There are five games in the NBA's traditional wall to wall nationally televised Christmas schedule and all five games look tempting from a betting perspective. Wednesday's 1-2 record trimmed my mythical winnings to $320 with my record of 23-18-2. Today I will take depart from my usual liking for road teams and pick three teams that are at home or very close to it. As usual I'll pick today's games using the the Betonline.ag lines as listed on the Yahoo Sports page for entertainment purposes only with no real money wagered (although for recordkeeping purposes I'll bet $110 to win $100 on each game.
Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder
The Bulls have lost 3 games in a row and their best player Jimmy Butler has publicly criticized new coach Fred Hoiberg for being too laid back. I expect the Bulls to give their best effort for their national television appearance and I expect it to make no difference against the Thunder, winners of 3 straight and and 9 of 10 with 5 blowouts. I will take the Thunder and happily give the 9 points.
San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
The Rockets have rebounded slightly after firing coach Kevin McHale and evened their season record at 15-15. Even though the Rockets have won their last three home games I'll be picking the Spurs since they have won their last seven games with six coming by blowout. My only concern in giving the 7 points is that the Spurs are on the front end of a back to back and may rest some players but I think the resting will happen in tomorrow's home game agianst the Nuggets and not under the glare of the national spotlight.
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
The Clippers were my pick to win the championship yet here they are limping along with a 16-13 record. The Clippers have lost three in a row to the Spurs, Rockets, and Thunder by 10 or less points. Meanwhile the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season with 2 wins in 5 games after breaking their 6 game losing streak. I am not a buyer of the Kobe farewell tour hype and expect the Clippers to take out their frustrations in what is nominally a Lakers home game (the two teams play in the same arena) and easily cover the 11.5 points.
I am not picking the Cavaliers-Warriors game which is the most anticipated game so far this season. The Warriors are 7 point favorites but I expect the Cavaliers to cover the spread and probably win outright. Having said that I have been wrong about the Warriors all season long so I will keep my money in my pocket and enjoy this game as a fan.