Christmas Day is one that is celebrated by all NBA fans alike, and we’re treated to a great matchup in the Garden with New York hosting the Sixers. With how well RJ Barrett has been recently, that’s who our NBA betting picks are targeting.
There’s nothing quite like Christmas day in the Garden, but if the New York Knicks want their fans to have a Merry Christmas, they’ll have to overcome Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers who are intent on playing the role of the Grinch. New York is reeling from a heartbreaking last-second loss at home on Friday, while the Sixers are trying to roll to their eighth win in a row after a perfect seven-game homestand.
Fresh off a season-high 44 points, our NBA betting picks and predictions for the 76ers vs. Knicks believe that RJ Barrett will stay hot on Sunday, December 25.
76ers vs Knicks best odds
76ers vs Knicks picks and predictions
RJ Barrett played the best basketball of his young season last night, scoring 44 points on 70% shooting from the field (including 6-for-6 from 3-point range). That performance caps off a recent stretch that has stood out in stark contrast to his play to begin the year.
Barrett couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn for the first 17 games, and as such his season numbers to date are still well below his career averages. But over his last 15 games, he has gradually come alive — scoring more efficiently and frequently at the rim, generating free throws, playing defense, and proving why he’s still the best prospect on the New York Knicks.
Given that this is his fourth season, it’s easy to forget that Barrett is still so young. At 22 years old, he’s still the second-youngest player on the Knicks roster, and this recent stretch should assure fans (and bettors) that his ceiling remains sky-high.
Because last night — while spectacular — wasn’t some unpredictable one-game outburst. It’s been in the air with Barrett for a while now. RJ is averaging 27.3 points on 51% from the field and 47.7% from long range over his last eight games. He’s also hit the Over on his points prop in seven of those eight contests. Barrett is being trusted to run the second unit offense and looks completely at ease doing so.
As he’s gotten more comfortable, he’s demonstrated the real reason to be excited about his long-term upside: his craft in the pick and roll. RJ is excellent at using a screen and then subtly changing speeds, or bumping his opponent off to create space or putting his opponent in jail. He’s comfortable in these tight spaces and is hitting shots from floater range, getting all the way to the basket, or spraying out for three-point shooters.
One might expect that the Philadelphia 76ers would be a tough cover for Barrett, who likes to do his damage right around the basket. But despite the presence of Joel Embiid, the Sixers are one of the worst rim defenses in the league. They allow the fourth-highest opponent shooting percentage in the NBA per Cleaning the Glass.
Bank on Broadway Barrett to come through on Christmas Day.
My best bet: RJ Barrett Over 22.5 points (-111 at FanDuel)
Best NBA bonuses
Looking to do some NBA betting? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) Knicks, Mavericks, Celtics, and Warriors all to win BOOSTED to +1,200 at Caesars! Bet Now
B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $150 in free bets! Sign Up Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2022.
76ers vs Knicks spread analysis
Even accounting for Friday’s back-breaking loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks have been spread killers recently. Over the last two weeks, they’re beating the spread by an average of 10.6 points per game, the second-best mark in the NBA over that period (and more than five points clear of the 76ers, who have also performed well ATS) .
While New York’s defense has gotten a lot of the credit for its recent success, it’s been even better on offense. The Knicks have played at the level of the sixth-best defense over the last eight games, but at the level of the second-best offense. Their 122.3 offensive rating is by far the biggest reason for their recent success, and that has flowed from the outstanding play of Barrett and Julius Randle.
Outside of the occasional blown layup or defensive lapse, Randle has played at an All-Star level for the last dozen or so games. Still, against James Harden and Joel Embiid, New York is contending with a significant talent deficit.
Harden is coming off a rare 20-point, 21-assist, 11-rebound triple-double while Embiid had 44 points on 60% shooting. No team has found an answer to their pick-and-roll game that they’re comfortable living with yet.
The Knicks are 8-1 ATS in their last nine, but the 76ers are a level above the competition they’ve faced in that span. At this tight of a line, I’d lean towards Philadelphia.
76ers vs Knicks Over/Under analysis
This line has fallen from 219.5 to 218 at most sportsbooks, which is puzzling given the recent play of both teams. Of course, these two sides are capable of playing high-level defense, but both have been Top-5 offenses over the last two weeks as well.
The Knicks’ propensity to foul should also juice this total towards the Over. This season, New York has committed the eighth most fouls of any team in the NBA. Harden and Embiid combine for more than 18 free throw attempts per game, so while this game may not have a great deal of flow, it should see a significant number of points generated at the charity stripe.
For their part, the Knicks generate the second most second-chance points of any team. They’ve been demons on the offensive glass, and that’s an area that Philadelphia continues to struggle mightily with.
But while the style of play and this modest line screams Over, recent trends point in the opposite direction. The Under is 8-3 in New York’s last 11 overall and 14-2 in Philadelphia’s last 16 against winning teams.
76ers vs Knicks betting trend to know
76ers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for 76ers vs. Knicks.
76ers vs Knicks game info
|Location:||Madison Square Garden, New York, NY|
|Date:||Sunday, December 25, 2022|
|Tip off:||12:00 pm ET|
|TV:||ABC, ESPN, Sportsnet|