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Our NBA expert picks his best bets for the Christmas Day NBA games

Christmas Day is loaded with five games and nearly 12 hours of NBA action!

Headlining Christmas is a showdown in Los Angeles between two of the best teams in the NBA - the Lakers and Clippers.

Here’s a look at today’s NBA picks:


Milwaukee Bucks (+1.5) @ Philadelphia 76ers, 10:00 PM:

  • Milwaukee has a 21-11 W/L record against Philadelphia since 2010-11.
  • The 76ers have a (14-16-2 ATS) record this season which is the ninth worst in basketball. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Milwaukee (27-4) heads into Christmas Day with a five-game lead of first place in the Eastern Conference, and on a three-game winning streak after blowing out the Indiana Pacers 117-89.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was a force as usual totaling a near triple-double with 18 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists.

The Greek Freak is the frontrunner to repeat as NBA MVP averaging a double-double on the season with the second most points (31.0 ppg) and the sixth most rebounds (12.9 rpg) per game.

Philadelphia (22-10) picked up a second straight win after handling the Detroit Pistons on the road 125-109. 

Former Piston Tobias Harris showed out in a big way against his ex-team scoring a game-high 35 points with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Ben Simmons also had himself a huge night totaling a triple-double with 16 points, 17 assists and 13 rebounds.

The Bucks have been listed as an underdog just once this season and won that matchup convincingly. As if they weren’t normally a lot to handle, Milwaukee has been elite on the road with a (12-2) record. Roll with Milwaukee getting the points (+1.5) in Philly.

2u - Milwaukee Bucks (+1.5) @ -121

Los Angeles Clippers (-1.5) @ Los Angeles Lakers, 8:00 PM:

  • The Clippers have an 18-13-1 ATS record this season which is seventh best in the NBA.
  • The Lakers have an 11-18 ATS record at the Staples Center against the Clippers since 2012-13. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

These teams opened the season facing each other in late October which resulted in the Clippers taking down the Lakers 112-102 without Paul George in the lineup.

Fast forward to Sunday, the Clippers (22-10) lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112 without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup despite George making his return to OKC.

George had an underwhelming outing, scoring 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting with three assists and two steals.

The Lakers (24-6) have doubled the team’s total losses over the last week courtesy of a three-game losing streak which continued on Sunday night, losing to the Denver Nuggets 128-104.

Without LeBron James, Los Angeles looked lost. Yet, Anthony Davis managed to still dominate as he usual does totaling a double-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Both these teams should be at full strength with James and Leonard only missing time for “load-management” purposes. However, even if those two don’t suit up, I’m going with the team I believe has the most depth and deepest bench beyond the superstars which is the Clippers. Take the Clippers to cover (-1.5).

1u -  Los Angeles Clippers (-1.5) @ -110

New Orleans Pelicans (+10) @ Denver Nuggets, 9:30 PM

  • The Pelicans have a 9-6 ATS record in night games against the Bucks since 2015-16. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Denver (21-8) kept the wins coming on Monday night by picking up a seventh straight win after edging out the Phoenix Suns 113-111.

Nikola Jokic totaled his second triple-double in the last three games, scoring 22 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Jamal Murray added a game-high 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting with seven assists and two steals.

New Orleans (8-23) have seemed to finally figure it out and won two of the last three games, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 102-94.

Brandon Ingram and Derrick Favors both contributed double-doubles - Ingram scored 19 points with 11 rebounds, and Favors had 12 points with 13 rebounds. Jrue Holiday added a team-high 21 points with six rebounds and five assists.

Denver has struggled against the spread this season (13-14-2) which is the 13th worst in the NBA. Despite the Nuggets’ success at home (13-3), I’m going with the Pelicans to keep this game within double digits (+10).

1u - New Orleans Pelicans (+10) @ -120

By Stephen Rodriguez


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