As the NBA gears up for its Christmas Day slate, the league has a loaded, 13-game card on Saturday.
The return of Ja Morant has sparked a ton of interest in the Memphis Grizzlies, who will look to erase a dismal start to the season with its All-Star guard back from his 25-game suspension. The team is lined as a coin flip against the Atlanta Hawks, is it worth backing the Grizz? We break that down and two other favorite bets on Saturday's hoops card.
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Best NBA Bets Today, Saturday December 23rd
- Orlando Magic +1 vs. Indiana Pacers
- Nicolas Claxton OVER 2.5 Blocks (+106)
- Memphis Grizzlies PK vs. Atlanta Hawks
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction and Pick
Since the Magic's nine game winning streak was snapped, the team has dropped five of seven games, mired by a shooting slump that can be remedied on Saturday against the Pacers non-exisitent defense.
In that span, the Magic are 28th in effective field goal percentage despite maintaining a top 10 defense while playing a difficult schedule, including two games against the Boston Celtics and another against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The team will get a favorable matchup against the Pacers, who are 28th in defensive rating over that same span and are struggling to stop anybody over the course of the season. While the offense is up-tempo and as potent as any team in the league, this is a nice landing spot for the Magic to get back on track after some poor shooting.
PICK: Magic +1
Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets Prediction and Pick
The third best shot blocker in terms of block percentage, Claxton is in a great spot to swat shots against the lowly Pistons on Saturday.
Detroit takes the fewest three-point shots in the league this season and are top 10 in terms of drives per game, meaning that there should be plenty of opportunities for Claxton to swat shots at the rim.
This number isn't skewing towards a big matchup for Claxton, a + money price for one of the best shot blockers in the league. The Nets' big man has cleared this mark in four straight games and has blocked at least three shots in 11 of 19 games, above this price tag.
PICK: Nicolas Claxton OVER 2.5 Blocks (+106)
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks Prediction and Pick
I'm here to tell you that the Grizzlies are back. No, I'm not overreacting to two straight wins with Ja Morant returning from his suspension, this team is finally humming on offense and the impact of the guard is immense.
Now, the team gets the Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back, who lost to the Heat on the road to fall to 12-16 on the year. The Grizzlies are still 8-19, but clearly that's not indicative of the roster now with Morant back on the floor.
We do have an adequate sample size on the Hawks though, who appear poised to fall short of its lofty expectations given its poor defense that is 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions.
While the Grizzlies record has been poor, the defense has been more than fine, eighth in points allowed per 100 possessions over the balance of the season, and now the team has its engine on offense back, so I expect the unit that has been falling short to round into form and pick up a third straight win.
PICK: Grizzlies PK
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!