NBA Picks for December 1: Best Bets Today

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Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks grabs a first half rebound. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP.

Today’s NBA card has some great matchups. Here are my two favorite bets. Top sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s NBA action. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in Charlotte vs. Milwaukee and Houston vs. Oklahoma City. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for both games.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Wednesday, December 1, 2021- 8:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum 

Charlotte’s Offense 

Offensively, Charlotte primarily wants to attack the basket. The Hornets attempt the second-most field goals within five feet of the basket. Plenty of Hornet players contribute to this statistical fact. Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball, and Terry Rozier all do to large extents because they average over eight drives per game.

Milwaukee’s Rim Protection 

Charlotte’s offensive preference is important to note because it makes it match up poorly with a Buck defense that specializes in protecting the rim. Under Coach Budenholzer, Milwaukee is known for its drop coverage principles. When defending ball screens, Buck off-ball defenders will prioritize protecting the basket.

To the same end, Milwaukee’s defense emphasizes collapsing inside and sending help in order to deter opposing ball-handlers from scoring at the basket. Help-side defense is largely what makes perennial MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidates Giannis one of the best defenders in the game.

While center Brook Lopez is out, his backup Bobby Portis is picking up rim-protecting responsibilities. Portis was initially conceived as a ’meh’ rim-protector, but he has improved greatly in this regard since he was drafted back in 2015. Currently, his defensive rating is good, a career-best for him, and over 10 points better than what Lopez was before his injury.

Khris Middleton #22 and Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

Largely because of Portis, Milwaukee ranks eighth-best at limiting opposing efficiency within five feet of the basket, plus the Bucks are one of the better teams at deterring opponents from attempting shots that close to the basket.


Partly why the Hornets attempt so many field goals at the basket is that they try to get out in transition. But know for your sports betting that the Bucks are adept at limiting transition opportunities for the opposing offense. They allow the fifth-lowest frequency of field goal attempts in transition.

Milwaukee Offense vs. Charlotte Defense 

As recent Buck teams have done, Milwaukee attempts a lot of threes -- currently the fourth-most per game. Portis himself is an efficient three-point shooter. He is one of three on the team who is averaging over 40-percent from behind the arc. Given their volume, Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton are both most worth noting for the threat they pose from deep.

These guys will thrive against a Hornet defense that allows the seventh-highest rate of wide-open three-point attempts. Charlotte’s awful perimeter defense has most recently allowed Houston and then Chicago to amass over 130 points against it in back-to-back road losses.

A Buck team that has been on fire lately, covering four in a row and repeatedly cruising to around 120 points in blowout wins, will contribute to Charlotte’s defensive and overall misery.

NBA Pick: Bucks -8 at -108 with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Wednesday, December 1, 2021- 8:00 PM EST at Paycom Center

Houston Offense

The Rockets love to score at the rim more than any other team. They lead the NBA in field goal attempts within five feet of the basket. This stat makes sense given the fact that center Christian Wood is their leading scorer. Moreover, Eric Gordon and Kevin Porter Jr. average over eight drives per game.

While they also attempt a fair number of threes, they really need easy baskets at the rim because they are terrible at shooting threes. Their three-point percentage especially takes a hit on the road, where they’re converting 30.8-percent of their opportunities. 

Thunder Defense

Oklahoma City players put a lot of effort into their defense. They communicate during opposing transition opportunities, when defending ball screens, and in general. They try to stay in front of opposing drivers and the list continues. Their efforts allow them to overcome concerns posed over their general lack of size.

The fact to note for your NBA picks is that they allow the seventh-lowest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket. They also rank 10th-best at limiting field goal attempts from this range. OKC’s defensive strength inside will make the Rocket offense uncomfortable.

Thunder Offense vs. Rocket Defense

Like last year before injuries forced them to change direction, the Thunder love to attempt threes. This cost them in their last game, which took place in Houston. But that game should be disregarded because it is consistent with their already well-known tendency to struggle massively with their three-point efficiency on the road.

But tonight they are at home, where they shoot with an extreme increase in inefficiency. Their proclivity to attempt threes -- they attempt the seventh-most per game -- will help them against a Houston defense that allows the highest percentage of wide-open three-point attempts.

David Nwaba #2 of the Houston Rockets. Harrison Barden/Getty Images/AFP

Rocket defenders consistently fail to contest or otherwise bother opposing three-point shooters. Guys who are reputed for being better perimeter defenders, like David Nwaba, are playing fewer minutes. Thus, studs like Lu Dortz, whose shooting recently contributed to a near Thunder upset over Utah, will be comfortable throughout the game. Rest assured for your best bets that Dortz’s offense and defense will help OKC run away from Houston in this contest.

NBA Pick: Thunder -3 at -105 with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.