NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice Friday 12/17


Welcome to the daily NBA betting market report, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, or check out The Edge daily at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.

All game lines via VSiN NBA Odds page.

Market Report for Friday, December 17th

Happy Friday folks! We’ve got a decent slate of action tonight, but COVID and injuries have muddied the waters quite a bit. Make sure to monitor those injury reports and Twitter feeds to get the most up to date information. For those who use it, here’s a link to a list of NBA writers to help you out.

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

**Lines are opening numbers

Miami Heat (-3, 209) at Orlando Magic

Jimmy Butler is still out tonight and Tyler Herro is questionable, but that has not stopped the market from jumping on the opening number here. Herro missed the Heat’s win over Philadelphia on Wednesday, so monitor those reports heading into this contest. Overall, the Heat have done a decent job of staying afloat despite the rash of injuries, going 4-5 SU and ATS with a -3.7 net rating since losing Butler and Adebayo. Their problem has been an offense that is averaging 109.3 points per 100 possessions, but the floor could be raised due the opponent tonight. Orlando is 1-13 SU/6-7-1 ATS in its last 14 games with the worst net rating in the league (-12.2) and defense that is allowing 115.3 points per 100 possessions. The Magic have injury concerns of their own as well, as Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba and Gary Harris are all questionable to play. Anthony is the most impactful piece here. With him on the floor the Magic see their net rating improve by a whopping 19.1 points per 100 possessions! If bettors are to back the underdog Anthony will need to be on the floor.

Denver Nuggets at Atlanta Hawks (-4, 221)

The inconsistency of this Denver team reared its ugly head again on Wednesday in a 124-107 loss to Minnesota. The Nuggets gave up 75 points in the first half and 1.24 points per possession overall while struggling to put up 1.081 per possession on offense. Nikola Jokic went 11-of-16 for 27 points but the rest of the team shot a combined 39.7% from the floor. This has been the theme for Denver all season long, and it makes them nearly impossible to figure out. One would think that if the offense for the Nuggets is going to find some consistency it would be against a below average defense like Atlanta. The Hawks are 3-5 SU and ATS in their last eight due to a defense that is allowing 112.9 points per 100 possessions. Until Bogdan Bogdanovic returns we can expect this to be the theme for Atlanta. The betting market has shown some tepid support for the road team here and I would agree given the mismatch Jokic has over Clint Capela, but I cannot trust in an abysmal supporting cast like the one Denver has. That mismatch, and the poor Hawks defense, is likely why we’ve seen this total spike to 226 at a few shops.

Golden State Warriors (-2.5, 214.5) at Boston Celtics

Golden State comes into this meeting with Boston during a 5-3 SU/3-5 ATS stretch and there is a real chance that ATS slump is extended tonight. Jordan Poole will not play due to being placed in COVID protocol, and his absence could be more impactful than the market realizes. Steph Curry is going to be out there, but its clear this team has limitations on offense, and without Poole tonight those non-Curry minutes are going to be ugly. This season the Warriors average just 0.867 points per possession when Poole and Curry are off the floor, and as a result they are outscored by 21.4 points per 100 possessions! The bench minutes are not going to be friendly for Golden State and I believe that gives Boston quite an edge. The Celtics’ injury report is clean, except for minimal role players, and they are on a solid 5-3 ATS stretch over which their offense is averaging a solid 113.3 points per 100 possessions. It’s been a somewhat difficult road trip for the Warriors, so I will play on the home underdog to get it done tonight.

Play: Celtics (+ 3)

Milwaukee Bucks (-3, 216.5) at New Orleans Pelicans

Giannis Antetokounmpo remains in COVID protocol, as is Bobby Portis, but Khris Middleton is probable to play for Milwaukee tonight. The Bucks delivered in their home game against Indiana on Wednesday, and tonight the betting market is showing its fickle nature. Milwaukee opened -2 on the road against a Pelicans team that was just a 4.5-point road favorite in Oklahoma City the other night. The Bucks offense looked good against the Pacers, putting up 1.233 points per possession by going 14-of-27 from deep in non-garbage time. Against a Pelicans team that allowed 1.122 points per possession and 1.375 points per play in transition to the Thunder the Bucks should be able to find offensive success yet again. The betting market is moving toward the home team here which is not surprising, but it's clear there is an issue in rating this team properly without Giannis in the fold.

