Last Updated Jan 16, 2023, 8:15 PM

MLK Day Picks, Predictions, Odds

Although the NFL Playoffs will take center stage on Monday with the Cowboys-Buccaneers wrapping up the Wild Card round, the NBA is offering up a great holiday slate. 

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day card has nine games with the action starting at 1:00 p.m. ET in Charlotte and concluding at 10:30 p.m. ET in Los Angeles. 

Seven of the nine games will be conference battles and four of those will be divisional matchups. The opening odds have two teams installed as double-digit favorites, which includes the hottest team in the league in Memphis, winners in nine straight games. 

The Grizzlies are laying 10 points to a short-handed Phoenix Suns team in their matchup today. For what it’s worth, Memphis owns the worst record in the NBA on MLK Day. 

Listed below are the straight up records on all 18 teams when playing on the holiday, in order of winning percentage.

All-Time MLK Day Records

  • Golden State Warriors 20-9
  • Atlanta Hawks 21-10
  • New York Knicks 23-13 
  • Los Angeles Lakers 32-19 
  • New Orleans Pelicans 10-7
  • Boston Celtics 14-10
  • Utah Jazz 11-10 
  • Minnesota Timberwolves 13-12 
  • Washington Wizards 16-15
  • Phoenix Suns 9-11  
  • Indiana Pacers 11-14 
  • Miami Heat 7-9
  • Milwaukee Bucks 10-13 
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 8-11 
  • Charlotte Hornets 10-14 
  • Houston Rockets 12-17
  • Toronto Raptors 7-11

Let’s handicap the nine-game MLK Day slate! 

Boston at Charlotte (NBA TV, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 32-12
ATS: 24-19-1
Road: 15-7
Last 5: 5-0

Overall: 11-33
ATS: 18-23-3
Home: 5-15
Last 5: 1-4

H2H Notes: Boston has gone 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 encounters with Charlotte, which includes a pair of double-digit victories. The Celtics captured a 140-105 blowout victory on Nov. 28 as 11-point home favorites and they ran the Hornets again this past Saturday with a 122-106 win and cover as eight-point road favorites.

VI Best Bet: Hornets +8.5

It’s never a sound decision to fade the best team in the league against a cellar dweller, especially a Hornets team that is the worst in the NBA versus the number at home (6-14 ATS). However, Charlotte shouldn’t lack confidence knowing that it hung with Boston on Saturday for a half but poor shooting and depth caught up with the team. The afternoon matinee spot won’t be easy for Boston and it does face a look-ahead spot with Golden State coming to Massachusetts on Thursday. 

Indiana at Milwaukee (League Pass, 2:30 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 23-21
ATS: 26-18
Road: 8-12
Last 5: 2-3

Overall: 27-16
ATS: 22-19-2
Home: 14-7
Last 5: 2-3

H2H Notes: The Bucks are 8-0 in their last eight matchups against Indiana, with seven of those victories coming by a distant margin of 8+ points. The last time the Pacers beat Milwaukee was February 12th, 2020. Which was a matchup Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t participate in.

VI Best Bet: Over 228.5

Antetokounmpo is expected to be back in the lineup for this matchup and we believe the Milwaukee offense will get rolling after getting stifled to 102 and 95 points last week in Miami. The Pacers play super fast and defense is optional, especially without its top player in Tyrese Haliburton. Although Milwaukee owns a 23-20 ‘under’ mark this season, the ‘over’ has connected at a 67% clip (14-7) at home.

New Orleans at Cleveland (League Pass, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

New Orleans
Overall: 26-17
ATS: 22-21
Road: 9-12
Last 5: 2-3

Overall: 27-17
ATS: 21-20-3
Home: 18-4
Last 5: 2-3

H2H Notes: The Pelicans are 7-1 SU in their last eight matchups against Cleveland. However, the most recent meeting between these squads resulted in a 93-90 victory for the Cavs, though. Take that outcome with a grain of salt, though. The Cavs are a very different team this season, and the Pelicans were without their stars in that contest.

VI Best Bet: Cavaliers -6.5

Backing a team in the first game back from a long road trip isn’t the best handicap but Cavaliers are coming off a tough loss at Minnesota and we expect them to get right here. Cleveland owns the second best home record (18-4 SU, 13-7 ATS) in the NBA and that form should continue here. The Pelicans wrap up their road trip here and are also off a win. We mention that because New Orleans is 0-3 both SU and ATS in its last three off a victory. No back-to-back wins here for the Pelicans as the Cavaliers get the win.

Toronto at New York (League Pass, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 19-24
ATS: 21-22
Road: 5-13
Last 5: 3-2

New York
Overall: 25-19
ATS: 24-18-2
Home: 11-11
Last 5: 4-1

H2H Notes: The road team has captured each of the first two matchups this season, each winning in the underdog role. Pascal Siakam torched the Knicks for 52 points in a late December 113-106 triumph at the Garden as two-point ‘dogs, marking the fourth win in the last five meetings for Toronto. However, New York picked up revenge at Scotiabank Center on January 6 in a 112-108 victory, as each matchup hit the Over. 

