Our free NBA picks are out for Saturday, December 18th, 2021! Make sure you check our NBA picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA picks for the best five games on today’s schedule!
Orlando Magic @ Brooklyn Nets – 7.30pm ET
The Orlando Magic kick off their three game road trip in Brooklyn when they take on the Nets. The Magic are playing on back-to-back nights, and are currently on a seven game losing streak. The Nets will be looking to build on their four game winning streak, which has brought their season record to 21-8.
After yet another loss in the NBA against the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic will travel to New York in an attempt to take advantage of the Covid-19 issues within the Nets’ roster. They won’t be able to use half of their squad as Paul Millsap, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge are put on the health and safety protocol, while Kevin Durant, Patty Mills, and Joe Harris might be sidelined due to injuries or other strategic decisions. The Nets are on top of the Eastern Conference with 21 wins and 8 losses. They have most recently managed to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers which put them in a 4-game winning streak.
The situation around the Orlando Magic is quite the opposite. They are second-to-last in the East with a 5-25 record that puts them just ahead of the Pistons. The team doesn’t have high ambitions this season as they will develop their players throughout the campaign. They will gain a lot of vital experience in matches like this one. The Magic have proved that they can be really great from the 3-point line as Franz Wagner, Chuma Okeke, and Gary Harris have improved their shooting. I think that we might see a surprise here, so I will go with an upset for the Magic against a weakened Nets’ squad.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Orlando Magic (+110)
🔹 Franz Wagner: 27 PTS, 6 REB & 4 AST
🔹 Gary Harris: 20 PTS & 5 AST
🔹 Chuma Okeke: 18 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST & 6 STL pic.twitter.com/KUb8IjdoH1
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 18, 2021
The Brooklyn Nets are already missing James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge to COVID and Joe Harris to injuries. With those players gone, Kevin Durant has continued to put the team on his back as he’s a front-runner for the MVP trophy this season. But, Durant will sit out this game against the Magic with an ankle injury. Now, this Nets team might have slim pickens. Even though they’ve been getting some quality performances from youngsters Nic Claxton and Cam Thomas, we’ll see if they can handle things without KD.
Meanwhile Orlando suffered another loss yesterday to a Miami Heat team missing their two best players. This brought their season record to 5-25, as they look for any break they can catch to win that sixth game. Well, they just might get the chance on Saturday as they’ll be playing a hobbled Nets team. When the Nets gave Durant a night off a couple weeks ago the Nets lost to a bad Rockets team. It’s really tough for me to pick the Magic—they’re just so awful—but they have to win again eventually and this might be the best chance they’ll have.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Orlando Magic (+110)
Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors – 7.30pm ET
The Golden State Warriors have one final game on the road against the Toronto Raptors before returning home again. The Warriors are playing on back-to-back nights, and last time out they got the win against the Celtics, which brings their current winning streak up to three. The Raptors have had a few days rest, after their game against the Bulls was postponed, they lost their last game to the Nets, 129-131, in overtime.
After taking a close 111-107 victory over the Boston Celtics, the Golden State Warriors will once again face the Toronto Raptors this year. They have managed to get revenge not only for the loss in the NBA Finals two years ago, but also for the 53-point defeat they suffered during the 2020/21 NBA regular season. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins didn’t give the Raptors even a slight chance at winning the game at Chase Center earlier this campaign. They combined for 65 points which further suggests the amount of help Steph Curry receives from time to time. The Warriors are once again on a 3-game winning streak, looking to make it 4 after taking what’s theirs in Canada. Golden State snatched 1st place from the hands of the Suns after yet another great performance from Steph Curry against the Celtics.
The Toronto Raptors, on the other hand, are struggling in 11th place in the East with 13 wins and 15 losses. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet find it really hard to carry the team on their own. They desperately need to get some help from some of the young prospects like Scottie Barnes and Garry Trent Jr. Chris Boucher also has decent experience in the NBA as a Raptor, but he seems to be a bit out of rhythm at the moment. I think that Toronto will play better this time and won’t allow the new guys from the Warriors to make fun of them once again. However, I am not sure whether the Raptors will be able to cover their spread, so I will go with the option for “over points” in this one. Both teams are playing aggressively and have decent 3-point shooters and I expect nothing else than a high-scoring match.
