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Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 23rd Edition

The biggest day of the NBA’s regular season is unquestionably Christmas Day. The league gets its best ratings then and always likes to showcase its biggest stars on national TV. Two NBA Betting games this Christmas clearly stand out from the rest and here’s a look at them. Check back for NBA odds.

Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 23rd Edition

Milwaukee Bucks vs Philadelphia 76ers

First meeting of the season between these Eastern Conference powerhouses. Would surprise no one if they played again in the conference finals.

Last year, the Sixers spent Christmas Day in Boston taking on the Celtics, a 121-114 loss. The Christmas before that, they were in New York handing the Knicks a 105-98 loss. This will be the 22nd Christmas Day game for the Sixers. They are hosting one on the holiday for the first time since 1988. Last season, the Bucks played on Christmas Day for the first time since 1977. It’s only the sixth Xmas game for the Bucks since the league started these games back in 1947.

The last time these teams faced off last season, on April 4 in Philly, the Bucks won 128-122. Giannis Antetokounmpo was spectacular with 45 points and 13 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 22 points and George Hill had 20 for the Bucks. They lost point guard Eric Bledsoe to an ejection when tempers flared 2 1/2 minutes into the contest. Joel Embiid had 34 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists and three blocks for Philly.

The 76ers were able to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 125-108 win over Washington. Embiid had 21 points and 13 rebounds Ben Simmons had 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the 76ers, who snapped a two-game skid at home. Philadelphia suffered its first two home losses in its last two times out, last Wednesday against Miami and Friday versus Dallas. Both teams used zone defenses that neutralized Philadelphia’s offense.

What about the Bucks?

The Bucks have the NBA’s best record at 27-4 and are outscoring their opponents by an NBA-high 13.5 points per game so far this season after leading the league in that same category last season (8.9). Although still early, that number would end up as the highest points per game differential in NBA history.

Antetokounmpo, last season’s Most Valuable Player, has already started to improve on his MVP-winning numbers. Antetokounmpo is currently averaging career-highs in points and rebounds per game this season in addition to dishing out more than five assists while shooting 56.6% from the field.

LA Clippers vs LA Lakers

The Lakers lead the all-time series 148-73. The Lakers have lost eight season series in the all-time matchup with the Clippers (2012-18, 1992-93 and 1974-75). The Lakeshow are 23-16 all-time against the Clippers in home games at Staples Center.

This could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers will play on Christmas Day for the 21st consecutive year. It is the fourth time that the Lakers and Clippers meet on the holiday.

They met on opening night and the Clippers won 112-102. Kawhi Leonard had 30 points in his Clipper debut. Lou Williams added 21 points and Montrezl Harrell had 17 off the bench. The Clippers’ reserves outscored the Lakers’ bench, 60-19. Tied 85-all, the Clippers opened the fourth quarter with a 19-7 run to go up 104-92. Paul George was still out following shoulder surgery in the offseason. Danny Green led the Lakers with 28 points, while Anthony Davis had 25 and LeBron James 18. James had three of the Lakers’ six turnovers in the fourth.

What about the Clips?

The Clippers have six games this season where they have scored at least 130 points which is tied for the most in the NBA. The six 130-point games are also the second-most in franchise history. The Clippers are the only team in the NBA to have four players averaging at least 19.0 ppg (Leonard 25.5 ppg, George 24.5, ppg, Williams 19.4 ppg, Harrell 19.0 ppg). The Clippers currently lead the NBA in bench scoring (51.4 ppg) and bench rebounds (20.9) and rank tied for fifth in field goal percentage (46.5%). L.A. has outscored their opponents’ bench in 26 of 31 games this season.

We are assuming that LeBron will play here. He didn’t on Sunday vs. Denver with a thoracic muscle strain. James first sustained the injury, a pull in the rib cage area, against the Indiana Pacers last Tuesday and played through it during Thursday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. James has also been dealing with a nagging groin issue recently. The Lakers have been managing James’ minutes this season as he’s averaging a career-low 34.8 per game.

Kyle Kuzma, who had been out since Dec. 8 due to injury, did play Sunday vs. Denver.

Expert NBA Betting Picks

If LeBron plays, the Lakers should be your NBA Betting pick. If not, take Clippers. Go Sixers over Bucks.

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