Playing two NBA favorites on a Friday night: Best bets for Jan. 6

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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant reacts during the final seconds of the team's NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Chicago. The Bulls won 121-112. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, Jan. 6:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA, Brooklyn Nets -4 at New Orleans Pelicans

The odds/bet: -112

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Our take: The Pelicans are 17-4 at home and one of the deeper teams of the league, so the fact that two stars are both out injured isn’t as crushing as that news would be for most teams.

In this particular game, though, New Orleans is going to miss Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe) more than most. The Brooklyn Nets just had a 12-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night against Chicago, and they’ll be looking to start a new one here behind the healthy star-studded duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Since Jacque Vaughn took over as Nets coach for Steve Nash, Brooklyn has been one of the better teams in the league on both offense and defense, so even though the Pelicans’ depth is admirable, they’re going to run into problems when the Nets’ stars are on the floor. The Pelicans’ advantage will be in the paint (over 10.5 rebounds for Jonas Valanciunas is a nice value, even at increased juice), but it won’t be enough for Brooklyn to avenge a season-opening loss against the Pelicans when Nash, Williamson and Ingram were all on the floor.

NBA FRIDAY NIGHT

The play: NBA, Timberwolves -4.5 vs. Clippers

The odds/bet: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9 p.m. (NBA LeaguePass)

Our take: We made some money betting on the Celtics to bounce back after an embarrassment last night, but this time we’re going to fade the Clippers, who were humiliated in a road blowout at Denver on Thursday night.

For one thing, it’s a back-to-back, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George haven’t typically played for L.A. in those situations (they’re both listed as questionable for this one). But even if the stars do play, the Clippers are a hot mess. They are just 5-14 against teams with winning records, including just 1-5 when George and Leonard both play, and though the Timberwolves aren’t a winning team at the moment, Minnesota is going to be desperate to continue its own momentum. The Wolves have won two straight and are creeping back into the playoff picture.

One more stat: The Clippers are 3-8 when they lose the turnover battle, and Minnesota forces the sixth-most turnovers in the NBA. At home facing a team on the SEGABABA (second game of a back-to-back), Minnesota should win the turnover battle and the game going away.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

Men’s college basketball: Purdue money line over Ohio State (WON)

NBA: Celtics -2 over Mavericks (WON)

Thursday’s record: 2-0

Total for the week: 6-2

Total for January: 6-4

Total for 2023: 6-4

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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