Weekly NBA Betting Tips (Dec. 17, 2017)

We’re privy to all kinds of metrics and analytics here at NBA Betting Central, but none have captured our attention more this week than the nutty numbers coming out of the Windy City. Chicago has been un-bull-ievably good since the return of Nikola Mirotic, who has led the team to a 5-0 record after missing the first two months of the season with a facial fracture. The 6’10” Montenegrin is averaging a career-high 20 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50-percent from deep. The nuttiest part of all is that Mirotic has recorded just two assists while jacking up 65 shots. Opponents know he isn’t going to pass and they still can’t stop him.

In this week’s betting tips, we’ll also look at another gunner who’s been lighting it up from deep, as well as some analytical oddities. We’ll also provide you with essential insights and context to help you make informed wagers on daily games, props, and season-long futures. Onto the numbers!

Is Scorching LeBron a Hot Wager vs Milwaukee?

It seems LeBron James has found what eluded Ponce de Leon. The 32-year-old has clearly been drinking from the Fountain of Youth, posting career-highs in true shooting percentage, three-point percentage, assist percentage, and block percentage, despite the fact that he’s playing in his 15th season. James also just surpassed Larry Bird for sixth on the all-time triple-doubles list after recording his fourth triple-double in his last five games. The best basketball player on the planet is playing arguably the best basketball of his career, and it’s majestic.

Betting Advice: Pinnacle the Cavs’ as early 1.5-point favorites for Tuesday’s clash with Milwaukee, and you should expect another big game from the King. James has averaged 28.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.9 assists against the Bucks over the course of his career and dropped 30 against Giannis and co. during their first meeting of the season on November 7th. The value is with the Cavs.

Starting Five Makes the Nets the Bet vs Sacramento

After finishing dead-last in the league one season ago, the Nets (11-18) sit a nearly-respectable 11th in the East. One of the secrets to their (relative) success has been the sensational play of their cobbled-together starting unit featuring DeMarre Carroll, Allen Crabbe, Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Tyler Zeller. That rag-tag group has the sixth-best net rating of any five-man unit in the NBA, and has done a sensational job of cleaning the glass and protecting the rim. The second-best unit, incidentally, also belonged to the Nets before they shipped Trevor Booker to the 76ers for Jahlil Okafor.

Betting Advice: The Nets will have a chance to show off their excellent chemistry on Wednesday evening when they host the struggling Kings. It won’t exactly be must-see TV, but it is a very winnable game for Brooklyn, who outscore Sacramento by 11 points per game and are considerably better on the offensive and defensive glass. The only clear-cut advantage the Kings possess is their superior three-point shooting percentage, but that’s negated by the fact that they launch a league-low 22.1 threes per game. Take the Nets’ moneyline — which shouldn’t be too short because this is still Brooklyn after all — and tune into a far more exciting game while these two teams duke it out.

Bettors Should Buddy Up with Hield

Speaking of Sacramento, one player worth keeping an eye on is Buddy Hield. The 6’4” shooting guard has been nailing an absurdly-high 46-percent of his three-point attempts in his second year with the Kings. He’s one of the few players in Sacramento with a perpetual green light, and he’s already scored 17-plus points eight times this season. Hield’s playing time has been erratic, but he can score in bunches when given a chance.

Betting Advice: Hield will have a chance to shine on Tuesday evening when the Kings take on the Sixers. De’Aaron Fox’s recent quad contusion should open up plenty of minutes in the backcourt, and Hield possesses the quickness and size to pose problems for Philly guard J.J. Redick. The Kings aren’t likely to win, but you may want to put a few dollars on Hield if he pops up in any player props.

Houston Rockets' Eric Gordon goes for a layup
Eric Gordon has been a huge part of Houston’s early season success. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License

Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon Are the Rockets’ True Dynamic Duo

Chris Paul is undefeated as a Rocket and James Harden is leading the league in scoring, but Houston’s best duo has been Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon. The overlooked pair are the third-highest ranked twosome in the NBA in net rating behind only Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. The reason for their exceptional standing is the way they compliment one another. Ariza plays lock-down D and keeps the ball moving, while Gordon knocks down shots all over the court and has become an increasingly willing –- and dependable –- defender. They are one of the biggest reasons why the Rockets look like they could actually push Golden State for a spot in the NBA Finals, a place Houston hasn’t been since 1995.

Betting Advice: The Rockets have won their last 13 games and there’s no reason to think their streak will come to an end tonight against the Jazz. Utah has won only once in its last six games and will be playing without Rudy Gobert, who is sidelined with a knee sprain, and Derrick Favors, who sustained a concussion in Friday’s game against the Celtics. The odds are short (Houston is -850 on Bovada) but that’s still good value; -850 carries an implied probability of just under 90-percent. We’d take the Rockets 19 times out of 20 (95-percent). Pick Houston and enjoy the fireworks!

KAT’s Dogging it on D

The Minnesota Timberwolves are off to their best start in a decade, but they would be doing even better if Karl-Anthony Towns played a lick of D. The Kentucky product is 63rd among all NBA centers in Real Plus-Minus, 41st in defensive rating, and 34th in defensive win shares. In other words, he’s only marginally better than a traffic cone. KAT is personally allowing opponents to score 33.7 points per game in the paint and 9.3 second-chance points, thereby taking away almost all of the tremendous things he does on offense.

Betting Advice: KAT could be in for a long night on Wednesday when the Wolves take on the Nuggets in Denver. The Mile High City is notoriously tough on big men because of its thin air, and Towns will have an especially difficult time against the Nugs, who rank third in the NBA in points in the paint per game, and second in offensive rebounds per game. Nikola Jokic is an absolute nightmare to guard, and Mason Plumlee, Kenneth Faried, and Trey Lyles have enough energy to power half of Colorado. Expect the Nuggets to dominate inside and squeak out a victory against their Northwest Division rivals.

 

Darren Myers

Darren Myers can list all 35 members of the Miracle Mets, knows every word to Casey at the Bat, and remembers exactly where he was when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics in the Boston Garden. Unfortunately, he has no idea where he left his house keys. If you happen to find them please contact him immediately as it's starting to get dark and he's pretty sure he just heard something howl.