What better way to say goodbye and good riddance to 2021 than getting in on Friday’s 10-game NBA slate? Here’s how to best navigate the New Year’s Eve action via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Pacers fans may remember Indy’s 32-point shellacking of Chicago back in November (Bulls fans probably remember that, too), but Friday’s situation more closely resembles their Dec. 26 meeting. Chicago won that contest by eight with Malcolm Brogodon unavailable for Indy because of his Achilles issue. Now he’s in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, putting the Pacers in a tough spot as they close out 2021.
On top of being without Brodgon, the Pacers have only covered once as home underdogs in four chances this season. The Bulls, however, are 7-2 ATS as road favorites. Now, both teams are hovering right around .500 ATS when on even rest. But, I like backing the better team because they’ve also been slightly better in this situation — Chicago is 9-8 ATS on even rest, and Indy is 9-10 ATS in the same scenario.
Both of these teams are coming off a loss heading into Friday’s meeting. Neither team has done a good job of bouncing back after a loss throughout 2021-22, but someone has to win this game. Cleveland just got pulverized by the Wizards, and they’ll play this contest with the rest disadvantage. Now, having fresher legs hasn’t done much for the Hawks when they’ve had that sort of opportunity this season (2-7), and the Cavs are .500 when they have the rest disadvantage. But, with every team having a numbers issue, back-to-backs become much tougher.
Speaking of numbers, the big one that jumps out is Cleveland’s 8-0 record as home favorites in 2021-22. That streak has to end at some point. Friday is a prime spot for that to happen with the Cavaliers missing so many important players and this game expected to be such a close game — Atlanta is getting one point.
Memphis’ point guard is averaging 18.9 field goals per game this season, which is the 13th-highest average in the league. If Morant only took 2-pointers — which he doesn’t (4.5 3-point attempts per game) — and didn’t make any trips to the free-throw line, he’d need to hit 13 shots Friday to go over this mark. That’s a tall ask.
But, Morant has been shooting a lot more these last two games with Dillon Brooks (health protocols) out. He took 25 shots vs. Phoenix to log 33 points on Monday, then he put up 27 shots vs. the Lakers to finish with 41 points on Wednesday. So, the volume has been there recently, and the Spurs have surrendered 27.82 points per game to the point guard position this season — they allow the 10th-most points per game to opposing PGs, only just behind the Lakers (28.02). Lastly, Morant is shooting 50.6% from the floor at home this season and 42.6% beyond the arc when in Memphis.
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