The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Friday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA December 6 Best Bets
Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5) at Portland Blazers
Get your bets in on this game now before the line continues to rise. It’s only up 1 point (as of this morning) from opening at Lakers (-3.5) and should be closer to -7.5 given how the Lakers have performed lately on the road. LeBron James is not letting his team loaf during the first half of the season as he did so often during his time in Cleveland. The 19-3 Lakers are one of the only teams ranking top 10 in offensive and defensive rating, and they’re second in scoring defense after allowing just 102 PPG over their last three contests. That stretch includes a loss to the Mavericks league-leading offense and wins at Denver and Utah, two historically difficult places to play.
Portland has been better offensively since acquiring Carmelo Anthony, but both Melo and Hassan Whiteside should struggle down low against the Lakers sizable front. The Lakers allow the fourth-fewest PPG (42.5) in the paint and are scoring the fourth-most PPG (53.3) in the paint this year. Portland is scoring the third-fewest PPG (43.5) in the paint and ranks 21st in 2-point FG shooting (.504%) this year.
Not to inundate you with stats, but the Lakers are third in scoring efficiency on the road and are simply a much tougher, more cohesive team at this stage in the season. Plus, both teams are playing their third game in four nights and the Blazers are 2-4 ATS on short rest this year. The Blazers also have the fourth-worst record ATS (21-26-2) when listed as underdogs since the start of last season.
Orlando Magic (-3.5) at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Magic won’t be stopped despite losing top center Nikola Vucevic (ankle) for weeks and facing a challenging schedule lately. Orlando edged a streaking Wizards team on the road and came home the next night to outscore the Suns, 128-114. Outscoring opponents is something Orlando rarely does, but somehow the Magic has been better offensively without Vooch and is sporting the fifth-best offensive rating (118.3) in the NBA during its 3-game win streak.
Meanwhile, Cleveland ranks dead last in defensive rating (121.9) and is second only to the Knicks in net rating (-16.8) while going 1-6 over its last 7 games. The Cavs have the second-worst defensive rating (115.1) at home and are 4-6-1 ATS in home games this season. Cleveland’s only saving grace all season has been aggression in the paint led by Tristan Thompson. But Orlando allows the fourth-fewest offensive RPG (9.0), third-fewest FTA (19.8), and eight-fewest PPG (48) in the paint this year.
With Markelle Fultz finding his confidence, Evan Fournier producing consistently and Terrence Ross capable of getting hot, the Magic have a decided advantage over Cleveland’s youth-laden backcourt. Orlando also has the edge in athleticism with Jonathan Isaac wreaking havoc and Mo Bamba or Khem Birch ready to step in at center.
Chicago Bulls (-4.5) vs Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are expected to have Draymond Green in uniform and just got D’Angelo Russell (finger) back from injury, but will they be engaged on the road? So far, that’s rarely been the case, as this tanking team is posting a 2-12 record with the third-worst net rating (-12.7) in road games this year. Golden State is shooting just 30.9% from downtown on the road and Chicago is a solid 14th in defensive rating while ranking third in opponent’s 3-point shooting (.326%) this season.
While the Bulls lost, 104-90, in Golden State last week, they’ve responded by pushing Portland to the brink before beating the Kings and Grizzlies. Chicago is now 5-3 ATS against WCF teams and second only to Miami with a 4-1 record ATS at home this season. Zach LaVine is leading the way with a 124 offensive rating over his last four appearances, including a 35-point performance at Golden State. The Warriors have dropped six straight on the road by an average of 18.8 PPG (includes a 48-point loss in Dallas), so if the Bulls get hot the spread likely won’t be an issue.
NBA December 6 Picks Against The Spread
Boston Celtics (-3.5) vs Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets are winning games with defense and somewhat, with Smoke and Mirrors, as Nikola Jokic has been underperforming. Boston owns the second-best offensive rating in home games and should negate that defensive advantage with its quickness.
Brooklyn Nets (-2.5) at Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have overachieved this season and the Nets have far more depth across the board despite playing without Kyrie Irving or Caris LeVert.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-3) vs Minnesota Wolves
The Wolves are banged up with Andrew Wiggins (thumb) questionable and Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) a bit hobbled heading into a brutal matchup against Steven Adams.
Los Angeles Clippers (+3.5) at Milwaukee Bucks
When these teams last faced, Milwaukee edged a victory with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in street clothes. With those defensive stalwarts active and motivated, they can contain Giannis and potentially end Milwaukee’s long winning streak.
Washington Wizards (+10) at Miami Heat
The Wizards have the best record ATS (14-3) on zero days rest since the start of last season. Give them a shot in a tough road spot after beating the Sixers last night.
Sacramento Kings (+4) at San Antonio Spurs
While the Spurs appear to be turning things around, their defense has still been dreadful and could actually be worse if LaMarcus Aldridge (thigh) returns to the lineup tonight.
Detroit Pistons (+3) vs Indiana Pacers
The Pistons own the third-best net rating over their last 4 games and should be competitive at home after getting pasted by the Bucks in their last game.