NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for December 30th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 30, 2022 08:34 AM

Welcome to the daily NBA best bets page, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to the Hardwood Handicappers podcast!

All game lines via the VSiN NBA odds page

*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back

**Lines are opening numbers

Best Bets

Record: 32-40 | Units: -9.11 | ROI: -11.73%

Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets (-4.5, 223.5)

Miami has found some success in the win column recently, but the market is still too high on it from a power rating perspective. The Heat come into this game 6-2 SU in its last eight games, but they are only 4-4 ATS over that same stretch, showing a clear overrating by the betting market. However, the team closed as favorites in seven of the eight matchups during this run, and the role of underdog could serve as an opportunity for Miami to cover a number. Denver recently split a two-game set in Sacramento, with the final game snapping a five-game winning streak. The Nuggets are still a poor defensive team that allows 115.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and the Heat can still defend at a high level themselves. Miami is also healthy, with the only notable player on the report tonight being Caleb Martin. With Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry on the floor Miami has a +8.0 net rating in non-garbage time, and they are averaging 117.1 points per 100 possessions. Since all three will be on the floor tonight I will be on the Heat.

Play: Heat (+5)

Portland Trail Blazers (-2.5, 231) at Golden State Warriors

Golden State has taken advantage of its current homestand, coming into this game 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three games. The Warriors’ defense has been the driving force behind this run, limiting their three opponents to 101.9 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. It will have to come to play tonight against Portland, which brings the 10th best offense in the league into this matchup. Should the Warriors struggle to defend tonight the Trail Blazers could be in good position to take this game outright. Golden State might have won the first three games of this homestand due its defense, but the offense has still struggled immensely, averaging just 110.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. It leads me to look at the road favorite here. The Warriors’ run here is built on a one-sided attack, and the offense has shown no signs of growth since losing Stephen Curry. It is likely the Trail Blazers will find some success here, and if that happens I do not believe the Warriors have what it takes to keep pace.

Play: Trail Blazers (-2)

Best Bet Recap

Heat (+4.5)

Trail Blazers (-2)

The Rest

Washington Wizards (-7) at Orlando Magic

Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter, Gary Harris, Mo Wagner and RJ Hampton are all out tonight serving a league suspension that was handed down after Wagner’s altercation with Killian Hayes on Wednesday. Chuma Okeke and Jalen Suggs are already out due to injury, so Jamahl Mosley is going to have a pretty thin depth chart tonight against Washington. Key guys like Paolo Banchero, Bol Bol and Markelle Fultz will play, but the bench will be a big weakness for the Magic tonight. There are only a few numbers out there on this game, as books are struggling to figure out what to do with the suspensions for Orlando. Given the noise around this game it is easy to scratch off the list. 

Phoenix Suns at *Toronto Raptors (-2.5, 225)           

Toronto was smoked by Memphis last night in a 119-106 loss at home, extending its current home losing streak to 0-4 SU and ATS. Fred VanVleet missed the contest with back soreness, and Precious Achiuwa remained sidelined as well with the ankle injury suffered in November.  It’s unlikely either are available tonight. Phoenix is dealing with a cluster of injuries to its backcourt, and tonight it will be without Devin Booker, Cam Payne and Landry Shamet. Injuries aside, this does seem like a spot for the Raptors to bounce back. Over the last month the Suns’ defense has disintegrated, giving up 119.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. Phoenix has been particularly poor in transition defense, ranking 26th in opponent points added per 100 possessions through transition (3.8) and 24th in overall transition defensive efficiency (132.4). 

Los Angeles Lakers at Atlanta Hawks (-7, 237.5)

LeBron James is questionable to play with an ankle injury tonight, and if he cannot go that changes everything for Los Angeles. Without James on the floor on Wednesday the Lakers were held to 1.054 points per possession in a loss to Miami. Their defense has suffered since the loss of Anthony Davis to injury, but it is in even worse shape without James as well and that was apparent when the Heat put 1.204 per possession. James is also vital tonight given the absence of Clint Capela for Atlanta. Without its primary rim protector the Hawks would be very vulnerable facing an offense that puts pressure on the rim more than any other team in the league. Trae Young is back on the floor after missing the Hawks’ loss to the Nets on Wednesday, but this matchup is all about James. If he plays, this number will obviously drop and Los Angeles becomes a playable side.

Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls (-7.5, 229.5)

Like Orlando, Detroit is dealing with the fallout of the altercation between Killian Hayes and Mo Wagner, but not to the degree the Magic are. Only Hayes and Hamidou Diallo are out tonight due to suspension, and Marvin Bagley is questionable with injury. Hayes’ absence will hurt the flow of this offense, as he is second on the team in assists per game (5.4), but the Pistons will need to defend at an adequate level if it wants to cover this number. Detroit is 29th in non-garbage time defensive rating (118.6), and outside of Bojan Bogdanovic it has no real defensive options for DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine. Chicago could be without Derrick Jones Jr., Patrick Williams and Coby White tonight, but they still have enough to grab this win. This line was bet up to 8.5 consensus and its easy to see why given the play of Detroit on defense this season, but that number is unplayable as of this morning. 

Minnesota Timberwolves at Milwaukee Bucks (-5.5, 229.5)

At first glance it seemed the betting market was selling the betting market was selling Milwaukee short on the overnight opener of 5.5 and bettors have seemingly agreed with this line now 7.5 consensus this morning. However, the absences of both Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton kept me from jumping in on the opening number. When neither Holiday or Middleton are on the floor the Bucks are outscored by 4.0 points per 100 possessions. Their offensive rating of 106.6 in those possessions ranks in the 7th percentile of qualified lineups, which is obviously extremely poor. Should we really be rushing to lay points with that group? 

Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans (-1.5, 227)

Philadelphia had its winning streak snapped by Washington on Wednesday, but the market is back in the saddle by making them a road favorite here against New Orleans and it’s not a move I disagree with. The Pelicans will not have Brandon Ingram or Larry Nance Jr. tonight, and Herbert Jones is questionable to play, as this is the front of a back-to-back and he is making his way back from COVID protocols. The 76ers have been great at forcing opponent turnovers this season, ranking fourth in defensive turnover rate (16.2%) and they should be able to do so again tonight against the Pelicans which rank 20th in offensive turnover rate (15.0%). Philadelphia is also uniquely equipped to handle the likes of Zion Williamson, with both PJ Tucker and Joel Embiid on defense, and they have De’Anthony Melton to hound CJ McCollum. With the addition of Tyrese Maxey, who is returning from injury tonight, it's easy to see why we have had a flip of favorites here.

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