Last night, the Warriors pulled off a clutch win on the road against a full-strength Celtics team that was looking like they were ready to start going on a roll. The Warriors continue to take the lead by storm; and Klay Thompson’s return appears to be right around the corner. The Warriors will go for two wins in two nights as they face their opponents from the 2019 NBA Finals: the Toronto Raptors.
It seems like every time the Raptors are about to take off and go on a run, they lose a tight game. After winning consecutive games to start the month, the team lost to a bad Oklahoma City Thunder team; they then won two more games, before losing to the Nets in overtime on Tuesday. Now they follow their loss to the top team in the Eastern Conference, with the team with the best record in basketball.
Even though the Warriors will be playing in back-to-back matchups, this Raptors team hasn’t been consistent enough lately for me to feel comfortable picking them. The Raptors starting five has been impressive, with the guard play of Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet leading the way. Still, they’ll have their hands full with the likes of Steph Curry and candidate for Most Improved Player in Jordan Poole.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors (+310)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 8pm ET
The Los Angeles Clippers end their short two game road trip when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night. The Clippers had their four game winning streak snapped last time out, courtesy of the Jazz, 103-124. The Thunder are looking to turn around their current three game losing streak, with losses to the Lakers, Mavericks and Pelicans.
The Los Angeles Clippers will surely enjoy their next road trip as they will visit Oklahoma on Saturday. The Clippers have suffered a devastating loss against the Utah Jazz in their last game. They were defeated 103-124 which put an end to their 4-game winning streak. This also meant that they will once again be tied with the Lakers holding a 16-13 record. The team is still without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George who are definitely the two most influential players on the court for them. However, they have somehow managed to defeat most of the NBA even without them. Luke Kennard, Terrance Mann, and Reggie Jackson have been performing miracles this past month, while Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Morris were also there when the Clippers needed them.
The OKC Thunder is once again in shambles this season. They are last in the West winning just 8 out of 27 games so far. They lost their last three matches to the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and New Orleans Pelicans. The team is still quite young and has a lot to learn throughout the years to come. The Canadian duo, Luguentz Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is fantastic, but they don’t get the much-needed help that will open them more space in attack. However, I think that the victory here should go in favor of the Clippers as they are both the more balanced team and the one with a greater depth in their squad. I will also suggest picking their spread for this game.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -4 (-110)
Coach Kawhi. pic.twitter.com/iHoigEIryV
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) December 18, 2021
The Los Angeles Clippers will continue to play without all-star Paul George and veterans Nic Batum and Serge Ibaka. Still, they’ve continued to show some fight, as they’ve constantly had guys like Reggie Jackson, Terrence Mann and Marcus Morris step in and lead them to a 16-13 record. They’ll hope to keep it going against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that’s 8-19 and coming off a devastating loss to the New Orleans Pelicans where they lost on a last second half-court shot.
Despite some ugly losses, Oklahoma City Thunder still are showing promise for the future. Shai Gilgeous Alexander could be an all-star if he was a better team and players like Lu Dort and Josh Giddey have shown great promise. Dort is questionable against the Clippers, but I’m not sure it matters. Even without their all-stars, this Clippers team keeps showing they can compete. I expect that to happen in OKC on Saturday, but I also like the Thunder to keep this one close, I’ll pick them to come close in this one.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder +4 (-110)
Washington Wizards @ Utah Jazz – 9pm ET
The six game road trip for the Washington Wizards continues on, and on Saturday night they travel to Utah and take on the Jazz. The Wizards are currently on a four game losing streak, and this drops their season record to 15-15. The Jazz are playing on back-to-back nights, and last time out they lost in a nail biter to the Spurs, 126-128.
The Washington Wizards and the Utah Jazz will face each other on Saturday night in the battle of the Conferences. The Wizards have lost their last four games as this negative streak began exactly against their upcoming opponent. The Jazz defeated them 98-123 in Capital One Arena which resulted in their 7th straight win. Right when everybody was thinking that Utah will contest the Suns’ current record of 18 consecutive victories, they were outsmarted by the San Antonio Spurs in a really exciting and electrifying last quarter. Even though the Jazz were leading in the dying moments of the game, the Spurs took the win, 126-128.
