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Early look at lines for NBA Christmas Day slate

DraftKings Sportsbook already has lines posted for X-Mas day. We take a look at give some initial picks.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray shoots past Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. during the first half in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has released some parts of its schedule for the first half of the 2020-21 season, well, the best part at least. The rest of the schedule will come out on Friday, but for now, we’ve got the Christmas Day slate among other games to look forward to right now. As a result, Christmas — wait for it — came early! I know, you hate me, it’s cool. So let’s take a look at the initial lines for the five-game slate, then we’ll break it down and give some picks.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat

Spread: MIA -5.5
Moneyline: MIA -245, NOP +180

For the most lackluster game on the Christmas Day slate, we’ve got Miami starting out as a decent-sized favorite in South Beach against NOLA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this line move closer in favor of the Pels, though. New Orleans has way more depth with Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams on the roster. Both are decent defenders as well. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram will be hungry in this game, in the spotlight with playoff aspirations. The Heat are riding the high of making the 2020 Finals more than anything here. Gimme the points.

Pick: Pelicans +5.5

Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Spread: MIL -7.5
Moneyline: MIL -360, GSW +250

Early thoughts here are give me Steph and the boys! The Warriors could be really good despite not having Klay Thompson for another season. James Wiseman is in town and could make an impact right away, per Steph. Kelly Oubre Jr. gives the Dubs a decent Klay replacement, a versatile slasher. We saw how the Bucks got embarrassed and exposed on Christmas last year by the Sixers. Maybe Milwaukee just can’t handle the big stage? Points!

Pick: Warriors +7.5

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics

Spread: BKN -1
Moneyline: BKN -121, BOS -107

This game feels like it’ll either be a classic or we’re going to see the full force of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Luckily, both teams play before Christmas, so we should see more sharp movement on this line after the first two days of the season. I doubt KD and Kyrie will take much time to get acclimated back into the League. If so, I like the Celtics ML here a bit. Boston added size with Tristan Thompson and has some more youth at guard.

Pick: Celtics ML

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Spread: LAL -7
Moneyline: LAL -295, DAL +220

So let me get this straight. The defending champs are taking on the Mavericks, who won’t have Kristaps Porzingis to start the season ... and they aren’t double digit favorites? That’s cute. All the Lakers did was potentially become a juggernaut by adding Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell. This seems like the game that could be over at halftime. I don’t care about my love for Luka Doncic. Lakers.

Pick: Lakers -7 and/or ML

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

Spread: LAC -1
Moneyline: LAC -118, DAL -110

The Nuggets feel like a team that will be overrated at the beginning of the season because of the playoffs. Denver lost Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig this offseason, which is low-key huge. Grant was the defensive stopper on the wing. The Clippers will want to squash those chemistry issues in the national spotlight and shake off the blown 3-1 lead demons early on. With this game basically being a pick ‘em, I’ll take the Clippers.

Pick: Clippers ML

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