NBA Betting Picks for Friday 12/8/23: Backing a Pair of Road Favorites

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
NBA Betting Picks for Friday 12/8/23: Backing a Pair of Road Favorites

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

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics

Over 220.5 (-112)

The New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics will meet for the third time this season on Friday night. The Celtics have had their way in the head-to-head matchup, winning both clashes this season while going 1-0-1 against the spread (ATS).

With Boston playing host, the Celtics are favored by seven points against New York. While Boston has certainly controlled this matchup, the Knicks are 4-2 ATS over their previous six road games and are 7-3 in the last 10 games. The point spread may be a close call. Instead, the total could feature an intriguing bet.

The total sits at 220.5 due to two exceptional defenses colliding. New York has the league's eighth-best defensive rating while giving up only 107.5 points per game (PPG), which is the third-best mark. Boston's unit is even better with the fourth-best defensive rating while surrendering only 108.1 PPG (fourth-best).

The under is 2-0 in this season's matchups, but the over could be the best pick. Both teams like to shoot threes in bulk, and the perimeter defense of each squad is susceptible.

The Knicks attempt the 12th-most three-pointers per game while shooting 37.5% from deep (7th-best) while the Celtics give up 37.2 three-point shots per game (7th-most). Boston shoots the second-most threes per game, and New York allows 35.0 three-point attempts per game (14th-most).

Both teams shot over 40.0% from deep in the previous meeting, and the Knicks have cashed in over 40.0% of their looks from beyond the arc in both matchups this season.

Three-point shooting could be a big factor in leading to the over. Plus, Jayson Tatum is averaging 34.5 PPG in this season's matchups. Julius Randle (111.2 defensive rating) will likely draw the defensive assignment, but he could lack the mobility to keep up with Tatum.

Efficient shooting from beyond the arc and the Celtics' star shining could lead to the over.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat

Cavaliers -2 (-110)

Following my total pick, let's dig into some spreads. The Cleveland Cavaliers are giving two points against the Miami Heat. Cleveland has played better on the road with a 6-3 record compared to 6-6 at home, and they are 2-1 ATS over their last three away games.

Miami is dealing with significant injuries. Tyler Herro (22.9 PPG) has missed a couple of weeks with an ankle injury. Bam Adebayo (22.3 PPG; 28.8% usage rate) will miss his third consecutive game with a hip injury. Haywood Highsmith will be the third starter missing due to a back injury.

The Heat average 113.0 PPG (13th-worst) with a middle-of-the-road field goal percentage (FG%) at 47.2% (14th-best). Take away their two top scorers with the highest usage rates on the team (Herro and Bam) and the offense will likely struggle.

This puts a big burden on Jimmy Butler (22.2 PPG), who has averaged 26.0 PPG in the last two games without Adebayo. The three-point attack could also become more pronounced, as Miami shoots 38.5% from deep (fourth-best).

The Cavs give up the eighth-fewest three-point shots per game, and opponents shoot only 51.1% on two-pointers. Cleveland has the perimeter defense to slow the Heat's three-point barrage, and the interior defense can make life difficult for Butler, who takes 76.3% of his shots within 14 feet of the basket.

This also seems to be tracking for big games from the Cavaliers' Evan Mobley (16.0 PPG) and Jarrett Allen (13.4 PPG). The Heat allow the 16th-most points in the paint per game and are without their primary paint defense in Adebayo (114.9 defensive rating).

Give me the points for Cleveland. The Cavs could dominate in the paint and limit Miami's three-point shooting.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies

Timberwolves -5.5 (-112)

The Minnesota Timberwolves are 16-4 with the best record in the NBA and the top seed in the Western Conference, yet they are only favored by 5.5 points against the 6-14 Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis has struggled without Ja Morant, who returns from suspension on December 19th. Marcus Smart -- who was expected to temporarily fill Morant's role -- has been absent for a handful of weeks with a foot sprain. The Grizzlies have the third-worst offensive rating in the Association while averaging 106.4 PPG (second-worst).

The offense could be in for a tough outing against the league's top defense, as the T-Wolves boast a 106.0 defensive rating while giving up 105.3 PPG. Minnesota's current defensive rating would be the best since the Milwaukee Bucks' 102.5 in the 2019-20 season. That's how good this defense has been.

One of the NBA's worst offenses against the best defense in basketball certainly suggests a comfortable win for the Wolves. They have advantages on offense, too, with the 9th-best effective field goal percentage, while Memphis gives up a 54.3 eFG% (14th-worst).

Guarding Anthony Edwards (25.7 PPG) looks like a concern, as Desmond Bane (113.1 defensive rating) has the second-worst defensive rating in the Grizzlies' starting lineup.

With Minnesota riding a five-game winning streak, this pick feels simple enough. The Timberwolves have a dominant defense that should slow a weak offense. I like Minnesota to cover the spread.

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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.