Don’t look now but we’re already covering December basketball. The NBA continues its action-packed start to the season, with an impressive 11 games on this Saturday slate. This is headlined by some excellent matchups, including Portland playing host to Denver in a Northwest showdown. Houston will be looking to get their season back on track as they make the short trip to San Antonio, whilst the Lakers will be looking to take care of the upstart Mavericks at home. In another exciting day of NBA action, let’s preview our 3 best spread bets and favourite daily multi on the board.
The Nets enter this one at 8-14 after losing each of their last 4 games. They’ve struggled to generate consistent offence in Caris LeVert’s absence, with D’Angelo Russell shooting just 6/25 last time out. Center Jarrett Allen continued his strong sophomore season with another double-double, supported capably in the frontcourt by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Spencer Dinwiddie continues to emerge as one of the NBA’s premier backup Point Guards, averaging 20 points and 5 assists over his last 5. Against the gritty style of Memphis, I can see the Nets struggling in this one.
The Grizzlies make the trip to Brooklyn having lost each of their last 3 games to sit at 12-8 on the season. This included their most recent loss to Toronto, where they faded heavily in the second half. Center Marc Gasol led the way in this one with 27 points, however he did suffer an injury that makes him a game-time decision in Brooklyn. Point Guard Mike Conley also continued his strong start to the campaign, adding in an efficient 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. The recent return of Power Forward JaMychal Green has aided Memphis, the big man averaging 10 points and 7 boards over his last 5 games.
Prediction: Grizzlies Moneyline at $1.86
I expect Marc Gasol to be fit to play in this one, making $1.86 for the Grizzlies to win excellent value in my opinion. I don’t see Brooklyn managing to score enough points on their strong defence, whilst Conley and Gasol do enough on offence to break this 3-game slide and claim a road win.
The Heat enter this one as one of the more disappointing teams in the NBA, losing 5 of their last 6 to find them at 7-13 on the season. They clearly miss injured Point Guard Goran Dragic, as the offence has struggled mightily of late. Center Hassan Whiteside is having one of the better seasons of his career, averaging 14 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. Shooting Guard Josh Richardson has also emerged as a solid offensive piece, averaging 20 points and 4 rebounds on 42% shooting from 3 this season.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans rebounded from 4 straight losses with a home win over Washington on Thursday and currently find themselves at 11-11. Center Anthony Davis is having a typically excellent season, averaging 27 points, 13 rebounds and a shade under 3 blocks per game. He is capably supported by vastly underrated Point Guard Jrue Holiday, who is putting up averages of 20 points, 9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game himself. Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle have complemented Davis to form one of the better frontcourt rotations in the association.
Prediction: Under 229.5 points
With the Heat struggling to generate reliable offence of late, I’m confident in the under here. Pelicans games tend to be higher scoring, but I expect their strong interior defence to shut down Miami here. Ultimately, I expect this one to end around the 215-220 range.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland enter this one at 13-8, having lost their last 3 games before Thursday’s win over Orlando. Point Guard Damian Lillard came to the Blazers rescue in this one, dropping an impressive 41 points and 8 rebounds, a performance that included 10 made three-pointers. Center Jusuf Nurkic was also strong on the interior, putting up 16 points, 13 boards and 5 assists. Even Nik “Sauce Castillo” Stauskas got in on the act, adding 18 points and 5 made-three pointers off the bench. Against a tough Denver side, Portland will need to lift their level here.
The 14-7 Nuggets have looked very strong of late, comfortably winning each of their last 4 games. They enter this one off the back of Wednesday’s demolition of the Lakers where they won by 32 points. Power Forward Paul Millsap led the way in this one, his 20 points and 11 rebounds overpowering the Lakers interior. Guards Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley also added 20 points of their own in what was a very strong team display. With Gary Harris expected back for this one, I’m really starting to like the look of this Denver side.
Prediction: Nuggets +2.5
To me, the Nuggets are simply the better team here. Portland have struggled to find form lately, failing to cover in each of their last 5 games. I expect this trend to continue here and predict the Nuggets to actually win outright, making me very comfortable taking the +2.5.
Another strong night of fixtures means there are several excellent candidates for the daily multi. The Celtics and Thunder are at home against two of the worst teams in the NBA and should really be locks here. Similarly, the Pistons and Sixers match up very well at home against lesser opponents and should comfortably get the job done. Ultimately, this is a relatively low–risk 4-leg multi with a very appealing payout.