Friday, December 6

Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers, 11 am
76ers -6.5

The Wizards have gotten off to a predictably poor start to the season, sitting 12th in the East at 6-13. Compare that to a Philly side that has looked the part all year, finding themselves in 4th at 15-6.

The Sixers opened as 6.5-point favourites in this one, getting the lion’s share of the early action. Especially with how terrible Washington have been defensively, I’m going to back Philly as road faves here.

Washington are probably even worse than their poor record would suggest. They’ve picked up wins against some of the dregs but struggled mightily against strong sides like the Clippers, Nuggets, and Lakers.

Philly are just a terrible matchup for them, primarily due to their ability on the interior with Horford and Embiid. Their perimeter defence is equally as bad, which could mean a big evening for Aussie Ben Simmons.

The strength of the Wizards is definitely their offence, although I don’t see smooth sailing against this elite Philly defence. They should struggle at the rim and will need to rely on abnormally strong outside shooting to compete here.

This is also a relatively good spot for Philly; playing their first game on the road after a few days off. The injury list is fairly light, with Josh Richardson the only rotation player expected to miss.

Overall, I’d expect Philly to dominate on both ends of the floor, with a particularly strong day from Embiid. Especially under the key number of 7, I like them to win and cover here.

Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets, 11:30 am
Raptors -2

Toronto have been as good as anyone expected this season, racing out to a 15-5 start. Houston are also going relatively strong out West, sitting nicely in 5th with a 13-7 record.

The Raptors are currently listed as 2-point favourites in this one and I like them to cover this relatively small line. They’ve been excellent while undermanned of late and the recent returns of Lowry and Ibaka should be very helpful.

Their defence has been outstanding recently and I think they match up quite well with the duo of Harden and Westbrook. They’ve got several solid wing defenders on the roster and will likely force Westbrook to shoot from deep here.

They also enter this clash relatively well rested, playing the third and final game of this homestand. An overtime loss to Miami last time out may actually help them here, as they’ve been 4-0 following a loss thus far.

Although Houston have a solid 13-7 record, most of their damage has come against some of the NBA’s dregs. They’ve struggled against better opponents, losing recently to the Nuggets, Clippers, and Mavericks.

It also isn’t a great spot for them, getting on the flight from Houston to Toronto after a gruelling Overtime loss. They enter this clash almost completely healthy, but we’ll see how Capela responds to getting 45 minutes in his first game back.

Ultimately, I think Toronto has a great home court, solid coaching edge, and several key matchup advantages here. Especially in such a high-profile game, I think they put on a show and get the win and cover.

Thursday, December 5

OKC Thunder vs Indiana Pacers, 12 pm
Pacers +1

The Pacers have quietly been a very effective team this season, compiling a 13-7 record thus far. Things haven’t been as good in OKC, although some decent recent form has them at 8-11.

The Thunder are 1 point favourites in this one, getting roughly 40% of the early action. I’m going to go with the public in this one, taking Indiana as small road underdogs.

On a day where there are a ton of back-to-backs and injury concerns, there is a fair amount of certainty in this matchup. Neither side is dealing with any major injury (aside from the pre-season Oladipo one) and both enter this clash relatively healthy.

Where I see the advantage for Indiana here is on the interior. Although they haven’t been perfect defensively, Turner and Sabonis is a very strong offensive duo.

Both possess solid outside shooting range and should bring Steven Adams out of the paint. This will in turn open up driving lanes for Brogdon and Lamb, both of whom have impressed in the early-going.

I also like Indiana’s depth and see a clear advantage for their second unit here. The Holiday brothers and McDermott have formed a nice offensive trio, which should work well against OKC’s Schroeder led bench unit.

This is a relatively even matchup but I think the Pacers have the matchup advantages and closers to get the job done here. 1.5 points is nice insurance, although the outright win may be better value.

Chicago Bulls vs Memphis Grizzlies, 12 pm
Grizzlies +6

The Bulls have been awful in the early-going, managing a 7-14 record despite a cakewalk schedule. Things admittedly haven’t been any better in Memphis, who actually enter this contest at only 6-14.

