NBA Quintupleheader, Unofficial “Opening Day”.

Greetings, casual NBA fan. Commissioner Adam Silver would like to welcome you to the 2022-23 season, which begins on Christmas Day…for some of you.

Yes, the World Cup was exciting when it ended a week ago. The NFL season has also been dramatic and promises to continue to be so even leading up to the Super Bowl. And sure enough, the Mets got everyone’s attention in New York and throughout major league baseball at Steve Cohen’s expense.

For those who have been distracted, we’ll bring you up to speed and give you some things to think about as Santa makes a double appearance on Christmas Sunday. The five-game slate begins with the Philadelphia 76ers playing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas, Milwaukee at Boston, Memphis at Golden State and Phoenix at Denver.

The Brooklyn Nets are the hottest team in the league right now, having won eight in a row. But they won’t play because Kevin Durant had a trade request when the schedule was set. But the Sixers are on their way to seven straight, and those who ditch the eggmog and make it all the way to the Finals can watch Nikola Jokic make a push for his third consecutive MVP award. That would make him the first since Larry Bird in the mid-90s, who won that award three times.

Is Coach Karl Right About Jokic For MVP?

Yes he is. The Serbian big has recently gone on to triple-doubles in three of his last six games and had a career-high 27 rebounds on Wednesday against Charlotte. He joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with at least 40 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists in an NBA game.

Jokic’s scoring is down 2.2 points from last season and his rebounding is down from 13.8 to 10.9. But his field goal percentage is a career-high 61.5%, and he’s gone from +3500 a few weeks ago to +600 in the MVP race, trailing only co-favorites Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum (+300) and Dallas’ Luka Dončić (+480). Durant is lurking at +1000, along with the Sixers’ Joel Embiid, and all but Dončić will be on the national TV slate televised by ABC and ESPN.

Defensive Player of the Year (Brook Lopez, +150) and Sixth Man (Russell Westbrook, +160) favorites are also on display, and the main missing men will be Golden State’s Steph Curry (shoulder injury) and Lakers’ Anthony. Davis (right leg injury). But that shouldn’t deter people from catching as many of these five games as they can, even though the NFL has placed three games on national TV as well. This will make those of us jealous as we watch the Packers play in Miami, the Broncos play the Rams in El Lay, and Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs in Arizona.

People watching the sports industry will be watching closely on Monday when the overnight ratings come out and we find out what people watched. The NBA is in a league-wide youth movement and is heavily focused on the NBA app, while the NFL has always been king and sticks with what has worked: TV.

What about that gift from Santa?

We’ll try to give you that by choosing a five-way bet and betting with you.

In the Sixers-Knicks matchup, James Harden is coming off a 21-assist triple-double Friday night against the Clippers and is +1000 to have his second of the season Sunday afternoon. Since Pete Davidson is expected to attend with yet another supermodel, Harden could try to steal it with that woman by impressing her with his repertoire. So yeah, we love that triple-double to start a conversation in five.

In the second game, the 13-19 Lakers face the 17-16 Mavericks, Los Angeles has lost six in a row. But LeBron James has scored at least 30 in five straight. James has played on Christmas Day 16 times and has 12 20-point games and four 30-point games. He had seven double-doubles and one triple-double. Because that line is +1400 and because he’s late, this is stage two (and we’re making this bet on DraftKings, which is offering a free bet on Christmas Day. You have to sign up first).

In Game 3, we have a late Greek bastard for his second triple-double of the season, and the top two teams in the East meet for the first time this season. Last season, Giannis never came close to a triple-double in three appearances against the Celtics, so we won’t push it there. We like Bobby Portis to have a double-double for the 19th time, so leg three is Portis to double at +255.

In Game 4, the Grizzlies have a very confident superstar in Ja Morant, who loves to play in the spotlight on national television. The Warriors are a mess and are coming off 30 losses against the Nets and 30 against the Knicks, so we take the Grizzlies -12 1/2 on the alternate spread line at +275.

Stage 5 is yes to a Jokic triple-double at +180.

That five-way bet offers odds of +670850, so a $10 bet would pay $67,095. Not a bad Christmas present if it arrives, and I played it. Good luck to you if you do.



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