Thursday, December 19

Denver Nuggets vs Orlando Magic, 1 pm
Nuggets -9

The 17-8 Nuggets host the 12-15 Magic here, laying 9 points in this one. Given that this is an atrocious spot for Orlando, I’m inclined to go with the home side here.

Orlando played in Utah last night, leading late on before ultimately losing and not even covering the spread. Denver is a brutal place to travel on a back-to-back, largely because of the location and the altitude during games. Compare that to a Denver side that has had two full days of rest and is expected to have all key players available.

The Nuggets continue to be one of the best home sides in the NBA, going 11-3 at the Pepsi Center thus far. They are just 11-12 ATS on the season, making me think they’re a little undervalued in the market.

In addition to the poor spot, this just isn’t a good stylistic matchup for Orlando either. They’ve struggled on offence all season and I can see a poor night on deck for their backcourt here. Nikola Jokic also has a very favourable matchup against the defensively poor Vucevic.

Denver has impressed at home of late and I expect more of the same here. This has the makings of a flat spot for Orlando, meaning the Nuggets should take it by double digits.

Dallas Mavericks vs Boston Celtics, 1:30 pm
Celtics -1.5

The 17-7 Celtics travel to the 18-8 Mavs here, actually laying 1.5 as a road favourite. I think the Luka injury gives Boston a huge edge on the wing, which is my primary reason for backing them.

The Mavs have been incredibly reliant on Doncic all season and are severely outmatched without him here. Tatum, Brown, and Hayward all have the potential to go off here against the undermanned Mavs wings.

With guys like Tim Hardaway and Seth Curry getting big minutes, Dallas have also struggled a lot guarding on the perimeter. This is problematic against a creative guard like Walker, who will likely control this game throughout.

This is also a relatively good spot for Boston, who haven’t played a game for the last 6 days. They enter this clash refreshed and well-rested, motivated after a loss to Philly last time out.

Dallas have had a few emotional games of late, losing to Miami in OT before beating Milwaukee on the road last time out. It could easily be a flat spot here against a Celtics team that certainly won’t take them likely.

We’ve evolved into an era where wing players are some of the most important in basketball. Without Luka, Dallas are really overmatched in that department, which is why Boston should cover a modest 1.5-point spread here.