NBA best bets: Saturday, 2 December

OUR perfect week was foiled by a half point loss yesterday but we’re definitely happy with how we’re trending at the moment.

Here’s our best bets for today’s action:

Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat

Despite Charlotte’s struggles recently – particularly on the road – they have to like their chances against a Miami team minus-Hassan Whiteside.

The Hornets are currently riding a three-game skid and have lost their last seven straight on the road.

We don’t know the status of Kemba Walker as yet, and that announcement will have a big impact on the line one way or the other here.

The Heat (10-11) will continue to do it tough without their star centre but still have more than enough players capable of stepping up to do a job here – and one player we love in this matchup is James Johnson.

The 30-year-old forward hasn’t been as consistent as he was last season but still possesses and arsenal of tricks and plays that can see him heat up offensively (no pun intended).

The current line of 11.0 isn’t reflective of his season average or his ability to score against a Hornets team that doesn’t body up well against those in the forward slots.

He missed the number by one basket in his last start against the Knicks, despite playing just 19 minutes, but had eclipsed the total comfortably in his two games prior against the Cavs and Bulls.

Charlotte currently allow¬†107.1 points per game and we don’t see how they’ll stop Johnson should he find his rhythm early in this one. Take the number without the hook that’s available – he currently averages 11.6 points per game on the season and that number only increases in the absence of Whiteside.

Tip: James Johnson o/11.0 points @ $1.88 (Crownbet)

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder clearly haven’t worked things out and they haven’t shown any real signs of changing that either.

They’ve lost three straight games and four of their last five overall, while their defensive identity also seems to have gone out the window in recent outings.

They’ve gone 1-3 against Western Conference opponents in their last four games, and already own a 0-2 record again their opponents so far this season.

The Timberwolves still aren’t as consistent as we’d want from them under Tom Thibodeau but they do have a lot of players that can, and will, cause OKC headaches.

The play of Jimmy Butler is crucial to the road teams hopes and his play on both ends of the court will dictate whether they can steal another W in this one, but regardless the number on offer is too high.

The big question mark here is whether Jeff Teague will suit up for the T’wolves or not. He is “hopeful” of returning at Oklahoma and will remain a game-time decision.

Karl-Anthony Towns (who some of us grabbed to go o/26.0 points, rebounds and assists) went off in the last meeting between these sides, finishing with 33 points and 19 rebounds, and his presence inside will need to be contained by Steven Adams.

Minnesota will score enough to stay close and if Teague is good to run the offence alongside Butler this number is a steal. Our projections have them covering 69% of the time and we like the number on offer.

Tip: Minnesota Timberwolves +5.5 @ $1.95 (Sportsbet)

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