Another big NBA Wednesday means another tight Thursday slate, but one with some good value in it if you know where to look.
As always, we’ve scoured the major betting agencies to bring you some great plays for the huge slate on offer this Thursday. Check out our best pick and value pick below and good luck to everyone following!
NBA Picks – Thursday, December 12th
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics
TD Garden, 8.00pm ET
Year in and year out, the Philadelphia 76ers are perennially one of the best if not the very best rebounding team in the league. And unmistakably, the crux of that is their All-Star centre Joel Embiid, the dominating unicorn of a player who no one can keep off the glass.
These days, of course, he normally has veteran fellow All-Star big Al Horford alongside him in the frontcourt, and Horford’s return to Boston tonight was supposed to be a big story, which in turn likely would have seen us pick the over on him. However, in a late scratch, Horford will not be playing tonight, which will therefore require Embiid to play bigger minutes and put in more production than usual.
Embiid generally gets up for the big games, and playing an elite conference and division rival with whom you have a couple of generations of lengthy history, as well as some lust for playoff revenge in the current incarnation of the team, is the kind of thing he will get up for. Further to this, lacking size at the centre spot now that Horford has left, the Celtics are among the weaker defensive rebounding teams in the league. All it will take for Embiid to meet this rebounding total, then, is good health, no silly foul trouble and tipping up only a couple of his own missed lay-ups. It is a lot of rebounds to get in one game, but the circumstances have conspired to make him as likely to do it as anyone.
Best Pick: Joel Embiid over 14.5 rebounds (+225, William Hill)
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets
Pepsi Center, 10.30pm ET
On the season thus far, Nikola Jokic has not been living up to the tremendously high standards he set for himself last season, when he had as many triple-doubles as he did dunks. To be sure, he is still passing the ball in the uniquely ridiculous way that only he can, and because of his tremendous size, he still gobbles up the rebounds. But if anything, there is too much of that tremendous size. A distinctly larger-looking Jokic has not been as good of an individual scorer this season, averaging roughly four points per game less than he did last year.
In part, this can perhaps be explained away by the fact that Denver are using him differently. They have had Jokic initiate less of the offence, instead giving a bigger share of the half-court decision-making to point guard Jamal Murray, saving the big man for later in the season. In part, perhaps this is merely due to the fact that Jokic is always a lesser performer in November for whatever reason. In part, perhaps it is due to the added weight, as he is not finishing as well as he used to at the rim, and moving even slower than he always did.
Rest assured, though, that it is all still within him. Tonight, Jokic will go up against a Trail Blazers team that, decimated by injury, only really has one centre left. That centre is Hassan Whiteside, and Hassan Whiteside does not like to leave the paint, nor even contest shots around the rim unless he can get a block out of it. The superior savviness, good hands, better vision and great awareness of The Joker could make mincemeat out of Whiteside and his fragile back-up Skal Labissiere if he so chooses.
Indeed, the main argument against backing Jokic tonight might be that the game is too one-sided in Denver’s favour for him to get enough minutes. Which is generally a good sign that a player should go off.
Value Pick: Nikola Jokic over 19.5 points (+100, Draftkings)
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