Thursday, December 31

Brooklyn Nets vs Atlanta Hawks, 11:30 am
Nets -6.5

This is somewhat of a square pick, but I like Brooklyn laying 6.5 points here at home. Both KD and Kyrie are returning from rest here and I’d expect this team to be motivated after consecutive losses.

Atlanta have done well so far, but they’re still expected to be without several key rotation players. Okongwu, Snell, and Dunn will all miss this one, while Capela and Gallinari are both questionable.

The Hawks are already one of the weaker defensive teams in the league and I think they’ll struggle to contain this high-powered Brooklyn offense. If the Nets can contain the dynamic Atlanta guards, they should win this relatively comfortably. The early action has been on Brooklyn, so this line probably goes up before tip-off.

LA Clippers vs Portland Trail Blazers, 2 pm
Clippers -3.5

I’d wait until just before tip-off to make this play to ensure that the Clippers have their full complement here. I’d expect Kawhi to return here, while the rest of the squad hardly broke a sweat in their win over Minnesota yesterday.

This Portland side has historically struggled against teams with dominant wings, which doesn’t bode well here. They bolstered their depth with the additions of Jones and Covington, but they’re heavily outmatched against Kawhi and PG.

The Clippers should be on it here after their disastrous loss to the Mavs, while the Blazers haven’t looked great so far. Given the Lakers were 6.5-point favourites over this Portland side just two days ago, I think there’s solid line value at Clippers -3.5.