We’ve identified a few ideal NBA betting matchups headed into the Holiday weekend, including a Rudy Gobert-less Jazz taking on the Rockets, the Bucks hosting the surging Cavaliers, and the Celtics squaring off with the Heat.
Jazz at Rockets (8 p.m. ET)
Utah’s star center Rudy Gobert is down again, expected to miss a month after spraining his PCL in his left knee last Friday versus the Celtics. The defensive force, one of the NBA’s best at guarding the rim, missed 11 games earlier in the year with a bone bruise in his right knee. The Jazz played well in his prior absence, particularly on offense, averaging 109.0 points per game. This is 10 more (99.0) than with the big man in the lineup. Forced to go smaller in long stretches, Utah surpassed its projected team total in all but three games. If they sport a stronger attack into Houston Monday night, put the ‘over’ on your radar. The Rockets average 115.7 points per game at Toyota Center and the bet has cashed in all but one game when allowing 100 points or more to opponents.Tuesday, December 19
Cavaliers at Bucks (8 p.m. ET)
The surging Cavaliers have won 17 of their last 18 and are finally playing like the team that has appeared in three straight NBA Finals after an ugly 5-7 start. Expect LeBron James and crew to tip off away favorites at the Bucks on Tuesday. This automatically triggers playing the ‘over.’ The bet is 8-3 all-time with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the court as a home underdog, a 217.0 final score sailing past a 211.9 average total. This includes a 116-97 defeat to the Cavs the last time Milwaukee tipped off in this situation on Halloween. The Bucks tend to surprise offensively in this spot, shooting 49.8 percent from the floor.
Wednesday, December 20
Words of Wisdom from Celtics Coach Brad Stevens pic.twitter.com/feiyNCurRB— HoopCoach.org (@hoopcoach) December 13, 2017
Heat at Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET)
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens rules the Southeast division at TD Garden. Since taking over in 2013, Boston is 33-12 SU and 29-16 ATS (64.4 percent) overall. Strong defense leads the way, yielding 99.5 points per game on 43.9 percent opponent shooting. Boston owns the best scoring defense in the NBA entering this contest, allowing 98.1 per night.
The Heat average 100.0 points per game on the road. As of publication, it has scored more than the NBA average (105.3) just four times in 16 games. Three have come against weak competition (Memphis, Orlando, and Phoenix). This is a key number since the Celtics are 21-6 ATS in the above-mentioned scenario as home-chalk and allowing 105 points or less. Lay the points and lean Boston in this meeting.Thursday, December 21
Raptors at 76ers (7 p.m. ET)
In the last calendar year, the 76ers, with Joel Embiid in the starting lineup, are 10-4 SU and 12-2 ATS when hosting a team with a better points differential on the season. They’ve tipped off underdogs in over half (8), winning five outright and covering each. The emerging star center is that influential. In games he does not play under these conditions, Philly is 7-8 SU (9-6 ATS), losing by -1.2 per tilt. The margin catapults to 4.6 when on the floor. The Raptors own a 8.2 differential and Philly -0.4 as of Sunday. Toronto will tip off as chalk, but our money is likely on Embiid and the Sixers for our NBA picks when this one rolls out onto the hardwood.