NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Friday, December 9th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 9, 2022 08:23 AM
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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: 25-31 | Units: -7.02 | ROI: -12.97%

Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets (-6.5, 228.5)

Dejounte Murray is out for the next two weeks and John Collins is still out with an ankle injury, so the Hawks are being stretched pretty thin at this point. There is always the question of what a team is when a key cog goes out, and if the numbers we have to this point tell us anything, it is that Atlanta is going to struggle to defend. In the possessions when Trae Young is on the floor without Murray the Hawks are outscored by 9.0 points every 100 possessions because of defense which is giving up 1.224 points per possession. Bogdan Bogdanovic will certainly help them defensively, as will DeAndre Hunter who could come back tonight, but in both cases these are guys still working their way back from injury and not the same defensive presence they can be at their peak. Bettors will likely see some poor defensive efforts from this team in the short term with Murray sidelined.

Meanwhile, as I wrote about the other night in this column, Brooklyn’s defense is on thin ice with plenty of indicators that it will regress and we saw glimpses of that in the win over Charlotte on Wednesday. The Nets gave up 1.221 points per possession in non-garbage time in a high-scoring affair that went Over the total by 15 points. Brooklyn also showed its ability to put forth efficient offensive performances against lesser defensive teams in that game with an average of 1.274 points per possession. They should get another of those lesser defensive opponents tonight in the Hawks without Murray.

This all leads to a play on the Over tonight. Brooklyn is still the second best Under team in the league at 61.5% of their contests going Under the closing total. However, there is plenty to point to that would suggest that is going to correct itself. Much like Wednesday we have an opponent that lends itself to a higher scoring affair, so I will continue to test this theory.

Play: Total Points Over (229)

Milwaukee Bucks (-1, 223) at Dallas Mavericks

Dallas is playing much better basketball and the results are starting to come. The Mavericks are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games, and they have outscored those opponents by 11.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. It would seem to be the time to play on them as opposed to against them, but I will take my shot against them here tonight with Milwaukee.

The Bucks are finally healthy, with Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo all expected to be on the floor tonight and none receiving an injury designation of any kind. Dallas really has no physical matchup for Antetokounmpo on the floor, and one of the areas of the floor it has struggled with defensively is rim protection. Opponents shoot 69.4% within four feet against the Mavericks this season, and Milwaukee not only takes 33.5% of their shots at the rim but they hit 67.9% of those shots. The Bucks are also great offensive rebounding team that has grabbed 29.0% of its missed attempts this season, and the Mavericks have had trouble at time keeping teams off the offensive glass.

Play: Bucks (PK)

Best Bet Recap

Hawks/Nets OV (229)

Bucks (PK)

The Rest

New York Knicks (-4, 224.5) at Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte showed some fight in its attempted comeback in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and the team improved to 6-2 ATS in its last eight games with the cover. The oddsmakers seem to be at a low point with its rating of the Hornets and this game was another example of that before a market correction this morning. The opening line of Knicks -4 would tell us there is a 7 or 7.5 point difference between these two teams on a neutral floor, and that is not the case and the market did the right thing in pushing this down to 2.5 this morning.  

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (-4.5, 232)

Tyrese Haliburton is back from a two-game absence due to injury, but now the injury report is crowded with other role players for Indiana. Myles Turner and Isaiah Jackson are questionable to play tonight, and if neither can play tonight that would mean the Pacers playing without their top two centers. Washington is also dealing with its own injury issues though. Bradley Beal will not play tonight, and both Will Barton and Kristaps Porzingis are questionable. Porzingis would be a big loss for the Wizards should the Pacers be thin up front, because he and Kyle Kuzma are the driving forces behind this team’s ability to rebound as well as it does. There has been no move side or total in this contest as of this morning, likely because of the injury situation.

Toronto Raptors (-6.5, 220.5) at Orlando Magic

The Raptors have been very poor away from home this season, posting a 3-9 SU/4-7-1 ATS record in enemy territory with a -3.0 net rating in non-garbage time. However, the betting market does not seem phased by that small sample size trend, as this line is up -8 at most shops. From a matchup standpoint this does seem to be a game that plays into the Raptors’ hands. The Magic turn the ball over on 16.6% of their offensive possessions this season, the second highest turnover rate in the league, and the Raptors lead the league in defensive turnover rate (17.5%). Toronto is also brilliant at turning those turnovers into points, as it leads the league in points added per 100 possessions through transition offense off steals (+3.2). 

Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers (-2.5, 223.5)

Anthony Davis and LeBron James are probable tonight, so Los Angeles will have a shot at getting back on track tonight against Philadelphia. The 76ers have dropped their last three games both SU and ATS largely due to an offense which has been very inefficient. Since Joel Embiid’s return Philadelphia is averaging just 107.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. However, James Harden is back from his injury and in his second game back one would expect some more offensive efficiency from the 76ers tonight. As a result, this total is up to 227 consensus, a massive move from the opening total this morning. 

Sacramento Kings at Cleveland Cavaliers (-6, 225.5)

Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox are questionable for their respective teams which means this game is somewhat impossible to handicap before clarity on their status. This total has dipped to 223.5 on the market, but that is mostly due to injury status of both stars. Should both be active tonight expect this total to reach its opening number, if not higher.

Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies (-10, 227.5)

The young Pistons continue to show some growth, and they enter this game against the Grizzlies on a 9-2-2 ATS run in their last 13 games. However, the betting market seems to buying into Memphis a bit more. This number is up to 10.5 consensus this morning, and it makes sense given the recent 5-1 SU and ATS run the Grizzlies come in on, and their strong 10-2 SU/9-3 ATS record at home. Steven Adams is questionable to play tonight, and should he miss this game this number could get just below 10 as he is an important piece for their defense.

Phoenix Suns (-1.5, 227) at New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans will not have Brandon Ingram or Herb Jones tonight, and Jose Alvarado is questionable to play. Having said that, they still have CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas, so it seems odd to see them catching points at home. A dive into the numbers for that trio does reveal that when they share the floor without Ingram they have only managed 1.024 points per possession and it would make sense as there are not many shot creators left without Ingram. This is one of those lines that made no sense at the open, but the market has moved in the direction of Phoenix this morning.

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