Saturday December 29, 2018

Another strong slate of NBA Saturday action awaits us, this time featuring 10 games from across the association. This slate is highlighted by another instalment of the Los Angeles rivalry, as the Lakers and Clippers face off. Charlotte also plays host to Brooklyn in a replay of their epic encounter on Thursday, whilst the NBA-leading Raptors are back in action against Orlando. Let’s take a look at our 3 best bets and the return of the daily multi.

Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls, 11 am
Bulls +6

Washington Wizards

The Wizards enter this one with a pitiful 13-22 record that puts them miles behind pre-season expectations. Point Guard John Wall was solid in defeat against Detroit last time out, pouring in 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Backcourt mate Bradley Beal continued his strong season with 21 points of his own. With their playoff hopes getting bleaker with each passing game, this is one that Washington desperately need.

Chicago Bulls

Chicago enters this one with a poor 9-26 record that will have them picking high in the upcoming draft. Shooting Guard Zach LaVine has been the star man this season, averaging 24 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. Lauri Markannen has also looked solid since his return from injury, averaging 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. In what could be an off-season of change for Chicago, both the Head Coach and front office look like they may leave.

Prediction: Bulls +6

Washington is the most heavily bet side of the day and I really don’t understand why. With none of their bigs healthy and Otto Porter still out, they just don’t have enough NBA calibre players. The Bulls have been frisky as underdogs this season and I expect them to at least keep this competitive.

Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs, 1 pm
1st Half Over 103.5

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets have battled a host of injuries this season, yet still sit 2nd in the West with a respectable 21-11 record. Center Nikola Jokic has been outstanding all year, averaging 17.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. Point Guard Jamal Murray has also stepped up big time, averaging 17.4 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.5 boards per night. When veterans like Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, and Will Barton get healthy, this is a team to watch.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs enter this one off a solid 8-point win against these very Nuggets. Shooting Guard DeMar DeRozan was excellent in this one, going for 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge was also very solid on the interior, pouring in 27 points on 13/19 from the field. Point Guard Bryn Forbes has also stepped up big time of late, scoring at least 15 points in each of his last 4.

Prediction: 1st Half Over 103.5

With a full game total of 214, this halftime line effectively gives us 3.5 points of value. These two sides just played and easily covered this line, combining for 108 first-half points. The Nuggets particularly love to push the pace at home, and I expect a comfortable over here.

best bet
Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers, 2:30 pm
Clippers Moneyline ($2.15)

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers enter this one off a late finish last night in Sacramento. The Absent LeBron James has had a very solid season so far, averaging 27 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists per night. Sophomore Kyle Kuzma has also stepped up big time, averaging 18.1 points and 5.7 rebounds of his own. Brandon Ingram is looking better of late, the Tyga lookalike averaging over 17 points in his last 3 outings.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers come into the LA derby sporting a 20-14 record after a 9-point win over Sacramento last time out. Lou Williams was excellent off the bench in this one, pouring in an efficient 24 points and 6 assists. He was supported capably by running mate Montrezl Harrel, who added 22 points and 5 blocks of his own off the bench. With LeBron out for this one, you have to think the Clippers have the matchup edge here.

Prediction: Clippers Moneyline $2.15

With the Lakers coming off a back-to-back and LeBron James out injured, I just don’t see how the Clippers are underdogs here. Although it’s technically a home game for the Lakers, this is very much a neutral court. $2.15 is great value for a Clippers side that should be around $1.70.

Daily Multi: Raptors/Timberwolves/Thunder
Combined Odds of $2.20

With a bevy of fixtures to choose from, the daily multi makes a return. As two strong road favourites, I expect both the Raptors and Thunder to get it done against inferior opposition. Similarly, the Wolves should be too good at home for the hapless Suns. At around $2.20, this is very solid value.