NBA Betting: Favorite picks for Dec. 29

There are ten games on the NBA slate tonight, beginning at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET. While the Celtics barely defeated the Detroit Pistons in overtime, can they stay undefeated at home tonight? With Joel Embiid out for the 76ers, can Philadelphia capture the win against Houston on the road? In this article, I am picking my favorite NBA plays of the day. You can bet them single, or group into a parlay, your choice. I chose to take each individual straight bets and placed 1 unit on each. Here you will find the NBA betting odds, stats, trends, player prop bets, and predictions for Friday, Dec. 29

NBA Daily Game Odds for 12/29

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Knicks (-1) (-115) @ Magic (-105): O/U 226
Nets (-6) (-238) @ Wizards (+195): O/U 241.5
Kings (-1) @ Hawks (-110): O/U 252
Bucks (-6) (-238) @ Cavaliers (+195): O/U 239.5
Raptors (+195) @ Celtics (-6)(-238): O/U 224.5
76ers (-1.5)(-118) @ Rockets (-102): O/U 224
Thunder (+100) @ Nuggets (-1.5) (-120): O/U 236.5
Hornets (+800) @ Suns (-16)(-1350): O/U 232
Spurs (+190) @ Trail Blazers (-230) (-5.5): O/U 233
Grizzlies (+210) @ Clippers (-6)(-258): O/U 225.5

Sara Jane's favorite bets

Bet #1: Toronto Raptors +6 vs. Celtics

The Boston Celtics (24-6, 15-0 home) will host the Toronto Raptors (12-18, 4-9 away) at home tonight. The only undefeated team at home, the Celtics are coming off a thrilling 128-122 overtime victory against the Pistons. While Boston has a 3-1 win/loss record coming off back-to-back games, I chose to stay clear of the money line tonight.

Tonight, Boston are the clear cut favorites, with a 65.8 percent chance to win, according to ESPN Analytics. However, there is much uncertainty in the lineup, with Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum all listed as questionable. Even worse, Boston will be without Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford, as Horford doesn't play in back-to backs.

While the Raptors are fairly healthy, they are 14-16-0 against the spread, in which they have a 4-9 win/loss record on the road. 3-7 in their last ten games, they recently covered the favored -6.5 spread against the Wizards. Other than that, they haven't been able to cover any spread since Dec. 18 versus the Charlotte Hornets. Only 2-3 in their last five matchups, Toronto had some tough looks against Philadelphia and Denver. Respectively, they lost to the 76ers by ten points, and the Nuggets, nine points.

Overall, the Celtics own the Raptors, standing at 8-2 against them in the last ten meetings. Their first matchup, Boston smoked Toronto, 117-94 at home, which I was in attendance. Their second matchup, the Raptors kept the game within three points at home. It's important to note, the Celtics starting five was fully healthy for that game.

For the Celtics, they are 9-1 in their last ten games, including four consecutive wins. However, they barely snuck out a win versus the Pistons, and are banged up. 15-13-2 against the spread, the Celtics ironically average the most points off zero days rest, at 126.8. Boston has already faced several tests with various players out of the lineup. With Horford and Porzingis out tonight, Lamar Stevens will get the test at Center. If there are more injuries, I wouldn't be as reluctant to take Toronto money line.

Offensively, these two teams aren't on the same wavelength when healthy. Unable to generate adequate offense, the Raptors rank 18th in offensive efficiency( 113.5), where the Celtics rank 4th overall (120.5). While Toronto started off as one of the best defensive teams, they rank 14th in defensive efficiency, whereas Boston ranks near the top.

Coming off a 132-102 victory over the Washington Wizards isn't certainly a statement, but the Raptors do hold the momentum. After avoiding an embarassing loss yesterday, the Raptors should be able to take advantage of the Celtics grueling schedule, along with their injury ailments.

Head coach Darko Rajakovic has played around with the starting five, taking Dennis Schroder out for Gary Trent Jr. It's important to note, Siakam, Anunoby, and Barnes are all coming over 20+ point games.

Given the Raptors aren't terrible defensively, I expect them to hang around with the Celtics tonight. I would be genuinely surprised if both Tatum, Brown, and Holiday all decided to suite up. Look for Toronto to capitalize tonight.

Bet #2: Trae Young 10+ Assists vs. Kings

Stats courtesy Propsdotcash

If there's a player prop I love tonight, It's Trae Young to have over 10 assists. Averaging 28.1 points and 11.3 assists per game, Young gets the Sacramento Kings who allowed the 23rd most assists (27.2) in the NBA. Coming off four straight games with 13 plus, is there any team that can stop Young from dishing out dimes as of right now?

10 + assists is a prop that's hit 67 percent this season, and in eight straight games. If you're betting on the NBA, the Hawks play at home, where Young is coming off a 15 and 13 total assist night against the Detroit Pistons, and the Memphis Grizzlies. While i've made the mistake of taking under Young assists, it's hard to fade a player who's averaging 40 minutes in the last three games, and hasn't dished out less than ten assists since Dec. 11 against the Nuggets.

