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Sean B’s Best NBA Bets Today: Picks & Predictions for 12/21/2021

Sean Blazek

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The under total points was the hot bet of the night on Monday, cashing in five of six games. Tuesday welcomes a five-game slate with the Wizards – Nets postponed due to COVID health and safety protocols. Several star players dealing with injures/health and safety, so keep an eye on the player updates throughout the day. Let’s dive into the best bets to make tonight and overall NBA betting tips for Tuesday, Dec. 21.

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Suns vs. Lakers

The Phoenix Suns travel to Los Angeles on Tuesday to take on the Lakers in a Pacific Division showdown. The Suns enter tonight’s matchup winners of three straight and hold the top spot in the Western Conference with a 24-5 record. The Lakers are 16-15, good for seventh in the conference. Phoenix will look to take advantage of a Lakers squad that will be without several key players to due injuries/COVID health and safety protocols.

The Suns were ecstatic to get Devin Booker back in the lineup on Sunday in a blowout win against the Hornets. Booker recorded 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes against Charlotte. Expect his minutes to increase as long as he does not experience any major soreness in the upcoming games. The Suns have managed to avoid the COVID outbreak and will be running with their core roster minus Abdel Nader and Frank Kaminsky, both managing knee injuries. Phoenix is scoring 111.9 points per game (third) and shooting 47.8% from the field (second). On defense they rank third in efficiency and are allowing 104.6 points per game (fourth).

Los Angeles will be without Kent Bazemore, Avery Bradley, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves, all entering the league’s health and safety protocol. Dwight Howard and Talen Horton-Tucker were cleared to play as of this morning. The Lakers will also be without Anthony Davis, who suffered a sprained MCL that will force him to miss multiple weeks. This news leaves the Lakers in dire need of production from the reserve players, who will be slotted into the short rotation alongside LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. Isaiah Thomas got the starting nod on Sunday for the Lakers. Thomas has two games under his belt, scoring double digits in both games. He will continue to get quality minutes while the Lakers wait for players to clear health and safety protocols.

The Suns took home the victory 115-105 in their first matchup back in October. Phoenix has too many players capable of putting up double figures, so it is tough to envision a hobbled Lakers squad keeping up with their scoring. Ayton and the Suns will have the advantage down low without Davis defending the paint. The Suns rank sixth in points in the paint and will be going up against a Lakers team that ranks 25th in points allowed in the paint. The Lakers are 6-11 against the spread at home this season. The Suns are 16-13 against the spread and have a 7.3-point margin of victory. While this may seem like a lot of points to lay, take the Suns with confidence as they look to extend their win streak on Tuesday.

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Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Phoenix Suns -6.5

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Pacers vs. Heat

After a rough start to the season for the Pacers, they are turning things around, going 4-2 in their last six games. Indiana’s struggles have come on the road this year, going 3-11 to start the season. Tonight is a nice bounce-back spot as they go up against the Miami Heat. Miami is coming off a 100-90 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. Injuries have slowly caught up with the Heat throughout December. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and P.J. Tucker highlight Miami’s inactives on Tuesday night. Tyler Herro is questionable with a quadriceps injury that has forced him to miss the last three games.

The Heat are 2-2 over their last four games, averaging 100 points per game. They return back home where they have been more successful, holding an 8-4 record. Even throughout the injury battle, Miami continues to excel on the defensive end of the floor, allowing 103.7 points per game — third fewest in the league. Miami ranks ninth in offensive rating on the season but has seen their production slip without Butler and Adebayo in the lineup. Kyle Lowry is averaging 16.4 points over his last 10 games, up from his season average of 13.9 points per game. The Heat have been living and dying by the 3-point shot, averaging 41 3-point attempts per game over the last five games.

The Pacers are coming off four days rest after a 122-113 win over the Pistons on Thursday. They will be excited to have head coach Rick Carlisle back after he missed the last four games due to COVID. Malcolm Brogdon is not listed on the injury report ahead of Tuesday’s game. He was scratched from their last game due to a sore Achilles but looks to be a go tonight after recovering over Indiana’s extended break. Brogdon leads the team in scoring, averaging 19.7 points per game. Indiana is holding opponents to 45.7% shooting from field and 34.8% from 3. Tonight is the perfect matchup for the Pacers to fine tune their offense against a lineup of Miami reserves.

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This will be the third meeting between these two teams on the season. The totals of the first two games were 193 points and 217 points. Both teams rank bottom six in pace on the season. Given the Pacers’ struggles on the road this season, it is hard to trust them, even with all the injuries to the Heat. The under is 3-1 in Miami’s last four games, with the total finishing under 200 in three of four games. Indiana is 4-10 over/under on the road this season. With Miami’s top three scorers missing for tonight’s action, take the under on Tuesday.

Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Total Under 209.5 Points

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Sean Blazek (aka SweatBets) has contributed to Awesemo since November 2021 and is currently a NBA Content Creator. His articles can be found on Awesemo under the NBA Betting section. Sean has a knack for identifying value in spreads and totals using an analytical approach to find his Best Bets. Follow him on Twitter @SweatBets and get ready to cash.

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