Three NBA Gambling Locks For Friday, December 2

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After a weird one-game Thursday slate, the NBA is back with a respectable 11-game card heading into the weekend on Friday. My favorite matchups on the schedule are the Heat-Celtics, Raptors-Nets, and Rockets-Suns. Below, I’ll give reasonings for bets made in each contest.

Miami Heat (10-12) at Boston Celtics (18-4)

This is a good ole Zig-Zag Theory spot after the Celtics waxed the Heat Wednesday 134-121. Boston outperformed Miami in three of the “four factors” and outscored the Heat in three of the four quarters.

But, Boston got the benefit of the whistles and Miami was missing two rotation players including All-Star Jimmy Butler who has been upgraded to “questionable” on the injury report.

The Heat’s offense played well against the Celtics Wednesday but their defense struggled vs. Boston’s two All-Star wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Butler’s return helps the Heat on both ends of the floor.

Miami’s offensive FT/FGA rate improves greatly when Butler is on the floor. He’s an elite defensive wing who can help the Heat big Bam Adebayo defend Brown and Tatum.

Boston Celtics SF Jayson Tatum drives against Miami Heat SF Jimmy Butler at FTX Arena in Miami.
Boston Celtics SF Jayson Tatum drives against Miami Heat SF Jimmy Butler at FTX Arena in Miami. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Also, there’s been early sharp line movement headed toward Miami in the betting market. The Celtics were -8.5 on the look-ahead line but were lowered to -8 by Thursday night on the west coast.

Pinnacle Sportbook (Pinny) — one of the sharpest oddsmakers in the world, known for booking the largest sports bets — makes the Heat’s spread more expensive. Pinny is trying to entice its whale bettors into backing the Celtics.

Finally, this is a better spot for the Heat and the Celtics are due for a little regression. Miami is 6-2 against the spread (ATS) as an underdog of +7 or more since the beginning of last season with a +6.4 ATS margin.

NBA Best Bet #1: Heat +8 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +7

The Miami Heat's odds at the Boston Celtics from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday, December 1st at 1:00 a.m. ET.
The Miami Heat’s odds at the Boston Celtics from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday, December 1st at 1:00 a.m. ET.

Toronto Raptors (11-10) at Brooklyn Nets (12-11)

Raptors-Nets is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market. Per VSIN, more cash at DraftKings is on the Raptors while more bets have been placed on the Nets at the time of writing. Pinny makes Toronto’s spread +2 and pricier than Brooklyn’s.

Typically, it’s wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public because professional bettors make larger bets than your average Joe. Also, Toronto has strength-on-weakness edges on the glass.

The Raptors are third in offensive rebounding rate and score the most second-chance points per game (PPG). The Nets are dead-last in defensive rebounding rate and 26th in second-chance PPG allowed.

Brooklyn is 2-0 straight up (SU) and ATS vs. Toronto this season. However, the Raptors had a -1.5 ATS margin in their first loss to the Nets (109-104) and their second loss to Brooklyn was misleading.

Toronto Raptors SF Pascal Siakam dribbles vs. Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Toronto Raptors SF Pascal Siakam dribbles vs. Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Toronto was missing All-Star and leading scorer Pascal Siakam, PG Fred VanVleet, and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in the second loss to the Nets, 112-98.

But, the Raptors outperformed the Nets in three of the “four factors” and lost because they built a brick house from the field, shooting 35.6%. Which makes sense because, again, Toronto was missing three starters.

Lastly, this is a better spot for the Raptors. Brooklyn is 21-34-1 ATS following a win since 2021 with a -3.1 ATS margin. Toronto is 26-19-1 ATS after a loss over that span and 10-3 ATS vs. teams with a winning record this season.

NBA Best Bet #2: Raptors +2.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +1.5

The Toronto Raptors' odds at the Brooklyn Nets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 2nd at 1:35 a.m. ET.
The Toronto Raptors’ odds at the Brooklyn Nets from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 2nd at 1:35 a.m. ET.

Houston Rockets (5-16) at Phoenix Suns (15-6)

Rockets-Suns part I this season was another misleading final score. Phoenix beat Houston 124-109 and barely covered as 13-point home favorites at the end of October.

But, the Suns were only up four points heading into the fourth quarter and Chris Paul was active for that game. CP3 had a 15/0 assist/turnover ratio and was tied with Phoenix PF Cameron Johnson for a team-high plus-19 +/-.

Both Paul and Johnson are sidelined with injuries for Friday’s meeting with the Rockets. Johnson leads the Suns with a +14.4 non-garbage time on/off net rating (nRTG), per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG). CP3 is fifth on Phoenix with a +6.4 adjusted on/off nRTG.

Houston Rockets SG Jalen Green handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Houston Rockets SG Jalen Green handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Suns were without big Deandre Ayton and the Rockets were missing starting combo guard Eric Gordon in their first meeting this season. Ayton has a -6.8 adjusted on/off nRTG and Gordon has a +7.1 adjusted on/off nRTG, per CTG.

What Houston did well in its first game vs. Phoenix earlier this season, and continues to do well, is crashing the offensive glass. The Rockets were +7 in offensive rebounds against the Suns in Oct. and first in the NBA in offensive rebounding rate.

Houston got crushed by double digits in both games of a back-to-back with the Nuggets on the road Nov. 28 and 30. But, the Rockets are 8-3 in their last 11 games following SU losses of 10 or more points. Phoenix is 1-6 in its past seven games vs. teams with a 40% or lower winning rate.

Finally, according to VSIN, more than 90% of the money at DraftKings is on the Suns at the time of writing. Simply put, nine out of 10 people don’t win betting sports.

NBA Best Bet #3: Rockets +11.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +10.5

The Houston Rockets' odds at the Phoenix Suns from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 2nd at 2:00 a.m. ET.
The Houston Rockets’ odds at the Phoenix Suns from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, December 2nd at 2:00 a.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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