We are just past the midpoint of the NBA season, with the trade deadline and the All-Star game coming up in the next couple of weeks. This is the time of the year when the NBA tries to seize the national spotlight because there are two full weeks without pro football before the Super Bowl.

Rivalry week has ended, and many teams are now in a stage of the schedule where travel demands and injury ramifications are taxing the players and reshaping the conference standings.

Look, if you had told your buddies in October that we would be coming off a Monday night in which the Timberwolves and Thunder played to break a tie atop the Western Conference standings, he would have sent you for a brain scan. But that was what we had last night, with Minnesota winning on the road to knock the Thunder into third place, a half-game behind Denver.

Look, the Nuggets and the Celtics still appear destined to meet in the NBA Finals. But Joel Embiid may stand in the way of that happening once the playoffs arrive, even if his knee injury knocks him from MVP consideration.

In the West, we have the Lakers at .500 and the Warriors five games under .500, creating a sense of desperation in California’s two largest cities that may or may not be addressed at the trade deadline.

In the meantime, there are meaningful and meaningless games to be played. We have wagering opportunities abound, based upon the teams that have stayed relatively static in their trends. We go into Tuesday night’s action with the New York Knicks holding the league’s longest winning streak, despite losing their starting center (Mitchell Robinson) and their starting power forward (Julius Randle) to major injuries.

So, let’s put our thinking caps on and look at four of the games on tonight’s five-game schedule. We can ignore the Sixers-Warriors game because we likely will not know until tipoff whether Embiid will play or whether he will sit for a third straight game. Embiid is now the +300 second choice behind Nikola Jokic for MVP on the Betway board, but he will not play the minimum number of games to qualify if he sits out more than five more.

Best NBA Parlay Picks Today – Tuesday, January 30, 2024: 4-Leg Parlay Picks (+1206)

Lakers vs. Hawks Prediction and Pick

Hey, it is fashionable to be down on the Lakers, especially after their 16-point loss in Houston last night in which they surrendered 79 first-half points and let Dillon Brooks mess with their heads again. It has now been six weeks since they won the inaugural NBA Cup. They have not had a three-game winning streak since Dec. 2-7, and they have won only seven road games all season. They are 9-14-0 against the spread as a road team, and they tend to play to the level of their competition. So, despite all that, let’s try not to forget that they posted back-to-back wins against Oklahoma City and Dallas less than two weeks ago. Tonight, they get a Hawks team that has lost four of five. Atlanta got their last victory on a last-second offensive rebound dunk by Saddiq Bey and failed to cover as a 6-point favorite. Atlanta has failed to cover in eight of 10 and five in a row. This line looks too large for an 11th-place team with the East’s second-worst defense.

Leg-1 Parlay: Lakers + 6.5 vs Hawks (-120)

Pacers vs. Celtics Prediction and Pick

Boston had a great fourth quarter to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans at home last night. They take an NBA-best 21-2 home record into tonight’s game against an Indiana Pacers team that is 11-11 on the road but could have Tyrese Haliburton back from a hamstring strain. He is listed as questionable and the All-Star starter usually plays when he has that designation. Indiana was one of only two NBA teams that did not play on Monday night, and the Pacers are 20-11-1 against the spread when playing Eastern Conference teams. This will be their seventh game with Pascal Siakam and it should go down to the buzzer if Haliburton is out there. Again, this line seems too large, even for a powerhouse Celtics team that nonetheless has lost two of its last three home games.

Leg-2 Parlay Pick: Pacers + 8.5 vs. Celtics (-115)

Jazz vs. Knicks Prediction and Pick

Strangely, the Knicks are the team that are coming off a night of travel as both teams play the second night of back-to-backs. The Jazz played in Brooklyn last night and were an abomination. They allowed 147 points to the Nets as Ben Simmons came out of mothballs and had 11 assists in just 18 minutes. Jalen Brunson is probably looking at that game film today and asking Knicks staffers what his personal assist record is. New York is on its best run in several years, and Knicks fans outnumbered Hornets fans in Charlotte last night. On these types of rare occasions, Madison Square Garden has an energy that is electric, and that is the atmosphere we expect tonight. Covering this spread may be a little tricky with Randle out with a separated shoulder, but one of New York’s strong points has been late-game execution. We expect to see that again tonight against a Jazz team that used its starters sparingly last night in Kings County. A Knicks win and a Sixers loss puts New York in third place in the East.

Leg-3 Parlay Pick: Knicks -4.5 vs. Jazz (-110)

Raptors vs. Bulls Prediction and Pick 

Toronto has lost nine of 10 but had one lone bright spot last time out as forward Jordan Nwora, acquired in the deal that sent Pascal Siakam to Indiana, came off the bench for a team-high 24 points. It should not be long before he replaces Thaddeus Young in the starting lineup. The Raptors should use the second half of the season to see how a lineup of Nwora, R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent fares together. At 16-30, they are three games behind Brooklyn for the No. 10 spot, which would put them into the play-in tournament. Yes, in 2024, being 14 games under .500 does not take you out of the postseason picture in Adam Silver’s league. The Bulls are 22-25, good but not great, and it now appears Zach LaVine is going to sit out until the trade deadline. That is a massive missing piece for Chicago. Quickley and Barrett are out for Toronto, however, so there are a lot of key players wearing street clothes. Thus the under.

Leg-4 Parlay Pick: Toronto vs. Chicago under 225.5 (-110)

Put those four picks together, and you have a +1202 parlay, meaning a $10 wager would pay $130.27 without you having to concern yourself with the riddle of whether Embiid’s knee will feel good or bad tonight when the Sixers play Golden State in the late game. Good luck!

Odds are subject to change*

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