NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, December 29th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 29, 2022 01:20 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: 32-40 | Units: -9.11 | ROI: -11.73%

Oklahoma City Thunder at Charlotte Hornets (-1.5)

Charlotte returns home after a six-game road trip along the west coast, and some would believe this to be a fade spot for the Hornets. Scheduling spot aside, we do know that these two teams are going to run. Charlotte begins 16.1% of its possessions with a transition play - the seventh highest rate in the league - and wants to force turnovers for transition opportunities. Oklahoma City starts 15.8% of its possessions with a transition play which is the eighth highest rate in the league. This figures to be a game with plenty of possessions, and that would mean plenty of points. Both teams have suffered key injuries that could their probability of winning this game that are worth mentioning as well. The Thunder lost Aleksej Pokusevski for the next 6-to-8 weeks with a broken leg, and the Hornets will likely be without Kelly Oubre, their leading scorer, due to a hand injury. If Oubre does not play his absence is the more impactful one, and could greatly alter the Hornets’ chances of covering this contest.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-5.5, 224) at Indiana Pacers

Indiana drubbed Atlanta when it last took the floor, and the team is now on a respectable 5-2 ATS run over its last seven games. One of those covers came against Cleveland, where the Pacers took advantage of an uncharacteristic night from the Cavaliers defense and averaged 1.217 points per possession in a loss. Cleveland also picked apart Indiana’s subpar defense for 1.272 points per possession, and if we were picking one of those two events to replicate itself it would be the Cavaliers coming in and putting up some great offensive numbers. One thing to take from that game is the fact that Cleveland, despite the poor defensive numbers, did get to play its game. There was 92 total possessions in that game for both teams, and the Cavaliers crushed the Pacers on the glass, grabbing 86.1% of possible defensive rebounds. If Indiana is going to stay inside this number it will have to run and pick apart a Cleveland defense which is a measley 22nd in transition defensive efficiency off live rebounds (123.8).

Memphis Grizzlies (-1.5, 225) at Toronto Raptors

Memphis is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games, but the betting market is not withholding its support. Despite the recent slide, and 7-10 SU/4-11-2 ATS record on the road for the Grizzlies, this number was bet up a point from the overnight opener. Fred VanVleet is questionable to play, so it does make some sense, but I cannot help but think the market is really overrating Memphis here. The Clippers were just in Toronto on Tuesday and closed as 3.5-point underdogs, but there the Grizzlies are laying 2.5 against the same opponent. One could say there is a six point difference between Memphis and Los Angeles, but I do not believe that to be the case. Toronto is also still a great defensive team in transition, ranking 10th in opponents points added per 100 plays through transition offense (2.6) and 8th in overall transition defensive efficiency (123.0). Regardless of VanVleet’s status I would expect some buyback on the home team here.

Los Angeles Clippers at Boston Celtics (-6, 227.5)

Los Angeles has quietly put together a solid 7-3 SU/8-2 ATS run over its last 10 games, and included in that run is a 113-93 victory over this Boston team just over two weeks ago. That game was at The Crypt, and the Celtics are certainly licking their chops at the potential of exacting revenge against the Clippers. To make things even better is the health of both teams, as there is not a single rotation player listed on the injury report. One of the keys here will be Los Angeles’ perimeter defense. The Clippers have held opponents to 31.4% shooting from deep when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are on the floor together, and Boston takes 44.4% of its shots from that area of the floor while shooting 38.1% on those attempts. During the 1-5 SU/0-5-1 ATS slide the Celtics went on in mid-December they shot 29.0% from deep. When these two teams met in Los Angeles it was Boston who closed as a 4.5-point favorite, so there has clearly been an adjustment on the Clippers’ power rating. Is it enough for a team that is getting better each night?

New York Knicks (-4.5, 223) at San Antonio Spurs

Where are the Knickerbockers mentally? New York is now 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS in its last four games, and it is coming off a contest in which it blew a nine point lead in just over 30 seconds and lost in overtime. Oh, and their opponent’s best player went off for the first 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double in NBA history. It would seem a game against San Antonio is the perfect spot to get back on track, but the Spurs are suddenly trying. San Antonio is 5-5 SU and ATS in its last 10 games, and during this run they are shooting 40.3% on non-corner 3-point attempts. That is not what the Knicks, which are feeling some real regression with their perimeter defense, want to hear. New York could also be short-handed, as RJ Barrett has already been ruled out and Jalen Brunson is questionable. 

Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks (-11, 222.5)

It should be pointed out that despite the historic nature of Luka Doncic’s performance against New York on Tuesday night the Mavericks did not cover. Dallas is now 12-21-2 ATS on the season, continuing the theme of this team being overvalued by the betting market because of Doncic’s presence. There are a few shops which have already been bumped on the overnight market to -11.5 but the Mavericks have shown little reason for bettors to believe they would cover this number and win by margin. This is an excellent game for bettors to watch and track from an in-game perspective. Dallas could very well get off to a slow start here, and if that happens look to get the cheapest in-game number possible.

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PRO TOOLS

Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings for every game on the board, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

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PRO TIPS

VSiN Final Countdown: The Travis Kelce Receiving Yards number will likely increase soon. If you like the over, bet it now. View more tips.

Follow The Money: Sharps bet on more negative money and "No" on Super Bowl props than plus money and "Yes." There are more variables working in favor of the sharp's side. View more tips.

PRO PICKS

Josh Appelbaum: Kansas City at Philadelphia - UNDER (50). View more picks.
 
Steve Buchanan: Any player to have a 55+ yard reception (+250). View more picks.

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