NBA Three at 3: Best Bets for Wednesday, December 1
On Wednesday, December 1, the NBA has a 9-game slate that is headlined by the Philadelphia 76ers taking on the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the Sacramento Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET in an NBA TV doubleheader. Before you dive into tonight's games, check out our three favorite bets on the board:
1. 76ers at Celtics - Since starting the season with a 2-5 record, Boston has gone 9-5 to get back over the .500 mark. The Celtics have the fifth-best defensive rating in basketball right now, and they now take on a Sixers team that has struggled to put the ball in the hole recently. Philadelphia is just 3-8 in its last 11 games and is just 23rd in the league in offensive rating in that span. Joel Embiid being out with COVID-19 is a big part of the reason the Sixers have struggled, but they've had him back for two games now and their offense has only improved incrementally in that time. The reality right now is that the Sixers just badly miss Ben Simmons' ability to create for others — and his elite perimeter defense — and even the dynamite play of second-year pro Tyrese Maxey isn't enough to solve that. Also, the Celtics are coming off back-to-back road games as we head into this one and Boston is 29-12-1 against the spread after having played two-straight games on the road since the start of the 2019-20 season. Even with Jaylen Brown potentially out for this game, look for Jayson Tatum and Co. to take care of business at home. The only place the Sixers have a true advantage over the Celtics — even without Brown — is at the center position, but this is a revenge game for Al Horford and he'll want to go out there and hold his own against Embiid. Robert Williams III, one of the league's best rim protectors, will help him.
THE PICK: Celtics -2.5 (-110)
2. Rockets at Thunder - The Rockets have won three games in a row and covered in four of their last five. They now face a Thunder team that they just beat by 13 in Houston on Monday, and Oklahoma City comes into this one after having lost six straight and eight of its last nine. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Thunder had no answer for Rockets big man Christian Wood. Wood had 24 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks in only 31 minutes of action, and he was an efficient 9 of 17 from the floor and 3 of 6 from deep. With Oklahoma City down Derrick Favors and potentially having to play without Mike Muscala (ankle), Wood will once again have the opportunity to feast against an inexperienced Thunder frontcourt. Meanwhile, Garrison Mathews has been a welcome addition to the starting lineup for the Rockets with rookie Jalen Green injured. Mathews is averaging 19.5 points per game in his two starts, and he is a ridiculous 12 for 24 from the outside over the last three games. Green is a very talented player and should be a borderline All-Star one day, but Mathews' floor spacing is helping this Houston team win games. The Rockets should make it four in a row here.
THE PICK: Rockets +2.5 (-110)
3. Kings at Clippers - It can definitely be a little hard to trust the Kings right now, as Sacramento has lost each of its last two and 10 of its past 13. The Kings' recent struggles led to the team firing head coach Luke Walton, so Alvin Gentry is now the man in charge in Sacramento. Now, the Kings will look to find a way to hang around in a road game against the Clippers, but you really shouldn't be all that surprised if they do just that. While Los Angeles is over .500 on the season, the team is just 3-6 straight-up and 2-7 against the spread in its last nine games. The Clippers were just beat up on by the lowly New Orleans Pelicans last game, losing 123-104 as a 7-point home favorite in Los Angeles. All in all, this is an extremely vulnerable Clippers squad right now, and they also happen to be 0-7 against the spread in home games with a total between 210 and 219.5 this season. Meanwhile, Sacramento is 13-3 against the spread in road games against division opponents over the last three years. If that's not enough to sway you, there's also the fact that the Kings won 113-110 as 8-point underdogs when these teams last met in Los Angeles back on February 7, 2020. It's also important to note that Sacramento might have to deal with Paul George in this game, but the Kings have the edge in the backcourt and at the center position. De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Davion Mitchell can all give the Clippers some trouble in a variety of different ways, and Richaun Holmes' tenacity on the inside is going to be a big factor here.
THE PICK: Kings +8.5 (-110)