NBA Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, December 20th

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

December 20, 2022 09:27 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: 31-37 | Units: -7.02 | ROI: -10.61%

*Utah Jazz (-3.5, 233.5) at Detroit Pistons

With the loss to Cleveland last night Utah fell to 1-7 SU/3-5 ATS in its last eight road games. In those eight road games the Jazz have been outscored by 8.9 points per 100 possessions, due in large part to a massive drop off in their offense. At home, Utah is putting up 119.6 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time and shooting 39.6% from 3-point range. However, in this eight-game slump away from home its offensive rating is 111.6 and 3-point shooting has dipped to 33.6%. 

The betting market is buying into Utah’s road struggles, taking this number down to 2.5 and it's easy to see why. While the Jazz offense has dipped on the road their defense has remained the same. On the road they are giving up 118.1 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, a figure right in line with their issues all season, and the Pistons are showing enough growth that they can take advantage of those shortcomings. Detroit does not rate highly on offense overall, but it is a good rebounding team which is 12th in offensive rebounding (28.2%) and sixth in putback points per 100 missed attempts (24.2), which are two key areas of weakness for Utah.

I am someone who has tried to buy into the regression of the Jazz, and last night it got there with a blowout loss in Cleveland. Kelly Olynyk and Collin Sexton could be out again tonight as well, which means two key role players on the sideline for a potentially overvalued team.

Play: Pistons ML (+125)

Best Bet Recap

Pistons ML (+125)

The Rest

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat (-5.5, 224)

Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for Chicago lately, and the Bulls do not have many options to turn to. Chicago is 5-12 SU and ATS in its last 17 games with a -4.2 net rating in non-garbage time. The Bulls’ defense has been particularly terrible during this losing stretch, allowing 116.1 points per 100 possessions, 71.6% on shots at the rim and 38.4% from beyond the arc. There is not much to point to that would give one confidence in betting on Chicago to turn it around, and now they have to face Miami which is seemingly doing just that. The Heat have won four straight and five of six, and while the market has still been too high on this team (2-4 ATS), they are improving on both ends of the floor. This line is down to 4.5 at some shops which is understandable given the Heat’s inability to cover numbers.

Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks (-6, 224)

New York has won and covered seven straight heading into this game with Golden State, and its defense has been incredible. Their last seven opponents have managed just 99.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time while shooting 27.2% from beyond the arc. The Knicks have been playing some better defense basketball without a doubt, but there is some regression coming for this team. Opponents have shot just 29.4% on wide-open 3-point attempts against New York during this run, something that is sure to revert back to a certain norm and that could happen tonight against Golden State. The betting market is seemingly buying into this regression to a certain extent, as this number has dipped to 5.5 consensus this morning. 

Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets (-3, 233.5)

Denver initially opened as the 3-point favorite here, but questionable designations for Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jeff Green have swung this line to the other side. Memphis had its seven-game winning streak snapped in Oklahoma City the other night, which is part of a long-standing issue for the Grizzlies this season. Memphis is now 6-8 SU/3-9-2 ATS away from home with a -4.2 net rating. Their offense, like many teams this season, drops off when they hit the road, but that could change tonight against this Denver defense. The Nuggets are 28th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (116.3) and the second worst defensive team in transition this season, something that is a real strength of the Grizzlies.

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