Nevertheless, I still intend to take the Grizzlies here, getting a relatively healthy 6 points. This is a terrible spot for Chicago, their first game back home after an extended West Coast trip.

Their body clocks are completely out of sync and they’re likely vulnerable to begin this homestand. They’ve also been terrible after a win this season, an indicator that Jim Boylen probably isn’t doing a great job.

I’ve backed the Grizzlies a lot this season but they’re often catching some big spreads and they tend to play very hard. They’ve got some definite matchup advantages here, especially on the interior against a weak Bulls frontcourt.

They also enter this clash largely healthy, with both Valanciunas and Anderson expected to return here. I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Ja Morant in the early-going and he has a favourable matchup against Chicago’s terrible perimeter defence.

I don’t anticipate Memphis being too fatigued here, with this being the first game of their road trip and a relatively short flight. This should give them a noticeable energy advantage, allowing them to push the pace in transition.

While Chicago is probably the slightly better side, the situational spot really favours Memphis in this one. I think they’re very live underdogs here, but the prospect of 6 points is too good to ignore.

Wednesday, December 4

New Orleans Pelicans vs Dallas Mavericks, 11:30 am
Pelicans +4

Dallas are looking like one of the better sides out West this season, moving to 4th spot with a 13-6 record. New Orleans have dealt with some difficult injuries all year and find themselves 14th in the conference at 6-14.

The Mavs are 4-point favourites in this one after getting 80% of the action at the 3.5 opener. I think the Pels are again becoming fairly undervalued in the market and I’ll take them plus the points again here.

Despite a myriad of injuries, I actually think New Orleans matches up quite well with Dallas here. This is especially true in the backcourt, with Holiday, Redick, and Lonzo providing solid resistance.

The Dallas offence is essentially completely reliant on Doncic and the Pels have a few defenders that can capably guard him. Both Holiday and Lonzo are great defenders for their position, while Ingram can provide a different look if needed.  

Dallas are also primed for a letdown spot, heading out for the lone game of this road trip after an emotional win over LA. Given their record, the Pels are a team they could easily overlook here in what should be a close game.

Especially with all the action on Dallas, I like the contrarian angle of fading them at the peak of their value. The Pelicans are certainly capable of winning outright here, but the 4 points on offer provide great insurance if they can’t.

Denver Nuggets vs LA Lakers, 1 pm
Lakers +2

The Lakers have gotten off to a very impressive start to the season, winning 17 of 20 games to sit in 1st place. Denver have also looked good for large stretches, sitting just behind with a 13-4 record.

The Nuggets have opened as 2-point home favourites in this one, with even betting action on both sides thus far. Even in the altitude, I like the matchup for the Lakers here and will take them +2 points.

If you had to point out one weakness on this Denver side, it’d be their ability to guard elite wings. Torrey Craig and Will Barton have provided decent spot minutes, however neither player is equipped to handle LeBron. This either gives him the chance to dominate one-on-one or open the offense up by taking double teams.

On the flipside, the Lakers are one of the teams best equipped to contain Nikola Jokic. Anthony Davis remains an elite interior defender and is probable to play here after dealing with a shoulder injury. Neither are spectacular players, but I also expect JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to really limit him on the boards.

I also like the motivational spot for the Lakers, coming off a relatively disappointing loss to Dallas. They’ve proven to be very good after losses this season, going on extended winning streaks after both previous L’s.

Ultimately, I think the Lakers are the better of these two sides and they possess the two best players on the court here. I expect a big night from LeBron to propel them to victory, although I’ll gladly take the 2-point insurance.

Tuesday, December 3

Philadelphia 76ers vs Utah Jazz, 11 am
Jazz +5.5

The Sixers have had a fairly impressive start to the season, opening the campaign 14-6. Performance hasn’t been as consistent for Utah, who now find themselves just 12-8.

Philly now find themselves 5.5-point favourites in this spot, getting 70% of the action thus far. I think this is a bounce-back spot for the Jazz here and will look to take them plus the points.

Despite their stellar 14-6 record, Philly have had the luxury of a relatively easy early schedule. Their recent form has also tailed off somewhat, evidenced by very narrow wins against New York, Sacramento, and Indiana.

