NBA Best Bet Trifecta For Tuesday, December 20

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There are only five games scheduled in the Association Tuesday. But, we are taking shots at three of them including both NBA on TNT games — Warriors-Knicks and Grizzlies-Nuggets — along with a total in Jazz-Pistons.

(Buyer beware: The NBA’s “load management” stuff is bogus and players are sitting out more and more games. It would behoove you to wait until the final injury reports are released before betting).

Memphis Grizzlies (19-10) at Denver Nuggets (18-11)

This is the first Grizzlies-Nuggets meeting of the season. Memphis won and covered three of four vs. Denver in 2021-22. The Nuggets are home underdogs for the first time this year as well. Last season, Denver was 3-6 against the spread (ATS) as home ‘dogs.

The Grizzlies lost at the Thunder 115-109 Saturday and the Nuggets beat the Hornets 119-115 at home Sunday. Memphis is 25-15 ATS following a loss and 20-13-1 ATS when playing with a rest advantage since 2021.

Also, the Grizzlies have the perfect frontcourt to defend Nikola Jokic. Memphis C Steven Adams has the strength to body Jokic in the paint and PF Jaren Jackson Jr. has the quickness and length to defend Jokic on the perimeter.

Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic handles the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Ball Arena in Denver.
Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic handles the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Ball Arena in Denver. (Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jackson is one of the best defensive bigs in the NBA. Per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG), opponents shoot 13.9% worse at the rim vs. the Grizzlies when Jackson is on the floor. That’s the best rate in the Association. 

Memphis has strength-on-weakness edges over Denver in the fastbreak and in the paint too. The Grizzlies average the third-most fastbreak points per game (PPG). The Nuggets have the worst defensive efficiency in transition in the NBA.

The Grizzlies average the most paint PPG and aggressively attack the paint. The Nuggets are 29th in defensive field goal percentage vs. attempts at the rim and 21st in paint PPG allowed. 

Finally, Memphis is 4-2 ATS as 1-to-2.5-point favorites and 10-6 ATS vs. teams with a winning record. Denver is 2-4 straight up (SU) vs. teams in the top 10 of non-garbage time net rating (nRTG), 28th in adjusted nRTG at -12.0, and 27th in ATS margin at -5.0, per CTG.

NBA Best Bet #1: Grizzlies (-120) ML DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -135

The Memphis Grizzlies' odds at the Denver Nuggets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ odds at the Denver Nuggets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.

Golden State Warriors (15-16) at New York Knicks (17-13)

The Warriors snapped a three-game losing skid Saturday by upsetting the Raptors 126-110 in Toronto as 6-point road ‘dogs. The Knicks on the other hand have won and covered seven consecutive games.

I like the Knicks to keep their winning and cover streaks alive because their aggressiveness can expose a flaw for the Warriors. NYK is second in drives per game and eighth in offensive FT/FGA rate whereas Golden State is 27th in defensive FT/FGA rate.

A majority of NYK’s field goals are at the rim or in the short mid-range. The Warriors are 25th in defensive field goal percentage vs. attempts at the rim and 29th vs. short mid-range jumpers, per CTG.

New York Knicks PF Julius Randle and PG Jalen Brunson celebrate after a basket against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden.
New York Knicks PF Julius Randle and PG Jalen Brunson celebrate after a basket against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Injuries have compromised Golden State’s depth. If the Warriors get into foul trouble they’ll be playing G-League-caliber players. In fact, Warriors C James Wiseman got called back up from the G-League because of Golden State’s injury woes.

Moreover, NYK should win the battle of possessions. The Knicks average considerably more rebounds per game (47.6-43.1) and fewer turnovers per game (17.0-14.3) than the Warriors.

Lastly, this is a “bad spot” for Golden State who is 4-10 ATS with a -8.5 ATS margin following a loss and 4-13 ATS on the road with a -7.2 ATS margin. The Warriors’ road splits are especially worrisome.

Madison Square Garden is going to be rocking for a red-hot Knicks team hosting the defending champions. Even if Golden State is missing former two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.

NBA Best Bet #2: Knicks -4.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -5

The New York Knicks' odds vs. the Golden State Warriors from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.
The New York Knicks’ odds vs. the Golden State Warriors from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.

Utah Jazz (17-15) at Detroit Pistons (8-24)

This is the second and final Jazz-Pistons game of the season. The first meeting in Utah went Over the 234-point total by seven points in a 125-116 Detroit win on Nov. 23.

I like this one to go OVER 232.5 (-110) the total too because both teams play at an above-average pace and have bad defenses.

Utah is 25th in defensive rating while Detroit is 29th. Each team is top-eight in second-chance PPG scored and bottom-four in second-chance PPG allowed.

Utah Jazz SG Jordan Clarkson drives past Detroit Pistons SF Kevin Knox at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Utah Jazz SG Jordan Clarkson drives past Detroit Pistons SF Kevin Knox at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

The Jazz have allowed at least 122 points in three consecutive games. The Pistons have allowed 122 points in four straight and seven of their last 10 games.

Detroit is 10-4-1 Over/Under (O/U) at home with a +5.5 O/U margin and 7-1 O/U in games with a total of 230 or higher with a +15.4 O/U margin. Utah has gone Over the total in six of its last seven games vs. teams with a sub-40% win rate.

On top of that, the Jazz rank fifth in 3-point attempt rate and eighth in true shooting rate, and the Pistons lead the NBA in offensive FT/FGA rate.

NBA Best Bet #3: OVER 230 (-110) DraftKings Sportsbook, up to 231

The Over for Utah Jazz at Detroit Lions from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.
The Over for Utah Jazz at Detroit Lions from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, December 20th at 1 a.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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