The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Monday.
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 30 Best Bets
Milwaukee Bucks (-6.5) at Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have been surprisingly stout lately with the second-best defensive rating (99.8) in the December. But how much of that has been due to their strength of schedule? They’ve played an especially weak slate of opponents lately and could be shocked by the level of competition against a Bucks team that beat them twice (by 9 and 14 points) in November.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) may sit out a couple more games with the lowly Wolves on tap for Wednesday, but the Bucks expect to get Eric Bledsoe (leg) back in the lineup tonight. Even without Giannis, Milwaukee owns the second-best net rating (17.2) and defensive rating (89.4) over its last two wins. The Bucks are 20-14 ATS on the road and are rarely listed with such a small spread. They’ve won eight straight against the Bulls and seven straight in Chicago, a trend that is unlikely to change tonight whether Giannis plays or not.
Brooklyn Nets (-3) at Minnesota Wolves
The Wolves have arguably been the worst team in the NBA this month and recently snapped an 11-game losing streak with an OT win over sliding Sacramento. That downward spiral has led to Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) playing it safe with his injury as Minnesota starts to drift towards tanking for next season. Towns could miss a sixth straight game tonight and Andrew Wiggins (flu-like symptoms) is also questionable. With Wiggins attempting to lead the offense, Minnesota ranks 29th in offensive rating (95.3) during a 5-game stretch with Towns out. If both players are out, it’s hard to imagine the Wolves finding consistent offense against a Nets team that’s second in defensive rating (99.4) over their last 6 games.
Home court advantage has been non-existent for the Wolves, as they’re a league-worst 2-11-1 ATS in home games this year. They’ve only covered in 2 of their last 13 games overall. Brooklyn comes in on a 2-game losing streak and that is creating value with a very small spread. The Nets are 9-5 ATS following a loss and 7-6 ATS when facing WCF foes. Brooklyn had a horrible shooting night in a 94-82 loss to the Knicks, but could certainly bounce back against a Wolves team that ranks 28th in defensive rating (113.5) this month.
Portland Blazers (-4.5) vs Phoenix Suns
The Blazers have been playing much better ball of late, but unluckily ran into a trio of red-hot teams and lost to the Pelicans, Jazz, and Lakers last week. Portland still owns a positive net rating (1.3) over its last six games, while the Suns are dead last in defensive rating (117.5) with the second-worst net rating (-10.5) during that span. Phoenix ranks 27th in opponent’s 3-point shooting (.375%) and Portland is ninth in 3-point percentage (.364%) with Damian Lillard hitting 37.7% of his long range attempts at home. Ricky Rubio will be food for Lillard tonight and the Suns may lack paint protection with Deandre Ayton (ankle) ruled out.
The Blazers had won four straight prior to their 3-game skid against those surging teams last week. They had covered in 7 of their last 9 home games and have generally handled business against teams in the bottom half of the NBA. Portland is 11-6 against teams with losing records and just 3-13 against teams with winning records this season. They squeaked out a 111-110 win in Phoenix earlier this month, but should pull away at home.
NBA December 30 Picks Against The Spread
Utah Jazz (-9.5) vs Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have been horrible lately and this is a rare matchup in which Andre Drummond doesn’t have a size advantage down low against Rudy Gobert. Utah is red hot with the second-best offensive rating in the NBA over their last four outings and Detroit is 4-10-1 ATS on the road.
Washington Wizards (+8.5) vs Miami Heat
Miami is improving on the road, but is 4-2 with a -1.2 net rating in away games this month, indicating that it might be tough for the Heat to cover this number if Bradley Beal (leg) is active for Washington.
Atlanta Hawks (+10.5) at Orlando Magic
While the Magic is a great defensive team, Orlando is dead last in PPG and could struggle to pull away from Atlanta, even with Trae Young (ankle) ruled out.
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