The NBA has been playing games on Christmas Day since 1947 but they became a ‘marquee event’ once again during the 1980’s with Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant taking over the sports stage. There’s not much else going on in the sports world until the 26th so this year should once again provide a much needed diversion from family activities. Although the ‘main event’ for the day is clearly the prime time matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers at least three of the five games should be highly competitive. The other two will probably be one sided but it’s not the NBA’s fault. Houston/Golden State would have been an excellent game had the Warriors not been decimated by injuries. That’s also the case with the Denver/New Orleans game. It would have taken on a different dynamic had Zion Williamson been able to play for the Pelicans.
The first game on Wednesday’s betting board will be an Eastern Conference matchup between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors from the Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors are defending NBA champions but following Kawhi Leonard’s defection to the Clippers not much was expected out of Toronto this year. In fact, there was some speculation that they would tumble to the bottom of the standings and not even make the playoffs. To date, that’s definitely not been the case. Toronto is 21-9 on the year and tied with the the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth place in the East. The Celtics weren’t exactly tabbed as a contender either following a horrible season in 2018-2019 but they’re 20-7 and in second place in the conference.
Somewhat surprising to see Boston favored by -3 points on the road but that’s likely because they’re the more ‘public’ team on the biggest day for recreational betting of the NBA during the entire regular season. They’ve also earned more for bettors thus far than any other team in the league banking +7.1 units on the season. The Celtics have been at their best against winning teams this year and are on a 10-4 SU/12-2 ATS run against opponents over .500. Boston is in excellent form at the moment and enters this matchup having won 3 straight and 7 of their last 10. They’re also on a nice run against the spread going 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games.
Raptors don’t seem to be getting much respect here despite a very good SU home record of 13-3. They’re also 10-6 ATS at the Scotiabank Arena including a 1-1 SU/ATS record as a home underdog. They haven’t been great when getting points this year and have been much more successful in the role of the favorite. As a favorite, they’re 18-2 SU/13-7 ATS but as an underdog they’re just 3-7 SU/4-6 ATS. Toronto had won 5 straight and 6 of 7 before dropping a 120-115 verdict at Indiana on Monday night though they did cover that came as +7.5 underdogs. The Raptors and Celtics will play again at the TD Garden on 12/28. This series has been dominated by the home team during the past three seasons with each team winning and covering on their home court. Toronto has won 4 straight SU/ATS at home while Boston has won 5 straight SU/ATS on their court. We’ll play this one accordingly.