Friday, December 27

Detroit Pistons vs Washington Wizards, 11 am
Wizards +6.5

The 11-20 Pistons host the 9-20 Wizards in this one, currently laying 6.5 points. These two sides are a lot closer than that line would suggest and I’ll gladly take Washington plus the points.

Detroit have been a nightmare for punters to bet on all season, only covering 11 out of 30 games. They’re below .500 at home, while Washington has a solid 10-7 road record against the number.

The Pistons are also dealing with a few key injuries here, particularly in their backcourt. Luke Kennard has already been ruled out, while both Derrick Rose and Bruce Brown are questionable with lower leg injuries.

Even Blake Griffin was listed on the injury report for this one, currently listed as questionable with an illness. At the very least, this is a freeroll for Wizards backers that likely hasn’t been factored into the line.

The Bryant and Bertans injuries are a negative for Washington, although neither of those players would fit this matchup well. I expect the Wiz to go for an up tempo approach here and they can put up points on this inconsistent Detroit defence.

This has the makings of a pretty even game that should be close late. Getting 6.5 points is too good to pass up and likely opens up hedging opportunities late on.

Sacramento Kings vs Minnesota Timberwolves, 2 pm
Kings -4.5

The 12-18 Kings host the 10-20 Wolves in this one, currently laying 4.5 points. Minnesota has looked absolutely dreadful of late and I’m keen to fade them again here.

First and foremost, Karl Anthony Towns is still on the injury report with a knee injury. He’s missed the last fortnight and I can’t see him playing here.

Even if he did come back, I’d imagine he’d be both limited and on a minutes restriction. To compound their injury woes, both Jake Layman and Shabazz Napier are expected to miss this one.

After their relatively poor start to the campaign, Sacramento have also looked much better of late. They now have a positive ATS record on the season and are a respectable .500 at home.

Minnesota have lost each of their last 11 games and haven’t looked particularly competitive while doing so. This is the final game of their 4-game Christmas road trip and I can see a bit of a letdown here as they look forward to going home.

The Kings enter this one almost fully healthy after the return of De’Aaron Fox. Their recent record hasn’t been great, but a lot of this was due to a relatively tough 5-game road trip. Especially if KAT doesn’t play, I think they’re great value at this modest 4.5 number.

Thursday, December 26

Philadelphia 76ers vs Milwaukee Bucks, 6:30 am
76ers +3

The 22-10 Sixers host the 27-4 Bucks here, currently getting 3 points as an underdog. This line has moved 2 points from the +1 opener and I see some value on Philly.

First and foremost, they’re one of the best home teams in the NBA. They’ve compiled a 15-2 record at the Wells Fargo Center, compared to just 7-8 on the road.

I also really like the matchup for them in this spot. Milwaukee may be the deeper of these two sides, but Philly have more top-end talent.

Everything in Milwaukee centres around Giannis and the Sixers are one of the teams best geared to stop him. Al Horford has had immense success guarding him in the past, while Embiid is protecting the rim at elite levels.

This Philly team is also excellent at guarding the perimeter. They’ve got a very switchable starting five and should be able to limit the Bucks from 3. If they can limit Giannis inside and take away the 3, I expect them to do enough offensively to win outright.

I think these two sides are closer than this line would suggest and the Sixers have a decent shot at winning here. That said, I’ll gladly take the 3 points of insurance at the current line.

Denver Nuggets vs New Orleans Pelicans, 2:30 pm
Nuggets 1st Half -5

The 21-8 Nuggets welcome the 8-23 Pelicans here, currently laying 9.5 points. New Orleans has been a dumpster fire all season and I just don’t see them hanging with Denver here.

While the Pelicans finally appear somewhat healthy, it’ll take some time for these guys to adjust to playing together. They’ve had almost no success on the road all year, going just 4-12 straight up and only 5-11 against largely inflated spreads.

