Finding Betting Value in Three of Tonight's NBA Matchups

David Lawrence

Sunday, December 21, 2014 2:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 2:19 PM UTC

Nearly two months of NBA have been played. There are some highly intriguing NBA betting matchups on this Sunday’s card, and here are the three foremost examples.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Odds: Cavaliers -3.5
While Americans watch the NFL on Sunday, one of the best regular season matchups in the NBA season will take place in the late afternoon hours. Memphis, right on Golden State’s heels in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference, goes to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers, which have generally improved over the past month but still have issues that aren’t going to completely go away anytime soon. Cleveland was rocked by a 29-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks, a game which witnessed the complete collapse of the Cavaliers’ defense, which allowed 127 points. Cleveland did bounce back to win over Brooklyn on Friday night, but the Nets have been awful the past week, losing three straight to fall out of a playoff spot. Cleveland has to show more than just the ability to beat a bad team – beating Memphis would say a lot more about the Cavs’ ability to rebound from that loss to the Hawks.

Memphis is coming off a loss in its own right. The Grizzlies played an off game on defense, allowing 103 points to the Chicago Bulls. It is possible that a three-overtime game against the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the week took something out of the Griz. They should be ready to bounce back against Cleveland. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games, so that’s a wash. Ultimately, Cleveland’s 29-point loss to Atlanta is enough of a red flag to take the Grizzlies here on the road.

Free NBA Pick: Memphis +3.5 at BetOnline

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Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards
Odds: Wizards -6
This is a game in which the playing status of Washington forward Paul Pierce will probably be unclear heading into tip-off. Pierce missed Friday night’s game at Miami with a toe injury on his right foot. Yet, his team was good enough to grind out a win over the Heat on the road. Washington is growing up as a team, and the same can’t be said for Phoenix. The Suns gelled as a team last season, and they were expected to be at least as good if not better this season. However, Phoenix has taken a step back. Its defense allows 104 points per game, and that’s just not going to get it done in pro hoops. The Suns are 3-7 in their last 10, and they don’t appear ready to find the kinds of answers they’ll need to become a playoff team this season. You might think that Washington is on shaky ground without Pierce, but the Suns are in a far worse position. Washington has also won six games in a row. Take the Wizards with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick:  Washington -6 at The Greek

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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
This is a very tough game to pick in light of the fact that Kevin Durant’s playing status is day-to-day following an ankle sprain he suffered Thursday night against Golden State. He missed Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Watch Durant closely, but assume that he’s not going to play. If so, NBA odds could favor New Orleans – which won at Houston this past week and is 6-4 in its last 10 games – looks like a very good choice on the road in Oklahoma.

Free NBA Pick:  New Orleans

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