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ATL Hawks Win +6.5ATL Hawks @ NY Knicks
The Hawks and Knicks kick off Christmas day, but it might as well be almost a G-League matchup. Here is the list of players that will be missing from both teams. Hawks: Kevin Huerter, Lou Williams, Trae Young, and Clint Capela. Knicks: Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley. Yet even with missing all those players, the Hawks went into Philadelphia and came out with a 98-94 win earlier this week. The Knicks have gone through a brutal stretch, as they are 3-9 in their 12 games. This season the Knicks are 13-19 ATS and 5-12 ATS at Madison Square Garden. The Hawks are 13-18 ATS.
I do not expect a happy MSG crowd and many boos to come out against the home team; it seems that this team is unraveling, and its lack of offensive weapons has once again caught up to them. Take the Hawks with the points.
MIL Bucks Win -6.5BOS Celtics @ MIL Bucks
On Christmas, the Boston Celtics will battle the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum. Similar to the rest of the NBA slate, this contest is heavily impacted by COVID-19 health and safety protocols and injuries. Boston has already ruled out Enes Freedom, Bruno Fernando, Sam Hauser, Justin Jackson, C.J. Miles, Aaron Nesmith, Josh Richardson, and Grant Williams, due to health and safety protocols. Notable names such as Al Horford and Marcus Smart are listed as questionable with injuries. Milwaukee will continue to be without Brook Lopez, but Donte DiVincenzo is listed as questionable as the only other Milwaukee name on the official injury report.
Boston’s biggest potential absences–Freedom, Richardson, Williams, Horford, and Smart–are not a death sentence for Boston. The biggest challenge for the Celtics will be chemistry issues, considering that there have been only 85 possessions all season in which none of these players have been on the floor for Boston, per Cleaning the Glass. Figuring out how to play with one another in live-game action could be especially troublesome against a Milwaukee team that has plenty of experience on the floor together. When Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo share the court, they rank in the 93rd percentile in offensive efficiency and the 94th percentile in defensive efficiency. It is possible that Antetokounmpo faces a minutes restriction in his first game since being activated off of the COVID-19 reserve list. Still, he should be tremendously effective for however long he is in the game.
The Bucks are healthier, more talented, and have home court advantage in this contest. There has been significant line movement in Milwaukee’s favor for good reason ahead of this one. Bettors should trust the Bucks to get the job done at home in this holiday showdown.
PHX Suns Win -4.5GS Warriors @ PHX Suns
Since the loss at Phoenix on December 1, the Warriors have gone 8-3 and show no signs of slowing down in their quest to finish at the top of the Western Conference. Stephen Curry is an MVP candidate and he was cooking yet again on Thursday against the Grizzlies at home, finishing with 46 points while draining 8 threes. He will have to put up similar numbers on Christmas day if the Warriors want to end the Suns home win streak, assuming Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Damion Lee all miss that game due to health and safety protocols. The Warriors are currently on a 3-game losing streak at Phoenix with their last win coming in February of 2020.
Phoenix’s dominance at home is nothing new, they’ve not lost a game at the Footprint Center since late October and have a 15-2 mark there for the season. Devin Booker came back and in his last 3 games has dropped 16, 24 and 30 improving steadily game by game. That’s exactly the push Phoenix needs here facing their biggest rival in the West right now. Deandre Ayton had 19 and 12 in the last win over OKC and Chris Paul also continues to play at an elite level. Right now this team is without any major flaws, they’ve won their last 10 at home and their last 5 overall.
These 2 teams already met twice this season and each time the home team won. They are equally matched in almost every department, so I’m expecting more of the same here, as well. Phoenix is one of the rare teams in the NBA that has the personnel to stop Curry; last time he played in Phoenix he finished 4-for-21 from the field, 3-for-14 from three, and had just 12 points. Poole had 28 in that game and he is out for this one. I think Phoenix is the smarter bet here. Back the Suns to cover.
LA Lakers Win -1.0BKN Nets @ LA Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers (16-17) will host the Brooklyn Nets (21-9) on the official grand opening of Crypto.com Arena. The Lakers, who enter tonight’s game on a 4-game losing streak, were defeated 138-110 by the San Antonio Spurs at home on Thursday night. The 28-point loss was the worst loss at home this season for the Lakers who shot 5 of 27 from three. With that being said, the NBA is a narrative-driven league, and Lebron James, who has scored 30 or more points in 5 of his last 7 games has the opportunity to break a handful of records. With a win tomorrow, James could have in the most games ever on Christmas Day (10 games), as well as surpassing Kobe Bryant with just 13 more points, for the most points ever scored on Christmas day. With that being said, James and the Lakers will be without Anthony Davis (knee), Kendrick Nunn (knee), and Avery Bradley, Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Kent Bazemore (health and safety protocols). The visiting Nets lost 100-93 to the Orlando Magic in their most recent game which was played on December, 18th. Since then, the Nets’ last 3 scheduled games were postponed due to 10 Nets players being placed on health and safety protocols. The Nets will have James Harden, but Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving remain in health and safety protocols and have been ruled out. Brooklyn will also be without sharpshooter Joe Harris who will undergo ankle surgery, as rookie Cam Thomas and veteran LaMarcus Aldridge are also out due to health and safety protocols.
In their last 3 games, the Lakers rank dead last in the NBA in terms of offensive efficiency and bottom-5 in the entire league in defensive efficiency. However, the Nets haven’t been too impressive in their last few outings either, and haven’t played a single game in an entire week. The Lakers have has tonight’s game circled on their calendars all year and have a great opportunity to end their 4-game losing streak with a win in their new (not really) arena. Take the Lakers to cover tonight’s spread.
UTA Jazz Win -12.0DAL Mavericks @ UTA Jazz
Dallas is not having the season it was hoping for. Head Jason Kidd was brought in to take over and has not been able to get this club to be any more consistent. Injuries have definitely not made things any easier with big man Kristaps Porzingis in and out of the lineup. Luka Doncic is the star and his numbers have been down this season. He was dealing with an ankle injury before also joining several players in health and safety protocols. Utah has rebounded from back-to-back home losses with consecutive wins heading into this Christmas Day tilt. The Jazz are first in the NBA in scoring and are navigating COVID as well as any team. The only player even listed as out with illness is wing Elijah Hughes. A healthy Utah team could be primed to go on another one of its runs soon. They have only 2 losses in December.
This is a very favorable matchup for Utah, which is part of the reason why the line has more than doubled since it was first released at Jazz -5. That makes total sense given the state of the teams and that we know for sure the Mavs are going to be without Doncic. He is the only thing that would have given them a shot against Utah on the road. The Jazz have been double-digit favorites in 3 of their last 4 games, going 2-1 SU/ATS over that recent stretch. They are a couple of games over .500 ATS this season in this kind of situation. It is hard to see where the Mavs are going to find anything sustainable to be competitive in this game. Take Utah
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NBA Over-Under Tips
Under 210.5ATL Hawks @ NY Knicks
Under 217.5GS Warriors @ PHX Suns
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