MetroBet takes a look at the Christmas Day NBA slate and offers up on the best games to bet.
Milwaukee Bucks (-10) at New York Knicks
Moneyline: Bucks -470, Knicks +400
Betting Total: 228 points
Time (Eastern), TV: Noon, ESPN
The Knicks prevailed over the Bucks in an overtime thriller when they clubs last met on Dec. 1, but a repeat performance would be a Christmas miracle.
Milwaukee was going through a slide at that time, but with the exception of a listless defeat to Miami last time out (at the tail-end of a three-games-in-four-nights situation), Giannis Antetokounmpo and company seem to have righted the ship. “The Greek Freak” has turned in some stellar performances of late, including a 30-point effort in victory over the Boston Celtics two games ago.
Meanwhile, New York is 1-9 in their last 10 games (2-8 against the spread), with an average margin of defeat of 12.9 points. They’ve been crushed the by the cream of the Eastern Conference, namely the Celtics, Pacers and Sixers, during this extended run of poor play.
Prediction: Bucks win, 124-109
The play: Bucks -10
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics (-3.5)
Moneyline: 76ers +135, Celtics -170
Betting Total: 222.5 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 5:30 p.m., ABC
Philly is in better overall form than Boston heading into this holiday showdown, as they’ve won three of their last four while the Celtics have lost three of their last four. However, Boston will be the pick as the betting favorite.
The home and road splits for the Sixers are stark. Philly is 16-3 at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018 but 6-9 everywhere else. That record has improved since Jimmy Butler came to town (3-2), but only slightly. The Sixers score 3.5 points per game fewer on the road compared to their overall figure, and allow over four additional points per contest.
Boston’s recent struggles can be chalked up partially to the absence of Marcus Morris, who missed tilts against the Suns and the Bucks. That was on top of the absence of Al Horford, who missed a total of seven consecutive games. Both players returned on Sunday against the Hornets (a 119-103 victory) and should good to go for the Celtics on Christmas Day.
Kyrie Irving, who has brought up his season scoring average by scoring 23.8 points per game over his last five contests, should deliver a memorable performance as Boston breezes by the Sixers.
The Over may not be a bad bet either; the 76ers have exceeded the total in 15 of their last 22 road games, while the Celtics’ Over/Under record in their last 65 home games against a team with a losing road record is 44-20-1.
Prediction: Celtics win, 118-111
The play: Celtics -3.5