Bet on NBA Christmas Day Games Online

NBA Christmas Day betting guide 2019

Christmas Day games in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been an annual tradition since the league’s second season in 1947-48.

There are five NBA games played on Christmas Day. Unlike the NFL approach on Thanksgiving, with home team anchor hosts (i.e. Detroit and Dallas), the NBA sets the Christmas day matchups prior to the start of each season and strives to feature the teams and players that draw the most interest.

The 2019 schedule is no exception, although the struggling Warriors missing Steph Curry and Klay Thompson might be miscast this year.

Of most relevance to PA bettors, of course, is the Philadelphia Sixers’ clash with the conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks and MVP favorite Giannis Antetekounmpo. Here’s how to bet on NBA Christmas Day games in PA plus some expert advice on what to look for.

2019 NBA Christmas Day schedule

(all times Eastern)

  • 12 p.m.: Celtics at Raptors
  • 2 p.m.: Bucks at 76ers
  • 5 p.m.: Rockets at Warriors
  • 8 p.m.: Clippers at Lakers
  • 10:30 p.m.: Pelicans at Nuggets

The two marquee matchups involve potential previews of the Eastern Conference (Bucks at 76ers) and Western Conference (Clippers at Lakers) Finals.

While the Celtics and Raptors match-up has lost a little star power, with Kyrie Irving leaving Boston for Brooklyn and Kawhi Leonard leaving for the LA Clippers, the Raptors are still the defending NBA Champs.

Both teams have started the 2019-20 season playing well and are currently neck-and-neck with the Sixers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

The short-handed Warriors will have their hands full holding off a potent Rockets attack led by human basketball supernova James Harden and sidekick Russell Westbrook.

Fingers crossed that 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is on the court for the Pelicans against the Nuggets after suffering an early-season knee injury.

Best apps to bet NBA Christmas Day games

When it comes to betting NBA games, here are three sports betting apps to consider for your Christmas Day hardwood action:

draftkings sportsbook app1. DraftKings Sportsbook offers alternate spreads, alternate totals, and in-game wagers on NBA games. There are also game parlays (spread or moneyline with totals) team props (total points by home team, over/under total points by home team), and player props (over/under points, assists, 3-pointers, etc).

What makes DraftKings unique for the NBA is the vast number of futures wagers to consider from team futures (win totals, “yes/no” to make playoffs, win conference/championship) and player futures (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of Year, and Most Improved Player).

2. FanDuel Sportsbook has a wide array of player, team and NBA game props as well as in game live betting. What makes FD unique is their “same game parlay” that allows you to combine point spreads, moneylines, half, and quarter winners with selected player props and totals into a single wager.

FanDuel also has several futures for consideration including division, conference and Championship winners as well as player futures for NBA MVP, 6th Man, and Defensive Player of the Year.

3. FOX Bet has alternate totals, spreads, and in game live betting. What makes FOX Bet unique is their “#CustomBet” feature that offers a series of player and team props that are unique to each specific NBA game.

Fox Bet also offers futures bets for conference finals and NBA finals.

NBA Christmas Day lines & odds

Game #1: Celtics-Raptors

Time: 12 p.m.
Arena: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

Current records: Celtics 20-7 (1st Atlantic Division) Raptors 21-9 (2nd Atlantic Division)
Christmas Day records: Celtics 14-18; Toronto 0-1
Last appearance on Christmas Day: Celtics (2018, W vs Philadelphia) Raptors (2001, L at New York)

News and notes

  • This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Celtics play on Christmas.
  • Despite ultimately winning the NBA Finals in 2018-19, the Raptors didn’t play on Christmas in 2018.
  • The Celtics franchise is 14-18 all-time on Christmas.