They also aren’t fully healthy for this game, with Josh Richardson expected to miss this one. Not only does this worsen their shooting, it also takes away one of their best defensive options on Donovan Mitchell.

Given that Philly tend to dominate on the interior, coming up against Rudy Gobert is a far from ideal matchup. I expect him to contain Embiid in the post, meaning the big Cameroonian will need to be firing from deep.

I also see this as a potential rebound spot for Utah; a way to salvage something from a pretty awful road trip. They were walloped by Toronto yesterday and I think they come out with greater energy and motivation as a result.

If Mike Conley can break out of his slump, this has the makings of a side that should be top 10 in both offense and defense. I’m expecting a fairly close affair here and getting Utah through the key number of 5 looks like good value.

Atlanta Hawks vs Golden State Warriors, 11:30 am
Warriors +6

Atlanta have been absolutely dreadful of late, losing 10 straight to fall to 4-16. Golden State have been even worse in an admittedly tougher conference, starting out at 4-17 themselves.

The Hawks are rather substantial 6-point favourites for this clash, receiving 60% of the early money. Much like yesterday, I see decent value in Golden State as road underdogs.

Given how they’ve played of late, I just don’t see how Atlanta can be favoured by 6 here. This is their first game back after a 3-game road trip and I can see them getting off to a sluggish start.

They really lack quality rotation players, with a starting frontcourt of Hunter, Parker, and Jones providing atrocious defense. The interior has generally been a weakness for Golden State this season, but I think they’ve actually got the edge here.

After battling injuries all season, it appears a few reinforcements are coming for Golden State in this clash. Kevon Looney was a useful rotation piece last season and will noticeably improve a weak interior.

Although they played last night, I don’t anticipate the travel and fatigue to be too draining for such a young side. This game appears almost a dead ringer for their one in Orlando yesterday, where they were competitive throughout en route to a cover.

Ultimately, these two teams are very similar and I can see a fairly close game materializing late. Especially getting so many points, I’ll gladly take the contrarian angle with the Warriors here.

Monday, December 2

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics, 7:30 am
Knicks +7.5

The Knicks enter this clash with one of the worst records in the NBA, winning 2 of their last 10 to sit 4-15. Despite slipping of late, Boston are still sitting pretty with a strong 13-5 record.

The Celtics have opened as 7.5-point favourites on the road here, getting 65% of the early action. New York can be a tough place to play in the early Sunday game and I like the look of the Knicks plus the points here.

As bad as their record is, the Knicks are still an above .500 team ATS this season. They’re particularly frisky at home, evidenced by competitive performances against Philly, Brooklyn, Cleveland, and Dallas.

They’re also relatively well-rested here, playing the final game of this homestand after Thanksgiving weekend. The injury list is also rather short, with both Dennis Smith and Marcus Morris expected to play in this one.

Boston have been on a bit of a slide of late, losing 4 of their last 8 and only winning one of those by double digits. They were especially poor against Brooklyn last time out, allowing Spencer Dinwiddie to torch them in a defeat.

They just don’t have the same offensive rhythm without Gordon Hayward and the injury to Daniel Theis further complicates things. Factor in the rest advantage, early start time and key injuries to Boston and New York are good value here through the key number of 7.

Orlando Magic vs Golden State Warriors, 10 am
Warriors +8.5

Despite looking atrocious for large stretches this season, Orlando somehow occupy a playoff spot, even with a 7-11 record. Golden State appear to be pulling off a tank masterclass, with a 4-16 record giving them the inside track to James Wiseman in June.

Orlando open as 8.5-point favourites here, with a slight edge in money coming on the Warriors. I’m not sure how Orlando are 8.5 points better than anyone right now and will look to take the underdog Dubs here.

First and foremost, Orlando are banged up entering this one. They’re without star big man Nik Vucevic and Aaron Gordon is also on a minutes limit. This leaves them incredibly thin on the interior and unable to capitalise on Golden State’s main weakness.

Markelle Fultz has also struggled as a starting Point Guard and this offence has been one of the worst in the NBA. Their outside shooting has been especially atrocious, making it difficult to cover large spreads like this one.

