The NBA goes dark on Christmas Eve before its annual five-game regular-season showcase on Christmas Day. So perhaps it's a good time to take a look at some BetOnline futures odds. Although really nothing has changed since the preseason other than some prices. The Warriors are -130 favorites to win the NBA title and -250 to take the Western Conference for a third straight season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are +225 to repeat as NBA champions and -275 to threepeat in the East. Nothing is going to change with those two teams barring major injury. Probably the most interesting prop the site currently has is whether Russell Westbrook will average a triple-double on the season. "No" is -220 and "yes" +175. Westbrook is a ridiculous talent, but I can't see him keeping this up all year. The NBA's dog days are coming and he's going to start to wear down a bit. He is the +140 favorite for MVP and should be. James Harden is next at +350. Friday is one of the busiest days of the season with 28 of the 30 teams in action.
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Bulls at Hornets (-4, 204.5)
Chicago lost for the fourth time in five games Wednesday, 107-97 at home to Washington. Jimmy Butler had 20 points to lead the Bulls, but afterward Dwyane Wade said the team is relying too much on Butler and other guys not doing their part down the stretch. Charlotte won a second straight Tuesday, 117-113 over the visiting Lakers. Kemba Walker had 28 points and Nic Batum hit the tiebreaking jumper off the glass with 13 seconds to go. He had 23 points. Charlotte won three of four meetings last year vs. Chicago and has won the past three in the series at home.
Key trends: The Bulls are 0-4 against the spread in the past four meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in five straight Bulls games.
Early lean: Hornets and under.
Lakers at Magic (-4, 212.5)
Second of a back-to-back for L.A. as it was in Miami on Thursday, and the NBA usually does that Florida double in a back-to-back format. I'm not sure that D'Angelo Russell will play both Thursday and this game as he's just back from a knee injury. Larry Nance is going to miss a while with a knee injury. Orlando actually will be traveling further as it visited the Knicks on Thursday. These teams split last year. The Magic have won seven of the last eight meetings at home.
Key trends: The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in Orlando's past six at home.
Early lean: Magic and over.
Nets at Cavaliers (TBA)
Brooklyn is doing something that only Toronto has done and will do all season: a back-to-back against the Warriors and Cavaliers as the Nets hosted Golden State on Thursday. The Cavs, who have lost J.R. Smith indefinitely to a broken thumb, completed a home-and-home sweep of the Bucks on Wednesday, 113-102 in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving had 31 points and a career-best 13 assists. Kevin Love missed a second straight with a bruised knee and of course Smith was out. Cleveland beat Brooklyn handily three times last year but did lose one at the Nets.
Key trends: The Nets are 3-1-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: Wait on Love
Thunder at Celtics (-5.5, TBA)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader. Boston was in Indiana on Thursday. Oklahoma City won in New Orleans on Wednesday, 121-110. Westbrook had 42 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Victor Oladipo sat again with his wrist injury. Oklahoma City beat Boston 99-96 on Dec. 11 behind 37 points and 12 rebounds from Westbrook. The Thunder also have won three straight at TD Garden.
Key trends: The road team is 5-0-1 in the past six meetings. The under is 7-2 in OKC's past nine.
Early lean: Thunder -- not sure why no opening total yet a line (assuming for Oladipo)
Warriors at Pistons (+9, 211)
Golden State was in Brooklyn on Thursday. I have a feeling Coach Steve Kerr might rest a key guy or two in that one or here with the Warriors having a huge game in Cleveland on Christmas. Detroit lost a fourth straight Wednesday, 98-86 against Memphis. Coach Stan Van Gundy planned to make a change to his starting lineup and insert Jon Leuer into it in place of Marcus Morris (1-for-11 from field on Wednesday) but Leuer was late to shootaround after getting in a car accident. He's expected to start in this one. Detroit snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Warriors last season by splitting.
Key trends: The Warriors are 0-4 ATS in their past four in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 17-4 in Detroit's past 21 at home.
Early lean: Pistons and under.
Wizards at Bucks (-4, 213.5)
Washington won in Chicago 107-97 on Wednesday and is inching toward .500. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 44 points and 14 assists with just four turnovers. The Wizards are 13-11 when both are in the starting lineup. Forward Otto Porter missed the second half with back spasms. Milwaukee lost both games of a home-and-home vs. the Cavs, falling 113-102 in Cleveland on Wednesday. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and Jabari Parker 27 for the Bucks. Washington won the first meeting at home 110-105 on Dec. 10. The Wiz have won eight of the past 10 meetings overall.
Key trends: The favorite is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 8-0 in Washington's past eight after a win.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
Rockets at Grizzlies (+3.5, 207)
Houston had its 10-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday but bounced back Wednesday with a 125-111 victory in Phoenix. The Rockets were 18-for-38 from long range. Harden had 27 points and 14 assists. Patrick Beverley finished with a season-high 18 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Memphis ended a three-game skid with a 12-point win in Detroit on Wednesday behind a career-high 38 points from Marc Gasol. He was 14-for-17 from the field. The Grizzlies also saw the return of small forward Chandler Parsons. He played 15 minutes after missing the past 17 games with a left knee bruise. These teams split last year, each going 1-1 at home.
