Three NBA Games Worth Gambling On Wednesday, December 7

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Hand up: It’s been a brutal start for ya boy in the NBA. I’ve profited from betting on the NBA for five years running but it’s been a ton of Ls up until this point. It was ugly around this time last season too before I went nuclear after New Year’s.

Hopefully, it plays out similarly this season. Either way, I’m firing out of this hole and I have a few gambling looks in the NBA’s 11-game Wednesday slate. Below, I’ll handicap and give picks for Wizards-Bulls, Thunder-Grizzlies, and Pacers-Timberwolves.

Washington Wizards (11-13) at Chicago Bulls (9-14)

Both teams enter on three-game losing skids. Washington lost to the Nets, Hornets, and Lakers with a 0-2-1 against the spread (ATS) record in those games. Chicago was 2-4 straight up (SU) and ATS in a six-game road trip with losses at the Suns, Warriors, and Kings entering Wednesday.

The Wizards won their first meeting with the Bulls 102-100 in Washington on October 21, pushing as 2-point favorites. But, Chicago outperformed D.C. in three of the “four factors”, outscored them in three of the four quarters, and was missing All-Star SG Zach LaVine.

Against Washington in 2021-22, LaVine averaged 25.3 points per game (PPG) on 64.6% true shooting (.480/.435/.900) in three meetings with the Wizards.

Chicago Bulls wing Zach LaVine drives with the basketball against the Washington Wizards at United Center in Chicago.
Chicago Bulls wing Zach LaVine drives with the basketball against the Washington Wizards at United Center in Chicago. (Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Washington All-Star, leading scorer, and leading assist man, SG Bradley Beal, is out for the next few games with an injury. Beal hit a game-winning bucket in the paint in D.C.’s win over Chicago earlier this season.

Also, the Wizards cannot exploit the Bulls’ weak 3-point defense because D.C. ranks only 22nd in 3-point shooting percentage. On the other hand, Chicago’s defense doesn’t give up a lot of easy buckets.

The Bulls rank 10th or better in second-chance PPG, fastbreak PPG, paint PPG, and points off of turnovers per game allowed. They also do a good job closing out defensive possessions by grabbing boards (first in defensive rebounding rate).

Most importantly, Chicago is uber-profitable in these spots and Washington has not. The Bulls are 16-4 ATS as home favorites vs. teams with a losing record since 2021. The Wizards are 3-12-2 ATS with two days off over that span and 15-23-2 ATS as road ‘dogs.

NBA Best Bet #1: Bulls -5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -6

The Chicago Bulls' odds vs. the Washington Wizards from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The Chicago Bulls’ odds vs. the Washington Wizards from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Oklahoma City Thunder (11-13) at Memphis Grizzlies (15-9)

I took an L when Memphis beat OKC 121-110 on Nov. 18. However, I stand by that handicap and will try to break even on my Thunder-Grizzlies bets. Honestly, the Grizzlies should’ve beaten the Thunder worse in their first meeting this season.

Memphis had 29 more free throw attempts and 14 more rebounds. The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 30-6 in fastbreak points. They split the turnover rate and OKC had a better effective field goal percentage (eFG%).

Also, Thunder PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) had an uncharacteristically bad game vs. Memphis earlier this season. SGA scored a season-low 15 points on 33.3% shooting.

Oklahoma City Thunder PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drives to the cup against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Oklahoma City Thunder PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drives to the cup against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Since then, SGA is averaging 31.7 PPG on 44.4% shooting and 95.7% from the foul line on 13.4 free-throw attempts in his last seven games. SGA and Co. can lessen the free-throw attempt gap with their aggressive style.

The Thunder attempt the most drives per game and score the second most paint PPG. OKC is seventh in fastbreak PPG allowed so the Grizzlies’ +24 fastbreak points margin should regress as well.

Buyer beware: Thunder wing Lu Dort has been ruled out of this game with an injury and the Grizzlies jumped up to -8. But, OKC backup SG Aaron Wiggins is a better shooter than Dort and has a higher on/off net rating.

On top of that, OKC is 12-4 ATS as an underdog of +5 or greater whereas Memphis is 3-4 ATS as a -5 favorite or higher.

NBA Best Bet #2: Thunder +8 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +7

The Oklahoma City Thunder's odds at the Memphis Grizzlies from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7th at 2 p.m. ET.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s odds at the Memphis Grizzlies from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7th at 2 p.m. ET.

Indiana Pacers (13-11) at Minnesota Timberwolves (11-12)

Maybe I’m way overthinking this one but this line is suspiciously low — T-Wolves -5 — considering the situational edge Minnesota has in this spot.

This will be the Pacers’ fifth game since Nov. 30 whereas the Timberwolves will be playing just their second game over that span and first since Saturday.

The T-Wolves crushed the Pacers 115-101 in Indiana in their first meeting this season, on Nov. 23, and Indy just snapped a three-game losing skid in its previous outing.

Granted, the Pacers stunned the Warriors in a 112-104 upset as a 12.5-point underdog Monday so maybe it’s a sell-high spot for Indiana. But, close to 75% of the money at DraftKings is on the T-Wolves so no one is buying the Pacers.

Indy was down two starters in PG Tyrese Haliburton and C Myles Turner vs. the Warriors, both of whom are still listed as “questionable” on the injury report. The fact that the sportsbooks opened this game at Timberwolves -4 suggests these guys could play.

Indiana Pacers PG Tyrese Haliburton dribbles the ball while being guarded by Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels in the 1st quarter at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Indiana Pacers PG Tyrese Haliburton dribbles the ball while being guarded by Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels in the 1st quarter at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Also, the Pacers are a better team in the fastbreak. Indiana is second in pace and Minnesota is third. But, Indy ranks higher in offensive and defensive efficiency in transition.

Furthermore, I don’t trust the T-Wolves to win by margin because they allow too many easy buckets. Minnesota ranks in the bottom third of the NBA in points off of turnovers, fastbreak PPG and second-chance PPG allowed.

Lastly, the Timberwolves are 3-7 ATS as a home favorite (-7.4 ATS margin) and 1-3 ATS with 2-3 days off this season. While the Pacers are 5-1 ATS on the road vs. teams with a losing record.

(Word for the wise: Wait until closer to tip-off for the final injury report. I’m just trying to get the best of the number with the Pacers).

NBA Best Bet #3: Pacers +5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +4.5

The Indiana Pacers' odds at the Minnesota Timberwolves from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7th at 2:15 p.m. ET.
The Indiana Pacers’ odds at the Minnesota Timberwolves from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday, December 7th at 2:15 p.m. ET.

FOLLOW GEOFF ON TWITTER: @Geoffery_Clark

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Written by Geoff Clark

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