This is the time of year when the NBA owns Wednesday nights in the sports world. The league came back strong from the conclusion of the in-season tournament earlier this week and has another great night of games and basketball betting opportunities on Wednesday. We have our eyes on three specific picks, including the intriguing battle between the Pacers and the Bucks.
NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | December 13
Atlanta Hawks vs Toronto Raptors Best Bet:
A total of 239 points is way too high for a game between two subpar teams. While both of these teams are prone to giving up 120-plus points in games, that usually comes against better teams. That doesn’t mean a matchup between two bad teams will have unlimited scoring, which is why 239 points is too much to ask.
It’s true that the Hawks have two players who average at least 20 points per game. That includes Trae Young, who can dominate subpar opponents. But De’Andre Hunter is questionable while Jalen Johnson will miss this game. Both are averaging 14 points per game, so Atlanta’s offense won’t be at full strength. Meanwhile, the Raptors have been held below 110 points in four of their last seven games. They are prone to inconsistency once you get past Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. It just doesn’t seem likely that both of these teams will be firing on all cylinders, keeping the total well below 239 points.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Houston Rockets Best Bet:
Admittedly, this pick goes against season-long trends. Memphis is just 9-13 against the spread whereas the Rockets have excelled in that area, going 14-6 against the spread despite being just 11-9. However, the Rockets have done most of their damage in that area as the underdog in games. They’re not accustomed to being the favorite, so I can see them playing down to the level of an overmatched opponent.
The Grizzlies also deserve a little bit of credit for going 6-2 against the spread in their last eight road games. Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are bringing their best effort every night to make up for a backcourt that’s missing both Marcus Smart and Jo Morant. Plus, the Rockets rank fifth from the bottom in points per game. It’s hard to back a team like that as a favorite because they just don’t have the firepower to pull away and win comfortably.
Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks Best Bet:
Don’t think that the Bucks aren’t looking for some measure of revenge after losing the in-season tournament semifinals to the Pacers last week. They know they let that game slip away from them, and they aren’t going to let it happen again. More importantly, Indiana’s defense is so dreadful that it’s hard to envision the Pacers being able to slow down Giannis and Damian Lillard, especially with the game being played in Milwaukee. The Bucks are used to being double-digit favorites, so six points doesn’t seem like that much for them.
Of course, the Pacers have won four of their last five games and will score plenty of points in this game. We also can’t ignore how good they’ve been in the underdog role lately. But they’re going to have to play a little defense to hang with the Bucks on the road. That's just not in Indiana’s DNA this season, which is why the Bucks should eventually pull away and cover the spread.
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