VI Best Bet: Knicks -3 (-110)

This is a tough spot for New York playing on the second half of a back-to-back, but at least the oddsmakers are offering a generous price given the circumstances. The Knicks are red-hot at the moment, they’ve now won 14 of their last 20 games, and six of their last seven. While on the other hand, Toronto has been trending down as of late. The Raptors own a record of 8-15 since December 1st, and they’ve now lost 12 of their last 18. So, your safest option is probably laying the short number at home with New York against this struggling Toronto squad.

Golden State at Washington (League Pass, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Golden State
Overall: 21-22
ATS: 19-23-1
Road: 4-17
Last 5: 1-4

Overall: 18-25
ATS: 18-22-3
Home: 11-9
Last 5: 1-4

H2H Notes: The Warriors have struggled against Washington over the last few seasons, highlighted by Golden State’s lackluster record of 2-4 against the Wizards since the 2019-20 season. Last year’s regular season series resulted in a 1-1 split, with both teams earning a victory on their respective homecourt by a comfortable margin of 8+ points. 

VI Best Bet: Wizards (+2.5)

It’s hard to trust this Golden State in any capacity away from Chase Center, winning just four times in 21 opportunities, coming off Sunday’s loss at Chicago. Klay Thompson is sidelined today, while the Warriors own a 1-4 ATS mark the last five games, all as a favorite. Washington has also lost four of five, but is 3-1 SU/ATS the past four in the role of a home underdog.

Miami at Atlanta (TNT, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 24-20
ATS: 18-24-2
Road: 10-11
Last 5: 4-1

Overall: 21-22
ATS: 17-26
Home: 11-9
Last 5: 3-2

H2H Notes: The Heat are 6-1 in their last seven meetings against Atlanta, and the only matchup the Hawks won during that span came by a slim two-point margin back in last January (110-108).

VI Best Bet: Heat -1.5 (-110)

The Heat posted a surprisingly shaky 12-15 skid to open the season, which is why they’re currently positioned seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 24-20. However, Miami certainly hasn’t looked like a middle of the pack team as of late. The Heat are now 12-5 in their last 17 games, while ranking Top 10 in the league in net rating during their latest stretch (3.5 NET Rtg). So, Miami shouldn’t have too much trouble on the road against a Hawks squad that’s ranked 24th in the league in net rating across their latest  8-12 skid (-3.0 NET Rtg).

Utah at Minnesota (League Pass, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 22-24
ATS: 25-21
Road: 8-16
Last 5: 2-3

Overall: 22-22
ATS: 19-25
Home: 14-9
Last 5: 4-1

H2H Notes: The Jazz are 4-2 in their last six matchups against Minnesota, which includes a 3-1 mark in last year’s regular season series. However, since the departure of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, they’ve posted a 1-1 split in two meetings with the Wolves.

VI Best Bet: Jazz +2.5

The Wolves have won five consecutive games at Target Center, including rallying past the Cavaliers as a home underdog on Saturday. However, Minnesota has been favored only four times in the past 19 games and has already lost at home to Utah this season. Utah’s rally against Philadelphia fell short in Saturday’s home loss, but the Jazz own a solid 7-2 ATS mark in its last nine games in the role of an underdog.

Phoenix at Memphis (TNT, 6:00 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 21-23
ATS: 22-22
Road: 7-16
Last 5: 1-4

Overall: 29-13
ATS: 21-20-1
Home: 18-3
Last 5: 5-0

H2H Notes: The Grizzlies are 3-1 in their last four matchups against Phoenix, and two of those victories came on the road in the Valley. So, the Suns will certainly have their work cut out in Memphis on Monday, having lost five straight road games.

VI Best Bet: Grizzlies -10.5 (-110)

This is just an unfortunate situation with two teams trending in entirely opposite directions. Phoenix is beat up and tired heading into Monday’s contest. Devin Booker and Chris Paul remain sidelined for the Suns, and nine of Phoenix’s last 11 games have been played on the road, resulting in a record of 2-9 across their latest stretch. While on the other hand, Memphis has looked like a team on a mission since posting a relatively pedestrian 10-8 start to the season. The Grizzlies are now 19-5 in their last 24 games, and they enter Monday having won nine straight. So, they’ll probably handle business with relative ease against a Suns squad that’s lost five of their last nine contests by a margin of 9+ points.

Houston at L.A. Lakers (NBATV, 10:30 p.m. ET)

Matchup | Expert Picks

Overall: 10-33
ATS: 18-24-1
Road: 4-19
Last 5: 0-5

L.A. Lakers
Overall: 19-24
ATS: 19-23-1
Home: 10-10
Last 5: 2-3

H2H Notes: Prior to the latest meeting between these teams, L.A. had won six straight matchups against Houston, with four of those victories coming by a distant margin of 9+ points. However, in their latest affair, the Rockets finally got back over the hump with a 139-130 overtime victory over the Lakers.

VI Best Bet: Lakers -6.5

For the first time in 12 games, the Lakers are actually listed as a favorite. Both teams are playing with no rest as the Rockets were blown out in the fourth quarter by the Clippers on Sunday, while the Lakers were edged by the 76ers. The Lakers own a perfect 4-0 SU/ATS mark as a favorite of five points or more, while facing a Houston team that has dropped 15 of its past 16 games, while covering just three times in this span.

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