NBA Odds, Picks & Previews: The 4 Best Bets for Monday, Featuring Hornets vs. Jazz (December 20)
Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell.
- A full day of sports rolls on tonight with plenty of NBA action.
- Our experts came up with four bets for two games on tonight's slate, including Thunder vs. Grizzlies and Hornets vs. Jazz.
- Check out all four of our best bets and breakdowns for tonight's games below.
There’s live action throughout the day, starting with an early afternoon college football bowl game and rolling through the night with a Monday Night Football doubleheader in the NFL. And of course, there’s plenty of NBA action.
Our staff is taking full advantage, coming up with four best bets for two of tonight’s games in the Association. First, Raheem Palmer is betting the total in Thunder vs. Grizzlies, while three of our experts have taken stances on Hornets vs. Jazz.
So, check out all four of our best bets below, and check back tomorrow for even more NBA action.
NBA Odds & Picks
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Raheem Palmer: The last time the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder met, the Grizzlies won by 73 points in a game in which the Thunder were missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The Thunder managed just 79 points on .82 points per possession as the Grizzlies exploded for a 152 points on 1.59 points per possession.
Nevertheless, I expect motivation to be a huge factor here, but still, I’m not willing to back the Thunder in this spot.
The edge here lies in the total as the Grizzlies are coming off a back-to-back loss against the Blazers and I’m not expecting the best defensive performance here. We can also expect the Thunder to score more than the 79 points they put up in their first matchup.
This is a Thunder team that’s fifth in offensive length of possession, so I expect this to be a fast game as they likely want to run and avoid facing a set Grizzlies defense.
In addition, the Grizzlies, who are fifth in Offensive Rating, should have no problems scoring on a Thunder defense that ranks 20th in Defensive Rating, allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions.
I’ll play the over 212.5
Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz
Brandon Anderson: I’ve played a lot of Jazz in this space both this season and last, but it’s time to fade Utah.
For all of 2021, I’ve backed the Jazz as a middling favorite. As favorites of 5-to-9.5 points, Utah has been absolutely money. This regular-season juggernaut is 29-12 against the spread as a favorite in that range in 2021, covering 71% of the time.
But something funny keeps happening when that line hits double digits. The Jazz are losing. Not failing to cover — losing outright.
Double-digit underdogs don’t win very often. So far this season in games not involving the Jazz, double-digit dogs are just 4-34 straight up. They almost never win.
But with the Jazz favored by 10 or more, double-digit dogs are 5-6 straight up. They’re winning almost as often as Utah. And that includes a 4-5 record in Utah, with that great Salt Lake City home-court advantage. It appears that the books are overinflating the line — and that the Jazz aren’t showing up for these sure-thing wins.
It just happened Friday. The Jazz ran out to an early lead on the Spurs in Utah but ended up losing the game. In November, they lost at home to the Pelicans, Pacers, and Grizzlies and on the road in Orlando. All five of those underdogs were +400 or longer on the moneyline.
Do I know what’s happening? I do not. But it’s happening nonetheless.
Think of it this way. We’ve had 49 games this season with a double-digit favorite. The Jazz have lost five of those games as the favorite — and the entire rest of the NBA has lost only four.
Just blindly betting the ML against Utah in this spot for the season would give bettors a 162% ROI for the season so far. A $100 bettor would be up $1,782 already on the season.
Looking for basketball reasons? I don’t have them. The Jazz are way better than the Hornets, and you need to know we’re more than likely to lose this bet. But at +560 and an implied 15% chance of victory, the numbers tell me I have to play the Hornets.
Let’s just hope we luck into good Charlotte, snatch a big upset, and enjoy a little lifestyle of the rich and the famous.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz
Kenny Ducey: While your gut would tell you 236 points is an astronomical total which must be bet down, I actually think you can make a very compelling case for the over here.
The Charlotte Hornets, as we all know, have the worst defense in the NBA judging by points allowed per 100 possessions. They also rank top-five in pace, a ranking that stands to climb with the return of LaMelo Ball to the lineup.
With Ball on the floor this year, the Hornets are playing at a pace of 103.05, and with him off, that number is 100.15. For reference, the Lakers lead the league in pace at 101.06, and there are only six teams that have played at a pace of 100 or more.
The bottom line here is the Hornets have loved pushing the tempo all year, but with Ball running the point, there truly is no team that plays anywhere near this fast.
The over is 10-1-1 in the last 12 Hornets games, and it is 5-1 on the second night of a back-to-back for Charlotte. This team just allowed 137 points to the Phoenix Suns and now have the league’s top offense to handle on Monday in Utah.
It’s worth noting that while the Jazz are not known as a team that plays with a lot of pace, they rank sixth in that area for the month of December.
We could really see a ton of possessions here.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz
Austin Wang: The league’s two best offenses face off tonight. The total of 236.5 for this game is currently the highest total of the season, and for good reason.
Overs on Hornets’ games have been automatic. They are 10-1-1 to the over in their last 12 games with a total average score of 246.5 points per game. During this timeframe, they sit No. 2 in Offensive Rating (120.4) and No. 30 in Defensive Rating (124.6), per NBA Advanced Stats.
LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier have recently returned to the lineup after missing numerous games due to health and safety protocols. Both are key cogs to this high-powered offense that will look to bounce back after a blowout loss against the Suns last night.
Charlotte will face the Utah Jazz, who are ranked first in Offensive Rating (117.2) in the league by a huge margin. Comparatively speaking, the No. 2 Hornets are at 113.2, a full four points lower per 100 possessions.
The Jazz are 11-3-1 to the over in their last 15 games and have averaged 119.9 points per game during this time.
This will potentially be higher against the awful Hornets’ defense. Donovan Mitchell has been incredible as of late, and the Jazz should be looking to bounce back after two losses in a row.
Expect fireworks tonight. The total has been bet up from the opening total of 234 and continues to rise. Over 236.5 (up to 237) is still a play for me. Jazz team totals (Over 123.5 at PointsBet) could also be a good look.