After getting thumped by Miami last time out, I also expect a better performance from Golden State in this one. They’ve been much friskier of late, especially against poor teams like Memphis, OKC, and Chicago. Some of their young players are really stepping up and the defence is becoming much more passable.

Orlando are right to be favoured here, but they don’t have a great home court nor do they have a huge edge on the interior. Expect Golden State to hang around and have this one decided late, which should mean the +8.5 cashes more often than not.

Sunday, December 1

Sacramento Kings vs Denver Nuggets, 9 am
Kings +4.5

The Kings have rebounded after a very rough start, now sitting 9th in the West with a 7-10 record. Denver continue to be one of the NBA frontrunners, entering this clash with a very strong 13-3 record.

The Nuggets opened as 4.5-point favourites in this one and have received two thirds of the early action. I like the Kings as a home underdog in this spot and will look to fade the public once more.

I think this is simply a case of the market undervaluing the Kings. Their start was incredibly poor, although a lot of this was due to the struggles associated with their pre-season trip to India.

Their numbers have been significantly better of late and I think this holds significantly more weight. Buddy Hield has begun to take control of the offence, while their 5-out style could give Denver’s defence some trouble. They also appear to be getting healthier, with only Trevor Ariza joining De’Aaron Fox on the sidelines for this one.

Similarly, Denver isn’t the same team on the road as they are at home. They do have a 5-1 road record this season, although only one win was against an above .500 team.

This is the only game of their road trip at an early start time in a tough arena to play in, an almost perfect recipe for a letdown game. I expect Sacramento to keep this one fairly tight and especially like them with the insurance of 4.5 points.

Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks, 12 pm
Rockets -13.5

Houston haven’t really passed the eye test this season, yet they still sport a respectable 12-6 record. Atlanta barely resemble an NBA team with all their injuries and they enter this clash at 4-14.

The Rockets opened this one as 13.5-point favourites, getting 67% of the early action. I’m going to agree with the public in this spot and lay this gaudy number with Houston.

This is primarily due to Atlanta’s atrocious defence, primarily on the perimeter. A quick look at their starting lineup would tell you that none of these guys are NBA-calibre defenders.

This is extremely problematic against a side like Houston, where Harden and Westbrook should both enjoy field days. Clint Capela likely won’t go here, but this could actually lead to more small lineups for Houston that run Atlanta off the court.

The Rockets also enter this one with a fair bit of rest, with this clash being their only one over a 6-day period. Atlanta likely enter this one very fatigued after a gruelling OT loss in Indiana last night, with most key players getting 40+ minutes.

I don’t see how they compete with the high-scoring Rockets here, especially if Harden and Westbrook look to put on a show. 13.5 points seems like a lot, but this is the type of game that could be over relatively quickly.

Saturday, November 30

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Milwaukee Bucks, 11:30 am
Cavs +11

The Cavs have had a predictably poor season thus far, starting the campaign just 5-13. Conversely, Milwaukee find themselves at the very top of the East, sporting an impressive 15-3 record.

The line opened at Milwaukee -10.5 for this one, with 83% of the early action moving it to 11 points. I really like the contrarian angle in this spot and will happily take the Cavs plus the points here. Despite the poor record, they’ve been very competitive for large parts of the season, especially against strong opponents.

They also enter this one very healthy, with all major rotation players active now that Kevin Love is back. They’re also very well-rested as this is the 4th game of a long 6-game home stand.

Looking at it from Milwaukee’s perspective, this very much has the feel of a trap game. They’re fat and happy from a Thanksgiving feast and this is the lone game of a road trip before they return home.

They know that they only have to turn it on for a quarter to secure the win here and I see a relaxed performance as a result. This is one that is likely fairly close late on, with a Giannis rally that hands Milwaukee the win. I think 11 points is just far too many and you’re better off fading the public in this spot.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Utah Jazz, 12 pm
Grizzlies +7.5

Despite being frisky in a lot of games this season, the Grizzlies find themselves 14th in the West with a relatively poor 5-12 record. Utah have been solid but unspectacular, securing 6th place with an 11-7 mark so far.

