NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | December 18

Bryan Zarpentine pic
Bryan Zarpentine
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

With Christmas fast approaching, this is a big week for the NBA. This is the time of year when the top teams begin to separate themselves from the pack. We kept that in mind when looking at a big Monday for basketball betting. Here are three picks we like on Monday’s NBA schedule.

Chicago Bulls vs Philadelphia 76ers Best Bet:

76ers -10.5 | -110 at FanDuel

The 76ers are absolutely crushing it right now. They’ve won six in a row, including five in a row that have been won by more than 10 points. The Sixers are fresh off a 53-point win and have multiple wins by 20-plus points during their current winning streak. Joel Embiid has been close to unstoppable during that stretch, which is why it makes sense to back them at home. Keep in mind Philly has won five in a row against the spread and is now 18-7 against the spread this season, which is the second-best record in the NBA.

Chicago, to be fair, is a little better than the team’s 10-17 record would suggest. The Bulls have gone 5-3 in their last eight games, going 7-1 against the spread during that stretch. That includes a close loss as an 11.5-point underdog in Milwaukee. But the 76ers are a completely different animal right now. With Zach LaVine still out for Chicago, the Bulls won’t be able to stay competitive with the 76ers all game.

FanDuel Sportsbook
76ers -10.5 | -110 at FanDuel

Brooklyn Nets vs Utah Jazz Best Bet:

Jazz +3.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Brooklyn is usually a safe bet, as the Nets have the third-best record against the spread in the league at 17-7-1. But they’ve also lost three of their last four games heading into the last game of a five-game West Coast road trip. The Nets looked tired on Saturday night against Golden State, so heading to Utah won’t be an easy game for them. Given Brooklyn’s struggles, this isn’t a good time to back them as a road favorite.

Likewise, Utah is 6-3 against the spread this season as a home underdog. The Jazz is a disappointing 9-17 on the season, but they are still two games over .500 when playing at home. Even with some players banged up right now, the Jazz have won two of its last three games despite being underdogs. Look for them to put up a fight on Monday and take advantage of the Nets being tired at the end of a long road trip.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Jazz +3.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Dallas Mavericks vs Denver Nuggets Best Bet:

Under 238.5 | -113 at BetRivers

Only the Pacers hit the over with more regularity than Dallas, so it’s tough to take the under in this game. But this number is high, especially when you consider how teams tend to struggle against the altitude in Denver. The Mavericks may not be able to get up and down the court the way they normally do. With Kyrie Irving and a couple of other players still out, Dallas will be even more reliant on Luka Doncic, allowing the Nuggets to give him extra attention.

As for the Nuggets, they’re fine slowing things down a little and having everything go through Nikola Jokic. That will help to slow down the game as well, avoiding a shootout with the Mavs. The kicker is that the Nuggets have gone 1-4-1 O/U in their last six games with only one of those games having an over/under greater than the BetRivers total for Monday’s game. This may not be the lowest-scoring game of the night, but it'll stay below 238.5 points. 

Under 238.5 | -113 at BetRivers

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