Top NBA Betting Games of the Week (Dec 12-18)

Posted by Michael Hunt on Monday,December 12, 2016 1:46, EST in

The most important thing to happen in the NBA this week likely won’t be something on the court but off it: the owners and players are racing to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the current one ends on Thursday. It sounds like it will happen and thus avoid any lockout or strike (that wouldn’t happen this season). But there are some intriguing NBA betting games as well. Here are three I have my betting eye on.

Top NBA Betting Games of the Week (Dec 12-18)

Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls, Tuesday

The Timberwolves have been a huge disappointment so far and the Bulls are just an OK team, but this game will draw a lot of attention because it’s the return of Tom Thibodeau to Chicago. Thibodeau returned to the United Center last summer for a scrimmage with USA Basketball, for which he serves as an assistant coach. But Tuesday marks his first game prowling the sidelines for another NBA team since the Bulls fired him in May 2015 following a 255-139 mark in five seasons. The Wolves were thought to be a fringe playoff contender this offseason with a very talented young roster and hiring Thibodeau as coach and player personnel boss, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked yet. The Wolves are currently giving up 111 points to their opponents per 100 possessions of the basketball. This is 4.3 points more than the average NBA defense is allowing. This game is shown on ESPN. Minnesota swept last year’s two-game set after the Bulls had won 10 of the previous 11. The Wolves are 2-1 in their last three trips to Chicago.

Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday

A preview of the NBA Finals? Probably not, but you can make a case that the Celtics could be the second-best team in the Eastern Conference when fully healthy and that San Antonio is the second-best in the West behind the Golden State Warriors. However, the Celtics aren’t healthy right now as leading scorer and All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas is ailing. Thomas’ (groin) status for Wednesday’s game vs. the Spurs is up in the air. According to coach Brad Stevens, he has “no idea about Wednesday” and hasn’t spoken with Thomas. He has previously said that he wants to play Wednesday, but the Celtics have hinted that they want to be cautious. Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier will continue to benefit for as long as Thomas is out. Smart earned another start on Sunday, putting up 11 points on 5-of- 11 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds, one steal and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes of action. Smart was excellent running the offense while doing everything in his power to slow down Russell Westbrook defensively, but it wasn’t enough in a 99-96 defeat. The Spurs are 1-0 against the Celtics this season, winning 109-103 in Boston. San Antonio has won the past four meetings at home as well. This game is also on ESPN.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies, Wednesday

Memphis is injury-ravaged but keeps finding a way to win — but the Cavaliers are a whole different kind of team. In a very unusual arrangement, these teams also play Tuesday night in Cleveland. Home-and- home series aren’t that uncommon, but when it’s teams from opposite conferences is sure is. It’s also very tough to sweep those, so I’d back whatever team loses on Tuesday in this one on NBA odds. The teams split last year, each winning at home. The Cavs rolled 106-76 and the Grizzlies won 106-103 despite missing four starters due to injury — including Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, the team’s best two players. Gasol is healthy right now but Conley is out a few more weeks. Gasol capped his magnificent week with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal, two blocks and one 3-pointer during a 110-89 win over the Warriors on Saturday. In his four wins last week, Gasol averaged 27.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.5 blocks and 50.0 percent from the field.