Utah are 7.5-point road favourites in this spot, garnering around 60% of the early market action. This is another spot where I see value in the home dog, and I like Memphis through the key number of 7.

Having suffered through a bevy of close losses, the case can be made that this team is much better than their record suggests. They beat this very same Utah team and suffered losses to the two LA teams by a combined 3 points.

They shape up well from a health standpoint, with rookie phenom Ja Morant looking the goods in his return against the Clippers. This is a side that is much better at home than they are on the road, which should prove beneficial here.

I also think this is a great line value spot for the Grizzlies. Teams that play at altitude like Utah and Denver tend to be overvalued on the road, which I suspect is the case here.

Memphis match up very well with Utah on the interior, with Crowder, Jackson, and Valanciunas forming a bruising frontcourt. This will allow them to set the tempo here and keep things competitive with easy buckets.

7 is arguably the most important number in NBA handicapping, especially if we get into the free-throw game late. Memphis are a definite live underdog here, but the current 7.5 on offer is too good to ignore.

Thursday, November 28

Milwaukee Bucks vs Atlanta Hawks, 12 pm
Hawks Total Under 112.5

The Bucks have been as advertised this season, roaring out to an impressive 14-3 start. It has been a disaster in Atlanta thus far, starting out 4-13 in an injury-plagued season.

I’m going with a somewhat unconventional bet here, under on the Hawks team total of 112.5 points. Combine their glut of injuries with Milwaukee’s excellent defence and I don’t see an explosive offensive day coming here.

Atlanta are down a couple of their best players in this one, with both John Collins and Kevin Huerter out for extended periods. Even Trae Young isn’t certain to play here, currently battling a right ankle strain.

Milwaukee are still one of the premier defensive teams in the NBA, particularly against Guards. Atlanta are giving a ton of minutes to guys like Jones, Hunter, and Reddish that just aren’t NBA quality guys right now. This puts even more pressure on an already injured Young against a very stellar Bucks defence.

After giving up 127 points to this lot last time out, I’m sure Mike Budenholzer will have his side raring to go for this one. Their scheme works very well against a team like Atlanta, largely due to their excellent length on the perimeter.

Especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I think we could see some surprisingly low scores today. This game is definitely a candidate to be one of those, especially on Atlanta’s side of things.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder, 2 pm
Thunder +3.5

Portland have been a major disappointment so far this season, winning only 6 of their first 18 games. OKC have been slightly better, but their 6-10 record is nothing to write home about.

Portland opened as 3-point favourites, but a ton of early action has pushed this line out to 3.5. Despite cashing with the Blazers last time out, I’m actually going to fade them here and take the underdog.

The main reason for this is that it’s a terrible spot for Portland. They’ve just concluded a gruelling 6-game road trip and this is their first game back home. Especially travelling coast to coast, that first game almost feels like a road game with the travel involved.

Put simply, they’ve also not been anywhere near where pre-season expectations where. Their lack of depth at the forward positions has been painfully exposed and a guy like Gallinari could have a field day here. Their Center rotation is also very questionable, potentially opening things up for Steven Adams.

Although their record has been poor, their underlying numbers suggest this OKC team isn’t all that bad. They’ve been very frisky in a lot of games this season and done well against below average sides.

Wednesday, November 27

Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers, 12:30 pm
Clippers -2

Both of these sides have been very impressive to start the season, winning a combined 23 games to both occupy spots in the top 4. The Clippers have opened as 2-point road favourites here, garnering 57% of the early action.

I like the Clippers in this spot and expect them to overwhelm Dallas on the road here. The primary reason for this is their strength in depth, even with Landry Shamet out injured.

Doncic has absolutely carried this team offensively and he faces a dreadful matchup here. Kawhi and PG are two of the best wing defenders in the NBA and they’ll be in his face all game.

Playing with relatively weak offensive teammates like Powell and Finney-Smith means LA can just tailor their game plan toward stopping Luka. The Clippers bigs haven’t been great this season, but I’m not sure I trust Porzingis to dominate the matchup here.

