Free NBA Picks Saturday, December 21 and Opening Line Report
Saturday football is back. However, if you're a real NBA junkie, that won't matter. There are nine games on the Saturday slate, with most teams playing a second game on a back-to-back. Usually, I will always take the team with more rest. However, there are games with both teams playing a second game on the back-to-back. It's a fun slate with east vs. west games. Here's the early preview on the games.
Jazz @ Hornets (+5, 209.5)
The Utah Jazz have won four straight games with the total north of at least
211 in all of these games. The Hornets have played very good defense and
have won three of their last five games. At home, I expect defense to
outplay offense and for the Hornets to stay in this game as home underdogs.
The Hornets haven't been home much lately but won their lone home game in
their last five games.
Key trends: Hornets are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
Early lean: Hornets, Under
Hawks @ Nets (-8.5,226.5)
The Hawks can't seem to figure it out. Trae Young is putting up MVP-like numbers, but his team is just 6-23 on the year. The Hawks recently lost to the Jazz at home and lost to New York on the road. It's a struggle for Atlanta. The Nets have been playing pretty well without Kyrie Irving but took a loss to the Spurs on the road. With the Nets coming back home, I expect them to win this game by double digits and get back in the win column.
Key trends: Nets are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a ATS loss.
Early lean: Nets, Over
Wizards @ 76ers (TBD, TBD)
The Wizards have now lost eight of their last 10 games after taking a one-point loss to the Bulls in overtime. They'll play the Raptors the day before this one. It's tough playing two quality opponents in a row when you're not quality. I'll take the 76ers whatever the spread is as they've now lost two straight games. The spread line will reflect the two previous losses and give value to the 76ers.
Key trends: The Wizards are 5-5 (50%) vs teams that win over 55 percent of games ATS this season.
Early lean: 76ers, Under
Bulls @ Pistons (TBD, TBD)
The Bulls scraped out a big win against the Wizards, while the Pistons took
two losses at home during their two-game homestand. The Pistons will now
take on the Celtics before this one and then travel back home from Boston.
I'll take the Bulls with full rest after coming off an important win.
Bucks @ Knicks (-11, 227.5)
The Bucks are currently the best team in the NBA. I don't think it's close.
They're now 9-1 in their last 10, with their only loss to the Mavericks
which was likely a fluke. The Knicks are playing a lot better as of late,
but it won't matter against the Bucks. They're finding ways to blow out
teams and have so much depth beyond Giannis.
Key trends: Bucks are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.
Kings @ Grizzlies (TBD, TBD)
The Kings will play the second game of a back-to-back against the Grizzlies
after playing a solid Pacers team on the road first, while Memphis will
play the Cavs on the road. It's more than likely that the Kings will be
small favorites in this one on the road. The Kings are finding ways to win
games, and they should be able to stretch the lead at the end of the game.
Key trends: The Kings are 11-5 (68.8%) on the road ATS this season.
Early lean: Kings, Under
Clippers @ Spurs (+5, 223.5)
The Clippers have now lost two of their last three games. Those two losses
came against the Bulls and the Rockets. The Spurs, on the other hand, are
coming off a win against the Nets at home. They've kept games close all
year will likely keep this one close too. Fade the public and take the
Key trends: Spurs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Rockets @ Suns (TBD, TBD)
The Rockets might be figuring things out now. They've won seven of their
last 10 games and four of their last five, while the Suns have now fallen
in four straight games. They'll take on the Thunder tonight to try to end
the skid. Win or not, it'll be hard to see the Suns win this game against a
Rockets team that is playing really well as of late.
Key trends: The Suns are 10-5-1 (66.7%) as an underdog ATS this season.
Timberwolves @ Trail Blazers (TBD, TBD)
The Timberwolves are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They're not just losing,
but they're losing badly. Nobody expected the Wolves to be this bad, but
they have been. Now on the road, after playing the Nuggets tonight, I don't
see any way that the Timberwolves would be prepared to beat the Blazers who
have won three of their last four and play the Magic at home before this
Key trends: The Trail Blazers are 5-7 (41.7%) at home ATS this season.
Early lean: Trail Blazers, Under
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