NBA Betting Picks for Tuesday 12/19/23: Ja Morant to Make Season Debut for the Grizzlies

Riley Thomas
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NBA Betting Picks for Tuesday 12/19/23: Ja Morant to Make Season Debut for the Grizzlies

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.

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NBA Best Bets

Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans

Under 230.5 (-110)

The NBA's Tuesday slate features only four matchups, including TNT's doubleheader. FanDuel Sportsbook is offering a No Sweat Same Game Parlay on any TNT NBA game.

Let's start with TNT's first game of the night -- the Memphis Grizzlies against the New Orleans Pelicans. Ja Morant, who just served a 25-game suspension, will make his season debut.

This headlines the matchup as Morant averaged 26.2 points per game (PPG), 5.9 rebounds per game (RPG), and 8.1 assists per game (APG) -- his rebounds and assists were both career-highs. Plus, the two-time All-Star led the Grizzlies with a 34.9% usage rate in 2022-23.

Morant's absence has been as clear as day on the offensive end. After holding the 11th-best offensive rating last season, Memphis currently ranks last in the category. The Grizzlies are hoping Morant can help save the season, but it may be too late with a 6-19 record and +1400 odds to make the postseason, per FanDuel's NBA playoff odds.

Memphis is in store for a tough test tonight against the Pelicans, who are on a four-game winning streak while going 3-1 against the spread (ATS).

Even with Morant back in the fold, the Grizzlies will still have key players absent; Derrick Rose (9.1 PPG), Marcus Smart (12.5 PPG), and Luke Kennard (8.3 PPG) will all be out. This leaves Memphis with a rather thin backcourt, putting the load on Morant and Desmond Bane, who leads the team with 24.6 PPG and a 29.9% usage rate.

With New Orleans favored by 8.5 points, I'm avoiding the spread. There are some unknowns about this matchup, mainly if Morant will immediately post gaudy scoring numbers. The under could be the best bet.

As previously mentioned, Memphis has the Association's worst offense. The Pelicans have the 10th-best defensive rating while giving up only 47.8 points in the paint per game (12th-fewest).

The Grizzlies shoot plenty of threes at 39.2 shots per game (fifth-most) but shoot only 33.3% from deep (second-worst). New Orleans has a susceptible perimeter defense with opponents averaging 39.6 three-point attempts per game (the worst mark). With Memphis' inefficient shooting, the Pelicans could welcome plenty of three-point attempts.

While the offense has struggled, the Grizzlies still have a solid defense with the 11th-best rating. The interior defense has been elite with the fewest points in the paint allowed per game while touting the top mark in block percentage. Of course, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year -- Jaren Jackson Jr. -- has played a major role with 1.8 blocks per game and a 110.9 defensive rating.

New Orleans relies on two-point shots, for they average the fourth-fewest three-point attempts per game and the ninth-most points in the paint per game. Memphis has the paint defense to potentially frustrate the Pelicans, particularly Brandon Ingram (23.1 PPG) and Zion Williamson (22.5 PPG). Over 50.0% of Ingram's shots come from within 14 feet of the basket, and Williamson shoots 73.8% of his field goal attempts within 5 feet of the basket.

With both squads featuring solid defenses, I like the under. The Grizzlies' offense has been dreadful while the Pelicans could find less success in the paint against a formidable interior defense.

Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors

Celtics -5.5 (-110)
Over 233 (-112)

TNT's nightcap is between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors. Boston has continued to roll with a 8-2 record over their previous 10 games, and they are on a five-game winning streak while going 4-1 ATS. Golden State is 2-3 outright and ATS over their last five contests.

The Warriors have struggled at home this season, going 1-9-1 ATS in the Chase Center. Boston is 2-7-2 ATS in away games, though. Which team will finally come through with a point spread cover?

This matchup could feature plenty of scoring due to three-point shooting. Golden State shoots the fourth-most threes per game while the Celtics average the second-most attempts per game. Neither perimeter defense has excelled at slowing three-point attacks as the Warriors give up the 16th-most three-point shots per game, and Boston allows the 7th-most three-point attempts per contest.

Stephen Curry (28.0 PPG) and Jayson Tatum (27.3 PPG) could be poised for big games as both players lead their team in three-point shots per game. Plus, Andrew Wiggins, who will likely defend Tatum, has a 120.6 defensive rating.

Along with the over, give me the Celtics to cover on the road. They rank top six in offensive and defensive ratings. Golden State ranks 16th in both categories.

Ultimately, Boston could take away the easy looks for the Warriors. The Celtics give up the fourth-fewest points in the paint per game while Golden State averages the fewest points in the paint per game. The Warriors also have the sixth-worst field goal percentage (FG%) while Boston holds opponents to a 44.5 FG% (fourth-best).

The Celtics could also have a significant advantage from the free throw line; the Warriors give up the fourth-most free throws per game while Boston allows the fewest free throws per game.

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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.