The return of Jalen Johnson has been a huge impact on the Hawks offensively. Sharing the backcourt with Dejounte Murray, Young has the option of hitting Bey and Bogdanovich, who's been a proven sniper from downtown. Although DeAndre Hunter is out for tonights matchup, the Kings have recently allowed Scoot Henderson, and Jrue Holiday to hit 10+ assists.

Surprisingly, the Hawks have the 5th best offensive in the league, even though they stand at 12-18. While they rank middle of the road in assists, it's the defense that's been an issue. Currently, Young leads the Hawks in points scored and assists. In his first meeting with Sacramento this season, he last had seven and six assists against the Kings 2022, and early 2023.

Yes the Hawks are struggling, however, Young has clearly proved his value, especially since the team functions significantly better when he's on the court. Putting up historic numbers, it's hard to fade this prop, as I will continue to ride the hot hand. Plus, the Kings are a mess defensively. Since his prop line is lower than his season average, I'm taking Young to have a big night tonight.

Bet #3: Bradley Beal 12.5+ Points vs. Hornets

Stats courtesy Propsdotcash

It's no secret the Phoenix Suns are struggling, and that's been primarily due to Bradley Beals injury history. A team that's built to "win now" with Booker, Beal, and Durant, look for Beal to make an immediate impact tonight against the Hornets. Normally, I don't bet on player props, especially coming back from injury. However, Phoenix has a prime matchup with Charlotte, and with growing frustrations in the Valley, they will need him to step up tonight.

12.5 points is a low total, especially for Beal who's used to being the main scorer. Although a small sample size, Beal hit the over in five of the six matchups he's played this season. A 86 percent hit rate during the 2022/2023 season, over 12.5 points has hit in 11 of his last 15 games.

Tonight, the Suns will face the Hornets who allow the 26th most points in the NBA (121). Even worse, they rank near last in several statistical categories, including rebound, assists, opponent three-point percentage, and field goal percentage. With LaMelo Ball out with injury, the Hornets will also be without Gordon Hayward tonight. On the road, that primarily leaves Brandon Miller or Terry Rozier with the task of guarding Beal.

In his last three outings against Charlotte, the newly acquired guard scored 26, 33, and 17 points, all back last season, and as a member of the Washington Wizards. Yes, he'll have to share the scoring with Durant and Booker. However, with several minimum player signed, Beal should take the starting place of Grayson Allen or Eric Gordon. Other than that, Phoenix ranks 26th in bench points with 29.4 per game.

While it's unclear if he will be on a minute restriction, Charlotte most recently allowed Bennedict Mathurin, Gary Trent Jr. Duncan Robinson, Coby White, and Cam Thomas to all score over 12.5 points. While Beal was hurt against the Knicks on Dec.15, he did score six points in five minutes.

7-9 at home, the Suns will look to bounce back in front of their home fans at FootPrint Center. In five games at home, Beal hit over this prop in four of five games, including 24 points against the Los Angeles Lakers.

In six regular season matchups, the guard is averaging 14.7 points, on 42.9 percent three-point and 44.9 field goal shooting. After going through a tough 3-9 stretch, the Suns are coming off an impressive 129-113 victory over the Rockets. Although the big three have only played 25 minutes together this season, I'm all on the Beal train tonight versus a weak defense riddled with injuries.

Bet #4: Oklahoma City Thunder +1.5 vs. Nuggets

Slightly a risky play tonight, I love the Oklahoma City Thunder to cover the spread tonight against the Denver Nuggets. 20-9 on the season, the Thunder are 8-4 on the road, while the Nuggets are 13-2 at home. Two of the best teams in the west, Oklahoma City currently stands a game behind Denver for the No. 3 seed. With such a young, talented core, the Thunder lead the Western Conference with a +7.7 point differential, and rank 6th in offensive rating (118.8).

Don't be alarmed, the Thunder are the real deal. With Chet Holmgren favored to win Rookie of the Year, the team plays at a fast pace, and like the Nuggets, are at the top in terms of assists/turnover ratio. Defensively, they rank 6th in defensive rating, holding opponents to 113.6 points per game. Offensively, both the Thunder and Nuggets averaging near the same three-point percentage, and Oklahoma City ranks third overall in field goal percentage (49.7).

To me, these teams are fairly comparable on paper, except the fact Denver has NBA Championship experience. Riding a six game win streak, the Nuggets are coming off a 37 point win against the Memphis Grizzlies, and will have a back-to-back game tonight. Much like the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets have a 5-1 record when coming off zero days rest, and Nikola Jokic is coming off a triple double against Memphis.

While Denver is playing incredible, so are the Thunder. 20-9 against the spread, the Thunder are 7-3 in their last ten games. What's more impressive, this team had hard fought victories over the Knicks, Timberwolves, Clippers, and Warriors. In their last matchup, the Thunder covered the +5.5 spread, the defeated the Nuggets 118-117.

It's worth a shot to sprinkle a little bit on the Thunder, who are clearly winning games versus teams over .500, and already beat the Nuggets once. They are a better shooting team and can absolutely hang in there defensively. They are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games. If you're betting on the NBA, I would ever pick Thunder money line as a straight bet.

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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter at Ballislife, and Sports Content Creator on Twitch and TikTok. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.


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