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Sean B’s Best NBA Bets Today: Picks & Predictions for 12/17/2021

Sean Blazek

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There were a lot of buckets in the NBA on Thursday, with the total points going over in all four games. Friday offers up an eight-game slate with a lot of question marks on who is in and who is out. Several star players dealing with injures/health and safety protocols. We will focus on two matchups with less uncertainty around player statuses to limit the risk on line movement. Let’s dive into the best bets to make tonight and overall NBA betting tips for Friday, Dec. 17.

Best NBA Betting Picks Tonight | Dec. 17

Spurs vs. Jazz

The Utah Jazz enter Friday looking to extend their eight-game win streak with a victory over the San Antonio Spurs at home inside Vivint Arena. The Jazz have a 20-7 record on the season, first in the Northwest Division. The Spurs are 10-17 on the season and travel to Utah for the first game of a four-game road trip. Both teams have been lucky enough to avoid the health and safety protocols this week, so hopefully there are no surprises throughout the day. San Antonio’s Lonnie Walker IV is the most notable player to watch, as he enters Friday’s contest questionable with a non-COVID illness.

The Jazz and Spurs have had no trouble scoring over their last 10 games. Utah is averaging 121 points per game, while San Antonio is putting up 111.3 points per game. The Jazz offense has been clicking on all cylinders. Utah ranks first in offense rating and leads the league 3-pointers made per game with 15.8. Not only does Utah drain threes, but they also rack up points in the paint, averaging 47.9 points per game in the paint, led by Rudy Gobert’s 11.9 points in the paint per game. Tonight Gobert should have no problem going head-to-head with Jakob Poeltl. Utah dominates on the defensive side of the ball, ranking fifth in defensive rating, allowing 104.1 points per game. The Jazz own the glass, averaging 55.1 rebounds per game, which will limit the number of second chance opportunities for San Antonio.

The Spurs need a breakout performance by Dejounte Murray to have any chance tonight. Murray has struggled over his last three games, shooting 36.6% from the field while failing to score more than 10 points in each of the three games. Turning things around will not come easy, as Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley should keep Murray and company under lock in the backcourt. The Spurs have been extremely inconsistent on the defensive end of the floor, allowing 117.4 points per games to opponents over the last five games. Defense will not get any easier tonight against the No. 1 offense in the league.

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The Jazz have won four straight in the series matchup by an average margin of 17.5 points. Utah is 16-11 against the spread this year and have won their last four games by 21 or more points. San Antonio has lost by 12 or more points in their last four loses. Have confidence in laying the points with Utah at home in Friday’s matchup.

Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Utah Jazz -11.5

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Warriors vs. Celtics

The Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics match up for the first of two games on ESPN Friday Night. The Warriors will look to get back to their normal rhythm now that Stephen Curry has surpassed Ray Allen for most 3-pointers made all-time. Boston is coming off three days’ rest after a nice win on their home court against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. Do not expect the Warriors to be slacking, as they know they have a tough matchup against Boston inside TD Garden on Friday. Boston is 14-14 on the season 7-4 at home.

The Warriors own the league’s best record sitting at 23-5 on the year. Golden State has been absolutely dominant on both sides of the floor this year. They have the best net rating in the league and rank first in defensive efficiency, holding opponents to 100.2 points per game. Their one challenge on the season is turning the ball over. Golden State ranks 29th in turnovers, averaging 16 per game. The good news for the Warriors is that Boston ranks bottom 10 in points off turnovers.

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The Warriors will be up for a challenge trying to cool off Jayson Tatum after putting up 42 points against the Bucks in their last game. Boston was happy to get Jaylen Brown back in the lineup after missing five games with a hamstring injury. The Celtics are not one to take lightly when it comes to their defensive efforts. They rank 10th in defense rating on the season, holding opponents to 44.3% shooting on the season. The Celtics are also third in the league in assists allowed per game, with top-10 ranks in second-chance points allowed, points allowed in the paint and blocked shots.

The under has cashed in 74.1% of Golden State’s games this season and 59.3% of Celtics games this year. The Celtics offense can be a mystery, as they are so reliant on Tatum and Brown. Both teams rank top 10 in defense rating on the season. The Warriors’ average combined score is 206.8 points on the road this year. The Celtics’ average combined score is 214.9 at home. Ride the trend and take the under in tonight’s matchup.

Best Bet for Tonight’s Game: Total Under 214.5 Points

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Sean Blazek (aka SweatBets) has contributed to Awesemo since November 2021 and is currently an NBA Betting Content Creator. His articles can be found on Awesemo as well as OddsShopper under the NBA Betting Articles section. Sean has a knack for identifying value in spreads and totals using an analytical approach to find his Best Bets. Follow him on Twitter @SweatBets and get ready to cash.

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