Our free NBA picks are out for Thursday, December 30th, 2021! Make sure you check our NBA picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA picks for the four games on today’s schedule!
Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets – 7pm ET
The Philadelphia 76ers wrap up their three game road trip in Brooklyn on Thursday night when they take on the Nets. The road trip has been a success so far for the 76ers, winning all two of their games, against the Wizards and Raptors, which brings their season record to 18-16. The Nets have won their last two games in a row, against the Lakers and Clippers, and their season record currently sits at 23-9.
The Philadelphia 76ers will have a great opportunity to defeat the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets on Thursday in the NBA. Philly is on a 2-game winning streak, beating the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors on the road. Joel Embiid has once again found his rhythm as he got four 30+ point performances in his last five games. He has been the driving force for the 76ers this season as the team probably won’t even use Ben Simmons. The team is getting closer and closer to the top spots in the East. They improved to 18-16 and are slightly slipping away from their chasers in the face of the Hornets, the Wizards, and the Celtics.
The Brooklyn Nets have plenty of their players put on the health and safety protocol due to testing positive for COVID-19. Even without Kevin Durant, the team managed to secure a couple of victories lately. They went to California and defeated both the Clippers and the Lakers in high fashion. With their 23-9 record, the Nets are looking to assert dominance in the East before February-March when they can reevaluate the situation and think more strategically ahead of time. They are closely chased by the Chicago Bulls which would mean that they will need such wins more than ever. However, due to the absence of Kevin Durant and Tobias Harris, I think that the 76ers will come on top in the end. They surely know how to defend against James Harden as they will force him to shoot really difficult shots throughout the match. My pick here goes in favor of Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (+136)
Despite the constant attention (and drama) that’s surrounded the Brooklyn Nets this season, they’ve continued to win games, sitting at 23-9 atop the Eastern Conference. The team was thrilled to see James Harden look like his old self over the past week, while Kevin Durant was in COVID protocols. Now, with Durant returning to the squad, the team will be eager to see if he can keep it up. During Durant’s absence, some of the team’s both younger and veteran talent got a chance to shine. Young big man Nic Claxton continues to improve in the front court and Patty Mills has been electric on offense lately, providing the Nets with a spark that will fill in nicely if injuries occur or when Kyrie Irving returns and can’t play home games. The Nets will look to further prove their dominance as they host the rival Philadelphia 76ers at home.
say cheese!😄 pic.twitter.com/DC3neHDMVe
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 30, 2021
The 76ers will be looking for redemption against the Nets. The last time they played on 12/16 the Nets were able to win 114-105 in Brooklyn and earlier in the season the Nets also stole one from the Sixers in Philly. Since that loss to Brooklyn on the 16th, the team has looked like they’ve turned a corner: they’ve gone 3-1 with their only loss being by two to Atlanta. This has been thanks to Joel Embiid’s lights out play, which he’ll look to continue against a sometimes shaky Nets front court. Even with the Nets having Durant and Harden back on the court together, I think it might take a game or so for them to get back into a comfortable space. This 76ers team is finally starting to mesh and I don’t think they’ll want to continue to suffer against this Brooklyn squad. I’ll look for the Sixers to pull off a close win.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (+136)
This Philadelphia 76ers team is one that’s hard to figure out. They started the year reasonably well, got better, and then hit a wall with Covid issues and injuries. Following getting everyone back healthy, they still struggled at first, but seem to have finally found a bit of momentum and rhythm, which could mean big things for this squad moving forward. The one issue I have with this Philly team is the necessity to rely way too heavily on Joel Embiid, due to the rest of the roster seeming to struggle quite often. While they’re still winning games right now, the supporting cast is going to have to step up if they plan on making a real run.
Brooklyn comes in as the one seed in the East, and unless they slow down I don’t see a way Milwaukee, Chicago or Miami can catch them. With Kevin Durant leading the way, and having James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge as well, this is arguably the most talented roster in the East, and they’ve played like it. Add on the fact that they just activated Kyrie Irving to play on the road for the rest of the year, and I’m liking the Nets chances to make a deep run into May, and quite possibly make a run at a title. Give me Brooklyn here, as I think the balance they show is better than a primarily Embiid-led Sixers squad.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets -3.5 (-112)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards – 7pm ET
The Cleveland Cavaliers wrap up their two game road trip against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, as the Wizards commence a four game homestand. The Cavaliers are currently sitting in third place in their Central Division, with a record of 20-14. The Wizards are currently on a two game losing streak, with losses to the 76ers and Heat.
