managed to get revenge for the 35-point loss suffered some days ago. However, the Pistons are still far away from anyone’s level, let alone the Bucks’. Detroit might have defeated the Spurs, but their top scorer, Hamidou Diallo, went for 13-32 from the field, while Saddiq Bey drained just two 3-pointers from 12 attempts. The result is slightly misleading as their victory came off their great plays in defense and not much due to their attacking qualities.
The Bucks, on the other hand, are once again in great form this season. They are coming into this fixture on a 6-game winning streak; a run in which they haven’t faced much of a resistance defeating the likes of the Magic, the Pelicans, the Rockets, the Celtics, and the Mavericks. There have been plenty of players missing for their opponents which make their victories less valuable. However, a win is a win and nobody can take this away from them. The Bucks have won 12 out of their last 13 games at home which is a convincing record. They have been playing on a really high level at Fiserv Forum which suggests just one thing – their seventh straight win is coming. I will suggest picking the Bucks’ spread in this one, although Khris Middleton will miss the game due to personal reasons.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -15 (-110)
The Detroit Pistons were thrilled to grind out a 117-116 overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. This happened less than a week after the Spurs destroyed them 109-144. Detroit currently sits at 7-28—in the cellar of the Eastern Conference—but the young team was never expecting to be a playoff team this year. They’ve seen some improvements from second year player Saddiq Bey, and will be thrilled to have first overall pick Cade Cunningham back after he missed a few games in COVID protocols. This team will look to ride the momentum off their win against the Spurs as they face the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 2, 2022
Now that Milwaukee are almost at full strength, they’re starting to exude the dominance we’ve come to know them for. They’ve won six straight games, and have scored 115 or more in five of the six wins. Giannis Antetokounmpo looks well on his way to his third MVP award, as he’s averaged 33 points per game since his return from COVID. When it comes to this matchup, the Bucks should have no problem dominating. Khris Middleton is listed as questionable, but regardless of his status, the Bucks should be able to roll to victory.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -15 (-110)
The summary of this game, and the last game featuring Bulls/Magic, could be virtually the same. The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champions, and still have virtually the same roster from that championship run, making them one of the best, most dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference, as well as the league. With Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday all finally back from injury/Covid protocols, this is a Bucks team that has started to look like the championship team we saw last year.
Now they get the Detroit Pistons in this one, and it’s one that I would expect to get out of hand in a hurry. Detroit comes in at 6-28, and is the worst team in basketball by a decent margin. They did get the number one pick in last year’s draft, but that hasn’t amounted to much, as Cade Cunningham has struggled in his rookie year, and it’s almost certain that the best play for the Pistons would be to tank to try to get the number one pick again this year. I wouldn’t expect this Pistons team to be able to do much, even if they were playing at 100%, against the Bucks, but given the best play for Detroit would be to tank at this point, give me Milwaukee by a massive number.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -15 (-110)
Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Pelicans – 8pm ET
The Utah Jazz kick off a five game road trip on Monday night when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans, who themselves kick off a three game homestand. The Jazz had their six game winning streak snapped last time out, courtesy of the Warriors, but they are still first in their Northwest Division. The Pelicans have won three of their last five games, and their season record currently stands at 13-23.
The Utah Jazz will travel to New Orleans on Monday night in the NBA. The Pelicans are quite damaged as they run at a risk of having half of the team sidelined for the upcoming fixture. They won’t be able to use Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram. On top of that, Tomas Satoransky, Devonte’ Graham, and Josh Hart are also questionable for the game against the Jazz. The Pelicans find themselves at the bottom of the table with 13 wins and 23 losses. They went on a 6-3 run recently which helped them close the gap to 10th place. Defeating teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers meant a lot to them and to their ambitions this season. However, they might be in big trouble right now as they can run out of options pretty quick.
The Utah Jazz have been fantastic around Christmas. They defeated strong teams like the Dallas Mavericks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Los Angeles Clippers. However, they seem to find it really difficult to outplay the best teams in the NBA as the loss against the Golden State Warriors proved exactly that. The Jazz are 3rd in the West with 26 wins and 10 losses as the team starts a 5-game journey on the road on Monday. Their Playoffs spot might be secured earlier this year, if they keep up this pace. I think that they will continue their winning streak against weaker opponents and I will suggest picking their spread against the shorthanded Pelicans.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -10.5 (-110)
Utah had an incredible opportunity on New Year’s Day to prove they can hang with the best in the Western Conference. They faced off against the top seeded Golden State Warriors, in Salt Lake City, with Draymond Green unable to suit up for the Warriors. Unfortunately, even at full strength, the Jazz were unable to beat Golden State, falling 116-123, and raising questions about their ability to hang with the top tier teams. Now, they’ll hope to rebound against a New Orleans Pelicans team that’s 13-23 and just ahead of the Houston Rockets for last place in the Western Conference.
