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NBA Three at 3: Best Bets for Tuesday, January 4

Published on 01/05/2022
By Zachary Cohen
Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas
Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has been a monster in the paint this year.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

We're looking to get 2022 off to a winning start, so check out our best bets for Tuesday, January 4, when the New York Knicks host the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings face the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA's featured doubleheader on NBA TV: 

1. Grizzlies at Cavs - The Cavaliers are 14-3 against the spread when playing against winning teams this season, and they have won those games by an average of 5.4 points per game. Cleveland is also 11-2 against the spread when facing teams that outscore their opponents by 3+ points per game on the year. This is just a very good Cavaliers basketball team right now, and the team will be getting Darius Garland back for tonight's game. Garland has the potential to outplay Ja Morant in this one, and Cleveland also has the edge inside. The Cavaliers have one of the best frontcourts in basketball this year, as Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Kevin Love have all been fantastic. Look for that edge on the inside to play a big role here, and don't be surprised if the Cavaliers look to their jumbo lineups even more than usual in this game. They have a lot of guards and smaller wings out, but that could make them a tough matchup for the Grizzlies. 

THE PICK: Cavs -2.5

2. Suns at Pelicans - The Suns are coming off of a blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets and they have to be feeling pretty good about their chances of picking up two in a row. They will, however, be tested by a Pelicans team that was extremely competitive in the second half of December. New Orleans has now covered in seven of the last 10 games in which the team has been a home underdog, and the Pelicans are also 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games. And while Chris Paul and Devin Booker are surely going to make their marks on this game, the Pelicans should get some good performances out of guys like Devonte' Graham, Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones. Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas is the player to really keep an eye on here. With the Suns being without Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee tonight, the Lithuanian big man has the chance to really dominate this game around the basket. He has been a force in the paint this year and Jalen Smith likely won't be able to match his physicality. 

THE PICK: Pelicans +8.5

3. Kings at Lakers - The Lakers have been showing some signs of life recently, as they have now won three of their last four games. However, the Kings have also done the same and they match up pretty well with this Los Angeles team. Harrison Barnes definitely isn't capable of completely outplaying LeBron James, but he has good size to body him up on the defensive end and will surely hit some open triples on the other end of the floor. That would be big for a Sacramento team that should have a big advantage in guard play in this game. Russell Westbrook has really been an on-court negative for the Lakers all year, and the Kings have guys like Tyrese Haliburton, De'Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell and Buddy Hield in the backcourt. All of them are capable of going off on any night of the week, and they should be able to impact this game in a big way. The Lakers are also just 7-15 against the spread in home games this year, while the Kings are 14-4 against the spread in road games versus divisional opponents over the last three seasons. 

THE PICK: Kings +7.5

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