The Cleveland Cavaliers learned yet another bad news in the most recent hours. Ricky Rubio will be out for the season as he suffered a devastating injury, tearing the ACL in his left knee. Now, after Collin Sexton, the Cavs lose yet another important figure for achieving their goals this season. They, however, found a way to be in the top half of the standings even without their most prospective player on the roster. They won six games in a row ahead of Christmas, which helped them improve their record to 20-14. The Cavs lost their last fixture in the NBA to the New Orleans Pelicans in a tight 104-108 contest. They suffered a comeback, being 23 points up in the first quarter.
The Washington Wizards are also struggling at the moment. They might have a great team consisting of Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Davis Bertans, but at the same time, they find it difficult to impress their fans. The team is still in the top 10 of the East, currently placed 8th with an even 17-17 record. They have lost their last two games in the League, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. Caldwell-Pope and Beal might be cleared out of the protocols as people are expecting to see them in the match. With the absence of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Cedi Osman, I don’t see how the Cavs can withstand the Wizards. Hence, I will directly go with the hosts covering the spread in this fixture without having second thoughts.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Washington Wizards -2.5 (-112)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of basketball’s biggest surprises. But, they haven’t exactly had the easiest 48 hours. On Tuesday night they lost to the 13-22 New Orleans Pelicans and then received news that veteran guard Ricky Rubio will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL. The Cavs already lost young guard Collin Sexton for the year and losing a veteran like Rubio, who’s helped mature this young team, could come even more costly. The Cavs will also likely be without Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen who are in COVID protocols. They’ll depend heavily on their front court which consists of rookie Evan Mobley, veteran Kevin Love, and offseason acquisition Lauri Markkanen.
Meanwhile, the Wizards have some question marks surrounding their Thursday roster. Star guard Bradley Beal has been in COVID protocol and is questionable to return and the team will definitely be without big men Montrezl Harrell and Thomas Bryant. If they have Beal, and Spencer Dinwiddie they should be able to overpower a depleted Cavaliers backcourt. It’s a little hard to know who will be available, but imagining Beal is I’ll take the Wizards in this matchup.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Washington Wizards (-142)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have overcome adversity all year long, and now they’re going to get to show whether they can continue doing just that. They lost Colin Sexton for the season earlier this year, and now they just learned that Ricky Rubio is done for the year, as well. On top of that, Darius Garland has entered the league’s Health and Safety protocols and will be out for this one. While they’ve been a surprisingly good team given the challenges faced, this matchup is an uphill battle.
Washington comes in struggling as of late, as they started the year extremely hot but have since seemingly crashed and burned. The problem is that the talent is still there, they just haven’t been playing well of late. With Bradley Beal, Montrezl Harrell, and Kyle Kuzma still on the roster, among others, I like this matchup for the Wizards, but in the end I’m going to once again challenge Cleveland to come out and overcome another mountain with the issues they’re facing. Give me the Cavs in a close one.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (+120)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic – 7pm ET
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic will face off against each other in back-to-back games and this Thursday night game is the second of the two clashes. The Bucks are coming into this game on a four game winning streak, which is good enough for second in their Central Division. The struggles continue on for the Magic, who are currently on a three game losing streak, with losses to the Pelicans, Heat and Bucks.
The Milwaukee Bucks stay in Orlando for a couple more days in order to play their fourth game for the season against the Magic. In their previous meetings, the reigning champions have been relentless, not giving even the slightest chance to their opponents. The Bucks have everything they might need to defend their title. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most difficult players to be guarded in the NBA, while Khris Middleton can pull up from any distance. Jrue Holiday is a fantastic defender even from his years back as a Pelican. Bobby Portis gets more and more minutes and slowly becomes unchangeable for Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks have fought back well, being 3rd with 22 wins and 13 losses. They are also on a 4-game winning streak in a week span around Christmas.
The Orlando Magic have lost all of their games against the Bucks this season. They were dominated in their last match at home, losing 110-127. Franz Wagner exploded for 38 points and 7 rebounds. Even with such a performance, the Magic weren’t given even the slightest chance to win the game. They went on a 19-0 run in the third quarter, just to reduce the deficit to 10 points. In their previous encounters, the Magic were smashed, 92-123, while in their opening match for the season, the Bucks took a convincing 117-108 win. In this game, Giannis Antetokounmpo was a monster in the paint, gathering a total of 20 rebounds. Bobby Portis also came up huge with his rebounding stats, piling up 15 rebounds for the game. I think that the discrepancy is huge here and the Bucks shouldn’t have any trouble closing out the match. In my opinion, the Bucks should be able to cover their spread in this one.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -12.5 (-110)
In a rematch of Tuesday night’s showdown, the Milwaukee Bucks face the Orlando Magic, two days after beating them 127-110. It was a pretty predictable result: the Bucks are one of basketball’s best teams, especially now that they’re healthy. Meanwhile, the Magic are one of the worst, with a 7-28 record. A silver lining for the Magic is that rookie Franz Wagner is looking like a star; he scored 38 points on Tuesday, which shot him up the Rookie of the Year rankings. He’ll look for a repeat performance on Thursday, against the always lethal Milwaukee Bucks.
