NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Bets for Nuggets vs. Pelicans, Celtics vs. Clippers, More (Wednesday, December 8)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics.
- Raheem Palmer breaks down his favorite plays on an action packed 13-game slate.
- Can the Bucks cover against the shorthanded Heat? Can the Celtics bounce back in L.A. vs. the Clippers?
- Get his full model projections for the NBA slate, plus his favorite bets, below.
We’ve got another huge NBA night on the schedule tonight and I couldn’t wait to dive into my model and see what value plays presented themselves on Wednesday night.
Here’s what you’ll find in my model: projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline.
Note: My projections won’t be updated in real-time throughout the day, but Action’s PRO Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury and lineup news.
I’ll also be highlighting some of the slate’s most intriguing matchups with in-depth, game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.
NBA Projections Model
NBA Odds & Picks
Although projections give us a solid baseline for what a number should be, it’s also important to handicap each matchup for things that the numbers can’t tell us.
Check out my analysis for tonight’s 13-game slate.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors
This game features two offenses that are downright anemic — the Oklahoma City Thunder rank 29th in Offensive Rating (100.5) and the Toronto Raptors ranking 16th (109.3).
Both teams struggle in the half court with the Raptors registering just 88.5 points per 100 possessions (24th) and the Thunder scoring 86.0 (27th). It’s no surprise to see such a low total between these two teams.
The Raptors are 28th in Pace (95.9) this season with the Thunder ranking 15th (98.7) and while the Thunder may want to push the pace and get out in transition, they’re just 23rd in transition offense.
Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat
This marks the second time these two teams will meet in the last week but I’m not sure we’re going to get a much different result than the 124-102 Bucks victory on Saturday night.
The Heat are in a tough spot coming into this game without their two best players in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. It’s no surprise the Heat have lost four out of their last five games and are 26th in Net Rating (-9.5) over the past two weeks.
With Butler out of the lineup, Miami is missing its best scorer in what has been a stellar offensive season for the five-time All Star. Butler’s offense is hard to replace, especially for the Heat who rank 17th in half court offense scoring 93.0 points per 100 possessions.
The loss of Adebayo is even more troubling considering he’s the team’s best option for defending Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Heat are allowing 105.2 points per 100 possessions with Adebayo on the court vs. 110.9 with him off the court and he also has a considerable impact on the offense where the Heat are -8.1 with him off the court.
The Heat will find themselves facing an uphill battle both offensively and defensively against a Bucks team that has won 11 out of their last 12 games ranks fifth in Offensive Rating (118.3) and fourth in Defensive Rating ( 104.3) over the past two weeks.
Back the Bucks to cover in what should be another blowout.
Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans
If you listened to Wednesday’s Buckets podcast with Matt Moore and myself, you know that I gave this out last night at 215.5 and we’ve since seen this number drop to 214.5.
My model makes this game 206 and thus I believe there’s some value here. The Nuggets are just 29th in Pace (95.9) and 27th in Offensive Length of possession (15.2 secs) according to DunksAndThrees.com. The Pelicans don’t play at a fast pace either, ranking 18th in pace (97.6) and 21st in Offensive Length of possession (21 secs).
It’s unlikely we’re going to see a very fast paced game between these two.
Both offenses rank towards the bottom half of the league with the Nuggets ranking 17th in Offensive rating (109.2) and the Pelicans ranking 26th (104.4). While both of these offenses have improved recently, we’re still looking at two teams who don’t get out in transition and play a slow pace.
Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers
Although I had futures on last year’s incarnation of the Los Angeles Clippers, I’m not much of a fan of this year’s version. They struggle to score consistently, ranking 26th in Adjusted Offensive Rating, scoring just 105.4 points per 100 possessions, according to DunksAndThrees.com.
This is a team that is highly dependent on jump shooting with jut 29.7% of their attempts coming at the rim, 24th among NBA team. If there’s any team equipped to deal with perimeter shooting it’s the Boston Celtics with Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart who are holding teams to 33.9% from deep, eighth among NBA teams.
While the Celtics offense has slipped during this road trip — they are giving up 114.4 points per 100 possessions over the last two weeks — they’ve faced much better offenses than what we’ve seen from the Clippers this year. The Clippers appear to be a sinking ship, losing four out of their last six games and this feels like another good spot to fade them with my model making this game a PK.
I’ll back the Celtics here at +4 even on the back-to-back in Staples Center.