NBA Christmas Day Betting Preview: Cavaliers and Warriors to serve up a cracker

NBA betting preview - Monday Christmas day 25 December 2017
Arrival of King James in Golden State can challenge Warriors
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There are three early games to look forward to this Christmas day, presenting as appetising a prospect as any turkey dinner. Watch all three live on Betfair and BT Sport, where an NBA finals rematch provides a mouth-watering main course according to Mark Kirwan....

"Cleveland have found consistency in their starting five since Derrick Rose's injury, and Dwayne Wade is contributing at a high level from the bench. LeBron continues to play at his imperious best, and Isaiah Thomas is due to debut in the New Year, meaning Cleveland can continue to intimidate the very best in the league."

Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks
Christmas Day, 17:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Video and BT Sport 2

The Knicks could've been forgiven for tailing off after a strong start with Kristaps Porzingis' recent injuries, but they remain an unlikely playoff contender thanks to their strong home form. Scoring off the bench and Enes Kanter's rebounding have been crucial in building their impressive 15-5 record at Madison Square Garden. They've picked up just two wins in 12 on the road, so they're still playing for seventh or eighth seed, but their strong home front has to be noted for betting purposes.

For the Sixers, their promise from earlier in the year has stalled, but they remain in contention in an open East playoff picture. Injury to their youthful star Joel Embiid has impacted their form, as they've won just one of the last seven games without the Cameroonian. He returned in their last game at Toronto, and rookie Ben Simmons continues to shine, but they will need to improve in the fourth quarter if they are to turn around their recent slide and compete with the best.

These trends ought to return to the mean as the season progresses, but it's hard to resist the Knicks at home on the handicap market given recent form.

Recommended Bet
1pt on New York -2 on the Handicap market at [1.9] or better on the Exchange


Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors
Christmas Day, 20:00 GMT
Live on Betfair Video and BT Sport 2

The Cavs' quality has begun to show through in recent weeks. Early in the season they turned up in big games but lost to several weaker opponents. Cleveland have found consistency in their starting five since Derrick Rose's injury, and Dwayne Wade is contributing at a high level from the bench. LeBron continues to play at his imperious best, and Isaiah Thomas is due to debut in the New Year, meaning Cleveland can continue to intimidate the very best in the league.

Speaking of the very best, Golden State currently sit on their worst record at this point of the season in Steve Kerr's tenure, and trail the Rockets at the top of the West, but are arguably playing better than ever when injuries are considered. Steph Curry's ankle will keep him out of this game, but his continued absence has not stopped GSW from going on a 11-game winning streak, which was only snapped in the last game at Denver. They are outscoring opponents by more than 12 points per 100 possessions. Only Houston and Toronto are above five. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are both capable of anchoring Warriors line-ups with their talismanic guard out.

For now, both these teams are playing at a high level. Golden State are favourites here, but are 1-5 in Christmas day games against the spread, and 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games. I would take Cleveland with the points because I expect this to be tight.

Recommended Bet
1pt on Cleveland +4.5 on the Handicap market at [1.89] or better on the Exchange


Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards
Christmas Day, 22:30 GMT
Live on Betfair Video and BT Sport 2

Boston have only beaten the spread once in their last four home games, and wins for Miami and Utah at TD Garden recently should offer some hope to the Wizards heading into this game. Indeed, the Celtics are 5-5 in their last ten games but, with Jaylen Brown likely returning, they will be hoping to pick back up their early season form against an inconsistent Wizards team. They're also allowing third fewest points to opponents in the league, making them a tough proposition, even on an off night.

Washington's loss to the Nets this week represents a low point for their season too. Their win over Orlando has put them ahead, just, at the top of the Southeast Division, but the 119-84 loss in Brooklyn was especially shocking given the performance of Washington's leaders. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for just six scores all game, while fellow starter Otto Porter turned in -26 plus-minus performance. It was the third largest winning margin for the Nets since they moved to Barclays Center five years ago.

Given the relative recent performances of both sides, the Celtics will be expected to win, but the Under on the Total Points market looks most attractive from a betting perspective

Recommended Bet
1pt on Under 204.5 on the Total Points market at 10/11 or better on the Sportsbook

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