NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for 76ers vs. Cavaliers, Suns vs. Kings, More (Dec. 27)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.
Sunday afternoons may be for the football, but that doesn’t mean the NBA will slow down as the season gets rolling. With 10 games scheduled for today, our crew has pinpointed three bets — one full-game spread, one first-half spread and one total — that they just couldn’t pass up.
You can find their analysis on those games below.
NBA Odds & Picks
76ers vs. Cavaliers
Brandon Anderson: Joel Embiid may not show up fit or healthy every game. Heck, he won’t show up every game at all. He won’t bring full effort every night, or even for four quarters all the time. But we do know that he is petty, has a very long memory and loves to punch far below his weight class.
Embiid just loves to beat up on guys way below his talent level, and do you know who one of his favorite targets is? Andre Drummond.
The Embiid-Drummond feud has gone on so long that we wrote about it here at The Action Network over two years ago. Somehow, these two have only played seven times and, tragically, just once since 2018.
Embiid is 6-1 lifetime against Drummond. He averages 27.7 points and 10.3 rebounds and basically has a mortgage payment on the free throw line, with 11.7 free throw attempts per game. Embiid owns Drummond, and both players know it.
This will be Drummond’s first game against Embiid as a member of the Cavs, but don’t expect a new result. A petty Embiid is a motivated Embiid, and that’s usually good enough.
Plus, both teams are on the second night of a back to back, but Philly coasted past the Knicks while the poor Cavs played a double-overtime game a few days into the season in Detroit, got an emotional win and then hopped a late plane home for a date with, uh … not Detroit.
The Cavs may be flying high after their victory, but Collin Sexton will find very different sledding with Ben Simmons leading the defense. Philadelphia will be ready, and Joel Embiid will lead the way.
Look for a chance to play Embiid overs and get him in that DFS lineup, but grab the Sixers at -6 or up to -7.5 here as well.
Celtics vs. Pacers
Raheem Palmer: Indiana Pacers head coach Nate Bjorken has completely turned this offense around. During his tenure in the G-league, all of Bjorken’s teams were top five in pace, and the Pacers have gone from the eighth-slowest pace in the league under head coach Nate McMillan to the sixth-fastest pace this season.
Their field goal attempts are up from 88.5 to 93.5 per game, which ranks 10th among NBA teams. We have a small sample size, but this new offense seems to have worked well for Indiana. They’re eighth in offensive rating, scoring 115 points per 100 possessions through the first two games of the season.
At the same time, this will likely be the best offense the Pacers have played this season in the Boston Celtics. The jury is still out on a Celtics defense which gave up 121 points to the Bucks and 123 points to the Nets.
While the Bucks and the Nets are top-five offenses and championship contenders, I think the Pacers’ new offense should work well for this matchup. The last two times these teams have played these games have finished with 225 and 239 points.
Although this total has been steamed down from the opener of 222.5 to where it currently sits now at 220.5, I truly disagree with the line move.
My early season projections make this game 224.5 and the pace of this game — and both Indiana and Boston’s firepower — should push this over the total.
Suns vs. Kings
Matt Moore: Let’s start with a trend: Since 2010, when two teams play twice within a week, and the favorite loses the first matchup and is a favorite in the second game, the favorite is 324-181 (64%) on the moneyline in the first half.
Away teams are 60-40 (60%) in such a situation.
When two teams play within two days under those conditions, the favorite is 16-13 (60%) on the moneyline in the first half on the road.
Now, let’s factor in a short trip to Sacramento, no cross-country travel, and no crowd to limit home court advantage.
So the question is whether the Kings are just absolutely better than the Suns at this point. The Kings held a great Nuggets offense to a 109 offensive rating in their opening night win, then held the Suns to under 100 in offensive efficiency.
Are the Kings the new defensive juggernaut? No?
Then we need to trust the Suns to come out and show what they can do. They’re a better team than they showed Saturday.
This is a letdown spot for the Kings after back-to-back huge wins. There’s obviously risk of rest on the second night of a back-to-back for the Suns, but even if Chris Paul rests, I’ll still want the Suns in the first half.
The line is -1, which gives you the better juice.