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Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 26th, 2022

By Hank Blaine

The Philadelphia 76ers could get back terrific young player Tyrese Maxey from his left foot fracture as soon as Friday against New Orleans. Maxey has been sidelined since Nov. 18 and surely will have a minutes restriction for his first few games back. The initial timeline for his absence was three-to-four weeks, but it has taken a bit longer for him to get back to 100 percent. Prior to his stint on the sidelines, he was an early leader in the race for Most Improved Player. His 22.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game were all career-high marks. Here are two intriguing early-week matchups in the NBA. Check back for NBA odds.

Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week (December 26th, 2022)

Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Could be a Western Conference playoff preview but the Suns will be missing their best player in guard Devin Booker. He left with a groin injury early in the first quarter of a 128-125 overtime loss Sunday night to the Denver Nuggets. He had two points in 4:20 after missing the past three games because of groin soreness.

Head coach Monty Williams says he didn’t even notice Booker was hurt.

“I didn’t even see it. They came to me; I was walking the sidelines and they said ‘We got to get Book,’ and I looked up, and he had that look on his face and I knew something had happened,” said Williams after the loss.

Booker entered the game averaging 28 points, scoring a season-best 58 points against New Orleans in his last appearance Dec. 17. Booker has made 1,045 3-pointers in his career. He needs seven more to pass Steve Nash for No. 1 on the franchise list.

Landry Shamet (right Achilles soreness) is out for Tuesday’s as well. With Shamet matching his career-high point total (31) in Sunday’s loss to the Nuggets, he appeared poised to step into the void left by the injured Booker. That won’t be the case Tuesday night and leaves Damion Lee as the player most likely to start next to Chris Paul. Cameron Payne (right foot) will also be out of action. He’s missed the last six games.

This will mark the second meeting between the two in a five-day span, as Memphis came away with a 125-100 win over the Suns on Dec. 23 in Phoenix. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Desmond Bane scored 17 points in his return from injury. Booker missed that one too.

Brandon Clarke had 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Memphis. Dillon Brooks added 16 points, Ja Morant had 12 points and 11 assists and Steven Adams grabbed 11 rebounds. The Grizzlies dominated the boards, 53-35.

The Suns have split the last six games with Memphis, as Phoenix finished 2-1 against the Grizzlies during the 2020-21 season before going 1-2 a season ago.

NBA Betting Pick: Grizzlies

READ MORE: Clippers vs. Celtics NBA Odds and Preview – December 29th

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

  • When: Wednesday, December 28, 2022, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: FTX Arena, Miami, FL
  • Radio: 710 ESPNLA (Lakers) // 560 The Joe WQAM (Heat)
  • Live Stream: NBA League Pass
  • NBA Betting Odds: TBA

It always means a little more to LeBron James when the Lakers visit Miami, although it’s not a sure thing that LeBron does play because it’s the second of a back-to-back after LA visits Orlando on Tuesday. James is also dealing with left ankle soreness but is probable Tuesday.

The Lakers remain without All-Star big man Anthony Davis and have lost four in a row entering this week. The LA defense has really suffered without AD, allowing at least 124 points to each opponent during the skid.

“Reality is, without AD, we lose a lot of length, which we don’t have already,” James said after Sunday’s defeat on Christmas against Dallas. “So we have to make up in ways that, without AD, is very difficult, very challenging. So, I think at one point we had a lineup of I think [Austin Reaves, at 6-5] was the tallest guy on the court. So, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out [that Davis is sorely missed].”

Davis has had a subsiding of pain in his right foot stress injury and is expected to re-evaluate the possibility of resuming play after another seven-to-10 days of rest. There remains hope that Davis can avoid surgery on the stress injury and could be in position to resume playing should he continue with positive progress. The Lakers and Davis will remain cautious on the injury, but there’s hope that there could be a pathway to resuming play sometime shortly after the re-evaluation in early January.

The 11-year veteran had been enjoying a career renaissance this season before the injury, averaging 27.4 points on a career-best 59.4% from the field, while also grabbing a career-high 12.1 rebounds per game with 2.6 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals.

Will the Heat have their two best players in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo? Both missed Monday’s game vs. Minnesota. Butler has a right ankle sprain and Adebayo is dealing with a non-COVID illness.

The Heat and Lakers meet for the first of two matchups this regular season. Last season, the teams split the series, 1-1, with each squad winning on their home court. Miami swept the series the season prior and has currently won three of the last four overall against LAL. The Lakers lead the all-time series 38-30 but are 14-20 in Miami.

NBA Betting Pick: Heat

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2022-23 NBA season previews and articles and don’t forget to check out the latest basketball betting odds on our online BTC sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – January 2nd, 2023