Christmas Day was made for NBA fans!
Praise little 8-pound-7-ounce baby Jesus! We have five super-competitive NBA games to choose from on Christmas Day!
The Christmas round-ball schedule:
Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Nicks @ 12 PM ET
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors @ 3 PM ET
Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics @ 5:30 PM ET
Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder @ 7:00 PM ET
Minnesota Timberwolves vs LA Lakers @ 10:30 PM ET
All stats, records, and odds are from the time of writing, Wednesday, Dec. 20th and will change according to the few games played between now and Christmas. With that said, be sure check Bovada for updated odds and team stats/trends as the week progresses.
Philadelphia at New York
Early lines have his game at Even Money between the 14-15 Sixers and 16-14 Knicks. The New York Knicks have walked away victors in seven of the last 10 and of those ten have taken two of the most recent three games against Philadelphia. On the flipside of that very same coin, Philadelphia covered the spread in all three of their latest showdowns with the Knicks and is riding a 60% ATS record over the last ten meetings.
This game is going to be a pleasure to watch as Kristap Porzingis and Joel Embiid are really hitting their strides. Until I have more information –Christmas Eve-ish—I’ll keep this one my books as a ‘just going to watch’ game, as it could easily swing either way.
Cleveland at Golden State
The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading into Oracle Arena as 7-point dogs (at least on the early lines). Whether or not that gets bet up or down is yet to be seen. I feel like at first glance, the early number is pretty spot on given recent play this season. However, there is a lot of bad blood stemming from Championship play between these two powerhouses and anything goes on any given day. Case in point: they have split the last 10 games 5-5 on outright wins and the Cavs hold a small 5-4-1 advantage against the spread.
This game gives serious reason to check back with Bovada as the OVER has cashed in the last three showings. The total hasn’t been released, but if it is in the low 220s, that is the direction I would be looking at the Cavs are averaging 11 ppg and the Warriors are averaging just under 117 ppg.
Washington vs Boston
The Wizards have been listed as 5-point underdogs for their trip up to TD Garden to face the Celtics. I actually kind of like the Wizards getting points in this situation, especially if a ton of public money starts coming in on the Celtics and pushes that number up to say, +7.5. Then I will jump all over Washington. The Wizards are averaging 105.23 ppg, almost two points better than the Celtics 103.8. That said, I do think the Celtics get another win on Christmas Day. They are holding opponents to 98.52 ppg … it’s almost like the lines makers just took this defensive point differential to create that 5-point line (Washington is allowing 103.03 ppg).
Look for the line to move past the easy cover via last-minute hacking for foul shooting. Under 5-points, look towards Boston, once it breaks that 7-point hump … there might be some value on the Wizards.
Houston vs Oklahoma City
Harden and the Houston Rockets are an impressive 25-4 (16-12-1 ATS) and rated #1 on many PowerRankings algorithms. The Thunder are a mediocre 15-15 and an abysmal 10-20 ATS. Let’s add to the fact that the Rockets have been absolutely dominating this series recently (8-2 win advantage) and when looking at the seeming inability for the Thunder to be able to cover, I immediately want to hop on the rockets at -4.5 favorites before the line get moved up to 5, 6 or higher.
Minnesota vs Los Angeles
At 18-13 (12-17-2 ATS) the Minnesota Timberwolves will head into the Staple Center as 4-point favorites to face the Lakers. Though, the Lakers are not good … they are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be and they have been playing some scrappy ball … coming back after being down big to hang tough in the second half. So, I have to give the Lakers a little bit of respect when on their home court against a team like the Timberwolves, who are pretty darn good, but not great. Statistically speaking, these two teams matchup quite well: Minnesota shooting 46.94%, the Lakers 45.55%. Minnesota scoring 107.65 per game, the Lakers scoring 106.61. Though Minnesota has a 6-4 head-to-head advantage, the Lakers have taken two of the last three. Lonzo Ball is not living up to the hype associated with being the 2nd overall draft pick. I’m going to lay off this one and just sit back and watch … and hope that LaVar Ball does something the world tweets about the next day.