NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 22nd

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 22, 2022 09:47 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: 31-38 | Units: -8.02 | ROI: -11.95%

No bets on a short card that is littered with key injuries on the report.

The Rest

San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans (-7.5, 226)

Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson will not play tonight, and Larry Nance is questionable to play. New Orleans will look to snap an 0-4 SU and ATS slide without two of its best shot creators, and that task is not the walk in the park that the market seems to think it is. The Pelicans are clearly hurting for adequate ball-handlers, as they have turned the ball over on 16.4% of their offensive possessions during this slide. That has led to scoring opportunities on the other end - Opponents are averaging 1.609 points per play in transition off steals - and it allows bad teams to stay in games. San Antonio is also playing some of its best basketball in a while, coming into this game 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games. Even with the absences and the recent run of success the market deemed the 7.5 too short and this line is now 8.5 consensus with the total up to 228 at most shops.

Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz (-6.5, 228.5)

There is little about Washington right now that would entice a bettor to back it. The Wizards pulled of an upset of the Suns on Tuesday night, but the team is 2-13 SU/5-9-1 ATS in its last 15 games and 5-12-1 ATS dating back to a Nov. 16 loss to Oklahoma City. Their defense has regressed incredibly, allowing 116.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time during this 18 game ATS slide. Kristaps Porzinigis is also questionable to play tonight, and if he cannot go that would be a massive loss. The best way to combat Utah is to rebound effectively. In their losses the Jazz rebound just 27.1% of their missed shot attempts, compared to 31.5% in their wins. Porzingis is a solid rebounder, and when he is on the floor the Wizards defensive rebounding rate improves by 3.2% which ranks in the 84th percentile of players at his position. The market has pushed this total up a point from the overnight to as high as 230 at some shops, something that jives with the Wizards poor defensive play and the Jazz’s own struggles on that end of the floor.

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