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The Fantasy Executive's Daily NBA Rundown - Christmas Day Slate Bets, Plays, Props & More

Corey Parson breaks down the reaction to the start of the NBA season and gets you ready to wager on Christmas Day.

Wednesday night's NBA 12-game slate was awesome; showcasing some of the best young stars in the league for all to see. 

On the sports betting side of things, underdogs ruled the night going 7-5, with six underdogs winning straight up. Before I get into my thoughts and picks on the Christmas Day games, I want to take a few moments and recap the second night of the season.

What We Learned to Start the NBA Season

The Atlanta Hawks are not as good as they looked Wednesday, and the Chicago Bulls are not as bad as they looked despite a 124-104 thrashing at home. The Bulls as a team shot 8-35 from three-point range, and not playing defense is a good way to get your butt kicked. Trae Young, however, looked as good as advertised.

Celtics Jayson Tatum is a whole bucket, and so is Jaylen Brown. Milwaukee stops playing defense for long periods of games, but Jrue Holiday was brought in to fix that. Look to see how that dynamic continues when they face Golden State.

The Hornets gave up a 41-point quarter to the Cleveland Cavaliers without Kevin Love. If they're giving up buckets at will to teams like Cleveland, I can see them going over that number a lot this season.

The Knicks will not be an easy out this year. R.J. Barrett is showing flashes, and they will contend most nights. When Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis is on his game, there are not many people in the league better than him. 

The 76ers barely survived against the Wizards at home, shooting 28% from three. Ben Simmons was 2-6 from the free-throw line, and Danny Green should be parked on the bench. Joel Embiid saved Philly's bacon with 26 points and 14 boards.

The Pelicans got the Stan Van-Gundy era started with a road victory over the Raptors in Tampa, Florida, the current makeshift home of the Toronto Raptors during the coronavirus pandemic. Zion Williamson put up nice numbers in 30 minutes of action, but Brandon Ingram is the Pelicans' best player, and it's not close. The Raptors scored 42 points in the 2nd half, Pascal Siakam played 39 minutes, and his plus/minus was -15. He only shot two free throws but shot seven three-pointers. That's going to have to change.

The Memphis Grizzlies played like Murray State vs the Spurs as they watched Ja Morant go to work while everyone else was a spectator. The Spurs have a good young player in former Kentucky Wildcat Keldon Johnson.

Karl Anthony-Towns was my MVP of the night. What a year he has had to go through and he was masterful in the final quarter as the Timberwolves pulled away from the Pistons. Speaking of the Pistons, they stink. It's only been one game but I've seen enough. The whole thing needs to be blown up.

The Buddy Hield walk-off to end the Kings / Nuggets game was sensational and ESPN's Mark Jones was excellent on the play-by-play of the tip-in. The Kings are a feisty bunch. My biggest issue with the Nuggets is Nikola Jokic. Yes I know he had a triple-double, and 14 assists are great but why is he only shooting two threes in a game in which it was clear his scoring was needed more?

NBA Christmas Day Slate

New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat (-4.5) Total: 224.5 

The Miami Heat are looking to get right on Christmas Day after an opening night loss to the Orlando Magic, The Pelicans would like to use this opportunity to get a winning streak going after winning their first game in Tampa over the Toronto Raptors. As this is being written the ticket and money count on this game is just about even, the number has moved from 5.5 to 3.5, I would continue to monitor this number as I think the Pelicans can turn into a trendy dog, and we all know we fade trendy dogs.

The Miami Heat were the best home team in the NBA last season, and I think home cooking will be good for them. I like them to successfully lay the points vs the Pelicans in Zion Williamson's Christmas Day debut.

Best Bet: Miami Heat -3.5

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Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks (-10.5) Total: 232.5

The Golden State Warriors got their asses handed to them on Opening Night by the Brooklyn Nets. It was a bad look, and when a team gets blown out, the market reacts. This line opened with Golden State as a 5.5 point underdog in this game, and that number was about right. Then the public got on it and pushed it up to 7.5, and after the Warriors got destroyed in Brooklyn Tuesday night, the number ballooned to 10.5, and that's exactly where I wanted the number. 

People will think I'm nuts for backing the Warriors after that embarrassing loss, but in NBA betting when a team gets blown out,  they cover the spread in the next game more than half of the time. Milwaukee was down 17 to Boston at one point and I will continue to bang on the table and shout that the Bucks are not that good. Oh, and this total seems high as well.

Best Bet: Warriors +10.5

Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics (+3) Total: 228.5 

The Nets are too good to fade, but I'm never going to back such a public side in a game that will be heavily bet on, especially on a day that the NBA will be featured. Close to 90 % of the bets and money on this game are backing the Nets on the road vs. Boston. That's a square bet if you ask me, and trust me I know how good Brooklyn looked. 

For me it's no bet or a small play on Boston. I can use this time to eat my Christmas dinner and doze off on the loveseat.

The Pick: Pass

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers (-6) Total: 227.5

Christmas Day for sports fans has included LeBron James for close to two decades. It's tough to hate on King James and it's also tough to want to fade him. Both the Mavericks and the Lakers struggled in their first game of the new season, and I don't think either team is there offensively just yet. 

The total on this game opened up at 230, close to 70% of the money is on the over yet the line is pushing down, reverse steam has hit this number. These two teams combined to score 229 points in a game that went to overtime last season. Other than that, these games are lower scoring, so I'm taking the under.

The Pick: Under 227.5

Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets (+2.5)

Public money and sharp money are coming in pretty heavy on the Clippers in this game. The line opened with the Clippers as a 2-point road favorite, yet the number has only gone up a half-point, I think this number will hold steady but if the public loses with the Nets and the Lakers, you will send this number move up as bettors chase the favorite to try to get a win before bedtime. At that point, I will hop on the Nuggets. If that doesn't happen it's likely that I will not touch this game until halftime. I do have one pick for this game, shop around and see where you can find it at.

The Prop: Nikola Jokic to record a triple-double (+430)