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NBA Betting: Top 5 Games Dec. 31 – Jan. 6

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Week 12 started on New Year's Eve with seven games on the schedule, but there will be a ton of action this week with some quite interesting matchups including the clash between the red-hot Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Hereof, let's take a look at top five games for Week 12 along with all need-to-know betting trends and analysis that will help you choose the best wagers.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Boston Celtics – Wednesday, January 2nd 

The Boston Celtics are coming off a painful 120-111 defeat at the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve, allowing 46 points in the third quarter to drop a six-point lead. Likewise, Kyrie Irving suffers an eye injury that will probably leave him sidelined on this one against the Timberwolves, but the Celtics will have to find the way to beat Minnesota and restore their self-confidence. Boston is just 3-5 straight up and ATS in its last eight games overall, so the victory over Minnesota seems like a must even if Irving miss the clash.

On the other side, the Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off a 123-114 defeat at the New Orleans Hornets which was their second loss in the last three games, while they are 4-6 straight up and ATS in the last ten games overall. The Timberwolves have won three of their last four games on the road, but they are just 5-14 straight up and 8-11 ATS in 19 games on the road this season.

Another interesting fact is Boston's 12 straight home wins over the Timberwolves who are winless at TD Garden since 2005, so I expect from the Celtics to continue this trend. Boston has plenty of talent among its squad, and Kyrie's eventual absence shouldn't be a big issue. On the contrary, it could open the space for Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier to finally show their qualities, while Jaylen Brown will be looking for another strong game after dropping 30 points on the Spurs.

My Pick: Boston Celtics ATS

Utah Jazz at Cleveland Cavaliers – Friday, January 4th 

The Utah Jazz is on the road trip at the east coast, and after a 122-116 defeat at Toronto on New Year's Day, the Jazz will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night. Utah continues with a shaky performance, losing three of its last five games, and is 5-7 straight up and 5-6-1 ATS in its last 12 games overall. On the road, the Jazz is 1-6 straight up and 1-5-1 ATS in its previous seven outings, so Quin Snyder and his boys have to find the way to beat the hapless Cavaliers.

The Cavs are on a six-game losing streak following a 111-108 defeat at Atlanta on December 29, 2018, covering the spread three times during that six-game span. Likewise, the Cavaliers are just 2-7 straight up and 3-6 ATS in their last nine showings on the home court, and are 1-9 straight up and 4-6 in their 10 games against the Western Conference this season.

Cleveland's defensive rating is the worst in the NBA at the moment, as the Cavs are allowing 116.4 points per 100 possessions, while their offensive rating is 23rd in the league (107.0). Hereof, I expect them to struggle against the Jazz that is allowing just 106.6 points per 100 possessions (5th in the league). The Cavs will be looking for the highest possible draft pick this season, while the Jazz will be fighting for the playoff spot, so I think the visitors should grab a win here and eventually cover the spread.

My Pick: Utah Jazz ATS

Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers – Saturday, January 5th   

The Dallas Mavericks have won just two of their last ten games overall, slowly slipping away from the playoff berths in the Western Conference. They are on a tough schedule this week, visiting the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night before a back-to-back set at Boston and Philadelphia. While they are 8-5 straight up and 9-4 ATS on the front end, the Mavericks are 0-13 straight up and 5-8 ATS on the second day of their last 13 back-to-back sets.

On the other side, the Sixers will end their road trip at Phoenix Wednesday night, so they will have a few days to rest and prepare for the clash with the Mavericks. Hereof, I expect them to dominate the Mavericks who should struggle with fatigue, while the Sixers' only problem could be Joel Embiid's sore knee. Embiid has missed the matchup with the Trail Blazers where the Sixers have been hammered properly 129-95, but he's returned against the Clippers to lead his team to a 119-113 victory.

Likewise, the Mavericks are playing awkwardly on the road all season long, and are on a nine-game losing streak away from home, covering the spread three times in that span. The Sixers are 6-2 straight up and ATS in their previous eight games on the home court, and are 12-0 straight up and 9-3 ATS in the last 12 home meetings with the Western Conference. Also, the Sixers have beaten the Mavs three times in a row including a couple of games in Philadelphia, covering the spread on two occasions in the process.

My Pick: Philadelphia 76ers ATS

Washington Wizards at Oklahoma City Thunder – Sunday, January 6th 

The Washington Wizards' nightmare season continues, as John Wall ended the season with a heel injury, so they will have to continue their playoff chase without their best player. The Wizards are just 3-9 straight up and 2-10 ATS in their previous 12 games overall, and are 0-7 straight up and ATS in their last seven games away from home, so beating OKC on the road should be quite a tall task.

On the other side, the Oklahoma City Thunder has dropped three of its last five games along with a couple of wins over Phoenix and Dallas, so beating the struggling Wizards on the home court is a must. The Thunder is 6-1 straight up and 5-2 ATS in its last seven games at home, and is 5-0 straight up and 4-1 ATS in its last five home meetings with the Eastern Conference.

OKC's defensive rating is still the best in the league with 102.8 points allowed per 100 possessions, while its net rating is the 3rd-best in the NBA at the moment (+6.4). On the other side, the Wizards' defensive rating is the 3rd-worst in the NBA with 114.5 points allowed per 100 possessions, and their net rating is 25th in the league (-4.7). Hereof, I think the Thunder should dominate the Wizards defensively and easily cover the spread.

My Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder ATS

 

Our Best Play of the Week

Featured Game: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors – Thursday, January 3rd  

The Western Conference showdown between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland is undoubtedly the biggest game of Week 12, as the red-hot Rockets visit the reigning champions. Houston is on a five-game winning streak following a 113-101 home win to the Memphis Grizzlies on New Year's Eve and has won 10 of its last 11 games overall, while the Rockets are just 3-7 straight up in their previous ten outings on the road. The Warriors have won two games in a row at Phoenix and Portland, while the defending champions are 6-4 straight up and 3-7 ATS in their last ten games overall.

The Rockets will be listed as underdogs here, for sure, and will be missing Chris Paul due to a hamstring injury, while Eric Gordon is questionable as he's recovering from a knee injury. James Harden will try to continue with his fantastic performance, as the Beard is averaging 40.8 points over the last ten showings. Harden has scored 40+ points in four games in a row and is looking completely unstoppable at the moment.

However, the Warriors should have more offensive weapons than the Rockets, and they don't necessarily need to slow down the Beard. The Warriors' offensive execution should be a key factor here, and after a couple of straight losses in front of the home fans, I think they will step up and smash the wounded Rockets. Golden State is 6-3 straight up and just 1-8 ATS, but I hope for a statement performance against the Rockets.

My Pick: Golden State Warriors ATS

The Admiral

You want someone to show you how to make some money, then talk to me, I am your man. Folks, I have been doing this since....forever, so yeah, I know a thing or two on how to beat the spread and get your pockets loaded with the totals. Basketball, Soccer, Football, Hockey, you name it, and I will find the best pick for you.

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