NBA Gambling Trifecta For Friday, December 9

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After the usual crap Thursday NBA slate, the Association ends the work week with a stacked 10-game card. We are going to take a shot in the first of an ESPN-NBA doubleheader in the Lakers-76ers and Suns-Pelicans and the Knicks-Hornets.

New York Knicks (12-13) at Charlotte Hornets (7-18)

The Knicks are 15-8 against the spread (ATS) as road favorites with a +6.4 ATS margin since head coach Tom Thibodeau was hired in 2020. The Hornets are just 4-6 ATS as home underdogs this season. 

On top of that …

New York beat up bad teams

Charlotte is 26th in net rating (nRTG) and 23rd in defensive rating. The Knicks are 6-1 straight up (SU) vs. teams in the bottom 10 of nRTG, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).

New York has a +11.2 non-garbage time nRTG (ranked fourth) and a +5.7 ATS margin (fifth). The Knicks are 7-1 SU vs. bottom-10 defenses with a 7-1 SU with a +10.6 adjusted nRTG (third) and a +6.8 ATS margin (fourth).

The Hornets are missing two starters in PG LaMelo Ball and SF Gordon Hayward, and their leader in adjusted on/off nRTG, PG Dennis Smith Jr., per CTG.

New York Knicks guards Immanuel Quickley and Jalen Brunson dap up against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
New York Knicks guards Immanuel Quickley and Jalen Brunson dap up against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images)

With that in mind, New York has a significant edge in the backcourt. First-year Knicks PG Jalen Brunson has brought steadiness to NY’s offense and is a major reason the Knicks are eighth in offensive turnover rate.

While backup NY combo guard Immanuel Quickley is one of the best bench players in the NBA. New York scores 10.0 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time when IQ is on the floor, per CTG.

The Knicks have a strength-on-weakness edge on the glass

NY is fifth in offensive rebounding rate and third in second-chance points per game (PPG). Whereas the Hornets are 23rd in defensive rebounding rate and give up the most second-chance PPG.

NY has been getting off to fast starts

The Knicks struggle to put teams away but have been jumping out to leads. NY has covered the first-half spread in five straight games and has a +7.3 SU first-half margin in the last three.

The Hornets are 1-4 ATS in the first half of its previous five games and have a -12.7 SU first-half margin over the last three games.

NBA Best Bet #1: Knicks -1.5 (-110) in the first half at DraftKings Sportsbook

The New York Knicks' first-half odds at the Charlotte Hornets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 9th at 2:10 p.m. ET.
The New York Knicks’ first-half odds at the Charlotte Hornets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 9th at 2:10 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles Lakers (10-13) at Philadelphia 76ers (12-12)

Philadelphia hosts LA for the first of an NBA-ESPN doubleheader at the Wells Fargo Center for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off. The Lakers have lost two straight but were missing Anthony Davis for most of both and LeBron James for the second game.

The Sixers lost all of a three-game road trip (0-3 ATS) entering Friday. Philly has won four consecutive meetings with the Lakers (3-1 ATS). But, everyone and their grandmother is betting on the 76ers.

More than 80% of the money at DraftKings Sportsbook is on Philadelphia, per VSIN. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that eight out of 10 people don’t make money betting on sports. 

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook stand on the court during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook stand on the court during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles. (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Lakers have more depth and better shot quality. LA is eighth in bench PPG and Philly’s bench scores the third-fewest PPG.

According to CTG, the Lakers have the best shot quality in the NBA and attempt the most field goals at the rim. The Sixers are 28th in defensive field goal percentage at the rim. 

LA’s aggressiveness explains its second-ranked offensive FT/FGA rate. Philly is 22nd in defensive FT/FGA rate so the Lakers could spend a lot of time at the charity stripe Friday. A big reason for Anthony Davis’s recent resurgence is that he’s been more aggressive.

Philadelphia’s offense gets into ruts because Joel Embiid and James Harden tend to settle for long-contested 2-pointers. My read on this game is AD outplays Embiid and LA’s aggressiveness overwhelms this soft Sixers squad.

NBA Best Bet #2: Lakers +4.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Los Angeles Lakers’ odds at the Philadelphia 76ers from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 9th at 1:45 p.m. ET.

Phoenix Suns (16-9) at New Orleans Pelicans (16-8)

This is a rematch of a first-round Western Conference playoff series from last season. The Suns eliminated the Pelicans in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series.

Phoenix smacked New Orleans 124-111 earlier this year. The Suns were at full strength and the Pelicans were missing several key pieces. However, the same goes for this Suns-Pelicans meeting as well.

The Pelicans are down two starters

NOLA’s second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram is still sidelined with a toe injury and the best on-ball defender, SF Herbert Jones. Ingram has a +5.0 adjusted on/off nRTG, per CTG, and Jones has a +2.6 adjusted on/off nRTG.

Phoenix Suns SF Mikal Bridges defends New Orleans Pelicans SF Brandon Ingram during Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
Phoenix Suns SF Mikal Bridges defends New Orleans Pelicans SF Brandon Ingram during Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. (Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

When Zion Williamson and Ingram are on the floor, it’s hard for opposing defenses to stop both of them. It’s a heck of a lot easier to defend just one of those guys.

Buy-low spot for Phoenix

The Suns are 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four games. Phoenix has been embarrassed in back-to-back road games, losing to the Dallas Mavericks 130-111 Monday and the Boston Celtics 125-98 Wednesday.

But, Phoenix is a well-buttoned-up team who generally bounces back well from losses. This season the Suns are an NBA-best 7-1 ATS following a loss with a +11.4 SU margin and +8.4 ATS margin. 

The Suns will light it up from behind the arc

The Pelicans have the best defensive 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA and the Suns are fourth in 3-point shooting percentage. However, NOLA’s strong 3-point defense is a little lucky and due for regression.

New Orleans contests the fourth-fewest 3-pointers per game and is 25th in non-garbage time 3-point attempt volume allowed. Phoenix is too good of a 3-point shooting team to give wide-open looks to.

NBA Best Bet #3: Suns (-120) at DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Don’t be cheap: Phoenix’s ML is only 10 cents on the dollar more expensive currently than the ATS.
The Phoenix Suns' odds at the New Orleans Pelicans from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 9th at 2:10 p.m. ET.
The Phoenix Suns’ odds at the New Orleans Pelicans from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 9th at 2:10 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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