2018 NBA Christmas Day Games Preview & Picks Against the Spread

Screen-Shot-2018-08-08-at-11.30.14-AM-1024x577Photo Credit: BARRETT SPORTS MEDIA

Disclaimer: Odds were taken from Bovada at 3:00 p.m. ET on December 24th, 2018, they are subject to change.

Some of the best NBA matchups during the season take place on Christmas Day every year consisting of some of the NBA’s biggest stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Damian Lillard. Every year the holiday spirit is brought out by high flying dunks and ridiculous threes. Here is a brief preview on them and some picks against the spread by our staff:

Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks – 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Spread: MIL -10.0 & NYK +10.0

The Knicks have not made the playoffs in 5 years but always get the nod due to their huge fan base and market. This matchup clearly points to the Bucks winning as Kristaps Porziņģis is still recovering from an ACL injury and Giannis has been playing MVP basketball. The Bucks also lost a close game earlier this year to the Knicks and it got a little chippy, watch for the Bucks to play harder. The Knicks have a young roster and could step up in primetime but I see the 2 seed Bucks taking care of this one without much trouble. The Knicks are a measly 4-11 at home, so the “Madison Square Garden Effect” doesn’t seem to be applicable this year.

Picks:

Jakob Rosati – MIL -10.0

Braden Wagle – NYK +10.0

Andrew Labuda – MIL -10.0

Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets – 3 p.m. ET, ABC

Spread: OKC +1.5 & HOU -1.5

This matchup is now a little less exciting now that the Houston Rockets have cut ex-Thunder player Carmelo Anthony, but it should still be a close game. The Rockets play much better at home, but the Thunder are a good away team, as Paul George has been on fire lately. With Chris Paul out 2-4 weeks and the new signing of Austin Rivers by Houston, I would lean more towards the Thunder. Hamidou Diallo has been a pleasant surprise for OKC and I expect their early season success to continue. The Rockets defense is absolutely atrocious too. This game could go either way, it really depends on the Thunder’s ability to stop Harden and if their stars can consistently perform on offense.

Picks:

Jakob Rosati –  OKC +1.5

Braden Wagle – HOU -1.5

Andrew Labuda – OKC +1.5

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics – 5:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Spread: PHI +4.0 & BOS -4.0

This game should be one of the better matchups of the day. Both have turned things around from a rather slow start, especially Philly who traded for Jimmy Butler. Fultz has been a headache so far this year as they await news on him. The Celtics are 10-5 at home and Philly is 6-9 away. It is going to be hard for Philly to go into TD Garden and get a convincing win. Philly is probably looking at this as a revenge game from the playoffs last year, so look for extra effort from them. Aron Baynes recently got hurt too which may be a plus for Philly as they could play the size game, but I like the home team coming out of this one.

Note: It’s Al Horford’s second game back from injury and he is on a minute restriction.

Picks:

Jakob Rosati –  BOS -4.0

Braden Wagle – BOS -4.0

Andrew Labuda – PHI +4.0

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors – 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN

Spread: LAL +9.0 & GSW -9.0

Probably one of the most anticipated matchups of the night: the reigning NBA Champs vs. the King. This is basically a rematch of the Finals these past 4 years. The Warriors will have homecourt, which may be a key factor since they haven’t looked like their regular selves thus far this season. Klay is having a horrible shooting year and Golden State just isn’t blowing out teams regularly like they used too. The Lakers have been okay, to say the least, but have had many ups and downs due to inconsistent play from the young guys. I think LeBron and his crew playing in primetime have a decent chance to win this game and an even better chance to cover, considering the Warriors struggles thus far.

Note: JaVale McGee is doubtful.

Picks:

Jakob Rosati – LAL +9.0

Braden Wagle – LAL +9.0

Andrew Labuda – GSW -9.0

Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz – 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Spread: POR +6.0  & UTA -6.0

The Trail Blazers have been better overall than the Jazz so far this year. However, the Jazz absolutely smacked Portland 3 days ago, and now they each head to Utah for Christmas. It is a good matchup as both teams have talent, but both have been inconsistent this year. The Blazers are 3 games ahead of the Jazz in the tightly contested West, but got swept last year by the Pelicans in the playoffs. The Jazz exceeded expectations last year but Donovan Mitchell has come down to earth this year and Utah has struggled to win on a nightly basis. The Mitchell vs. Lillard matchup should be great TV, but I like the Trail Blazers’ star power showing in this game.

Picks:

Jakob Rosati – POR +6.0

Braden Wagle – POR +6.0

Andrew Labuda – POR +6.0

Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the holiday season! – PocketBlog: Sports Staff

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