Key trends: The Rockets are 3-8 ATS in the past 11 in Memphis. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Grizzlies and over.
Heat at Pelicans (-4, 206)
Miami hosted the Lakers on Thursday. New Orleans lost 121-110 at home to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Anthony Davis had 34 points and 15 rebounds for the Pels and Jrue Holiday added 23 points and 10 assists. Rookie Buddy Hield got a start but was 0-for-3 in 20 minutes. Miami won both meetings last year vs. NO. Hassan Whiteside averaged 16.0 points on .722 shooting from the floor, 15.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 7-1 ATS in their past eight vs. the East. The under is 5-2 in the Heat's past seven on the road.
Early lean: Pelicans and under.
Kings at Timberwolves (TBA)
Sacramento won a second in a row Wednesday, an impressive 94-93 victory in Utah in the second of a back-to-back. The Kings were down 20 in the third quarter. DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and Ty Lawson a season-high 19. Rudy Gay was out a fifth straight with a hip injury and Omri Casspi a second in a row due to illness. Minnesota is on its first two-game winning streak following a 92-84 victory in Atlanta on Wednesday. Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 18 rebounds. Sacramento won the first meeting vs. Minnesota 106-103 on Oct. 29. Eight of the teams' past 13 games have been decided by five points or less.
Key trends: The Kings are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Wolves and under regardless of Gay playing or the numbers.
Hawks at Nuggets (TBA)
Atlanta lost 92-84 at home to Minnesota on Wednesday as the Hawks played a second straight without Dwight Howard (back). They were thus killed on the boards. Tim Hardaway Jr. played just one minute of the first quarter before straining his groin and missing the rest of the night. Denver's three-game winning streak ended in a 119-102 loss at the Clippers on Tuesday. Will Barton, who has been rumored in trades, led the Nuggets with 22 points off the bench. Emmanuel Mudiay was scoreless. Atlanta swept Denver last year.
Key trends: The Hawks are 0-5 ATS in their past five vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 11-5 in the past 16 meetings.
Early lean: Nuggets whether Howard plays or not.
Raptors at Jazz (pick'em, 200)
Toronto beat Brooklyn 116-104 on Tuesday for its second straight win. Kyle Lowry had 23 points and eight assists, and Norman Powell scored a season-high 21 off the bench. It was the 15th straight game in which the Raptors scored at least 100 points. Utah was surprised 94-93 at home by Sacramento on Wednesday, although not a huge shock considering the Jazz played at Golden State on Tuesday. Guards Dante Exum (knee tendinitis) and Rodney Hood (flu-like symptoms) sat out. These teams split two low-scoring meetings last season, each winning at home.
Key trends: The Raptors are 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 6-1 in Utah's past seven overall.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
76ers at Suns (TBA)
This could have major relevance for next spring's NBA draft lottery. Philadelphia lost 108-93 at home to New Orleans on Tuesday. Joel Embiid was vastly outplayed by Anthony Davis. Nerlens Noel, who has been seemingly banished to the bench, saw four minutes of action. Phoenix dropped its fourth straight Wednesday, 125-111 at home vs. Houston. Devin Booker had 28 points on his bobblehead night. Philly won the first meeting 120-105 on Nov. 19 and swept Phoenix last year.
Key trends: The Sixers are 1-5 ATS in their past six vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 8-3 in the Suns' past 11 at home.
Early lean: Honestly not sure why the opening TBA. I will love the over here no matter the number.
Spurs at Trail Blazers (TBA)
San Antonio was at the Clippers on Thursday. I expect the Spurs to rest a guy or two here as they play Christmas. Portland lost its fourth in a row Wednesday, and it was the worst of them: 96-95 at home to Dallas. Damian Lillard missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. He had 29 points. Evan Turner missed the game with an ankle injury and he's not likely here. First meeting between San Antonio and Portland this season. The Spurs have won the past three in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The over is 6-1 in the past seven.
Early lean: Wait on the Spurs
Mavericks at Clippers (TBA)
Second NBA TV game. Los Angeles hosted San Antonio on Thursday. The Clippers also play Christmas so they might sit a Chris Paul or someone here. Dallas won in Portland 96-95 on Wednesday but nearly blew a 25-point third-quarter lead. Harrison Barnes had 28 points. Dirk Nowitzki sat out again but there's a legitimate chance he returns here. The Clippers have won three straight (124-104 in first meeting this year) and 12 of the last 16 regular-season meetings with the Mavericks.
Key trends: The Mavs are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in the Clippers' past six in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Wait on Dirk, but I think this sets up well for the Mavs to cover regardless.
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