Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Tuesday, December 21st (2021)

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the NBA has done its best to ensure that fans continue to get their daily dose of basketball. Tonight’s games don’t look especially great for bettors, but I’ve done my best to find value in the available markets.

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

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Written Picks YTD: 56-57-0 (+10.1u)
Model ATS Picks YTD: 64-47-1 (+11.2u)*
Model ML Picks YTD: 7-8 (+5.5u)*
*Follow me @is_sirois for the model’s picks. 

1. Pacers 1Q ML | -114 at FD Sportsbook

The Indiana Pacers are doomed. At 13-18 and 13th in the Eastern Conference, one wonders how much longer it’ll take their front office to blow this team up. That said, their guys have routinely come out and put on a show — at least in the first quarter. They led the Warriors after the first last Monday, and they are 4-1-1 in the first over their last six games.

Through this point in the season, the Pacers rank second in first-quarter margin (+3.0). Their opponents, the Miami Heat, rank sixth (+2.1), but they won’t have quite a few important players tonight. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler will continue to miss time, as will P.J. Tucker, who has accounted for 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game (and a +/- of +6) since Butler’s last outing.

The Heat will probably lose this game, and it’ll start with a disappointing first quarter. We can get a bit more value than the full-game moneyline (-124) by playing this line instead. We also won’t have to worry about Indiana’s eighth-worst fourth-quarter margin (-1.2) in so doing.

2. Dewayne Dedmon o9.5 Points | -122 at FD Sportsbook

The above points aside, the Indiana Pacers struggle to defend the paint. They permit the fourth-most points in the paint per game (48.3), and they have allowed the second-most such points over the last three games (56). With Adebayo, Butler, and Tucker out, Dedmon has a clear lead on this roster in paint touches (4.5).

We don’t have a ton of data to work with here, especially because the Heat won’t look like anything we’ve seen this year. That said, Dedmon recorded seven points in just 22 minutes against the Pacers earlier this month. The big man has also gone for at least 10 points in his last five games, including a 20-point performance against the Bulls.

It’s worth mentioning that the Pacers have managed to limit opposing centers to the third-fewest points per game this year (18.5). But that number is still high enough for Dedmon to cash this prop, especially because of the role he’ll likely have to play for the Heat due to their depleted roster.

With Miami’s options limited and Indiana’s weaknesses in the paint, look for Dedmon to notch his sixth-straight game with at least 10 points.

3. SGP: IND 1Q +0.5 + IND +1.5 + Dedmon o7.5 PTS | +220 (.5u) at DK Sportsbook

Let’s roll the above insights into a teased-down SGP for a full-unit profit. If the Pacers don’t outright win the first quarter, they’ll at least keep things tied, and if they don’t win tonight’s matchup, they should at least keep it very close. I don’t love the idea of betting against a fourth-quarter implosion, but we’re teasing this spread enough for me to feel comfortable about it. We’ll combine that with a teased-down number Dedmon has hit in seven of his last 10 games and call it a day.

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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.