Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Monday, December 20th (2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the NBA. We saw three on yesterday’s card get postponed, and that threw one of my top bets (NOR +5) off the market. I urge you to bet with caution and expect the unexpected as the association tries to navigate the recent spike in cases.

Here are my top NBA betting picks for Monday’s action.

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Written Picks YTD: 56-54-0 (+12.8u)
Model ATS Picks YTD: 61-45-1 (+10.5u)*
Model ML Picks YTD: 4-6 (+4.5u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for the model’s picks. 

1. Rockets +7.5 | -110 at BetMGM

Don’t look now, but the Houston Rockets are 10-20 and have gone 6-4 through their last 10. They sit just 2.5 games out of the play-in tournament, which is a shocker after how poorly they started the season. Their recent success (well, relative to expectations) corresponds with some success against the spread. They now sit at 16-13-1 ATS on the year and are 9-6-1 ATS on the road.

They’ll face the Chicago Bulls tonight, and while they’re usually a tough out, the Bulls are on a back-to-back and don’t have Zach LaVine and multiple depth assets, including Ayo Dosunmu and Matt Thomas. Derrick Jones Jr. also injured his hamstring last night and may not play in this one. The lack of depth forced Chicago to give their starters plenty of run last night. DeMar DeRozan logged 34 minutes, and Nikola Vucevic played 35. Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso both played 38.

So with the Bulls potentially gassed, I like the Rockets to cover. Houston has gone 3-0 ATS with a rest advantage this year, while Chicago has gone 1-2 ATS with a rest disadvantage. Houston has their own personnel issues, but Eric Gordon, Josh Christopher, and D.J. Augustin offer just enough depth at guard for the Rockets to cover here. My NBA betting model agrees — it expects Chicago to win by a much smaller margin than the current spread.

2. Eric Gordon o15.5 Points | -106 at FD Sportsbook

If the Rockets are going to cover, Eric Gordon will have to step up for them offensively. He is averaging just 14.8 points per game this season, but that number has ticked up recently with the injuries to Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. Since KPJ went down on December 5th, Gordon has averaged 18.8 points per game and has gone over this number four times in six outings.

To their credit, the Bulls have locked down opposing shooting guards this year. They have given up the fewest points per game to the position (18.4), and while that would usually be a reason to fade Gordon (who spends 65% of his minutes at the two), we’re playing this anyway. Why? Well, Josh Cristopher spends 80% of his time at the two spot, and with Houston using him alongside Gordon, we’re may see the veteran spend more time at the one.

Expect Gordon to exploit the exhaustion of Chicago’s guards on his way to a solid performance.

3. SGP: Gordon 15+ PTS + 1+ 3PT + HOU +10.5 | +150 (.75u) at FD Sportsbook

Let’s tease the above picks down just a little bit for a nice, plus-money same-game parlay at FanDuel. We’ll spit the hook back out with Gordon’s total, getting him to a number he has hit in 12 of his 25 outings (and in 8 of his 14 starts) this year. He should hit at least one three-pointer, as he has done so in all but two games this year, and we’ll take the Rockets to keep this one within double-digits.

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.