NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Lakers vs. Grizzlies, Nuggets vs. Spurs & More (December 9)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Our NBA Staff is ready for Thursday night's three-game slate.
- They have three best bets, including one for each game.
- Check out their analysis and picks below.
The quantity of games on Thursday’s schedule is low, but the quality is certainly high for tonight’s three-game slate. The matchup between the red-hot Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers is the lone game on NBA TV, but our analysts have picks on all three of tonight’s games.
They are eyeing the spread in two games and and three props in another. Check out their analysis and best bets for Thursday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Brandon Anderson: It feels like about half of my staff best bets this season have been backing the Utah Jazz. But what can I say? I guess I have a type for regular season juggernauts.
Despite the Phoenix Suns having a near season-long win streak, Utah still ranks ahead of Phoenix in Net Rating. The Jazz have the best offense in the NBA by a decent margin, and the 3-pointers haven’t even been hitting like they were last season. Since Nov. 13, nearly a full month ago, the Jazz are 9-2 with the two losses by a single point and six of the wins by at least 16 points. That is sheer dominance.
In contrast, the Sixers are playing coin flip games every night right now. The last six Philadelphia games have come down to the final minute, all of them finishing within five points, and not exactly against the most daunting schedule. That includes games against the Wolves, Magic, and two against the Hornets. Those games both came in the last three days too, so this is a rest disadvantage for Philadelphia, too.
Joel Embiid has dominated Rudy Gobert at times in the past, and Embiid is 4-2 head-to-head against Gobert lifetime. I think that’s gifting us a little value on this line, and it’s a good time to remember that basketball is a team game, not a one-on-one game. Even if Embiid has a great game, the Jazz are a great team and the much better one right now.
Kenny Ducey: As an incredibly public team, it’s often tough to navigate betting on the Lakers. There’s no greater evidence of this than the fact that the Lakers are 1-8 against the spread this season when favored by five or more points, and 3-4 ATS as shorter than five-point favorites. Considering money always seems to fly in on L.A., value often disappears when the public aligns with the oddsmakers in seeing a slight advantage for LeBron James & Co.
With that said, I’ve been steering clear of laying a ton of points with L.A. this season, but in spots like this where the outcome seems to be the slightest bit in question, I’ve been much more willing to take them.
I think the Lakers should have the edge here, considering this offense has woken up in a big way of late, ranking eighth in efficiency rating over the last five games with 115.1 points per 100 possessions. While the Grizzlies own the league’s best defense over that short timeframe, that’s been a result of playing some weak competition like the Mavericks, Thunder and Raptors, all of which grade out as below-average offenses.
The Lakers appear to be getting closer to the team that dominated on defense for much of 2020 as well, ranking ninth in points allowed per 100 possessions over that same five-game span, and I think they can flip the script on the Grizzlies, ending this defense’s hot streak and cooling off the offense.
Joe Dellera: Doug McDermott has risen to the occasion in the absence of Devin Vassell and with Keldon Johnson popping on the injury report due to a sprained right ankle, I’d expect McDermott to see even more playing time in tonight’s contest against the Denver Nuggets.
Dan Titus and I wrote about how McDermott was an excellent fantasy play this week and he still has three games remaining this week, for tonight we are looking at his points prop.
McDermott has cleared his 11.5 point threshold in six of his last ten games including four consecutive contests. But wait … there’s more. In every game without Devin Vassell he has scored at least 13 points in every single one with an average point total of 13.7.
Now add in that Johnson is also likely to miss and we should see even more of an expanded role with Johnson’s 18.7% usage rate off the floor.
McDermott’s points floor is fairly high here relative to his prop and I want to escalate him up. I’ll play the 11.5 as the standard line and even 12.5 if that is all you have offered. I also will take 15+ (+172) and 20+ (+700) on FanDuel. If you want to wager one unit on McDermott I would split it (65%, 25%, 10%).