Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Wednesday's Best Bets
The annual Christmas Day quintuple header in the NBA has all the big matchups lined up, as we've got at least two games that will be talked about as potential Conference Finals previews.
Milwaukee visits Philly in the second game on the slate as the one that fits the bill for the Eastern Conference, but the Boston/Toronto game to start the proceedings on Christmas has a shot to be that type of matchup as well. Both visitors in those respective games are laying about three points on the road, and it will be interesting to see how they end up.
Out in the West, it's all about the showdown in LA on Christmas Day, as the Clippers and Lakers square off once again, this time with the Lakers designated as the home side. Chances are the fans will make the Lakers feel like the home side in all of those meetings this year, and it will be interesting to see how this contest plays out.
For now, it's just a side and total for the Christmas Day card for me, and hopefully they can both add a bit more holiday cheer to the day.
Milwaukee at Philadelphia (2:35 p.m. ET)
Best Side to Bet: Milwaukee -3
Simply put, it's hard to shy away from the team with the best record in the league laying a relatively small number on Christmas Day.
Milwaukee is a great team the whole way through, but what will give them the separation needed in this game to come away with a 4+ point victory is their more consistent offense that this Philly team won't be able to keep up with.
Philly hasn't shown many issues scoring the basketball in their last two games as they've put up 125 in each, but those also came against the Wizards and Pistons, two teams that don't really threaten anyone, especially on the defensive side of things.
But in a league where consistently holding opponents below the century mark – not one NBA team scores fewer than 103.45 points/game offensively, and not one NBA team holds opponents to fewer than 102.14 points/game defensively – the Sixers have been held under the century mark a whopping eight times.
That's 25% of their games that the Sixers haven't scored 100+ points when it's basically what the entire league does every night. That's not going to cut it more often then not against the best of the best in this league, giving the Bucks a huge edge for this one.
Philly does own a 3-5 SU record in those sub-100 point efforts, so it's not like failing to hit triple digits is the death knell for this team, but those three wins came in a rematch against Denver, and two losing teams in Cleveland and Sacramento.
That doesn't bode well for Philly against the team the caliber of Milwaukee, and while the Sixers could easily find their way into triple digits, it will still be that lack of consistency on offense that will likely find a way to show it's ugly face at some point in this game, and if the Bucks capitalize on it, it will be game over.
Not sure the spread really matters when it is sitting this low, as Milwaukee looks to send their own message as well this year, and that is that they'll be in full control of the East this time around.
New Orleans at Denver (10:35 p.m. ET)
Best Total to Bet: Under 218.5
Christmas Day games have been known as 'under' machines for years, and if you are going to make a total wager on this slate, it probably doesn't matter what game you look at, the 'under' is a good place to start. Remember, these players can be just as excited/interested to get to family gatherings on the holiday as the rest of us are, and keeping the clock running with minimal fouls and plenty of rebounding is a good way to shorten games.
But it's the night cap out in Denver where going low appears to make the most sense, as Denver's not a team that likes to play run-and-gun ball as it is this year – they rank 22nd offensively with 107.79 points per game and rank 1st defensively in allowing just 102.14 points per game – and spending Christmas night running up and down the floor in that altitude can't be high on anyone's to do list.
Denver is expected to win this game rather comfortably as a double-digit favorite, and that suggests it will be them that ends up dictating the pace more often then not throughout. The Nuggets style is to run when they can, but not to run just to run, and they are likely looking to establish a big lead early and take the air out of the ball from there.
The Pelicans are no strangers to getting blown out in general this year, but they've found more success of late – winners of two of their last three – by playing tougher defense overall. New Orleans has held their last three foes to 106 points or less – all on the road no less – and that's always given them their best chance to win.
That's obviously the goal, and with that being the way they are trending, and the situation (Christmas Day games 'under) being a positive one for going low as well, I believe this game tops out somewhere around 210-212 points.