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Best bets today from around the NBA.
Best bets today from around the NBA.

Thursday's NBA best bets search for the top value plays based on the best NBA odds from a modest slate.

With no teams on the second leg of a back-to-back, we have a clean six-game slate of NBA action on Thursday. It includes a projected 239-point total in Charlotte, a possible NBA Finals preview in Boston, and Luka ​​Doncic's first game since the first 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double in league history.

Here are our NBA best bets for Thursday (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our NBA best bets and our Clippers vs. Celtics picks.

Thursday’s NBA Schedule and Odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (-5) vs. Indiana Pacers
  • Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Charlotte Hornets (-1)
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics (-6.5)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (-3) vs. Toronto Raptors
  • New York Knicks (-5.5) vs. San Antonio Spurs
  • Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks (-10)

Thursday’s NBA Best Bets

  • Moneyline: Grizzlies (-146 via FanDuel)
  • Spread: Hornets -1 (-108 via FanDuel)
  • Total: Clippers-Celtics Under 228 (-110 via DraftKings)
  • Player prop: Christian Wood Under 19.5 points (-115 via FanDuel)

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NBA Top Picks

Moneyline: Grizzlies (-146) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last week, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant was interviewed on national television and said his path to a championship goes through the Boston Celtics and he is “good in the West.” The Grizzlies have promptly lost four of their last five games, all to Western Conference opponents. That is probably what is scaring the public off Memphis right now.

With approximately 70% of the public ATS tickets backing the Toronto Raptors, the line has crept up in favor of Memphis by a half point—because it's the team to back.

Raptors starters Fred VanVleet and Precious Achiuwa are questionable but even if they play, the Grizzlies are the healthier, better team. Since Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. started playing alongside each other three games ago, the Grizzlies have been the tightest defense in the league in the restricted area (allowing 49.2% from the field in that zone). That doesn't bode well against a Raptors team that ranks in the top 10 in field goals attempted from inside 8 feet. Memphis' offense is also due for some positive regression after shooting 25.2% from 3-point range over the last five games.

The Raptors have the worst winning percentage in the NBA this season in close games, which is why I am fine looking to avoid a backdoor cover and just paying the juice for the Grizzlies to win this game.

Spread: Hornets -1 (-108) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was scheduled to be a game between two teams talking about the lottery draft rather than playoffs. Instead, the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder are just two games behind a play-in spot on. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets have lived up to their low bar but that is partially thanks to recurring injuries. The Hornets are dealing with more wounds on Thursday as they will likely be without Kelly Oubre Jr. and will list Dennis Smith Jr. as questionable.

Still, Charlotte has enough offensive weapons to win a battle of buckets at home. Despite the 9-26 season record, the Hornets are peculiarly 3-2 straight up when on the first game of a multi-game homestand and 2-1 ATS when favored in a near pick ’em (within two points). Meanwhile, the Thunder are 0-6 ATS when the spread is within two points.

After shooting a scorching 40.3% from three over their last five games, expect some regression from Oklahoma City after a day of travel and for the pick-and-roll game around Hornets star LaMelo Ball to be too much to handle in this projected shootout.

Total: Clippers-Celtics Under 228 (-110) ⭐⭐

Over 90% of the public action has come in on the Over in this game, yet the line has frozen at 227.5 with most of our Best NBA Betting Sites. You can’t fool me and we’ll get extra value with the additional point of push potential via DraftKings.

Both teams are expected to be fully healthy and that bodes well for two-way stars Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. This total has been cleared to the Over in two straight games with George and Leonard both playing but is just 3-3 on the season when the duo plays together. Additionally, the Celtics got destroyed when these two teams last matched up and the total easily cashed the Under.

Boston shooting horribly in that game is not a pure coincidence—head coach Joe Mazzula has been one of the best in the NBA this season in getting his team to produce high-quality looks on offense. However, against the Clippers, that isn’t so easy with head coach Ty Lue’s elite ability to adjust on defense.

The Celtics have shot 41.1% from beyond the arc over their last two games and the Clippers have shot 41.1% from 3-point range over their last six contests. Bet on regression and back defense in this game.

Player prop: Christian Wood Under 19.5 points (-115) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This matchup is a highly-anticipated revenge spot but the number is too high, especially since former Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood scored only eight points in 28 minutes when these teams met last week.

Wood has recently moved to the Mavericks’ starting lineup due to injuries but has scored at least 20 points in only three of his seven starts this season. Over the last seven games, the Rockets have allowed the third-fewest points per game to power forwards and the third-fewest points per game to centers. On the season, they have allowed the seventh-fewest restricted area field goals made per game—that’s where Wood produces 47% of his made field goals from.

Add in the blowout potential in this game and if the Mavericks put this one away early as the 10-point spread suggests, Wood might fail to eclipse 30 minutes again, giving him future opportunities to run up his stat line.

NBA best bets made 12/29/2022 at 12:45 p.m. ET.

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