The Wizards might have lost a couple of consecutive matches, but they are still in the top 8 of the East. Their perfectly balanced 15-15 record suggests that they will fight for the Playoffs this year. With players like Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma, a miss on potential Playoffs will be considered as a huge disappointment. Keeping in mind the fierce competition in the East this year, the teams might need to keep up really close to the 50% win-ratio. Although I like the Wizards, I don’t see how they will stop each one of the Jazz including Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert, and Jordan Clarkson. For me, that’s a no-brainer and the Jazz should easily grab the victory. I will also pick their spread for higher value.
Earlier in the season this would’ve been a marquee game, but whereas the Jazz have continued to become one of the top teams in the NBA, the Washington Wizards have taken a terrible fall. Despite bolstering their team with quality players in the offseason, the Wizards have continued to struggle after a fantastic start. They’ve dropped four straight games, including a 98-119 loss to a Phoenix Suns team that was without Devin Booker. Things only get worse for the Wizards as they face off against one of the NBA’s best, the Utah Jazz; a team they were destroyed by just last Saturday.
Recently, Utah has continued to rise in the rankings, as they’ve looked like the NBA’s most complete team night in and night out. They’re dangerous on offense, defense and their depth that includes reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson. Unfortunately, they were handed a surprise loss to the San Antonio Spurs last night after they let San Antonio get out to a big third quarter. But, I expect them to bounce back, and with the way they handled the Wizards last week, this should be no problem barring some sort of out-of-the-ordinary performance. Go with the Jazz to continue to inflict pain upon this Wizards team.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -11.5 (-110)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Milwaukee Bucks – 9pm ET
The Cleveland Cavaliers have their first game on the road for this trip, when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. The Cavaliers have won five games in a row, which brings their season record to 18-12. The Bucks are yet another team that is playing on back-to-back nights, and last time out they lost in overtime to the Pelicans, 112-116.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks will close out the night in the Eastern Conference on Saturday. This will be their second meeting this year as the first one had an expected winner in the face of the Bucks. The reigning champions defeated their opponents 112-104. However, after that loss, the Cavs took matters into their hands and are coming into this game on a 5-0 run. They defeated some of the best teams in the NBA in order to acquire this record in the past games. Some of their victims included the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Miami Heat.
The Bucks and the Cavs are neck and neck in the current standings in the East. Milwaukee has a 19-12 record, while the Cavaliers are just one victory away from them in 4th place. Even though they are without their prospect, Collin Sexton, the Cavs found their way past some of the toughest opponents out there. It’s really exciting to watch the development of this team, following the LeBron James’ era. This will be an even harder encounter for the Bucks as Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the health and safety protocol alongside Bobby Portis, while Brook Lopez is still recovering from his back injury. Even though Jrue Holiday was on fire in their last meeting in the NBA against the New Orleans Pelicans, the team lost in overtime. I think the Cavs are far superior than the Pelicans and they know how to make the most out of the current situation. I am willing to trust Cleveland in winning this game.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (-102)
Grayson is hot from the arc.
25 PTS | 3 REB | 7-12 3PM pic.twitter.com/0nQFqIfAPK
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 18, 2021
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the NBA’s biggest surprises and have been a thrill to watch along the way. They’ve won five straight games, and will look to make it six against the last team that provided them a loss: the Milwaukee Bucks. This might be a great chance to give the Bucks some payback, as they’ll be without Giannis Antetokounmpo (COVID).
Still, you can’t count Milwaukee out, as they’ve shown resilience with Giannis out, and have already fought through a lot of injuries this year. They may be coming off a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans last night, but they had a double-digit win against the Pacers just a few games before. Still, they’ll have a tough time against this Cavaliers team that have all stepped up since Collin Sexton’s injury and since veteran Kevin Love and newly acquired Lauri Markkanen returned from injury. Even on the road, I’ll pick the Cavaliers to keep things going to six, as they’re forming one of the most complete teams in the Eastern Conference.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (-102)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.