Sidelines’ Best NBA Betting Lines December 18: Our Top 4 Bets including Clippers vs Thunder and Warriors vs Raptors

By Ethan Schimel   December 18, 2021 

Sidelines’ Best NBA Betting Lines December 18: Our Top 4 Bets including Clippers vs Thunder and Warriors vs Raptors

Rosters across the NBA are in a constant state of flux as players enter – and leave – the league’s health and safety protocols on what feels like a minute-by-minute basis. However, even with all of the uncertainty going on, there’s still value to be found and smart plays to be made for the bettors willing to dig into the NBA odds numbers a bit.

Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons

Best Bet: Rockets +1.5 / -110 (BetMGM)

The Detroit Pistons haven’t notched a victory in more than a month, but one of their four wins on the season came courtesy of the Houston Rockets back on November 10. Jerami Grant led all scorers that evening with 35 points, but he’ll miss tonight’s game – and at least the next month – with a thumb injury.

Houston isn’t a good team, either, but they have gone 8-4 over their past 12 contests. At the beginning of the season, the Rockets were keeping games close, but ultimately losing most of them due to a lack of experience/veteran leadership. Over the past four weeks, Stephen Silas has his players rolling, despite dealing with injuries to Christian Wood and Jalen Green, among others.

Since snapping their 15-game losing streak, the Rockets are averaging 114.5 PPG, and should thrive against a Pistons’ team missing their leading scorer. While the Rockets are just 2-13 on the road this season, they’re a solid 8-6-1 ATS in those same matchups.

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Best Bets: Thunder +4 / -110 (FanDuel)

The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to even the season series with Los Angeles after dropping a 99-94 decision on November 1. That victory sparked a seven-game winning streak for the Clippers, who notched an impressive 16-point victory over the Phoenix Suns last week.

LA is also currently in a state of flux: Paul George and Nicolas Batum are day-to-day with minor injuries, while Serge Ibaka is reportedly in the league’s health and safety protocols. If any/all of them play, the outcome of this game will change quite a bit, but if they all sit, the Thunder are definitely good enough to knock off a short-handed Clippers’ team.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 33 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, and appears to be fully recovered from the concussion he suffered earlier this year. Oklahoma City is 8-19 this season, but 7-5 against the spread as a home underdog this year (and 5-2 ATS with two or three days’ rest).

Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors

Best Bet: Warriors -1 / -110 (WynnBet)

You don’t see Steph Curry go 2-for-10 too often, but that’s exactly what he did against the Toronto Raptors on November 21… and the Golden State Warriors still left the Chase Center with a 15-point win. Steve Kerr’s team covers the spread more than any team in the NBA not named the Cleveland Cavaliers, and will be looking to sweep the season series with Toronto with a win on Saturday.

The Raptors are playing well as of late: They’ve tallied four wins in their last six games, and the two losses over that stretch came by a combined total of three points. But the injury bug has bitten them something fierce this week: OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Khem Birch are all questionable for tonight’s matchup. Those players account for roughly 35 points and 17 rebounds per game… contributions that will be sorely missed against a Warriors’ team that ranks in the top three in both points per game (111.8, 3rd in the NBA) and points allowed per game (100.2, 1st in the NBA).

Ignore the fact that Golden State is on the tail end of a back-to-back as they’re 3-1 ATS in those situations so far this year. Heading into the weekend, the Warriors are 7-2 straight up as a road favorite this season, winning those games by an average of 5.7 points.

Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz

Best Bet: Over 220.5 / -110 (WynnBet)

Baskets should be plentiful in Salt Lake City tonight: The Jazz have scored 118 points in seven of their last eight games heading into the weekend, while the Wizards have allowed opponents to put up 113 or more in each of their last six outings.

Last Saturday, these two teams combined to put up 221 points as Utah cruised to a 123-98 win. Both the Jazz (33.3 percent) and the Wizards (32.0 percent) shot poorly from beyond the arc that night, and the game still managed to hit the 221 total.

All of the trends are favoring the over even with the Jazz closing out a back-to-back tonight: As of Friday, the over is 4-0 in Utah’s last four home games, and 6-1-1 in their last eight overall. The visiting Washington Wizards rank in the bottom third in the league in Defensive Rating (110.7), a significant reason why the over has gone 5-0-1 in their last six games against a winning team.

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