With the exception of the Playoffs, Christmas Day action (Boxing Day AEDT) is the biggest day on the NBA calendar. This year there are five games on the card, with the first starting at 4am and the last at 2:30pm (AEDT). As usual, we’ve got all the biggest conference rivalries and star players set to go at it, so we’ve put together previews and our best betting tips for each and every game. Good luck to everyone following, and Merry Christmas to all!
The first and probably the least talked about game of the Boxing Day slate has the Milwaukee Bucks taking on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. These teams come into this one having had completely different fortunes to date. The Bucks are flying and have the second best record in the NBA at 22-10, while the Knicks have the third worst record in the NBA at just 9-25. Interestingly, these Eastern Conference rivals have already played twice this season, with each team victorious on one occasion.
We’re still not quite sure how the Knicks have earned themselves a gig on the biggest regular season day of the season. They’ve been a poor club for some time now and things are only getting worse. As it stands, they’re ranked 27th for points allowed this season and are coming up against a Bucks unit that is ranked first for points scored. The Bucks simply have too much firepower for the Knicks here.
The second game of the slate is an interesting one between the Thunder and the Rockets in Houston. We’ve got the past two league MVP’s going head-to-head in Russell Westbrook and most recently James Harden, but we also have one of the favourites for this year’s award in Paul George, who has been magnificent so far this season. The Thunder come into this clash with an impressive 21-11 record, which has them in third position in the Western Conference standings, while the Rockets are at 17-15, which hast them in eighth spot in the West.
This is probably the hardest game to get a read on, mostly due to the inconsistency of the Rockets this season. They’ve also had a bit of roster movement this week with Austin Rivers joining through free agency after being waived by the Suns. Add in the hamstring injury to Chris Paul and there’s just too much not to like heading into this game. We’re going to be backing in the Thunder to win this in a bit of statement game to the rest of the league.
The third game of the slate and probably the first game we’ll all tune into thanks to food babies, copious amounts of alcohol and bad decisions, we have the Philadelphia 76ers taking on the Boston Celtics. This is one of the tighter affairs of the day with both teams finding themselves near the top end of the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics come in at 19-13 in fifth, while the Sixers are one spot ahead of them with a 22-12 record.
The sixers have definitely had the better start to the 2018-19 season, but the Celtics are certainly building nicely. After a really rocky start, the C’s have now won 9 of their last 12 games and are slowly but surely edging their way closer to the top of the East. We have them taking care of business at home against a Sixers team that has actually found it really tough on the road this season.
The marquee game of the round takes place fourth up in the slate with the Lakers taking on the Warriors at Oracle Arena at 12pm (AEDT). You can expect his one to be a playoff like atmosphere with King James continuing his duel with the back-to-back champs. The Lakers come into this in solid form having put together a solid 19-14 record, which has them in fourth position in the Western Conference standings. On the other hand, the Warriors have gone through their struggles with injury and motivation, but have still amassed a record of 23-11 to position themselves second in the West.
In our opinion, the spread here is one you don't want to touch. The Warriors have the ability to blow anyone out on their day, but also have the ability to take a game off and play cat and mouse with their opposition. For this reason we feel a play on LeBron James' Overs is the best value play of the day. He relishes the big stage and any opportunity to improve his resume, and we feel 27.5 points is too low here.
The final game of the day sees the Blazers take on the Jazz in Utah at 2:30pm (AEDT). This is another interesting Western Conference match-up for more reasons than one. The Blazers come into this in some really solid form having won four of their last five games, which improved their record to 19-14 and fifth position in the West. Meanwhile, the Jazz have put together a 16-18 record and 11th in the West type of season, but we feel they have more to give going forward.
These teams faced off just four days prior to Boxing Day, which the Jazz won by 30 points in an absolute blowout. However, we see the Blazers bouncing back, so we're going to avoid a spread bet once again. We believe a play on Donovan
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