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Free NBA Betting Picks - Today's Best Bets, Expert Predictions, Odds (12/20/23)

After a small four-game slate on Tuesday, we have a bigger 10-game slate tonight.

Continuing with the theme this season, I'll be targeting a few games and taking my best shot. On Monday, I went 2-1 on my single-game picks. The teaser also hit +110, which was a nice add-on. In my last 15 games, I've gone 10-5. Let's keep it going.

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 Wednesday, December 20th. Follow me on Twitter/X @Jwiesel13.

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NBA Betting Picks: ML and Spreads

New York Knicks (-1) @ Brooklyn Nets (233 total)

It's the battle of New York. Both of these teams are coming back from West Coast road trips, so one side shouldn't have a big rest advantage.

In December, the Knicks are a top-six first-half scoring team, putting up 62 points per game. They are shooting 50.5 percent on field goals and 37.0 percent on threes. The final month of 2023 has been a scoring renaissance for New York.

Julius Randle has been cooking in first halves this month. The Knicks forward is averaging 15.5 points on 61.7 percent shooting. Jalen Brunson has averaged just under 12 first-half points in eight December games. Brooklyn's leading first-half scorer this month is Mikal Bridges at 11.4 points. I like the Knicks two key players going up against whatever the Nets will throw at them. Aside from Randle and Brunson, I give the Knicks the edge in supporting players.

One area the Nets struggle in is defending the three-point line. In the opening 24 minutes of games, Brooklyn is allowing the ninth most attempts and the third most makes beyond the arc. Teams are also shooting the fifth-best percentage against them. If you want to look into it further, the Nets' three-point defense has been even worse at the Barclays Center this season.

This Nets team hasn't had a good month, scoring the basketball in the opening two quarters of games. I'm hoping that trend continues here.

The Pick: Knicks First Half ML  (-115 PointsBet)

 

 Los Angeles Lakers (-4) @ Chicago Bulls (225.5 total)

Welcome home, Anthony Davis. In his last two visits to the Windy City, the Lakers big man has scored 37 and 38 points. Los Angeles has also won both of those games.

The Bulls went into Philadelphia Monday night and surprisingly won as 10.5-point underdogs. In that game, Chicago hit 42/89 (47%) field goal attempts and shot 12/29 (41%) from three. Those numbers were better than their season averages, where they've been hitting only 44.9 percent of field goal attempts and 36.8 percent from three.

Now they run into a Lakers defense that is in the top seven for field goal percentage and the top 15 for points allowed. This Lakers team has better defensive potential than they have shown this season. There is no better time to put that on display than against a Bulls team that is in the bottom five in scoring.

Los Angeles also comes into this game off of a frustrating home loss to the New York Knicks on Monday night. LeBron James and company are only 1-3 since winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

The Lakers don't hit many threes a game, but Chicago has struggled to defend the three this season. In December, Los Angeles is hitting 12.4 threes per game. It's still low, but higher than the 1o.6 they have averaged this season. There should be opportunities to let it fly against this Bulls team.

Darvin Ham's squad could really use a nice win, and I think they get it here.

The Pick: Lakers -4  (-114 FanDuel )

 

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NBA Betting Picks: Game Totals

Minnesota Timberwolves (+3.5) @ Philadelphia 76ers (226.5 total)

I'm really not a big fan of taking totals, but I like this one with two of the best defensive teams in the league. Minnesota allows the lowest points per game, and Philadelphia is in the top seven. What I also like about Philly is that they are in the top ten for the fewest field goal attempts allowed. Minnesota places 18th in that category, but they make it up by holding opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the NBA.

It's not surprising that both of these defenses are in the top ten in three-points made, attempted, and three-point percentage. Neither team is particularly lethal from deep on offense, but both are in the top ten in three-point percentage. As always, defending the three-point line is critical to hitting unders.

Joel Embiid is a beast and has been on an absolute tear recently. If there was a defense equipped to stop him, it's the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota is a top-ten defense in limiting points in the paint. Embiid is averaging a career-high 15.5 points in the painted area this season.

I assume some version of Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels will try to slow down Tyrese Maxey. On the other end, Joel Embiid will be waiting in the middle to defend Timberwolves players. Minnesota is right near the bottom of the league in field goal attempts. They'll have to make opportunities count, and that's not always easy to do.

Philadelphia is one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, but Minnesota has been so good on defense all season. Both teams are also outside of the top ten in pace.

The pick: Under 226.5 (-110 BetMGM)

 

NBA Betting Picks: Parlays and Teasers

Favorite ML parlay: CLE + IND + LAL (+158 DK)



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