Could the Boston Celtics actually get All-Star forward Gordon Hayward back this season? He was thought lost for the year when he broke his ankle on opening night, but Hayward now isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning perhaps in the playoffs. Still a long shot, though. Here are two intriguing NBA betting picks on the schedule this week. Check back for NBA odds around game time.
Top NBA Betting Picks & Predictions of the Week – December 11th Edition
— Jacob Goldstein (@JacobEGoldstein) December 11, 2017
Philadelphia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves
When: Tuesday, 9:30 PM ET (ESPN)
Ton of young talent will be on display here in Philly’s Ben Simmons, the clear NBA Rookie of the Year favorite, and Joel Embiid along with Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns – they both are former Rookies of the Year. It’s the first meeting of the year between the teams.
The Sixers remain without another young talent in 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. The good news is that Fultz, who has only played in four games, is no longer experiencing shoulder soreness, but he won’t even been re-evaluated for three weeks. The shoulder problem really altered his game as 19-year-old resisted jump shots while relying almost exclusively on drives to the basket. He is shooting 33 percent (9-of-27) from the floor and 50 percent (6-of-12) from the free throw line. Off the bench, he has averaged 19 minutes.
Will the Sixers have Robert Covington Tuesday?
He was helped off the court by two teammates after he crashed into the stands alongside the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday night. Covington missed Sunday’s game against the Pelicans with a back injury but X-rays were negative. The Wolves have won seven of the last 11 overall against Philly. A 24-point win (110-86) last Nov. 17 was Minnesota’s largest ever vs. the Sixers at Target Center. Wiggins had 35 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and Towns added 25 points and 10 boards.
In the second meeting, Philadelphia won 93-91 at home. Embiid scored 25 points and Covington hit the game-winner with 0.2 seconds left. Zach LaVine topped Minnesota with 28 points and Towns registered 23 points, 15 boards and five assists. LaVine is now with Chicago.
LA Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers
When: Thursday, 8 PM ET (TNT)
It’s the first time Lonzo Ball and LeBron James square off, meaning I’m sure Ball’s loudmouth father will claim his son is better than LeBron or something. Frankly, Ball isn’t even the best rookie on his own team yet. That would be Kyle Kuzma. Recently, he became only the 6th player to record at least 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench this season (first rookie). Kuzma has four 20-and-10 games this season, notching eight total double-doubles.
Scoring in the interior has been a strong suit for the Lakers this season, as the team leads the NBA in points in the paint. L.A.’s 54.5 per game would be the second-highest average ever recorded since the NBA began tracking the stat in 1996-97. The Lakers have scored 60+ points in the paint on seven occasions, including an NBA season-high 70 points 11/19 vs. Denver.
Cleveland had a 13-game winning streak snapped Friday at Indiana but bounced right back and beat the 76ers the next night. The Cavs are averaging 110.7 points (4th in NBA) on .479 shooting from the field (4th in NBA). They have topped the 100-point plateau on 25 of 27 games. Since Nov. 1, the Cavs have scored 100 points or more in 20 straight games. The Cavs have scored at least 110 points on 15 occasions this season, including 120 points or more 3 times.
The Cavs have had 4 games with percentages of at least .500 from the field, .400 from three-point range and .900 from the charity stripe. Cleveland only accomplished that feat twice last season (11/25/16 vs. DAL, 2/8/17 at IND), one time in 2015-16 (4/5/16 at MIL) and none in 2014-15.
How Are the Reserves Doing?
Cleveland’s reserves are averaging a franchise-record 40.2 points this season, which ranks 7th in the NBA. The previous franchise mark for the Cavs’ bench is 36.9 points set in 1991-92. Dwyane Wade has been the top scorer off the bench for Cleveland this season, ranking 8th in the NBA in bench scoring (12.3). He has scored in double-digits 13 times and 20+ points 3 times.
The Cavs are thriving without Derrick Rose. Rose has a bone spur in his left ankle and might need to undergo a procedure to correct it should his rehabilitation program not take. He recently rejoined the team after some time away. Whenever Rose does return to action on the court he will likely no longer have his spot as the Cavs’ starting point guard. Injured guard Isaiah Thomas, who’s yet to play this season because of a right hip injury, is expected to be back on the court by the end of December.
Cleveland’s Kyle Korver ranks No. 6 in NBA history in 3-point shooting percentage: .431. Korver is shooting .438 on 3-pointers this season. He led the league at .451 last season.
Expert Predictions & NBA Betting Picks of the Week
Minnesota will beat Philadelphia, and the Cavs will wipe the floor with the Lakers. Be sure to check our for more upcoming NBA betting previews and predictions for more games this week.