Christmas Day basketball is gaining almost as much notoriety as Thanksgiving Day football. For the 11th straight season we’ve got a five-game slate and it’ll feature some of the best teams in the league and the game’s biggest stars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo gets the national stage on Christmas for the first time. And one team’s unicorn is flourishing while the other is on the mend. This won’t be a battle between Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis, and it could be one-sided because of it.
While the latter is still rehabbing from ACL surgery last season, Antetokounmpo is the frontrunner for league MVP and has +250 odds on 888Sport. Hopefully, folks who are into NBA MVP betting jumped on him early.
The Bucks are cruising and have exceeded expectations behind new head coach Mike Budenholzer, while the Knicks head toward a sixth straight losing season.
Milwaukee lost an OT thriller in Madison Square Garden earlier this month so you can be sure the revenge factor will be flowing, as well as Giannis getting to make his first career Christmas Day appearance. Bet on the Bucks to roll with 888Sport. They’re 9.5-point favorites but should cover in a matchup that favors them greatly.
At the start of the year if you had guessed which team would be fighting for a playoff seed and which was sitting near the top of the West, you would have been wrong. It’s the Thunder who look like world-beaters behind the continued stellar play of Russell Westbrook, an MVP campaign from Paul George and a career year from Steven Adams.
The Rockets have righted the ship somewhat but still haven’t found much consistency. James Harden is back to his old MVP self but a strained hamstring for Chris Paul puts another wrench in the plans. It helps that the game is in Houston but the Thunder have been one of the league’s best on the road.
We expect that to continue on Christmas and will gladly take the 1.5 points with Betfair.
Opening Night was ugly between these two teams, with Boston earning a 105-87 victory. The Sixers have been the better team since that night, and they’ve added Jimmy Butler. Toronto looks like the class of the East, but these two teams are 2A and 2B. They’ll play twice more after Christmas Day, so expect plenty of chess moves as the year goes on.
For now, Boston is turning the corner after an ugly November while the Sixers are a little banged up and struggling. For that reason,we’ll give the edge to a Celtics team that recently won eight in a row. Bet on the Celtics -4 at Karamba.
The highlight of Christmas Day will come when LeBron James and his Lakers arrive in Golden State to face a healthy Warriors team. The ugly November stretch is very much in the rear-view mirror and Steph and Co. are rolling again.
But they might face some resistance from LeBron James. Though Los Angeles has lost five of seven away from Staples Center, James is playing perhaps his best basketball in Year 16. He’s also starting to mesh with his young core in a way that wasn’t evident earlier in the year..com a
Bet on the Warriors will beat LeBron on Christmas for a second straight year, but we expect the Lakers to keep this one close. We’ll take the +9 on 888Sport and enjoy the game’s best going head-to-head.
Two contrasting styles will end Christmas Day. The Blazers have gotten to where they are in the middle of the West playoff race thanks to an offense that’s been in the top-10 all year.
The Jazz, of course, are getting it done on the defensive end. Rudy Gobert is one of the favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year – he’s at +300 on 888Sport to repeat – and his teammates have followed suit. That being said, we like the final game of the night to come down to the wire, so we’ll take Portland +6 with Karamba.
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