Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks (-1)
Christmas in the U.S.A tips off with this matchup at the Garden. The Knicks host the slumping 76ers in what should be an entrée for the games to come.
Whilst the Knicks will have the backing of the home crowd, Embiid and Simmons will likely use that as motivation to turn things around.
The better side is Philadelphia and they prove it here. The 76ers steal the first present on offer.
Best Bet: Philadelphia SU
Value play: Philadelphia 1-10
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors (-7)
Quite easily the game of the day as the Final Series rematch takes place in San Francisco.
Kevin Durant has been leading the Warriors in the absence of Steph Curry and done a fine job as well. Curry won’t be back in time for this game but Isaiah Thomas might make a return for the Cavs.
LeBron has been a beast in the east but hasn’t had to face anything of the Kevin Durant standard recently.
The Warriors have looked rather disjointed. The loss of Curry may not have mattered much against their recent opposition, but it will mean a whole lot against the Cavs.
LeBron and the mediocrity that surrounds him should be able to outscore the Warriors in a points-fest.
Best Bet: Cleveland Cavaliers +7
Value Bet: Cleveland Cavaliers SU
Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics (-5)
Both teams were Eastern Conference Semi-Finalists last season and the bad blood between these two should still be there.
Boston has had a major facelift since the last time they played. The rivalry between the Morris brothers and Irving v Wall should be spectacular.
John Wall just seems to have a ceiling that Irving can go beyond. With arguably the most intelligent coach in the league and the home-field advantage the Celtics should rise above the Wizards in this contest.
Best Bet: Boston Celtics -5
Value Bet: Boston Celtics 11+
Houston Rockets (-4.5) @ Oklahoma City Thunder
The rivalry continues as last year’s MVP candidates Russell Westbrook and James Harden go head to head.
Harden’s Rockets are currently leading the West with a tremendous record. What we have seen though is that the Thunder are more than capable of knocking off big competition as they’ve done against the Spurs, Wolves, Warriors and Nuggets who are all in the top 8 of their conference.
Look for Westbrook and PG13 to go balls to the wall in this one and surprise the Rockets in their own arena.
Best Bet: Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5
Value bet: Oklahoma City Thunder 1-10
Minnesota Timberwolves (-4) @ Los Angeles Lakers
The Wolves are stuffed full of talent with Towns, Wiggins, Butler and Teague opening the season well. In recent games the Wolves have struggled especially on the defensive end.
The Lakers on the other hand struggled early but are finding their rhythm. Lonzo Ball seems more confident and is improving his game by the week.
Look for the Lakers to stage a scare for the Wolves on the back of Lonzo and Kuzma going hard.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Lakers +4
Value Bet: Minnesota Timberwolves 1-10