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NBA Best Bets: Basketball Picks, Predictions to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for December 26

Matt LaMarca gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Sunday’s NBA betting card.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Most of Sunday’s betting action is focused on the NFL, but don’t forget about hoops! There are eight games to choose from, including a seven-game main slate starting at 6 p.m. ET.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers for this slate on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Place your NBA bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Pick: Cavaliers -8.5 (-110)

I’m honestly not even sure how the Raptors are going to field a team on Sunday. Their roster has been absolutely decimated by COVID-19 recently. Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa are all out due to health and safety protocols, leaving the team without arguably their top seven players. They have some other absences as well, so even the backups will be down to their backups on Sunday.

The absence of VanVleet is particularly massive. The team has been awesome with VanVleet on the floor this season, outscoring opponents by an average of +5.3 points per 100 possessions. With VanVleet off the court, their Net Rating plummets to a disastrous -12.3. Ultimately, Cleaning the Glass puts VanVleet in the 99th percentile in terms of Net Rating differential.

The Cavaliers are also missing some key players – mainly Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen – but they at least have Darius Garland, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love available. That should be enough to get them past this version of the Raptors.

Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers:

The Pick: Nuggets -4.0 (-110)

The Nuggets have had plenty of injury concerns this season, but they still have arguably the best player in basketball. Nikola Jokic won the MVP in 2020-21, and he’s been even more dominant this season. He’s averaging 25.9 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 57.5% from the field.

Meanwhile, the Clippers will be without their top two offensive players on Sunday. Paul George is expected to miss at least the next 3-4 weeks, and it’s possible he’s eventually shut down for the rest of the year. They’ll also be without Reggie Jackson, who has been placed in health and safety protocols. The Clippers have been outscored by -5.8 points per 100 possessions with George and Jackson off the court this season.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Oklahoma City Thunder:

The Pick: Willy Hernangomez Over 12.5 rebounds (-110)

The Pelicans will be without Jonas Valanciunas for the second straight game, which means Willy Hernangomez should be looking at a massive performance. He didn’t take full advantage of his minutes in his last game – he shot just 1-11 from the field – but he still racked up a whopping 16 boards. He played 32.4 minutes in that contest, and Hernangomez has averaged 16.7 rebounds per 36 minutes this season. That bodes well for his rebounding prospects on Sunday.

The Thunder are also a solid matchup for Hernangomez. They rank 19th in team rebound rate and dead last in offensive efficiency, which should result in plenty of opportunities for Hernangomez on the glass.

Place your NBA bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is mlamarca) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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