Injury report

Celtics: Robert Williams III (Out – bone edema); Vincent Poirier (Out – finger); Marcus Smart (Out – eye); Gordon Hayward (Probable for Xmas Day – foot)
Raptors: Matt Thomas (Out – finger); Marc Gasol (Out – hamstring); Norman Powell (Out – shoulder); Pascal Siakam (Out – groin)

Celtics

Top scorer: Kemba Walker 22.6
Top rebounder: Enes Kanter 7.3
Top assists: Kemba Walker 5.4
Avg points scored: 111.2
Avg points allowed: 103.2

Celtics Schedule

Sunday, Dec. 22: Charlotte at Boston
Wednesday, Dec. 25: Boston at Toronto
Friday, Dec. 27: Cleveland at Boston
Saturday, Dec. 28: Toronto at Boston

Raptors key stats

Top scorer: Pascal Siakam 25.1
Top rebounder: Pascal Siakam 8.0
Top assists: Fred VanVleet 6.8
Avg points Scored: 112.0
Avg points Allowed: 105.9

Raptors schedule

Sunday, Dec. 22: Dallas at Toronto
Monday, Dec. 23: Toronto at Indiana
Wednesday, Dec. 25: Boston at Toronto
Saturday, Dec. 28: Toronto at Boston
Sunday, Dec. 29; Oklahoma City at Toronto

Game #2: Bucks-76ers

Time: 2:30 p.m.
Arena: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Current records: Bucks 27-4 (1st Central) Sixers 22-10 (2nd Atlantic)
Christmas Day records: Milwaukee 3-2 Philadelphia 17-14
Last appearance on Christmas Day: Milwaukee (2018, W at New York) Sixers (2018, L at Boston)

News and notes

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 43 points in three games against the Sixers in 2018-19.
  • Though this is the second consecutive year that the Sixers will play on Christmas, it’s the first time since 1988 that they will host a matchup on the holiday. In that matchup, Charles Barkley led the Sixers to a 125-110 win over then Washington *Bullets*.
  • In six career games against the Bucks, Joel Embiid has averaged 29 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.

Injury report

Bucks: Dragan Bender (Out – ankle); Eric Bledsoe (Out – right fibula evulsion fracture)
Sixers: Matisse Thybulle (Out – knee)

Bucks key stats

Top scorer: G. Antetokounmpo 31.0
Top rebounder G. Antetokounmpo 12.9
Top assists: G. Antetokounmpo 5.7
Avg points scored: 120.6
Avg points allowed: 107.1

Bucks schedule

Saturday, Dec. 21; Milwaukee at New York
Sunday, Dec. 22; Indiana at Milwaukee
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Friday, Dec. 27; Milwaukee at Atlanta
Saturday, Dec. 28; Orlando at Milwaukee

Sixers key stats

Top scorer: Joel Embiid 23.1
Top rebounder: Joel Embiid 12.8
Top assists: Ben Simmons 8.2
Avg points scored: 109.3
Avg points allowed: 104.7

76ers schedule

Saturday, Dec. 21; Washington at Philadelphia
Monday, Dec. 23; Philadelphia at Detroit
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Friday, Dec. 27; Philadelphia at Orlando
Saturday, Dec. 28; Philadelphia at Miami

Game #3: Rockets-Warriors

Time: 5 p.m.
Arena: Chase Center, San Francisco

Current records: Rockets 21-9, (1st Southwest); Warriors 7-24 (5th Pacific)
Christmas Day Records: Rockets 6-5; Warriors 12-16
Last Appearance on Christmas Day: Rockets (2018, W vs Oklahoma City) Warriors (2018, L vs LA Lakers)

News and notes

  • This will be the seventh consecutive year that the Warriors will play on Christmas.
  • In a win over Russell Westbrook and his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden scored 41 points on Christmas Day 2018.
  • The Rockets franchise is 6-5 on Christmas in their history.

