NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | December 20

Bryan Zarpentine pic
By:
Bryan Zarpentine
12/20/2023
NBA
NBA Best Bets 2023-2024

With a deep slate of NBA games on Wednesday, there are plenty of options available when it comes to basketball betting. Keep in mind that it’s not always the marquee matchups where you can find value. That’s why we took a close look at every game on the schedule to find three picks we think will come to fruition.

Miami Heat vs Orlando Magic Best Bet:

Heat +5, -110 at FanDuel

Wednesday’s battle over bragging rights in the Sunshine State should be a good one. These teams figure to play a tight game, which is why there is value in taking the underdog. Miami could also be catching the Magic at the right time. Orlando has lost four of its last six and is coming off back-to-back losses against the Celtics. The Magic have come back down to earth and may not be quite as good as they looked during their recent nine-game winning streak.

At the same time, Miami has been surprisingly good as a road underdog, going 5-3 against the spread in this situation. The Heat is actually 8-6 against the spread on the road, making them one of the better road teams in the NBA to bet on this season. More importantly, while Jimmy Butler remains sidelined, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro both returned from injury on Monday and had strong performances. With those two back, the Heat have a good chance to pull off a road upset over the vulnerable Magic.

FanDuel Sportsbook
Heat +5 | -110 at FanDuel

New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets Best Bet:

Under 233.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Neither of these teams score enough points consistently to warrant such a high over/under. While the Nets have a balanced attack, they aren’t typically going to light up the scoreboard, especially against an opponent with a winning record. Keep in mind that Lonnie Walker is sidelined, taking away one of Brooklyn’s double-digit scorers. The Nets are also 2-5 O/U in their last seven games, so they are trending toward another under on Wednesday.

On the other side, the Knicks stayed under their total on Monday, snapping a streak of eight consecutive overs. Now that the streak is over, things should start to balance out more. Plus, the over/under for Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn is the highest the Knicks have had all season. That’s a good recipe for staying under 233.5 total points on Wednesday.

BetMGM Sportsbook
Under 233.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks Best Bet:

Mavericks +3.5 | -112 at BetRivers

These teams have identical records, so why are the Mavs home underdogs? The fact that Dallas just lost by 26 points to the Nuggets should indicate that the Mavericks will be eager to bounce back with a strong performance at home. In fact, Dallas is 6-3 against the spread when coming off a loss. They’re also 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games, making that disappointing loss to Denver look like an aberration compared to the team’s recent form.

To be fair, the Clippers are riding an eight-game winning streak, which explains why they are road favorites in this game, especially after going 6-2 against the spread during the streak. But let’s keep in mind that most of those wins have come at home. The Clippers are just 5-7 straight up and 5-7 against the spread on the road this season. Also, Paul George is a game-time decision because of an illness. The Clippers’ winning streak is bound to end at some point, and Wednesday’s game in Dallas looks a distinct possibility. 

BetRivers
Mavericks +3.5 | -112 at BetRivers

Top Sportsbooks for NBA Betting