Although the season is nearly two months old, having begun in the final week of October, for many sports fans, the NBA season does not truly begin until the NFL season winds down.
Then the NBA takes center stage.
In recent seasons that has occurred on Christmas Day when the league stages a quintuple header while the other major sports are silent.
Such will be the case this week when Christmas Day will provide a chance for those caught up in football and now just turning toward hoops to look at 10 teams, a third of the league. It amounts to a 12-hour marathon of NBA action as millions across the country and around the world are unwrapping gifts.
Six legitimate title contenders, a potential longshot, a recent two-time champion plus the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers will see action.
Since there is little else in the sports world taking place on Christmas Day, aside from the final round of the Diamond Head College Basketball Tournament in Hawaii, many sports fans will take some time away from the family to watch at least some of the NBA action.
And since the viewing is often enhanced by having some financial interest in the outcome, here are some numbers to use as a guide in betting the five games.
Washington by 12.5 at New York (189 total).
San Antonio by 7 at home vs. Oklahoma City (194).
Cleveland by 0.5 at Miami (195)
Chicago by 6 at home vs. LA Lakers (214).
LA Clippers by 2.5 at home vs. Golden State (211).
In using these numbers look for an edge of at least 3.5 points if playing sides and at least a 5.5 point edge if playing totals.
Here’s a look at three games to be played over the weekend.
Houston at Memphis (Fri.): Both teams have started strongly, each winning more than 70 percent of its games and are meeting for the third time this season. Each won on its home court with Houston avenging a 26-point loss in mid-November with a nine-point win earlier this month. With the holiday break both teams are rested after last playing on Monday.
The two earlier meetings went OVER the total in games lined at just below 190. We should see an upward adjustment here based on those first two games but the extra rest should be most evident at the defensive end of the court where Houston’s Dwight Howard and Memphis center Marc Gasol are formidable obstacles. UNDER.
Toronto at LA Clippers (Sat.): This afternoon game pits the team with the best record in the East (Toronto is 22-6) visiting one of the contenders in the West. Toronto has not played since Monday. The Clippers hosted Golden State in the final game on Christmas night. Toronto has played well on the road, going 8-3 both SU and ATS and are likely to be modest underdogs here.
The Raptors play in Denver on Sunday night. Having to deal with the second of back to back games in the high altitude has long been an unfavorable spot. The Clippers start the week having won 7 straight home games but are just 1-3 ATS over the last 4 with 3 of the wins by just 1, 2 and 4 points over teams lesser than the Raptors. TORONTO.
Oklahoma City at Dallas (Sun.): OKC needs to make up ground after a slow start to its season with stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant having missed several weeks. Both have returned although Durant did sit out a couple of games after being injured in last Thursday’s loss at Golden State. He should be back for this game.
Dallas made a big move late last week in trading for Rajon Rondo who excelled at point guard with Boston. That deal elevates the Mavericks into contenders in the highly competitive West. It could take time for Rondo to find a consistent comfort level with his new teammates, but the first couple of games suggest it won’t take long. Still, the Thunder are the more complete team and Dallas may suffer from a lack of experienced depth in the short term. OKLAHOMA CITY.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]