Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 16th Edition
The Miami Heat have been one of the best teams in the NBA despite getting nothing this season from guard Dion Waiters. He’s a good scorer on the court but a knucklehead off it as evidenced by the team suspending him a third time last week for continued insubordination. He can return to the team after the game against Utah on Dec. 23. The Heat haven’t missed Waiters because youngsters Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson have stepped up. Here’s a look at two interesting early-week NBA Betting games, including one involving the Heat. Check back for Mybookie NBA odds.
Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 16th Edition
LA Lakers vs Indiana Pacers
First of two meetings this season. They split last year, each winning by double-digits at home. This will be the 91st meeting between the two franchises, with the Lakers leading the all-time series 60-30. L.A. is 6-12 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since it opened in 1999.
The Pacers remain without their best player in All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. He was expected to miss a calendar year after rupturing his right quad tendon last January, and is currently practicing with the team’s G League squad with no exact timetable for his return.
Indiana is playing shockingly well without Oladipo despite the fact the only rotation players left from the Pacers’ sole playoff appearance with Oladipo, a first-round loss to the Cavs in 2018, are Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. The Pacers made major changes in the offseason and brought in three new perimeter starters—Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Warren—and moved Sabonis into the starting lineup. It has worked great even though Warren is their only starter to play in every game due to injury. Look out for this team once Oladipo is back.
Monitor the status of Sabonis for this one. He injured his foot Sunday. Sabonis ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounding average and second with 22 double-doubles on the season. The Pacers have won six straight home matchups against the Lakers. The Lakers’ last win at Indiana came on March 15, 2013.
The Lakers are on a seven-game winning streak and off a 101-96 escape in Atlanta on Sunday. LeBron James scored 32 points with 13 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and one steal in 37 minutes. He’s dealing with a sore elbow but not expected to miss any time. Anthony Davis tweaked his right ankle at the end of Sunday’s game and was limping, finishing with 27 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.
Davis and James are one of two pairs teammates averaging 25+ points this season. Dwight Howard is the only player in the NBA currently averaging 7+ rebounds in 20.0 minutes or less per game. The Lakers have their second-longest road winning streak with 14 in a row, trailing only the franchise and NBA-record 16 from 1971-72.
Kyle Kuzma didn’t play Sunday due to an ankle injury. He did say this ankle sprain is not related to the stress reaction that he suffered in October, but isn’t likely to play Tuesday.
Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers
Could be an Eastern Conference Finals preview. Of course, Heat star Jimmy Butler played for the 76ers last year and was their best player in the postseason. However, the Heat offered him a free-agent contract that the Sixers didn’t want to match so they worked a sign-and-trade with Miami by sending Butler to Miami for Josh Richardson.
The Heat lost in Philadelphia on Nov. 23 in the second of a back-to-back, 113-86. Richardson scored 32 points against his former team and the 76ers led from start to finish. Joel Embiid added 23 points and 11 rebounds. Butler shot 2 of 8 in the first quarter, the Heat failed to connect on 17 of 22 tries and Philadelphia was up 28-13. The pattern continued as the 76ers took a 55-35 halftime lead thanks to Miami’s 12-for-40 shooting in the first half, including 1 of 12 from behind the arc. Philadelphia’s lead grew to 41 in the second half. Butler finished with 11 points, missing nine of 13 field goal attempts. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Yes or No?
Will the Heat have guards Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic for this one? Probably not. Both have missed multiple games with injuries and weren’t able to play on Monday. Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Derrick Jones Jr. and Tyler Herro all have gotten more playing time with them out.
The Heat’s defense ranks among the top 10 in the NBA in many statistical categories, ranking third in opponent rebounds per game (41.4), third in three-point field goal percentage allowed (.324), sixth in field goals allowed (990), eighth in steals per game (8.35), eighth in total steals (217), eighth in opponent plus/minus (-140), ninth in defensive rating (105.0), ninth in forced turnovers per game (15.7) and ninth in points allowed per game (106.9).
Philly’s Matisse Thybulle (illness) exited Sunday’s game in the second half and didn’t return but should be fine by Wednesday. Joel Embiid sat with an illness but also should be ready for this one.
Expert NBA Betting Picks
Pacers with the NBA Betting upset and back Sixers as long as Embiid does play.
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