Los Angeles Lakers (-1, 223.5) at Minnesota Timberwolves

The list of Lakers who are in COVID protocol continues to grow. Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk are among five players that are caught up in health and ssafety protocol for the NBA. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to play, but it is the Minnesota that is now favored in this contest. After an 0-5 SU/1-4 ATS slide to start December the Timberwolves have won and covered their last two, blowing out the Nuggets last time out. The lack of personnel could be an issue for Los Angeles when the bench takes the floor, but when LeBron James is on the floor without Russell Westbrook the Lakers outscore the opposition by 4.4 points every 100 possessions. In those possessions Los Angeles puts up 116.8 points per 100 possessions, which could be beneficial against a Timberwolves team allowing 115.6 points in the month of December. As usual, remember that these absences are baked into these lines and that often the value is in the short-handed team. That could be the case tonight if the number continues to climb.

San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz (-12, 221)

A win and cover against the Clippers on Wednesday night extended the winning streak for the Jazz to eight straight and they are obviously massive favorites to keep it going tonight. Over the course of this win streak Utah is 6-2 ATS and their dominance has been clear, as they have outscored their opponent by 18.9 points per 100 possessions. The opening number was massive, so it is not surprising to see the betting market come off of that to make this number 11.5 but San Antonio does not come into tonight in great form. The Spurs are 2-3 ATS in the last five games, but more troubling is a defense suddenly getting gouged for 120.0 points per 100 possessions. That is very unlike a team that has been solid in defensive efficiency all season long, and that is not the end of the floor to struggle on when facing the league leader in offensive efficiency (119.5).  

Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers (-2, 227)

Despite better health the results remain the same for Portland. After losses on back-to-back nights at home against Memphis and Phoenix the Trail Blazers are now 0-7 SU/1-6 ATS in the last seven games with a -14.2 net rating. What is most shocking about this slump is that six of those games have been at home and all of them have been in the Pacific time zone. It might seem like all is lost for Portland, especially with the red-hot Hornets coming to town. Charlotte is 3-4 SU but 6-1 ATS in the seven games this month. However, much of it has been due to them catching in every one of those games. A team can post a winning ATS record when they are catching an average of 5.4 points per game, but playing this brand of basketball will not lead to covers for long. Despite the incredible ATS record the Hornets are dead-last in defensive efficiency over this stretch, allowing 123.2 points per 100 possessions. With Damian Lillard on the floor yet again the Trail Blazers should be able to find much better success on offense. It seems like as good a time as any to buy low on Portland.

Play: Trail Blazers (-2.5) 

Memphis Grizzlies (-3, 225) at Sacramento Kings

The Grizzlies are now 9-1 SU/8-2 ATS with a + 18.6 net rating since losing Morant to injury! Now, much of that is due to an insanely soft schedule, but it does not get any tougher with a trip to Sacramento on the docket. The Kings have been ravaged by COVID and come into tonight with five players, including De’Aaron Fox, in protocol. Tyrese Haliburton is also questionable with a back injury and Richaun Holmes is doubtful once again with an eye injury. There is absolutely nothing that makes one want to back Sacramento which is why this line is up to 6.5 at most shops. Once again, I will stress that all of these factors are included in this line, but it would not be surprising to see the betting market drive this up higher by the time we reach tip-off tonight.

Best Bets Summary

Celtics (+ 3)

Trail Blazers (-2.5)

back to news

Live On Air

Streaming Now: The Lombardi Line

play Watch Live radio Listen Live


The Handle: Make sure to look at the NFL schedule before betting. Look ahead games and sandwich spots can lead to teams letting down. View more tips.

James Salinas: Giants (+1.5) vs Seahawks. View more picks.