On the flipside, Denver continues to be one of the toughest places to play in the NBA. They’ve compiled an impressive 13-3 home record, building on their breakout season last year.

In addition to being a very deep team, they’ve also had some fortunate injury luck so far. They enter this clash essentially fully healthy, allowing them to play up tempo in the altitude.

Despite having such a stellar season, the Nuggets still aren’t getting a ton of attention from the national media. In the Christmas night cap game, I expect them to come out very motivated to run up the score in the first half, before the east coast go to bed.

The full game line of 9.5 also seems appealing, but the better value play is the first half line if you can get it -5 or less.

Tuesday, December 24

Orlando Magic vs Chicago Bulls, 11 am
Magic -4

The 12-17 Magic host the 12-19 Bulls here, currently laying 4 points. This Magic team has looked good with their starting 5 healthy and I think they win and cover here.

Orlando have been very respectable at home this season, going 8-6 compared to 6-9 on the road for Chicago. They’re also just 11-14 ATS, which is partially why I think they’re undervalued.

I think they’ve got a noticeable talent edge on the wing with guys like Fournier, Gordon, and Isaac. Chicago has been really injured in this area all season and I expect this matchup advantage to allow Orlando to control the game.

I also think the Magic have a very strong coaching edge, with Steve Clifford over Jim Boylen. He should be able to exploit these advantages and maximise their chances of winning, particularly against Boylen’s curious rotations.

While it isn’t an ideal spot for Orlando, both sides have a pretty sizeable break before their next game. I think their talent advantage wins out here and they cover a relatively modest 4-point spread.

Miami Heat vs Utah Jazz, 11:30 am
Heat -4.5

The 21-8 Heat host the 18-11 Jazz, currently laying 4.5 points. Miami have been the better team thus far and also have a favourable spot here, making this line seem appealing.

Utah are in their final game of a relatively successful road trip and fatigue could easily be an issue here. I can see them struggling to score against Miami’s stout defence, particularly with Mike Conley slated to miss this one.

The Heat have also been one of the best home sides in the NBA, compiling a 12-1 record thus far. They’ve covered in 11 of those 13 games, yet don’t appear to be too overvalued judging by this line.

They’ve also got the best player on the floor in this matchup in Jimmy Butler, who should enjoy some success against Utah’s poor defensive wings. Bam Adebayo has quietly emerged as one of the best bigs in the NBA and I’d expect him to contain counterpart Rudy Gobert here.

Miami is a versatile and well-coached team that has been outstanding at home this season. Given the injury to Conley and Utah’s road struggles so far, I don’t see them keeping it to 4 or less in this one.

Monday, December 23

OKC Thunder vs LA Clippers, 11 am
Thunder +2.5

The 14-14 Thunder host the 22-9 Clippers here, getting 2.5 points as a home underdog. Given their impressive recent form and the expected resting of Kawhi, I like them to pull off the upset here.

OKC have moved into playoff position out West, winning 7 of their last 10 games. They’ve also been a strong side for punters to back all year, going 17-11 ATS.

They’re essentially fully healthy for this one, with only fringe rotation player Hamidou Diallo set to miss. They’ll have a full three days of rest until their next game, meaning they can afford to give the starters more minutes here.

For the Clippers, this is essentially a textbook letdown spot. They had a big win in San Antonio last night, allowing Kawhi to get a modicum of revenge.

I’d expect him to sit this one out, really putting the pressure on PG against his former side. They’ve got a huge Christmas day matchup with the Lakers, so I could see them being somewhat distracted here.

OKC have been getting especially good play from their backcourt of late, which I see continuing here. They’ve got every chance of pulling off the home upset, but I’ll gladly take them with 2.5 insurance points.

LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets, 1:30 pm
Nuggets +6

The 24-5 Lakers host the 19-8 Nuggets here, laying 6points as a home favourite. I dislike the travel spot for LA here and will take the Nuggets plus a relatively handy margin.

