NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, December 12th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 12, 2022 08:20 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: 27-31 | Units: -5.20 | ROI: -9.26%

Miami Heat (-2, 228) at Indiana Pacers

Miami is at its lowest point of the season right now. The Heat are 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS in their last four games and coming off a home loss to the Spurs as 12-point favorites on Saturday night. It would seem that the wise play is to fade them until their struggles end, but I believe this game to be an opportunity to buy low. Indiana has shown its own issues lately, coming into this contest 2-5 SU and ATS in its previous seven. The problem for the Pacers has been on both ends of the floor. Their offense has regressed and managed just 112.5 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during these seven games, while the defense has given up 120.6 per 100 possessions.

The Heat still have some strengths to their game which they can use to their advantage tonight. Miami ranks third in defensive turnover rate (16.4%) and Indiana turns the ball over on 15.4% of their offensive possessions, the ninth highest rate in the league. The Heat are still a lethal transition team when fully healthy, and with Jimmy Butler on the floor we can expect the usual success in transition on both ends. Miami averages 1.440 points per play in transition off live steals with Butler on the floor, and they only allow 1.143 the other way off live rebounds which is something Indiana’s offense thrives on.

Both teams are struggling heading into this game, but this is quite the discount on the Heat by my numbers. The market is really down on Miami after this recent loss, but the struggles of Indiana should not be discounted either. I’ll lay the 2.5 which is out there at a few shops considering this number should close closer to 4 on the market by tip-off.

Play: Heat (-2.5)

Boston Celtics (-3.5, 227) at Los Angeles Clippers

If we were setting this line with power ratings made before the season began this would be, as some Twitter handicappers would call it, a Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock of the Century of the Week (Shoutout Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Scott Van Pelt). Having said that, this is not the preseason, but that does not mean I won’t pull the trigger on the home underdog tonight.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will play, and even though we have not seen much from them this season when they are on the floor there are signs of this team’s potential. In the possessions with both Leonard and George together the Clippers have a +13.0 net rating, and opponents manage just 102.0 points per 100 possessions. Leonard has also seen his minutes steadily increase and has played 30 minutes in each of his last two games. 

Boston has been a seemingly unstoppable force this season, and I have tried and failed plenty of times in this column to take my shot against it. However, this play is more about Los Angeles than it is about its opponent. There is still plenty of evidence that when this team has its superstar duo, like it does tonight, this is a team to be reckoned with. I will play on that theory tonight.

Play: Clippers ML (+145)

Best Bet Recap

Heat (-4)

Clippers ML (+145)

The Rest

Brooklyn Nets (-6, 228) at Washington Wizards

It seems that Brooklyn is starting to find some consistency. The Nets are 7-1 SU/3-4-1 ATS in their last eight games and their offense is averaging 116.8 points per 100 possessions. Kyrie Irving is starting to settle into a flow, and has averaged 25.7 points on 49.3% shooting from the floor over the course of this run for Brooklyn. It is all positive for the Nets as they get set to meet the Wizards, a team which has been trending in the opposite direction for a while now. Washington is 3-10 SU/3-9-1 ATS in its last 13 games and opponents have averaged 116.4 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time against it. The market has not really budged here on either side or total, but the injury report has some relevance. Monte Morris is questionable to play, and while he is not worth adjusting a line for, Bradley Beal is already out and this backcourt could be extremely thin if Morris cannot go.

*Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies (-7, 229)

This is the second leg of a back-to-back for Atlanta which won on A.J. Griffin’s buzzer-beater last night. There is a chance that the Hawks rest some players like Trae Young or De’Andre Hunter tonight, so until there is an injury report released it is hard to get involved at this point. If Young is on the floor this could be a game worth looking to bet Over the total. In the solo Young possessions this season the Hawks have allowed 119.2 points per 100 possessions and the two games since losing Murray the games have gone Over the total. It is also worth noting that Memphis has been incredible at home this season, going 11-2 SU/10-3 ATS with a +12.3 net rating in non-garbage time.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks (-8, 228)

Luka Doncic will be back on the floor tonight after getting Saturday in Chicago off, and Dallas is looking to snap out of an 0-2 SU and ATS slip up. On the surface it would seem that the Mavericks, which rank ninth in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (115.7) would have a big edge here over the Thunder which have slipped to 19th in defense (113.5). However, one of Oklahoma City’s biggest weaknesses on defense has been its rebounding, and its penchant for allowing offensive rebounds and second chance points. Opponents grab 30.1% of their missed attempts against the Thunder and average 26.6 putback points per 100 missed shot attempts. The Mavericks rank 29th in both offensive rebounding and putback points per 100 missed shot attempts. For those looking to back Dallas there has been a slight adjustment from the first time these two met back in October, when the Mavericks closed as 10.5-point favorites.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-5.5, 223.5) at San Antonio Spurs

The trend of fading San Antonio took a hit as the Spurs won outright in each of its last two games, but the market does not seem to mind as this line has been bet up at most shops. This is a game which I had circled myself, but Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play with leg soreness and has missed the last two games. Mitchell would need to play for this to be a consideration. 

Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers (-5, 232)

When these two teams met on Saturday night they actually played a somewhat slow game despite what the final score would indicate. Both teams had fewer than 100 possessions, but both were wildly efficient with Portland leading the way at 1.278 points per possession on the way to a win. That would have me looking at playing this game Under the total and that is exactly what the market did on this opening total of 232 which was available overnight. We have also seen the market move this line toward Minnesota, a usual trend when two teams meet for consecutive games.

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