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 29, 2021
Milwaukee has won four straight games, and are thrilled to have Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the lineup after he was out in COVID protocol. After the Bucks started this season with both injuries and COVID issues; now they’re just a Brook Lopez away from being a complete team again. It has shown in their recent performance and their rise in the Eastern Conference standings. Imagining no one takes the night off, I can’t see the Bucks falling to this bad Magic team, even on the road.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -12.5 (-110)
Much like the previous three meetings between these two teams, this one isn’t going to end well for Orlando, so I’ll keep this one short. For starters, Orlando just isn’t very good. The roster isn’t all that talented, and while they play hard, they don’t have the pieces to compete against even slightly above average teams.
Which brings us to problem number two. The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champions, they’ve returned virtually the whole roster, and virtually everyone is healthy again, following a brief bout with injuries and the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols. Giannis has another big night over a team that is way too overmatched, even with Orlando being at home, and the Bucks cruise in what ends up being their second win over the Magic in three days.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks -12.5 (-110)
Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets – 9.30pm ET
The final game on Thursday night’s slate will see the Golden State Warriors take on the Denver Nuggets. The Warriors and Nuggets play their second game against each other in this back-to-back. In the first game, it was the Nuggets who, surprisingly, managed to get the win against the Warriors, 89-86. Can the Warriors get revenge, or will the Nuggets cause another shock upset?
The Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets will have yet another face-off on Thursday night in the NBA. This is the last match in the NBA programme for tomorrow as it will draw a huge attention among the neutral fans. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors on Tuesday, 89-86. Nikola Jokic seems to be in a perfect condition as he racks up more double-doubles almost each single game. He has been struggling with keeping the possession which resulted in a lot of turnovers so far, but this can be worked on and improved. The Serbian is a worthy MVP contender for the Regular Season with his unreal stats that he is pulling off almost each single game. Although Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are playing at their own level, Jokic still has a chance at snatching this award.
The Warriors lost mostly due to the absence of Jordan Poole and Draymond Green. They might still be sidelined for the game on Thursday, while the Nuggets continue to be without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter. Steph Curry is now back out of pressure as he finally achieved another milestone in his career. He sank his 3,000th three-pointer as an NBA player which made him the first one in the history to do so. The team leads in the West with 27 wins and 7 losses, but most of these defeats were due to their inability to show at 100%. The Nuggets, on the other hand, are slowly improving as they are now 5th in the table with a 17-16 record. In my opinion, it’s revenge time and the Warriors will be eager to seize the opportunity. Hence, I will go once again with Steph Curry as I expect him to find a way past Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Denis’ NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors (-168)
Like the Bucks and Magic matchup, the Warriors and Nuggets play their second straight game against each other. After Warriors captured a massive win on Christmas Day against the Suns, they came out a bit cold on offense against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday losing 96-99. The Warriors were without breakout talent Jordan Poole and veteran Draymond Green. Poole should be back on Thursday, but Green will continue to miss time, and his presence will be missed in disrupting the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic.
After just squeezing by a depleted Clippers team on Sunday, the Nuggets were thrilled to take down the NBA’s best team the Golden State Warriors. Jokic dominated with 22 points and 18 rebounds and the Nuggets got some nice help from Will Barton who dropped 21 points as well. They’ll look for a repeat result on Thursday in the Mile High City. Even though the Warriors will likely still struggle against Jokic without Green, having Jordan Poole back will be huge—also, the Warriors aren’t the kind of team to lose consecutive games. I’ll look for them to redeem their loss on Tuesday with a win on the road.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)
This is another matchup of two teams playing back to back games against each other. In the first game of the set, Golden State came up just short, despite holding Denver to just 29 points in the second half, as they gave up 60 in the first half. What that showed is that Denver is going to have to make adjustments for this one, as the second half in Tuesday night’s game was atrocious if you’re a Nuggets fan. They ended up getting lucky, as Steph Curry struggled from the floor for virtually the entire game, and without Jordan Poole to help from the perimeter, despite having Andrew Wiggins back, that caused the Warriors offense to slow down in an extreme way.
I don’t expect a bad night from Curry again in this one, as I like for him to come out and have a big night, possibly throwing in one of his signature 40-point outings, and I also like what I’ve seen from this Warriors defense for much of the year. A huge night from Curry, and a balanced defensive effort in both halves, leads Golden State to get the win on the road in Denver against a Nuggets squad trying to show that they’ve finally found a rhythm as they try to improve on last year’s playoff run. Take the Warriors by more than the four they’re favored by.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.