NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 15th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 15, 2022 09:43 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: 30-34 | Units: -4.93 | ROI: -7.93%

New Orleans Pelicans (-1.5, 231.5) at Utah Jazz

I was on New Orleans on Tuesday when these two met, and was handed a loss when they were blitzed in the third quarter and went on to lose. I’m coming back to the well here tonight, and for many of the same reasons I pointed out in the first meeting. One thing that should go differently is the availability of Zion Williamson who was in foul trouble in that game and did not play the final 9:25 of the second quarter. More minutes from Williamson should help this team put forth a better effort than the one that got them only 0.923 points per possession against the fifth worst defense in the NBA. Jose Alvarado will not play tonight, but that is not an impactful enough injury to alter the power rating for New Orleans, so there is still value in this line by my measure.

Play: Pelicans (-1.5)

Best Bet Recap

Pelicans (-1.5)

The Rest

*Miami Heat (-3.5, 220) at Houston Rockets

Miami is on the second leg of a back-to-back tonight, but since Jimmy Butler got the night off in Oklahoma City on Wednesday we can expect him on the floor tonight. The betting market has moved in the Heat’s direction this morning for good reason. Not only will Butler likely play, but that opening number seemed to be quite the discount. Go back to their game against Indiana on Monday where they opened up as 2.5-point favorites and closed -3.5 at most shops. Are the Rockets power rated identically to the Pacers? We know that is not the case, but that is what this number is telling bettors.

Milwaukee Bucks at Memphis Grizzlies (-2, 227)

There might be some who are surprised by this line, but not only does Memphis deserve to be favored, one could make the argument that this number should be longer. Jrue Holiday is out with injury once again, so Milwaukee will be without its best defensive option for Ja Morant. The Grizzlies are also the best home team at 12-2 SU/11-3 ATS on its own floor with a league-best +14.2 net rating. Milwaukee has also hit a stretch of inconsistency once again, likely due to the injuries it is dealing with. The Bucks might be 5-2 SU in December, but they are 3-3-1 ATS because they are rated as one of the best teams in the league while not performing to that level. As far as the total is concerned we have seen this dip to 226.5 with no other real movement to report.

Phoenix Suns at *Los Angeles Clippers (-2.5, 218)

Los Angeles is on the second leg of a back-to-back and emerged from the win over Minnesota banged up, so we can expect some missing names tonight. Ivica Zubac has a knee injury, Reggie Jackson was seen limping out of the locker room and Kawhi Leonard will likely rest after playing 31 minutes last night. With all of those names in question it is hard to get involved with anyone but Phoenix early, but it's not like the Suns are in pristine form heading into this one. Phoenix has lost five straight and they are 1-6 SU and ATS this month with a -8.9 net rating while opponents put up 121.2 points per 100 possessions. DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker are questionable as well, and Cam Payne is already ruled out. Meanwhile, Paul George should play tonight, as will John Wall, so don’t be surprised if the Clippers are more live than one would think in this situation.

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Matt Youmans: Heat (+8.5) at Nuggets. View more picks.


The Lombardi Line: Both the Nuggets and Heat shot poorly in Game 1 of the NBA Finals - and the total is down five points in Game 2 (219.5 to 214.5). Consider betting the OVER if you expect any positive regression. View more tips.