Christmas means one thing for NBA fans – star-studded matchups. This Wednesday we’ll see the Lakers face the Clippers, the Bucks visit the 76ers and the Boston Celtics travel north to face the 2019 Larry O’Brien Champions, Toronto Raptors.
There’s a full slate of matches on Monday night too with 22 of the 30 NBA franchises in action. The Raptors feature in the pick of the games there too. They face the Indiana Pacers at 7:05PM on Monday night.
Toronto Raptors @ Indiana Pacers
Monday 23rd December 7:05PM
The Raptors stretched their winning streak to five with a remarkable comeback win against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night. Kyle Lowry helped his team come back from a 30 point deficit to win 110-107. Less than 24 hours later and they will take to the court in Indiana against the high-flying Pacers.
The Pacers have been their usual solid selves in this NBA season and have picked up sevens wins in their last ten games to lift themselves to sixth in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference. Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis have excelled in Victor Oladipo’s absence for Nate McMillan’s side.
Looking ahead to this one, you would have to expect that the Raptors will be fatigued after their heroics last night and the travelling they have done in between. The Pacers have just come off a heavy defeat to the Bucks and the mood will be low heading in to the Christmas period.
For those reasons, we’re backing the under in the over/under points line. You can back under 211.5 points with CanPlay at a decent -108. We’re backing the Pacers in the moneyline betting too. At the time of writing, they’re available at -295.
If player betting is your thing then Malcolm Brogdon to score over 17.5 points looks a good price -105 with CanPlay.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
Wednesday 25th December 2:30PM
Is this a rehearsal for the Eastern Conference Finals in May? The betting would suggest so. The Bucks are favourites to represent the East in the Finals at +150 with CanPlay with the 76ers following not too far behind at a reasonable price of +220.
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is still the main attraction here. The Greek Freak has dominated the league once again and looks set to win back-to-back awards this off-season. On the Philadelphia side, Joel Embiid is the key man. The Cameroonian is the most dominant center in the league and he leads the 76ers in points, rebounds and blocks.
Embiid is one of the few players in the league that has the strength to overpower the Bucks star and he will need to be at full capacity on Wednesday afternoon if the 76ers are to have any chance of picking up a Christmas Day win.
The Bucks have only lost two of their last 25 games and we expect that good run of form to continue on Wednesday. Back Milwaukee to win with CanPlay.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday 25th December
A repeat of the opening night of the NBA season. On that occasion, the Clippers won out 112-102 with summer acquisition Kawhi Leonard scoring 30 points. For many pundits, that win signified that the Clippers had won the ‘Battle of L.A’ and had outlined their title credentials.
However, it’s the Lakers that have gone from strength-to-strength since then. They currently lead the Western Conference, three games ahead of nearest challengers, Denver Nuggets. Anthony Davis and LeBron James have both missed games in the last week which has coincided with their first slump of the season, losing three games in a row. Both are expected to be fit for the Christmas Day game though and they will be matched up with the Clippers key players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Leonard is one of the only players in the league that is capable of restricting ‘King James’ and we’re sure that plenty will have their eyes on that battle on Wednesday night.
Home advantage won’t have any role to play in this one but we’re still backing the Clippers to pick up the win. Leonard always performs on the big stage. Bet on the Clippers to win with CanPlay.