These Picks Might Cure Your Post-Christmas Hangover

Pistons Bradley

Troy Haliburton

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 5:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 5:51 PM UTC

The NBA's Christmas Day television ratings were up 39 percent from last year, according to ESPN, meaning the league is truly becoming as popular ever, and the interest level around basketball should continue to get better. Let’s take a look at today’s NBA lineup and see if we can pick some winners.

NBA Tuesday: Pacers at Pistons

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Free NBA Pick: Pistons -1.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

The Pacers have surprisingly turned themselves into one of the better teams in a rising Eastern Conference, and the catalyst has been Victor Oladipo. The Indiana product has transformed his body and game, and suddenly is entrenched as an NBA All-Star. Detroit has gone through a make-up of its own and their catalyst was Avery Bradley. Bradley and Oladipo will match up against each other as the starting shooting guards, but money is on Bradley winning that individual battle.

Bradley is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and he will display his skills against Oladipo, who might not have the elite playmaking skills to be able to shake a pesty Bradley. One of the strengths of Bradley’s game is that he can pick up opponents 94 feet from the basket and make dribbling the ball up the court uncomfortable. One of Oladipo’s weaknesses is his ball-handling, and Bradley will expose that.

Indiana's Myles Turner is having a fantastic season as a new-age stretch five, but might be overmatched physically against the massive Andre Drummond. The Pistons will have an advantage on the boards, and that should be enough to put them over the top.

When looking at season-long against the spread numbers, both of these teams rank in the top five in covering spreads. The Pistons are 18-12-2 ATS, while the Pacers are right in front of them at 20-13. This line opened at Pistons -3, but is now down to Pistons -1.5. I would have to go with the free points that are being given by bettors driving the price down.

NBA Tuesday: Magic at Heat

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Free NBA Pick: Heat -7Best Line Offered: Bet365

The Heat have had an up-and-down season, which can largely be attributed to injuries. Hassan Whiteside has missed 13 games -- nearly half of Miami's schedule. The Heat are 4-9 in those games, struggling mightily to compete against teams without their only max-contract player.

Orlando has also been hit hard by the injury bug and has mainly just been down as a franchise for the month of December, after starting hot in October and November. Orlando will be without Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic. That’s four of their top players, making it virtually impossible for them to compete tonight.

Combine that with the fact Orlando has one of the league's worst records ATS (12-21-1), and it is a bettor's dream to lay money against the Magic tonight.

NBA Tuesday: Bulls at Bucks

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Free NBA Pick: Bulls +6.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

Chicago fans knew they were in for a long and tumultuous journey this season. The Bulls did not have enough talent to compete with the majority of teams on a nightly basis, but they are not lacking in toughness. Led by center Robin Lopez, the Bulls are establishing themselves as a tough out for opponents.

Quietly, the Bulls have been one of the NBA's better teams since the return of Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls have a 7-2 record with Mirotic in the lineup, and his veteran leadership and scoring ability have unlocked Chicago's offensive prowess. In fact, the Bulls just beat this same Bucks team two weeks ago in Milwaukee, 115-109 behind a barrage of 10 three-pointers.

The Bucks are going through a bit of growing pains of their own as they try to solidify their rotations. Their problem seems to be who will play the majority of the minutes at center. John Henson has been the guy getting a lot of those minutes, but he is not known for being a physical presence down low. Jason Kidd has tried to play Giannis Antetokounmpo some minutes at center and it has worked in short dosages, but that's not sustainable for long stretches, especially not against the likes of Chicago's Robin Lopez. The Bulls have enough talent to compete with the Bucks inside and outside, which is why I expect them to get another upset victory.

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