The second game on the five game NBA slate for Christmas Day should be another excellent matchup as two teams in excellent form go at it. The Philadelphia 76ers have won two straight and 16 of their last 20 though they haven’t been as impressive against the spread in that stretch going 9-8-3. It’s a validation of just how hot these teams are that the Sixers recent run of success badly pales in comparison to what the Bucks have done. Milwaukee was a bit uneven to start the year splitting their first two games both SU and ATS. They’ve lost only twice since then going 25-2 SU/16-11 ATS and between November 14 and December 14 won 18 straight games. They finally lost 120-116 at Dallas on 12/16 but have started right where they left off winning 3 straight including wins over tough opponents Indiana and the LA Lakers.
Milwaukee is playing so well that they’re threatening to run away with the Eastern Conference title despite the fact that the rest of the top tier teams are also playing decent basketball. 7 of the 8 playoff qualified teams in the East have had a winning record in their last 10 games. Statistically, the Bucks have been on another level this year. They’ve got the best points for/against differential in the NBA at +13.5 which is more than 5 PPG better than the second place Dallas Mavericks at +8.3. They’re averaging 120.6 PPG, best in the NBA and are decent on the defensive end as well giving up just 107.1 PPG, 9th best in the league. They also have the best rebounding team in the league and that’s a very dangerous combination for opponents.
In many ways, this game is a contrast in styles with the Sixers excelling on the defensive end. Philly is just #17 in team offense at 109.8 PPG but are the second best team defense in the league giving up just 103.2 PPG. This is a big game for the Sixers and it’ll be incumbent on the other contenders in the Eastern Conference to not let Milwaukee get too far ahead over the next few weeks. The Bucks play 6 of their next 10 games on the road but their opponents in every game during this stretch currently are below .500 (Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Minnesota, San Antonio twice, Golden State, Sacramento, Portland and New York). Milwaukee has yet to lose SU to a team with a losing record this year going 19-0 SU/12-7 ATS.
Philadelphia will head out on the road following this game playing their next four contests away from home. They’ll play 13 of their next 19 games on the road against a decidedly tougher schedule than Toronto has upcoming. During the next 19 games, the Sixers will play at Orlando, Miami (twice), Indiana (twice), Boston Houston, Dallas, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Toronto. They’ll also play OKC, Boston, Brooklyn and the LA Lakers at home giving them a string of 15 games against playoff qualified opponents in their next 19. That heavy slate of road games has to be a concern as the Sixers are just 7-8 SU/7-7-1 ATS away from home.
Bucks just look to be a cut above at this point. Sixers dropped 2 of 3 to Milwaukee last year both SU/ATS splitting a pair on the road and losing at home. Sixers have won and covered 2 of the last 3 at home and the head to head series shows a heavy bias to the ‘Over’ with 6 of the last 7 overall and 3 straight in Philly exceeding the total.