The Pelicans have had so much go wrong for them from the jump: star forward Zion Williamson hasn’t played a minute this year, and the team has suffered COVID and injury issues throughout the season—including recent hits to Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas. Both of the latter two are questionable to return on Monday, but even if they do, it’s going to be a long night against a Jazz team that (for the most part) is among the best in the league on both sides of the ball. Despite scoring 20 points, Donovan Mitchell played poorly against the Warriors, shooting 4-19 from the field; he’ll look to have a big game against one of the league’s worst defenses in New Orleans.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz 10.5 (-110)
The Utah Jazz come into this one as one of the best teams in the league, as well as being arguably the most balanced roster in basketball. They come in at 26-10, and were on a five-game winning streak before Golden State (best team in basketball) snapped that streak in their last outing. With the Jazz being the only team in the NBA that hasn’t had any players in Health and Safety protocols during the ‘21-22 season, they are still able to rely on Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Mike Conley, among others, to continue this hot stretch that they’ve been on as of late.
Now they start a bit of a lengthy road trip as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans comes in as a below-average team in the league, but they’ve arguably been slightly better than many would’ve expected. They’re currently still without Zion Williamson, who has faced multiple setbacks as he tries to get back from injury. With Zion still out, they’re having to rely heavily on Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas to get things done, and while both are solid players, I don’t think they’re two guys who have the ability to lead a team that plans on making a playoff run. When Zion returns, we’ll see what this team looks like, but for now I don’t think they have enough to make a legitimate run against this healthy Jazz team that is set to invade the Big Easy.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -10.5 (-110)
Miami Heat @ Golden State Warriors – 10pm ET
This has got to be one of the games of the day, as two teams who are first in their respective divisions face off on Monday night. The Heat are playing on back-to-back nights and last night they lost to the Kings, 113-115, which snapped their five game winning streak. The Warriors have won seven of their last nine games, and they are sitting first in their Western Conference.
The pinnacle of Monday night in the NBA will be the game between the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors. Both teams have been incredible this year, but both of them are not 100% healthy. For the Warriors, Klay Thompson is slowly, but surely on its way to make his return, while Draymond Green remains in the health and safety protocols. For the Heat, Bam Adebayo recovers from a finger injury, while Victor Oladipo is still looking to make his season-debut for his team following a muscle injury.
Both teams are in the top positions of their respective Conferences. The Warriors lead the West with 28 wins and 7 losses, while the Miami Heat are 4th in the East with 23 wins and 14 losses. The hosts from San Francisco have been clinical in their last game as they managed to outplay the strong Utah Jazz. Steph Curry was once again one of the most valuable players for his team, while Andrew Wiggins finished off with 25 points and took the Man of the Match award. The Heat, on the other hand, have been looking at a 5-game winning streak before losing to the Sacramento Kings in their last meeting in the NBA. They have been quite shorthanded recently, but at the end of the day, they found a way to snatch the much-needed victories in most cases. I think that we might see a surprise here and that’s why I will stay away from picking a winner. However, I will go with the option for “under points” as I expect a nervous matchup with plenty of contested shots.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Under 217 (-112)
The Golden State Warriors continued to prove they’re the best team in the NBA. One week after they knocked off the Phoenix Suns, they pretty easily took care of the Utah Jazz on New Year’s Day, winning 123-116. They have Draymond Green returning from COVID protocol, and it seems like Klay Thompson’s long-awaited return is imminent. This team is so impressive on both sides of the ball, and they’re only growing stronger. They’ll have a tough matchup on Monday night as they face off against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams in the Miami Heat.
🔥 Ömer: 22pts, 16rebs
🔥 Tyler: 22pts, 5rebs & 4 3PM
🔥 Jimmy: 21pts, 6rebs & 5asts
🔥 Caleb: 15pts, 6rebs, 2 asts & 2stls
🔥 Kyle: 14pts, 12 asts & 5rebs pic.twitter.com/r70K4odHqp
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 3, 2022
Miami’s resilience has been inspiring, as they’ve continued to fight despite having an array of injuries and COVID issues since the beginning of the season. They’ll need to continue that resilience against the Warriors on Monday as they’ll be without Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson and Dewayne Dedmon. Luckily, they should have Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and Tyler Herro, which sometimes seems like all they need. Even at Chase Arena, I expect this tough Heat team to give the Warriors a good run, but in the end home-court advantage and the Heat missing key players, should be enough for the Warriors to grab another big win.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -8.5 (-110)
This matchup, on paper, is set to be the best matchup of the night in the NBA, and assuming both are reasonably healthy, I think we’re in for a great game, and one that could potentially be a preview of the NBA Finals come early June. We know that Golden State is without Klay Thompson, who is nearing a return from injury, but with Draymond Green having just cleared protocols, it looks as if Klay is the only player out for Golden State. They’ve been the best team in the league even without Klay, largely led behind the phenomenal play of Steph Curry, and I don’t think that stops here.
Miami looks as if they will also be nearly completely healthy, apart from missing Bam Adebayo, who’s still trying to return from injury. They’ve worked their way through injury and Covid issues already this year, as they’ve seen Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry all miss time at different points this season. Despite these challenges, they’ve continued solid play, and currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, which is certainly something to keep an eye on as the season progresses, as I think they have a very real chance of winning the East. As for this one, I think going all the way across the country to take on the best team in the NBA proves to be a bit too much for this Heat team, especially without Bam in the lineup, so give me Golden State to win a reasonably tight one at home, but I do think the Warriors -8.5 is a touch too high.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat +8.5 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.