While Dallas are looking like an early playoff lock, their schedule has definitely been easy thus far. Only 3 of their wins have been against good teams and I think this somewhat overrates them in this betting market.

This is the front end of a B2B for the Clippers, but I’d expect all of their healthy main guys to play, especially in a nationally televised game. Expect their elite wing defence to limit Doncic here, while Kawhi and PG pace them to a win offensively.

Denver Nuggets vs Washington Wizards, 1 pm
Nuggets -9.5

The Nuggets have roared out to a commanding 12-3 record, currently sitting 2nd in the West. Despite a relatively poor 5-9 record, Washington somehow sit 9th in the porous East.

Denver opened as a 9.5-point favourite here, garnering just 42% of the early action. I think there’s good line value on the Nuggets here and will look to back them at this -9.5 number.

Referring back to Monday, this line is almost identical to Denver’s game against Phoenix. Even with 1-2 injuries, I think that Suns team is probably a few points better than this Wizards one.

Washington have been consistently cashing spread tickets this season, while Denver are still hovering around .500. I think this is making the public overvalue the Wizards and that there could be some good value betting against them on this road trip.

Mired in the inept Eastern Conference, the Wizards have had an absolute cakewalk of a schedule thus far. Denver is on a completely different level, especially on the road at altitude.

I also like the matchup for this Denver side, especially on the interior. Washington have struggled against bigs this season, which isn’t a recipe for success against Nikola Jokic.

Denver are talented, rested, and motivated to retain a top 4 seed in the West. I expect them to handle this inferior Wizards side with ease, winning this one by double digits.

Tuesday, November 26

Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers, 11:30 am
76ers $1.92

Both of these sides have roared out to impressive starts, already registering 11 wins a piece. The game has opened pick ‘em here, with 65% of punters taking Toronto thus far.

I’m going to continue with the contrarian approach here and back Philly in this spot. I think they’re comfortably the better of these two sides, especially with Toronto’s injuries.

While the Raptors have done well without Lowry and Ibaka, their recent schedule has been incredibly kind. The Sixers are a noticeable step up in opponent quality and I can see them struggling here.

I particularly like the matchup for Philly on the interior, with Embiid and Horford likely able to control this one. The Raptors really have only 5 active rotation players, with guys like Hollis-Jefferson and Boucher the first men off the bench.

Kyle Lowry’s absence puts a ton of pressure on Fred VanVleet and I’m not sure he can deliver against this stout Philly defence. Guys like Richardson, Thybulle, and Simmons should be able to limit him, meaning Pascal Siakam will have to carry an even bigger load.

I also like the fact that this is the perfect revenge spot after last year’s playoffs. They suffered a heartbreaking loss in this building in game 7 and will no doubt be looking to rectify that here. Overall, I’m taking the deeper and more talented team with this very even line.

Chicago Bulls vs Portland Trail Blazers, 12 pm
Blazers $1.92

Portland has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA so far, fading to a dismal 5-12 record. Chicago hasn’t been much better, going just 6-11 themselves despite a cakewalk schedule.

This is another game that has opened as a Pick ‘Em, with 60% of the early action on Portland. I’m going to side with the public here and back Portland to win the game at even money.

The main reason for this is the line value on offer. Literally two days ago, the Blazers were 5-point favourites on the road against Cleveland. Against a very similar calibre of opponent, they are now even money in the very next game.

This screams to me that the public is overreacting to their recent poor run of form. They’ve only covered 3 of their last 10 games, but something tells me they’re reaching their nadir in value.

I think they’re comfortably the better of these two sides and their guards should be able to dominate the porous Bulls defence. They also enter this one very healthy, with only Hassan Whiteside a potential scratch.

While it is their 6th game on this road trip, I believe losing the previous 5 actually gives them an edge here. No side wants a winless road trip and I expect we’ll be seeing their best effort in this one. Similarly, the spot isn’t ideal for a Bulls side playing their 3rd in 4 nights after an emotional comeback last time out.

Much like the stock market, I think a lot of NBA handicapping is picking up teams when they’re largely undervalued by the market. After such a surprisingly terrible run, I expect this game to be the first step in the right direction for Portland.