Expert NBA Best Bets and Player Props Today – Friday, December 15th
The 2023-24 NBA season has begun and we’re excited over here at VSiN. As always, Jonathan Von Tobel will be providing you with his exceptional coverage of the greatest league in the world. Just click here for all of his content. However, all of my picks will be featured in this daily column, which will combine my best bets and player props. I’ll be doing this every single day of the week — although it’ll be a little shorter on the weekends. So, keep reading to find out how I’m playing the NBA slate on Friday, December 15. Also, check out our NBA Odds page for the latest line movement.
2023 Record: 91-68-1 (+22.33 units)
NBA Best Bets Today – December 15
I was a little surprised to see the Magic getting this many points tonight. Orlando has won four consecutive games against Boston, and the last two of those were double-digit victories. This Magic team just matches up very well with the Celtics, as they’re an elite defensive team and have the necessary length on the wing to give guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown trouble. The Celtics also haven’t been very good at making adjustments under head coach Joe Mazzulla. They’re actually 7-18 against the spread when trying to avenge same-season losses against opponents in that span. On top of that, the Magic are 65-42 ATS against teams that make at least 46.0% of their shots under Jamahl Mosley. That speaks to Orlando’s ability to defend.
It’s also really hard to overlook the scheduling spot in this game. Orlando hasn’t played a game since Monday, when the team earned a 104-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Meanwhile, Boston has played two games in that span, with one of them being last night. So, the Magic should have a sizable advantage when it comes to energy here. That’ll allow the team to get after it defensively, and they could even look to push the ball in transition.
Bet: Magic +6.5 (-115 – Play to +4.5)
UPDATE: This spread is now down to Magic +4.5 because of some Celtics injury news. I’d still take Orlando. Boston is beat up at the center position, which is where the opponent is weakest. The Magic should now feel great about how they match up everywhere else.
I wish I was able to pounce on this earlier and get +4 or +4.5, but I’m comfortable taking the +3.5 — especially considering I believe Memphis can win this game outright. I just don’t think we can discount how bad Houston has been on the road this season, as the team is 1-8 straight-up and 4-5 ATS when playing away from home. The Rockets are also facing a team that they just beat in Houston on Wednesday, so the Grizzlies will be hungry for revenge and should have a good idea of how to get it.
The most obvious place the Grizzlies can be better is behind the 3-point line. Memphis was 10 for 38 from deep on Wednesday, and that’s just not going to cut it. The Grizzlies are a miserable team when it comes to shooting, but they’re hitting 33.4% of their 3s this season. Even that league-worst mark is a huge improvement on the 26.3% Memphis shot on Wednesday. So, a return to the mean would mean a more competitive performance from the Grizzlies.
I also don’t think it’s crazy to expect Memphis to be much better offensively here. Houston’s defense simply hasn’t traveled well this season, with the team giving up 105.5 points per game on the year but 115.8 points per game on the road. Opponents are also shooting 46.6% from the field when the Rockets play on the road, which is a bit higher than the 43.7% opponents shoot in all games.
Bet: Grizzlies +3.5 (-110) & Grizzlies ML (+136 – 0.5 units)
NBA Player Props Today – December 15
I had Dennis Schroder to go Over 24.5 points, rebounds and assists against the Hawks on Wednesday and I really don’t see any reason not to go right back to it. Schroder ended up finishing with a total of 27 in that game and I don’t even think he was playing very aggressively. Schroder did shoot 3 for 4 from 3 in that game and I doubt he’ll be that good from behind the 3-point line again. But I don’t think Schroder was looking to attack the basket as much as he could have, and I also think he can do some more damage as a passer against this unorganized defense. Schroder had 12 potential assists against the Hawks on Wednesday, but he only had seven actual dimes. He also had a low assist-to-pass percentage, meaning he played unselfishly and wasn’t necessarily rewarded for it. Tonight, I’d expect Schroder to have at least seven assists, but I also think he’ll flirt with 20 points. And whatever he adds as a rebounder is just a cherry on top.
Bet: Schroder Over 24.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-110)
Only the Orlando Magic take more shots at the rim than the Lakers, who take 37.6% of their shots within four feet of the basket (according to Cleaning The Glass). That means that Victor Wembanyama, who is now playing center with Zach Collins having been moved to the bench, will have plenty of opportunities to block some shots. I believe that was partly responsible for the French phenom blocking six shots against this same Lakers team on Wednesday. And Wembanyama has blocked at least four shots in five of his last six games. He has just been an absolute monster when it comes to rim protection, and I don’t see anything being different here. I’d actually suggest playing the Over 2.5 on his blocked shots total and also looking into some alternates. I think the only thing that can stop Wembanyama from having a big night is foul trouble.
Bet: Wembanyama Over 2.5 Blocks (-136)
Suns -4.5 (-110) vs. Knicks
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