These are the NBA ‘fill-in’ games for teams who didn’t make the In Season Tournament bracket, and it’s a loaded night of action at Michigan sportsbooks. It’s still bad action in Detroit where the Pistons are reeling having lost 18 in a row. Do things get better for them in Orlando? Oklahoma City welcomes Steph Curry and the Warriors, who have five wins in their last 15, plus I give my theory on betting the over.
NBA Expert Picks and Best Bets | December 8
Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic Best Bet
The losing streak is 18 for the Detroit Pistons after a loss to the Wizards Wednesday. Detroit led the game going into the fourth quarter, but was held to 18 points in the fourth and lost 116-102. Remarkably, the Pistons are 9-12 against the spread, but now they lost center Jalen Duren to a sprained ankle. He’s out for a with an ankle sprain.
Orlando is an incredible 15-6 against the spread, and they are the team the Pistons hoped to be this year. Paolo Bachero has taken the “step” and has become an dominant NBA player at times. He had 42 points the last time out against the Cavs.
Orlando has lost two in a row, but morale in Detroit is at an all-time low. The Pistons have no quality answers on offense in the fourth quarter when NBA teams start playing serious defense. Orlando should run away with it.
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bet
This has been said elsewhere, but I speculated on this recently that maybe the Warriors time has come and gone. They are just 5-10 in their last 15 games. Steph Curry is still a wonder, scoring almost 30 a night, but the magic just isn’t there. Klay Thompson is shooting a career low 39.7 percent from the floor. This is a man who almost shot 50 percent from the field a few years ago.
Add it all up and the Warriors look like a .500 team at best.
The Thunder have beaten the Warriors twice this season – this game was added to fill out the schedule for teams who didn’t advance in the In Season Tournament. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has become one of the most exciting players in the NBA. He is sixth in the NBA in scoring at 30.1. He and Curry will go at it tonight, but the Thunder have better pieces now.
Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets Best Bet
I’ve had some success lately on my over/under NBA bets. My theory is simple. Divide the posted total in half and then see how good teams are at getting to that number. This total from DraftKings has each team scoring around 110. The Nuggets have gone over 110 in five of their last six games and should get Jamal Murray back from his ankle injury tonight.
Houston has gone over 110 in three of their last four games. The Rockets are 9-9 overall and a whopping 12-5-1 against the spread. Alperen Sengun leads the Rockets with 21 points a night, but weirdly, he seems to play a lot better on the road. He averages almost five points more on the road than he does at home (23.6 points to 18.9).
Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has triple doubles in three of his last four games. With Murray back on the court, I see the Nuggets scoring plenty and the Rockets have the firepower to match. The only thing that kills the over sometimes is if a game gets lopsided early, but I think this one is close into the fourth. Go over at DraftKings.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.