The NBA has an eight-game Friday night slate for us sports bettors to chew on, opening up plenty of opportunities to cash in to start the weekend.
The Suns and Pacers face off for the second time in a week, this time in Indiana with the Pacers still trying to get Pascal Siakam acclimated to the team's up-tempo offensive attack, but won't have Tyrese Haliburton. Find out below how we are looking to bet that marquee matchup as well as the Hornets vs. Rockets game and Magic vs. Grizzlies game!
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Best NBA Bets for Friday, January 26th
- Hornets (+5) vs. Rockets
- Suns vs. Pacers OVER 243
- Magic (-6.5) vs. Grizzlies
Rockets vs. Hornets Prediction and Pick
The Rockets have been a brutal road team all season, posting a -7.4 net rating away from home all season, which includes a 4-15 record overall. Now, the Hornets are one of the league's worst teams, but I can't trust Houston laying more than a couple of buckets to win on the road.
Both offenses have struggled for most of the season, but zoom into January and you'll see that the Rockets are very similar to the Hornets, posting an effective field goal percentage of 52%, which slightly outpaces Charlotte's 51.3%.
The Hornets have been picking up its play of late with Miller starting to emerge as a consistent threat to pour in buckets, I'm going to ride with the team in better shape over the last handful of games and take Charlotte to cover the big number as home underdogs.
PICK: Hornets +5.5
Suns vs. Pacers Prediction and Pick
The total is high, which is expected for both of these teams, but I can't help but go over this mark.
Even though the Pacers will be without Haliburton, the acquisition of Siakam gives the unit a playmaker who can lift the offense to maintain above-average efficiency. Meanwhile, the defense continues to be a big concern and the Phoenix offense should expose that flaw.
The Suns are starting to look like the offensive firepower we expected this season, the team is third in effective field goal percentage this month at over 59% as the team has its 'Big 3' of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal on the field for extended minutes.
Given that the Pacers are playing at the fastest pace in the NBA, there will be plenty of possessions for both teams and I expect each team to clear 120 points.
I'll take the over on Friday night.
PICK: OVER 243
Magic vs. Grizzlies Prediction and Pick
The Magic have been way ahead of expectations this season, firmly in the postseason mix through the halfway point of the season.
Orlando's defense is starting to regress a bit but is still top five in points allowed per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. However, the unit is 10th since January 1st, but I believe some of that is because the team played a difficult schedule of late and the defense may round into form against the Grizzlies, who are 23rd in points per 100 possessions since the start of 2024.
This should be a good landing spot for the Magic, who haven't played since Monday, a blowout loss to the Cavaliers on the second half of a back-to-back, against a Grizzlies team that is struggling to field an offense with enough firepower to keep up.
Look for Jackson to take the matchup of Banchero, but for that to open up a big night for the likes of Franz Wagner, who is starting to get ramped up after missing more than two weeks with an ankle sprain. Wagner has scored 19 points and 17 points in his first two games while shooting 50% from the field in less than 30 minutes.
I'll lay it with Orlando on Friday night, the team has too much talent for the banged-up Grizz to keep up, even at home.
PICK: Magic -6.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.