The NBA holiday schedule tips off early and ends late with five games slated for your betting needs.
Let’s break down the first three contests and hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas!
(Straight Up and Against the Spread)
Philadelphia (14-18 SU, 16-16 ATS) at New York (17-15 SU, 19-13 ATS) – ESPN, 12:00 p.m.
Bookmakers sent out the Knicks as 1 ½-point favorites on Sunday afternoon and the line was pushed up quickly to 2 ½. The total opened 212 and moved to 211.
— After starting the season 13-9 and showing a lot of promise, the 76ers have been a complete mess and I hope head coach Brett Brown doesn’t become the fall guy. He’s faced a lot worse adversity since he started coaching the team in 2013 but the squad has dropped five straight games and nine of their last 10 entering Monday’s game.
— Saturday’s 102-86 loss at Toronto was the worst setback during their current losing streak. Center Joel Embiid returned to the lineup but he only played 23 minutes and finished with 14 points and eight boards.
— After this game at Madison Square Garden, the 76ers head to the West Coast for a quick three-game road trip.
— New York has won five of its last seven but is coming off a 104-101 loss to Detroit on Friday as a 6 ½-point road underdog. The road loss to the Pistons shouldn’t come as a surprise knowing the team has struggled all season as visitors (2-10 SU, 4-8 ATS).
— Fortunately for the Knicks, they haven’t dropped back-to-back games since early December and they’ve been lights out at home (15-5 SU, 15-5 ATS). The 76ers have gone 7-9 SU and 8-8 ATS as visitors.
— New York has stood tall against its rivals, going 4-2 both SU and ATS in divisional games. Meanwhile, Philadelphia remains winless (0-5) against Atlantic foes albeit the five setbacks came against the Raptors (0-3) and Celtics (0-2).
— The 76ers haven’t played on Christmas since 2001 when they dropped an 88-82 decision at the Los Angeles Lakers. Philadelphia owns an all-time record of 16-13 on the holiday.
— New York has played on Christmas more than any other team in the NBA, owning a 22-29 record. The Knicks came up short to the Celtics 119-114 in a shootout last season from Madison Square Garden.
— Monday’s matchup will be the first meeting between the pair this season after they played to four tight encounters in the 2016-17 campaign. They split the series 2-2 and the home team came out on top in each contest but the four games were decided by a combined six points. The 76ers covered all four games and the ‘under’ went 3-1.
Cleveland (24-9 SU, 11-21-1 ATS) at Golden State (26-7 SU, 15-18 ATS) – ABC, 3:00 p.m.
— This will be the third straight season that the pair will be meeting on Christmas. Cleveland nipped earned a 109-108 last season on the holiday and in the 2015-16 season, Golden State (-6 ½) hung on for an 89-83 win from the Bay Area.
— Since these teams began their rivalry in 2016 NBA Finals, Golden State has gone 14-8 SU and 12-9-1 ATS against Cleveland which includes an 11-7 record in the postseason. The point-spread has only mattered twice during this span, which occurred when the Cavaliers earned a late push in Game 7 of the Finals last summer and the aforementioned holiday battle two years ago.
— The Cavaliers are 3-10 SU and 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games played at Oracle Arena.
— Cleveland has been listed as underdog five times this season and it’s been a great investment for bettors, going 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS.
— Also, the Cavaliers have been a more sound investment on the road (10-5 SU, 9-6 ATS) but it does enter this game on a 1-5 ATS run over their last six games.
— Golden State had its 11-game winning streak snapped on Saturday as it was embarrassed 96-81 to the Nuggets as an eight-point home favorite. The Warriors couldn’t buy a shot from the outside, going 3-of-27 (11%) from 3-point land and finishing the game at 38.6 percent from the field.
— The Warriors haven’t dropped back-to-back games this season, the only club to do so. After a loss this season, Golden State has gone 6-0 SU and 3-3 ATS. Offensively, the Warriors have averaged an incredible 132.6 PPG in those games and not surprisingly the ‘over’ has cashed in all six wins.
— Stephen Curry (ankle) has missed the last seven games for Golden State and is expected to be reevaluated in another week. The club is 8-2 this season without him in the lineup.
— The loss to Denver was just the fourth this season (12-4 SU, 7-9 ATS) at home for the Warriors.
— Not surprisingly, Cleveland (6-2) and Golden State (12-2) both own solid non-conference records. The Cavs have won six straight against the West but five of those wins came at home.
— Defending NBA Champions have gone 7-9 SU and 5-10-1 ATS since 1999.
— Of the 24 non-conference clashes played on Dec. 25 since 1991 involving Eastern and Western Conference foes, these matchups have watched the ‘under’ go 18-5-1 which includes a 1-1 mark last season.
Washington (18-15 SU, 16-17 ATS) at Boston (27-9 SU, 22-12-2 ATS) – ABC, 5:30 p.m.
— These teams met in the second round of the playoffs last season and Boston captured the series in seven games. The home team won all of the games and six of the seven were decided by double digits as the host averaged 117 PPG, which helped produce a 5-2 ‘over’ record.
Bookmakers opened Boston as a 4 ½-point home favorite with a total of 204 ½ but that number was pushed up quickly to 206.
— Washington is coming off its best offensive performance of the season on Saturday as it posted a 130-103 victory over Orland as a 12-point home favorite.
— Make a note that the Wizards are just 2-7 in their last nine games following a win.
— Scott Brooks and his troops haven’t been terrible on the road (8-9 SU, 10-7 ATS) this season but they enter this game with a 0-3 mark in their last three away and the setbacks came to the Nets twice and Clippers.
— Playing up and down to their opponent has been a common theme this season for Washington, who is 9-6 against winning clubs but 9-9 versus teams at .500 or below.
— Boston is a winning club but its hit a reality check recently. The Celtics started the season 22-4 but are just 5-5 over their last 10 games.
— They even dropped back-to-back games this past week, which was the first time this season since they began 0-2. Fortunately for the C’s, they avoided the three-game slide with an impressive 117-92 win on Saturday against a surging Chicago club.
— Including that result, Boston has gone 14-4 SU and 10-6-2 ATS at TD Garden this season. Just before beating the Bulls, they dropped home games to the Jazz (107-95) and Heat (90-89).
— Even though these teams played to a bunch ‘over’ tickets in the playoffs last season, both squads are much better defensively this season. Boston (98.2 PPG) is ranked second in scoring defense and Washington is sitting in 12th (103.6 PPG), which is an improvement from 21st last season (107.5 PPG).
— The Wizards have watched the ‘under’ go 22-11 (67%) this season and that includes a 13-4 mark in games played outside of D.C.
— Boston has gone 13-17 all-time on Christmas but this game at TD Garden will be the first home game played on the holiday for the Celtics. The Wizards haven’t played on the holiday since 2014 and they own a 15-7 mark in franchise history.