The Lakers return here from a gruelling 5-game road trip, still adjusting to being back on West Coast time. By contrast, Denver have just had a 5-game homestand and enter this clash very well rested.

The injury report also suggests that LeBron is doubtful to play here due to a muscle strain. His absence would be huge and negate LA’s only real advantage over Denver.

This is also a great opportunity for Denver to get revenge after suffering a home loss to the Lakers earlier this month. They were actually favoured in that game, which indicates how much the market has shifted in the last 3 weeks.

If either LeBron or AD is limited here, I’d expect LA to have a tough time against this well-rounded Nuggets side. I actually see this line going down significantly before tip-off, so I’d monitor the injury report and back them at this healthy spread ASAP.

Sunday, December 22

New York Knicks vs Milwaukee Bucks, 11:30 am
Knicks +13

The high-flying 25-4 Bucks stroll into New York to take on the 7-22 Knicks, laying a whopping 13 points. This is a huge letdown spot for Milwaukee and I would expect the Knicks to keep it relatively close here.

After playing a high-profile TNT home game against the Lakers, playing the lowly Knicks is a bit of a step down. The Bucks know they’ve got a huge talent edge here and will only need to string together some good late minutes to win.

Despite having generally been atrocious all year, the Knicks are still above .500 ATS. I think the market continues to undervalue them, handing them generous spreads at home like this.

This is the front end of a back-to-back for Milwaukee, playing division rivals Indiana at home on Monday. Both Giannis and Wes Matthews are day-to-day on the injury report and could easily sit here.

New York’s primary weakness is clearly the backcourt, where Milwaukee have no real studs either. The Knicks have a bevy of big Power Forwards, who should be able to combine together to somewhat limit Giannis.

With 80% of the early action on Milwaukee, I think the smart money will ultimately end up on the huge underdog Knicks here.

San Antonio Spurs vs LA Clippers, 12:30 pm
Clippers -5.5

The 21-9 Clippers travel to San Antonio, laying 5.5 points against the 11-16 Spurs. Given Kawhi’s connection to the franchise, I’d expect a strong effort from LA here, which should lead to a road win and cover.

The Clippers are finally in good shape on the injury report, with all of their main rotation guys ready to play here. This is only the first game of their road trip, so I don’t see fatigue playing a major role either.

I also really like the motivation edge for the Clippers here. They had a relatively poor loss at home to Houston last time out and they’ve only lost consecutively once all year.

They also suffered a defeat in San Antonio earlier this season, a loss I’m sure they’re determined to right. Not to mention the implications of Kawhi’s return, who is undoubtedly happy with how he was treated in 2017-18.

I also think the Spurs are an atrocious matchup for the Clippers, especially on the wing. They’ve just got no-one to go up against Kawhi and PG, who should really be able to dictate the game here.

The guard duo of Beverley and Shamet has also looked defensively of late, which bodes well against San Antonio’s deep backcourt. Laying just 5.5 points here, I’d expect a professional road performance from this veteran squad.

Saturday, December 21

Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards, 11:30 am
Wizards +6.5

The 8-18 Wizards travel to face the 19-8 Raptors, getting 6.5 points as underdogs. Given the brutal injuries Toronto are facing, I’m going to take the points with the Wiz here.

Toronto was already a relatively thin side, but these injuries appear to have decimated them. Star Forward Pascal Siakam is out indefinitely with a groin injury, while Marc Gasol is slated to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury.

Their guard depth will also be tested, with injuries to both Powell and VanVleet that could keep them out here. Compare that to a Washington side that is essentially fully healthy and I think they’re undervalued getting 6.5 points.

This will be Toronto’s first full game without both Siakam and Gasol, which will really test their frontcourt. Washington have looked much better on the interior of late and I can see them having real success against backup options.

With Siakam out, Washington’s Brad Beal edges Kyle Lowry as the best player on the floor here. He also has a real favourable matchup, likely spending plenty of time against 3x Champion Pat McCaw.

