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The NBA is kind of, sort of trying to stay clear of football’s way with only seven games tipping off Saturday. I have gambling looks in Jazz-Bucks, Pelicans-Suns, and Heat-Spurs.
(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).
Utah Jazz (17-14) at Milwaukee Bucks (20-8)
This is a sell-high spot for the Jazz and a buy-low spot for the Bucks. Utah just swept the New Orleans Pelicans in a back-to-back and has covered three straight games. Milwaukee took a 41-point drubbing by the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday.
Perhaps this explains the line movement — the Jazz has gone from +6.5 on the opener down to the current number (+4) — or maybe it’s Khris Middleton‘s “questionable” game status.
But, I’m okay with fading the line movement because of said recency bias, Milwaukee was winning games without Middleton and the Bucks have been profitable in these spots this year.
Milwaukee is 7-2-1 against the spread (ATS) as favorites of -4.5 or less with a +4.0 ATS margin this season, 11-5 ATS as a home favorite, 8-1 ATS at home vs. teams with a winning record, and 4-0 ATS after the last four ATS losses.
Furthermore, Bucks’ two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo should wreak havoc on the Jazz’s weak interior defense. Utah allows the most paint points per game (PPG) in the NBA.
A majority of Giannis’ shot attempts are at the rim, according to CleaningTheGlass.com. Also, Giannis scored just 19 points on 38.5% shooting vs. the Grizzlies Thursday. Giannis will lead Milwaukee in a bounce-back game.
NBA Best Bet #1: Bucks -4.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
- Disclaimer: Giannis was upgraded to “questionable” on Milwaukee’s injury report immediately after I wrapped up this handicap. Wait until closer to tip-off or for the final injury reports to be released before placing a bet.
Suns SG Devin Booker UNDER 28.5 points (-125)
Phoenix hosts New Orleans Friday at the Footprint Center for their fourth and final regular-season meeting this season. The Pelicans are 2-1 straight up (SU) and ATS vs. the Suns in those games.
Booker missed two games on Dec. 11 and 13 and has struggled this month otherwise. He’s scored 20 or fewer points in five of his six Dec. games including four straight of 17 points or less.
Also, NOLA has done a brilliant job defending Booker in his two games vs. the Pelicans. Booker is averaging just 15.0 PPG on 43.5% true shooting (.355/.167/.750) against New Orleans this year.
The Suns eliminated the Pelicans from the playoffs last season 4-2 in the first-round series. Booker missed three of those games but scored more than 28.5 points in one of those games.
Finally, New Orleans does a good job defending the areas Booker thrives in. A majority of Booker’s field goal attempts come in the mid-range and NOLA is fourth in defensive field goal percentage vs. mid-range jumpers.
NBA Best Bet #2: D. Booker UNDER 28.5 points (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Heat SG Tyler Herro OVER 22.5 points (-105)
Herro is one of the few Miami rotational players not on the Heat’s injury report ahead of their meeting with the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City Saturday.
The NBA actually fined Miami for some injury report BS earlier this week and the Heat mocked the Association by adding all of their players to the injury report.
That said, Herro has been ballin’ this month. Herro is averaging 26.1 PPG on 67.7% true shooting (.503/.513/.923) in eight Dec. games. He’s scored at least 23 points in six of those eight games.
Also, Herro actually plays better away from Miami. In road games this year, Herro is averaging 22.7 PPG (19.6 PPG at home) on 61.3% true shooting (58.3% true shooting at home) with a 113 offensive rating (108 oRTG at home).
Lastly, Herro scored 24 and 27 points in his two games vs. the Spurs last season and San Antonio has the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season.
NBA Best Bet #3: T. Herro OVER 22.5 points (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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