He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out which NBA picks are naughty or nice. This weekend’s abbreviated basketball slate should brighten your holidays.
Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’. Wouldn't you know it, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so it’ll be a quiet weekend for most NBA players; everyone will have Saturday off, and only 10 teams will be suiting up on the 25th. But there won’t be any shortage of quality NBA picks around the Xmas tree. As you may recall, home teams and the UNDER have been making the season bright since 1993. Let’s see what Santa has brought us this year.
Friday: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics
Before we get to the plum pudding, there’s a 14-game slate on Friday, and the most interesting game of the bunch happens to be on TV. Things haven’t gone quite as planned for these two teams, but at least the Thunder (+0.62 SRS at Basketball-Reference) and the Celtics (+1.84 SRS) are both in second place in their respective divisions. Boston is healthy and hale at the moment; the Thunder are without SG Victor Oladipo (–1.4 BPM) indefinitely because of a strained right wrist, leaving Anthony Morrow (–4.0 BPM) to fill in.
Sunday: Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Bulls (+1.28 SRS) have come back down to Earth after a hot start, but it’s their league-best record against the UNDER that’s bringing us to the NBA odds board – in combination with their 7-2-1 UNDER record on Christmas Day. The Spurs (+6.21 SRS) are still the Spurs, Tim Duncan’s retirement notwithstanding. They’re deep, they’re healthy, and they’re even slower than Chicago at 96.2 possessions per game.
Sunday: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
No point in breaking out the home-team ATS angle with this game. But the Lakers (–5.30 SRS) have the UNDER at 11-5-2 during these Xmas specials, and the Clippers (+7.67 SRS) are going to be without Blake Griffin (+4.1 BPM) for the next 4-6 weeks after he got his right knee scoped. The UNDER went 28-17 for the Clippers last year during Griffin’s extended injury/suspension absence. Happy Holidays, everyone, and may the sphere be with you.