As the injury news keeps coming out, I only see this number going in Washington’s favour. Get in now at +6.5 and you’re essentially getting a freeroll.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Dallas Mavericks, 12 pm
76ers -8

The 20-9 Sixers host the 18-9 Mavericks here, laying 8 points. Philly are the healthier and more talented team here and I expect them to both win and cover in this one.

They’re a very impressive 14-1 at home this season, that lone loss coming last time out to Miami. As such, I expect them to be very motivated here to put in a complete performance and come out with the win.

Dallas just aren’t the same team without star Forward Luka Doncic, who is very likely to miss this clash. They don’t have an offensive focal point without him, which should prove costly against an elite Philly defence.

On the flipside, Dallas aren’t much of a defensive juggernaut either. They’re particularly weak on the interior, and I love how the duo of Embiid and Horford match up here. Philly also have a strong advantage on the wing, with both Simmons and Harris having strong offensive advantages.

I also like the contrarian angle for Philly, with only 28% of punters backing them here. While the Mavs looked great with Luka, they’re definitely a below average side with him out.

Laying just 8 points, I’d expect a relatively comfortable Sixers win here.

 

Friday, December 20

Milwaukee Bucks vs LA Lakers, 12 pm
Bucks -4.5

This looks like one of the better matchups of the season thus far, with both sides leading their conferences at 24-4. The Bucks are laying 4.5 points here, and with Anthony Davis’ status up in the air, I like them as home favourites.

This is a pretty awful situational spot for the Lakers, playing the fifth and final game of this road trip. They looked fatigued in a loss to Indiana last time out and energy could be hard to come by again here.

Davis is also questionable here, having missed the game against Indiana with an ankle injury. If he can’t go or isn’t 100% in this one, the Lakers will really struggle to contain Giannis.

On the flipside, Milwaukee has played just once since Sunday and is playing their third straight game at home. They had a disappointing defeat to Dallas last time out and I know they’ll be focused on making amends here.

I like several of their matchups here, especially with their spacing against the Lakers bigs. This one should definitely be played at a high level, but Milwaukee have more than enough talent to cover 4.5.

San Antonio Spurs vs Brooklyn Nets, 12:30 pm
Spurs -2.5

The 10-16 Spurs play host to the 15-12 Nets here, laying 2.5 points. I think San Antonio are somewhat undervalued in the market after their awful start and will look to back them at a relatively small number here.

Brooklyn enter this clash very banged up, with their projected starting backcourt of Irving and LeVert both out here. This puts a ton of pressure on backup Spencer Dinwiddie, who defences can now focus in on. They struggled without the two of them last time out, barely edging an overtime win over a poor New Orleans side.

The Spurs have been one of the worst sides for punters to back this season, going just 7-18 ATS. They’ve been especially atrocious at home, only covering the number 3 out of 14 times.

I think that a lot of this is just negative variance and that these guys are in the process of turning things around. If you’re looking for undervalued teams, this could be the perfect candidate before they go on a run.

This is still a fairly deep side, especially on the perimeter. Against a banged up Nets backcourt, I think their depth and energy could really prove crucial here. Especially under the key number of 3, I’m liking another home win for Pop and the Spurs.

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.

Wednesday, December 18

Charlotte Hornets vs Sacramento Kings, 11:30 am
Hornets +4.5

The 12-14 Kings travel to the 12-17 Hornets laying 4.5 points. I think the spot really favours Charlotte here and will gladly take them as home underdogs.

Sacramento have moved into playoff position in a surprisingly weak west, going 16-10 ATS this season. I think this has overvalued them in the market, especially against a Hornets side that is feisty at home.

It isn’t an ideal spot for Sacramento, with this being the first game on their East Coast trip after a cross-country flight. NBA players tend to struggle in their first game in a new time zone and I see that playing into Charlotte’s hands here.

