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NBA Friday Tips & Previews, 23rd December

With two games on NBA Friday, BetDeluxe combs through all the trends and stats to give you everything you need to know.

The Pelicans and the Jazz take on the Spurs and the Wizards

Pelicans vs. Spurs

23rd December 12:00PM

A lot can happen in one week in the NBA. It was only this time last week that the world was in raptures over New Orleans. Since then, the Pelicans have dropped their past four games, albeit against quality opponents.

They still sit in the third position in a tight Western Conference and will be keen to get back on track with a live kill here.

Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee was a high-scoring affair, with too much latitude given to the Bucks’ stars. Look for a more accountable effort from New Orleans here. With the ball, they can cause damage to anyone. Zion Williamson is coming into his own after injury disrupted his career infancy. He now plays with freedom and physical dominance and can bully lesser teams off the court. He has a deep supporting cast that can step up to play any role, and while C.J. McCollum has the reputation, the lesser lights, such as Jonas Valančiūnas, can bob up from night to night to be the best scorer on the team.

Valančiūnas had his best performance of the season against the Bucks and could be set to use that as a springboard.

San Antonio has been respectable in its recent stretch of games but still sits in the 14th position on the standings. Its young, rebuilding team has some promise, with Devin Vassell and Tre Jones giving a glimpse into the future. But they might find themselves as little more than debris, with New Orleans keen to return to the winners’ list.

Suggested Bet: New Orleans – 7.5 at $1.85

Jazz vs. Wizards

23rd December 1:00PM

After a stunning start to its season, Utah finds itself on the periphery of the playoffs picture and will be eyeing this game as a must-win. The Jazz have been one of the most even teams of the year and have good chemistry in their team, but some flaws have been exposed in their defense along the way.

Malik Beasley and Lauri Markkanen aren’t the most likely team leaders, but they have been exceptional this season, with some calling for Markkanen to be considered for All-Star status. He scored 38 points in the recent win over Detroit and will carry some hot form going into this game.

After toppling Phoenix on their home court, the Wizards continue their road trip to the west with some confidence. That win was Washington at its best, but it has been a frustrating and all too familiar underwhelming season for them. There is some doubt about Kyle Kuzma’s future with the team, but he has been playing well, dropping 29 points in the win over the Suns, while Bradley Beale played the perfect supporting role. But they will struggle against a disciplined Jazz team and will likely leave disappointed.

Suggested Bet: Utah -6.5 at $1.91

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