NBA Betting Picks for Friday 12/1/23: Targeting Totals for Primetime Games
The 82-game NBA regular season offers us a wide variety of betting options, including point spreads, moneylines, and totals. The Association features 1,230 regular season games, which can make sifting through the odds an overwhelming task.
However, various advanced statistics can help narrow the choices. numberFire's NBA power rankings and daily projections paired with advanced stats from the NBA can help give the inside track to winning big.
While utilizing some of the mentioned tools, which NBA odds from FanDuel Sportsbook look like the best bets today?
Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.
NBA Best Bets
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
Under 224.5 (-110)
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will renew their rivalry on a nationally televised game on ESPN. The Celtics are favored by six points due to several injuries on the 76ers, including Joel Embiid (questionable) and Kelly Oubre (out).
Oubre has been absent for 10 consecutive games; Philadelphia is 5-5 during that span. Still, it could be a manageable loss as Oubre is fourth on the team in usage rate (20.0%).
Embiid, on the other hand, is a completely different story. This is the reigning MVP who leads the squad with 32.0 points per game (PPG), 11.2 rebounds per game (RPG), and a 37.0% usage rate. He leads the NBA in usage rate. Embiid is not a replaceable piece, especially against a quality team like the Celtics.
If Embiid does suit up, the Philly cover as six-point dogs is an enticing pick. Of course, the line will likely move once Embiid is declared out or good to go. This means hopping on the six-point line right now could be necessary. This is a risky pick with Embiid's status up in the air, though. I'm targeting the total instead.
The number sits at 224.5, making the under manageable. Boston touts the league's 2nd-best defensive rating while the 76ers have the 14th-best mark in the category. Both teams are also among the top half of the Association's slowest paces. The under is 3-0-1 over the previous four head-to-head matchups.
We know the Celtics have the defense to slow Philadelphia, especially if Embiid is out. This would put most of the load on Tyrese Maxey, who is second on the team with 27.0 PPG and a 26.7% usage rate. Boston has perhaps the best defensive backcourt in the league with Jrue Holiday (106.7 defensive rating) and Derrick White (106.8 defensive rating). Maxey may have an off night.
The Sixers' defense could be the determining factor for the under. The perimeter defense will be key as the Celtics average the most three-point attempts per game. Philly gives up the eighth-fewest three-point shots per game.
Boston also averages the fifth-fewest points in the paint per game. Even without Embiid (114.2 defensive rating), the 76ers' interior defense could be just fine.
With Philadelphia's exceptional perimeter defense and the Celtics' elite defensive backcourt, give me the under.
New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors
Knicks Moneyline (+110)
The New York Knicks have been hot over their last 10 games with a 7-3 record. They are going abroad for a Friday matchup against the Toronto Raptors, who are 9-10 with the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference.
New York is a two-point underdog, but I'm taking it a step further with the moneyline. The +110 odds are simply too good to pass on, especially with the Knicks' recent level of play. They have also excelled on the road with a 6-3 record against the spread (ATS).
The Raptors -- who have the ninth-worst offensive rating -- could struggle to score against New York's stingy defense. The Knicks boast the fourth-best defensive rating while holding opponents to only 105.4 PPG (second-fewest).
Even some of Toronto's strengths on offense could be shut down. For example, they average the fifth-most fastbreak points per game and the eighth-most points in the paint per game. Meanwhile, New York gives up the third-fewest points in the paint per game and is among the top half of the fewest fastbreak points allowed per game.
Ultimately, the Knicks' defense could lead to the win. Plus, New York has the 2nd-best offensive rebounding percentage while Toronto averages the 12th-most defensive rebounds per game. The Knicks gaining extra chances should only aid their chances of winning.
Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns
Under 225.5 (-112)
ESPN's Friday night doubleheader is going to be a treat. Following the 76ers-Celtics, the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns collide. These are two more contending teams as FanDuel Sportsbook's NBA Finals odds have the Nuggets with the second-shortest odds to win the championship (+440) and the Suns with the third-shortest odds (+650).
Similar to the 76ers-Celtics, the game lines will likely move following injury updates. Jamal Murray, who returned from injury in the Nuggets' previous game, is questionable with an ankle injury. Aaron Gordon is also questionable with a heel setback. Murray (25.1%) and Gordon (18.4%) are both among Denver's top five highest usage rates.
Denver is a two-point favorite, but they are 4-6 outright and 2-8 ATS on the road. If Booker goes, the Suns could be an intriguing moneyline pick at +108. I'm targeting the total due to several key players' questionable status.
Neither team has an elite defense as the Nuggets have the 13th-best defensive rating while Phoenix has the 13th-worst rating. However, both squads play at slow paces, which points to the under. Denver has the fifth-slowest pace of play while the Suns have the fourth-slowest.
As the tempos suggest, fastbreak points could also be a rarity with the Nuggets averaging the eighth-fewest fastbreak points per game, and Phoenix totals the fewest fastbreak points per game in the league.
Both defenses could also limit some of the opposing team's strengths. For example, the Nuggets have the seventh-best two-point percentage and Phoenix holds opponents to 51.8% on two-pointers (sixth-best). On the other side of the court, the Suns are lethal from three at 38.7% (third-best), but Denver gives up only 30.2 three-point shots per game (second-fewest).
Of course, if key players like Murray or Booker are absent, the under will likely become a very popular pick.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.