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Sean B’s Best NBA Bets Today: Picks & Predictions for 12/23/2021

Sean Blazek



NBA Thursday presents an action-packed slate with 11 games across the Association. The Nets – Trail Blazers was postponed due to the number of players in health and safety protocols. The NBA will take Friday off before coming back with a full day of NBA on Christmas day. As always, monitor lineups throughout the day, as there are league-record inactives due to health and safety protocols with the recent COVID outbreak. Let’s dive into the best bets to make tonight and overall NBA betting tips for Thursday, Dec. 23.

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Best NBA Betting Picks Tonight | Dec. 23

Timberwolves vs. Jazz

The Minnesota Timberwolves were one of many teams hit with the recent virus outbreak. Anthony Edwards, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Josh Okogie and Taurean Prince all remain in the health and safety protocols. Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid enter tonight’s matchup questionable. The Timberwolves were knocked off 114-102 in their last game against the Mavericks. Tonight will not get any easier in a divisional matchup against the Utah Jazz, who hold the top spot in the division with a 21-9 record on the season. D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns will have to perform at All-Star levels to have any hope in keeping this one competitive on the road.

The Jazz are winners of nine of their last 11 games. They bounced back on Monday with a 112-102 win over the Hornets. The Jazz enter Thursday with a full starting lineup intact as well as a healthy bench that ranks top 10 in bench points per game. Rudy Gobert will prove to be a tough match up for Towns, which will put pressure on the Minnesota guards to provide offensive production. The Jazz continue to lead the league in offensive efficiency, averaging 115.4 points per game on 47.7% shooting. Donovan Mitchell ranks ninth in the league in scoring with 25 points per game. Utah is the top 3-point shooting team, averaging 15.7 3 pointers made per game on 36.8% from deep. They are clicking on all cylinders, with a defense that ranks sixth in the league in defensive rating, allowing opponents 105 points per game.

The Timberwolves are winners of four of their last five but will have to manage through playing with a roster full of reserves. Minnesota was forced to sign/promote several G-League players throughout this week to fill roster spots. Minnesota has a 15-16 record overall and 6-7 on the road. This may be a look-ahead spot for the Timberwolves, as they know the circumstances they are dealing with and have a three-day break ahead of them over the Holiday weekend. Minnesota is averaging 108.5 points per game while allowing 108.7 points to opponents.

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These two teams met once this year just a few weeks back. The Jazz won the game in commanding fashion with a 136-104 victory on the road in Minnesota. Knowing what the Jazz are capable of doing to the Timberwolves with a healthier roster, expect the Jazz to cover easily, winning this game by double digits. Utah has an average margin of victory of 10.4 points.

Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Utah Jazz -11.5

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Thunder vs. Suns

The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Phoenix on Thursday to take on the Suns, who have the league’s best record (25-5). The Thunder took down the Nuggets last night by a score of 108-94 to extend their winning streak to three games. The Suns are riding a four-game win streak of their own. Both teams are fortunate to not have any players in the league’s health and safety protocols, so rosters should be at full strength for tonight’s matchup.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to establish himself as one of the top guards in the league, averaging 21.8 points per game on the season. Josh Giddey is another name to watch, as he is third on the team in scoring and first in rebounding and assists. The Thunder enter Thursday with the league’s worst offensive rating and will have a tough test going up against a Suns defense that ranks second in the league in defensive efficiency. Phoenix is allowing opponents to score 104.1 points per game, fourth fewest in the league. Oklahoma City should not pose as much of threat from beyond the arc, as they rank 22nd in 3-pointers made per game, averaging 11.5.

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The 3-point line is bound to be the Suns’ biggest advantage, ranking sixth in the league in 3-point percentage and stacking up against an Oklahoma City defense that ranks 22nd in opponent 3-point percentage. Devin Booker looks to be back in form after missing time recently with a hamstring injury. Booker leads the team in scoring, averaging 23 points per game. The Suns have eight players that average double figures in scoring, and they rank eighth in offensive rating on the year.

The Thunder struggle on the road, averaging 96.8 points per game. Only nine of their games this season have finished with a total score of 215 or higher. Both teams rank in the bottom eight in free throw attempts. While history shows the Thunder have fared well against Phoenix, expect the Suns length to cause issues for Gilgeous-Alexander and company tonight. Phoenix’s dominance on both ends of the court will be a problem for a Thunder offense that ranks near the bottom in every offensive category. Oklahoma City is 11-19 over/under on the season and 5-9 over/under on the road. The Suns are 13-17 over/under on the season. Take the under in tonight’s matchup and watch for the Suns to cruise to their six straight victory.

Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Total Under 214.5 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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