The 22-10 Sixers host the 27-4 Bucks here, currently getting 3 points as an underdog. This line has moved 2 points from the +1 opener and I see some value on Philly.
First and foremost, they’re one of the best home teams in the NBA. They’ve compiled a 15-2 record at the Wells Fargo Center, compared to just 7-8 on the road.
I also really like the matchup for them in this spot. Milwaukee may be the deeper of these two sides, but Philly have more top-end talent.
Everything in Milwaukee centres around Giannis and the Sixers are one of the teams best geared to stop him. Al Horford has had immense success guarding him in the past, while Embiid is protecting the rim at elite levels.
This Philly team is also excellent at guarding the perimeter. They’ve got a very switchable starting five and should be able to limit the Bucks from 3. If they can limit Giannis inside and take away the 3, I expect them to do enough offensively to win outright.
I think these two sides are closer than this line would suggest and the Sixers have a decent shot at winning here. That said, I’ll gladly take the 3 points of insurance at the current line.
The 21-8 Nuggets welcome the 8-23 Pelicans here, currently laying 9.5 points. New Orleans has been a dumpster fire all season and I just don’t see them hanging with Denver here.
While the Pelicans finally appear somewhat healthy, it’ll take some time for these guys to adjust to playing together. They’ve had almost no success on the road all year, going just 4-12 straight up and only 5-11 against largely inflated spreads.
On the flipside, Denver continues to be one of the toughest places to play in the NBA. They’ve compiled an impressive 13-3 home record, building on their breakout season last year.
In addition to being a very deep team, they’ve also had some fortunate injury luck so far. They enter this clash essentially fully healthy, allowing them to play up tempo in the altitude.
Despite having such a stellar season, the Nuggets still aren’t getting a ton of attention from the national media. In the Christmas night cap game, I expect them to come out very motivated to run up the score in the first half, before the east coast go to bed.
The full game line of 9.5 also seems appealing, but the better value play is the first half line if you can get it -5 or less.