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Free NBA Betting Picks - Today's Best Bets, Expert Predictions, Odds (12/18/23)

Jimmy Butler - NBA dfs lineup picks, daily fantasy basketball

After a smaller five-game slate on Sunday, we have a bigger 10-game slate to start the weekday schedule. As the weather and nights start to turn cold, the NBA season begins to heat up. You may as well have some action to get you through it.

Continuing with the theme this season, I'll be targeting a few games and taking my best shot. Last Wednesday, I went 1-2 on my picks. It was almost 2-1, but the Toronto Raptors narrowly lost the first half at home to the Atlanta Hawks. I've still been good recently, going 8-4 in my last 12 games.

In this article, I'll be providing my favorite picks against the spread, game totals, moneyline parlays, and teasers for games that tip off at 7:00 PM EST on Monday, December 18. Follow me on Twitter/X @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: ML and Spreads

 Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5) @ Miami Heat (219 total)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been arguably the best team in the NBA this season. With a 19-5 record, they sit first in the Western Conference standings. The Miami Heat just keep chugging along year after year. They are 15-11, and to no one's surprise, they look like a team that is a tough matchup in any game.

I like the Heat at home in this game with the points. Bam Adebayo has missed seven straight games but is available to play tonight. Tyler Herro is also available to play tonight. The Heat guard hasn't played since he got injured against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 8.

I'm aware this isn't the best matchup for the Heat going against the size of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. At home, the Heat score significantly more points (116.8) compared to on the road (109.7). They average more field goal attempts and shoot 49.1 percent on them. On the road, Miami is only hitting 45.6 percent. From three, they are in the top 15 in makes per game and first in three-point percentage. Minnesota has been great on defense, but on the road, they are tied for 19th in opponent three-point percentage.

In Target Center, opponents are only scoring 100.3 points per game on the Timberwolves. When they take the show on the road, that number goes up to 111.4. To point out a positive Heat defensive stat, they are top-10 in points allowed this season.

I also factor in Jimmy Butler facing his former team. The last time he played Minnesota in Miami was on May 5, 2021. Jimmy had 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and five blocks to lead the Heat to a 121-112 victory. That was a while ago. There are some new faces on each team, but I still don't want to bet against a motivated Jimmy Butler.

According to Action Network, neither of these teams has been good against the spread in these respective situations. Minnesota is just 4-5-1 ATS on the road. Miami is 2-7 ATS at home this season.

I'll take the Heat at home. Miami has a knack for figuring it out.

The Pick: Heat +1.5  (-110 DraftKings)

 

Dallas Mavericks (+7) @ Denver Nuggets (238.5 total)

The Denver Nuggets blew a lead on Saturday night to lose at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a shot with 0.9 seconds left to win the game.

I like to believe Denver will bounce back at Ball Arena tonight, a place where they have been so good. My hope is that they come out with a purpose to start the game. According to EV Analytics, the Nuggets are 8-4 at home ATS in the first quarter this season. Dallas is 7-6 ATS on the road this season. At home, Denver is a top-10 first-half scoring team. They are also in the top 12 in field goal and three-point percentage. The Mavericks have been scoring a lot of points in first halves this season, but they also give up a lot. Dallas is a bottom-eight first half defense.

In Ball Arena, the Nuggets are a top-five first-half defense when it comes to points per game. They also hold their opponents to low field goal percentages and do a good job limiting three-point attempts.

Nikola Jokic is going up against his good friend Luka Doncic in this game. Hopefully, Joker comes out ready to play, and the Nuggets look solid in the opening 24.

The Pick: Nuggets First Half -3.5 (-120 PointsBet)

 

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NBA Betting Picks: Game Totals

Memphis Grizzlies (+10) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (229.5 total)

I like the under in this game. Both teams are pretty good on defense. Memphis has a top-12 defense in opponent points per game. Their offense and record have been so bad this season that their defense gets underrated. They are last in the NBA in points per game and field goal percentage. Only the Detroit Pistons shoot it worse from three.

The Grizzlies had a stretch recently where Jaren Jackson Jr. had back-to-back 40-point games. In those two games, Memphis only scored 104 and 113 points. On Friday, December 8, Desmond Bane exploded for 49 points in a win over the Pistons. Memphis still only put up 116 points in that game.

If you look at how many points per game the Thunder give up at home, it doesn't look good at first glance. Oklahoma City's defense is in the bottom 10 in points allowed at home. When it comes to opponent field goal attempts, they are in the bottom 10 and bottom five in opponent threes made per game. It's really just a volume issue because OKC has a top-10 home defense in terms of field goal percentage.

If the Thunder can limit the Grizzlies' shot attempts, I like this to go under. They need to force Memphis to score a lot from a percentage standpoint, not volume. The Thunder have a dynamic offense, but the total feels high when one side could be a complete dud.

The pick: Under 229.5 (-110 DraftKings)

 

NBA Betting Picks: Parlays and Teasers

Favorite Teaser: NYK +9 - CHI +15 (+110 FD)



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