Zach to the Rack: New Year… New Picks – NBA Picks For 1/4/2021

January 4, 2021by Zach Selwyn0
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Zach to the Rack: New Year… New Picks – NBA Picks For 1/4/2021

NBA New Year... New Picks - Trae Young vs. Kevin Knox - Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks

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It’s already January 4th? Where has this year gone? Now that we have sent 2020 to the bench like Pascal Siakam for disciplinary reasons, let’s start this new year with some smart bets to get on the right track.

First of all, my New Year's Eve went extremely well, winning on the Pacers, the Suns, and the under on the Suns/Jazz game. The point total for the Pacers game was 217.5 AND THEY SCORED 218! This is where this sportsbook stuff can drive a man mad – luckily, my other three wins eased that one loss, and I got as drunk as Andy Cohen on CNN before my in-laws fought like they were in the middle of that Hornets-Mavericks brawl. Waking up to a hangover sucks, unless you won big money on the NBA the night before like me. If you keep following my picks, you may wake up with some cash money as well…

But – What the hell is happening in the NBA this year? Please explain to me how the Clippers can beat anybody in the league when they choose but then get blown out by teams when they seem to take a night off? How did the Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets last night? How did the Knicks beat the Pacers and the Bucks? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Look. It turns dark at 4:45 where I live, and even I become fatigued after an entire day of sitting on my ass eating peanut M&M’s while watching the NBA. So perhaps that is what’s happening to these teams? Facing the same team twice in a row gets boring? Back-to-backs? All I know is that right when I’m about to anoint a team “NBA royalty,” they pull a MEGXIT and decide they’d rather go be reality stars instead.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Charlotte Hornets: Philadelphia -7.5 (-120)

Point Totals: Over 219 (-141)

Philadelphia has beaten Charlotte 12 straight times, most recently on Saturday by 15. The point total was 229 (impressive) and Big Ben, Embiid, and Tobias Harris have the Sixers sitting atop the East with a 6-1 record. So, will the streak continue for 13 games? YES. Will they win by more than 9.5 points? Hmmm. Charlotte is 2-1 when the line is between +8 and +11 this year and they stuck with the Sixers most of the last game. But I’m not going to take a risk here. I think the Sixers cover again today. I do think the Hornets may give the Sixers a closer game for three quarters. But then Tobias is taking over and they win by 11.

Instagram haters have been hitting me up daily telling me to put some respect on LaMelo’s name. Look, I LIKE LaMelo – he makes it look effortless and he’s going to be an NBA All-Star someday. But, for now, he’s still a backup point guard, and every time he has the ball I don’t know if he’s going to look like Magic Johnson or end up in a scandal like the Magic Castle. Still, the Hornets can put up a bunch of points at any time. And I think we will see another high-scoring game today like we did Saturday. 219 is a good bet – take the over.

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Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks: Atlanta -6 (-129)

Point Totals: Over 222 (-139)

Back-to-Back games are still hard for any player, even if you’re as cold as “Ice” Trae Young… But sometimes when you’re recovering from an impressive W over the Brooklyn Nets and travel back home, that ice in your veins starts to melt and you end up making some sloppy mistakes. Mistakes are what helped the Cavaliers overcome a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to hand ATL their second loss of the season. The Hawks’ only other loss this year is to the Nets. And that game featured 286 points.

So is this team about as young and exciting as it gets in today’s NBA? Yessir. Young, Hunter, and dunk machine John Collins are capable of getting as hot as the Lou Williams signature chicken wings at Magic City down the street. Do I think they lose back-to-back games? NO. They will win and they will win big, even though the surprise Knicks have what’s still left of Manhattan thinking, “Ehhh, who knows?” But, don’t be putting that Howard Ratner Uncut Gems money on the Knicks just yet…

A 222-point total is plausible, but the Knicks have not been covering their overs this whole season. The Hawks have twice. It depends on the shooting of Trae Young. Inside, the Knicks' defense is anchored by Mitchell Robinson, and their offense, with RJ and Randle, hovers around the 100-110 point mark. So, will the Hawks put up 120-125 points? My guess is YES. Trae Young wants to prove that a loss to the Cavs is not the Hawks’ style. And he wants to blow New York out of the water like that King who wore all that makeup in the play Hamilton. (Are Hamilton references still relevant?) The Hawks win by 13, and they cover the over. Bet on Trae Young to score over 30 points if you can…

There you go, friends. Empty your freezer ‘cause the Ice Trae is about to fill it up on Monday…

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