NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Sunday, December 18th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 18, 2022 08:50 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: 30-35 | Units: -5.93 | ROI: -9.39%

Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics (-11, 223.5)

Jayson Tatum will not play due to personal reasons, so the market has adjusted quite a bit from the line we saw on Friday when these teams met. Boston closed as a 13.5-point favorite in that game, and as of this morning we see 9.5 populating the board. Tatum is the favorite to win MVP right now for a reason, and most teams would have trouble replacing 30.2 points and 8.2 rebounds, but the Celtics are not most teams. When Tatum is off the floor Boston still averages 116.9 points per 100 possessions, and when Jaylen Brown is on the floor without Tatum they outscore opponents by 6.9 points per 100 possessions. Is Tatum worth four points to the spread on arguably the deepest team in the league? Orlando has won five straight and is 6-0 ATS in its last six games, but this adjustment might be too much.

Play: Celtics (-9.5)

Best Bet Recap

Celtics (-9.5)

The Rest

New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers (-1, 232)

New York is taking advantage of the weak portion of its schedule, and enters this game on a 6-0 SU and ATS run. Meanwhile, Indiana cannot string together much consistent success and is 3-7 SU/4-6 ATS in its last 10 contests. The Knicks have suddenly found their identity on defense during this undefeated run, limiting those six opponents to 97.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and while they might not be able to have that degree of success tonight there is no reason to think they cannot defend the Pacers at a high level. Indiana is putting up just 111.3 points per 100 possessions in its last 10 games, and their strengths on offense go against New York’s strengths on defense. One facet of this game that the Pacers could win in though is in transition. The Knicks are ranked 19th in overall transition defense (127.9) and the Pacers come into this one seventh in overall transition offensive efficiency (129.9).

Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors (-6.5, 227.5)

Golden State put forth a good effort in Philadelphia on Friday night, but ultimately fell short and failed to cover to fall to 2-14 SU/3-13 ATS on the road this season. Andrew Wiggins and Steph Curry remain sidelined, but both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will be available tonight in Toronto. The Raptors have been struggling to say the least, entering this game on an 0-4 ATS slide and since Nov. 7 they are 6-13 ATS. There is certainly a chance the Warriors can put forth a solid effort forward tonight against what is clearly an overvalued team by the betting market. Toronto is also missing some key pieces, with both OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa still out and Gary Trent Jr. listed as questionable. This number is down to 5.5 which is fitting given the struggles of Toronto.

Brooklyn Nets (-7, 230.5) at Detroit Pistons

Brooklyn continues to quietly truck along and is 5-0 SU/3-2 ATS in its last five games, but their success stretches beyond that. The Nets are 12-3 SU/8-6-1 ATS since Nov. 17 with the fifth best net rating in non-garbage time (+4.9) over that span. Offensively, the team is really starting to find its groove and that has shown during this win streak in which Brooklyn is averaging 122.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time. The market is buying in as well, driving this line up to 8.5 at some shops this morning, and it isn’t hard to see why. Detroit is 29th in defensive efficiency (118.0) and has no real option to put on Kevin Durant on that end of the floor.

*Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5, 228.5)

Washington has been an absolute nightmare recently and there is no reason to expect anything other than what bettors have seen. The Wizards are 1-12 SU/3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games with the fourth worst defensive rating in the league over that stretch (118.6). Washington has been burned by a poor perimeter defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 37.8% from beyond the arc and a poor transition defense which is 24th in points per 100 plays allowed in transition off live rebounds (125.0). Los Angeles can take advantage of at least one of those weaknesses, but it will have to do so without Anthony Davis who will not play due to right foot soreness. Keep an eye on the injury report for Washington as well, which is playing on no rest and was suffocated in the second half of their loss to the Clippers.

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