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NBA Best Bets: Basketball Picks, Predictions, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for December 31

Kenny Ducey gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s NBA betting card.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the New York Knicks on December 26, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

There are seven games on the NBA schedule for Thursday, starting with the Cavaliers and Pacers at 3:00 p.m. ET and ending with the Suns and Jazz at 9:00 p.m. ET. As we will all season, we’ll survey for some player props, totals and sides to take on DraftKings Sportsbook. You can follow me on Twitter (@KennyDucey) for any late adds.

Here’s what jumps out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic:

Sixers -3

Sitting at 4-0, I expect the public to be heavy on the Magic here, giving us a great opportunity to get in on a profitable trend and fade them. The Sixers are the flat-out better team here, no disrespect to the Magic, and home court advantage has hardly been a thing so far this season. Road teams are actually 30-28 straight up in the early going, and this smells like a line that would be close to a pick ‘em or even a few points the other way if it were on neutral ground. Philly should get Joel Embiid back, who is listed as probable for this one, and Orlando ranks as the third-worst defense in basketball against centers, while the Sixers rank as one of the best, meaning Nicola Vucevic will be in a difficult spot on Thursday. All signs point to the Sixers here for me.


Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings:

Rockets -5.5

If you haven’t heard, the Rockets should finally be at full strength for this one; they are expected to welcome back John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins to the lineup, and should come out guns blazing in this one looking for their first win under Stephen Silas. It might take Houston a while to click, but there’s already a connection between Wall and Cousins, who played together at Kentucky, and Harden is a strong playmaker. They should be able to make this work against the Kings, and I’m encouraged by the performances of David Nwaba and Christian Wood in the early going. Houston has the pieces to perform at a high level this year.


Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz:

Jazz -4

Donovan Mitchell over 26.5 points (-110)

It didn’t appear Donovan Mitchell was aware the season had started, looking real pedestrian through two and three-quarters’ games, then Mitchell sunk the Thunder with a game-winner, capping off a 12-point fourth quarter on Monday. It was a few days ago, but I expect Mitchell to carry forward that momentum. I mean, it would be almost impossible to shoot any worse — he’s made just eight of 29 three-point attempts in the early going. He should start to move near his averages in this one, and his player prop is a nice buy-low spot on the All-Star. Phoenix has defended guards well in the early going, so don’t go nuts on this prop, but something tells me that number is a bit misleading given some of the Suns’ opponents (Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox) aren’t prolific scorers, and Luka Doncic still managed drop 32 on them despite being hobbled on Christmas Day.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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