There is also expected to be a few changes to the Sacramento rotation entering this game. De’Aaron Fox is slated to return from injury, which changes a lot of what the Kings will do offensively. While this will definitely benefit them long term, the short-term adjustment period could lead to some offensive struggles here.

Charlotte are returning home here after a relatively brutal road trip. Their home/road splits are definitely noticeable and I’d expect a more motivated effort here. Especially with the return of Marvin Williams, I also really like where they’re at from a health standpoint.

Ultimately, I think the Kings are somewhat overvalued laying this many points on the road. Charlotte definitely has a chance to win here, but the 4.5 is great insurance if they lose close.

Utah Jazz vs Orlando Magic, 1 pm
Jazz -5.5

The 15-11 Jazz host the 12-14 Magic here, laying 5.5 points. Although this is definitely a major public play, I’ll also back Utah as the home favourites.

They’ve been atrocious ATS this season at just 10-16, which has undervalued them in the eyes of a lot of bettors. They still possess one of the best home court advantages in the NBA, as their 10-3 record this season would indicate.

While they’ve struggled against a few of the top sides, they’ve generally got the job done against weaker teams. With Mike Conley projected to return here, they’ll essentially have all hands on deck to get the job done.

Although they’re still in the East playoff picture, I really haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Orlando this season. Their offence seems to struggle almost every game, which doesn’t bode well against an improving Utah defence.

This also isn’t an ideal spot for them, in the midst of their West Coast road trip. They’ve got a back-to-back in Denver tomorrow, which could result in them throwing in the towel if the margin gets too big.

At just 5.5 points, this line suggests Orlando would be favourites at home against Utah. I think this Jazz side is more talented than that and expect them to register a home win and cover here.

Tuesday, December 17

Detroit Pistons vs Washington Wizards, 11 am
Wizards +5.5

The 7-17 Wizards travel to the 11-15 Pistons here, getting a 5.5-point head start. I like the look of Washington as road dogs in this one, particularly due to the injuries on Detroit.

Both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are questionable for this one, having dealt with a variety of recent ailments. They are comfortably the two best players on the Pistons and would present a matchup advantage if fully healthy.

With the two of them likely to be limited, the Wizards improving frontcourt could enjoy some success here. Rui Hachimura is enjoying a stellar rookie season, while Davis Bertans has emerged as an excellent bench shooter.  

I also like the edge for Washington on the perimeter here, with Bradley Beal easily the best wing in this contest. Detroit don’t have a lot of bodies to put on him, which could lead to a solid day for the Wizards’ offensive hub.

The Wizards have been in pretty poor form all month, which has somewhat undervalued them in the betting market. These two sides are quite similar in talent, especially with Detroit’s limited frontcourt.

Going through the key number of 5, I’ll take the points with Washington in what projects to be a close one late.

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs, 12 pm
Rockets -10

The 17-9 Rockets play host to the 10-15 Spurs here, laying 10 points. Given what happened between these two sides a fortnight ago, I like the revenge angle with Houston as road favourites.

These two teams played on December 4th, with San Antonio winning a controversial overtime game that Houston later protested. Now playing the reverse fixture at home, I can almost guarantee we see a motivated Houston side here.

This is compounded by the fact that Houston had a relatively poor loss to Detroit at home last time out. While they’re one of the more talented teams in the NBA, motivation has proven an issue at times. This is something that simply won’t be a factor tonight and I’m not sure the market has taken this into account.

This is also quite a favourable matchup for Houston, given San Antonio’s horrendous defence this season. Russell Westbrook is slated to return here and I’d expect big outings from both him and James Harden in this one.

Fatigue could also play somewhat of a factor, with San Antonio having gone to OT in each of their last 4 games. They needed a huge effort from Patty Mills to beat Phoenix last time out, one that I can’t see being repeated here.

10 points seems like a lot on the surface, but Houston is comfortably the more talented team playing at home. Combine that with the motivation edge and I like them to win convincingly here.