Injury report

Rockets: Thabo Sefolosha (Doubtful – illness); Eric Gordon (Out – knee), Nene Hilario (Out – bdominal); Gerald Green  (Out – foot); Clint Capela (Day-to-day – hand)

Warriors: Klay Thompson is out indefinitely (knee) Stephen Curry is out indefinitely (hand); Glenn Robinson III (Probable – ankle); Kevon Looney (Out – abdomen)

Rockets key stats

Top scorer: James Harden 38.8
Top rebounder: Clint Capela 14.7
Top assists: James Harden 7.5
Avg points scored: 120.4
Avg points allowed: 114.8

Rockets schedule

Saturday, Dec. 21; Houston at Phoenix
Monday, Dec. 23; Houston at Sacramento
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Houston at Golden State
Saturday, Dec. 28; Brooklyn at Houston
Sunday, Dec. 29; Houston at New Orleans

Warriors key stats

Top scorer: D’Angelo Russell 21.9
Top Rebounder: Willie Cauley-Stein 6.4
Top Assists: D’Angelo Russell 6.3
Avg Points Scored: 104.6
Avg Points Allowed: 113.6

Warriors schedule

Friday, Dec. 20; New Orleans at Golden State
Monday, Dec. 23; Minnesota at Golden State
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Houston at Golden State
Friday, Dec. 27; Phoenix at Golden State
Saturday, Dec. 28; Dallas at Golden State

Game #4: Clippers-Lakers

Time: 8 p.m.
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles

Current records: Clippers 22-10 (2nd Pacific) Lakers 24-6 (1st Pacific)
Christmas Day Records: Clippers 6-8; Lakers 23-22
Last Appearance on Christmas Day: Clippers (2016, L vs LA Lakers) Lakers (2018, W at Golden State)

News and notes

  • Without Paul George, the Clippers defeated the Lakers 112-102 on opening night, with Kawhi Leonard pacing the Clippers with 30 points.
  • This will be the 13th consecutive Christmas that LeBron James plays on, and the 14th in his career. He’s averaged 26 points per game on Christmas Day.
  • This will be the first time that the Clippers play on Christmas since 2016, when they lost 111-102 to the Lakers. Nick Young and Timofey Mozgov tied for the team lead in points for the Lakers, with each both finishing the night with 19.

Injury report

Clippers:
Lakers: DeMarcus Cousins is out for season (knee); Kyle Kuzma (Probable – ankle); LeBron James (Day-to-day – expected to play)

Clippers key stats

Top scorer: Kawhi Leonard 25.5
Top rebounder: Kawhi Leonard 7.8
Top assists: Lou Williams 6.1
Avg points scored: 115.7
Avg points allowed: 108.6

Clippers schedule

Saturday, Dec. 21; Clippers at San Antonio
Sunday, Dec. 22; Clippers at Oklahoma City
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Clippers at Lakers
Saturday, Dec. 28; Jazz at Clippers

Lakers key stats

Top scorer: Anthony Davis 27.9
Top rebounder: Anthony Davis 9,4
Top assists: Lebron James 10.6
Avg points scored: 112.3
Avg points allowed: 104.9

Lakers schedule

Thursday, Dec. 19; Lakers at Milwaukee
Sunday, Dec. 22; Denver at Lakers
Wednesday, Dec. 25; Clippers at Lakers
Saturday, Dec. 28; Lakers at Portland
Sunday, Dec. 29; Dallas at Lakers

Game #5: Nuggets-Pelicans

Time: 10:30 p.m.
Arena: Pepsi Center, Denver

Current records: Nuggets 21-8 (1st Northwest) Pelicans 8-23 (5th Southwest)
Christmas Day records: Nuggets 1-4; Pelicans 0-2
Last appearance on Christmas Day: Nuggets (2012, L at LA Clippers) Pelicans (2015, L at Miami)

News and notes

  • This will be the Nuggets’ first Christmas game since 2012, when they lost 112-100 in Los Angeles against the Clippers. Kosta Koufos was the Nuggets leading scorer in that game.
  • The Pelicans franchise is winless in two games on Christmas in their history.
  • Jrue Holiday had nine points off the bench for the Pelicans on Christmas Day 2015, when they lost 94-88 to the Miami Heat.

Injury report

Nuggets: No significant injuries
Pelicans: Zion Williamson (Out – knee); Darius Miller (Out – achilles tendon)

Nuggets key stats

Top scorer: Jamal Murray 17.5
Top rebounder: Nikola Jokic 10.0
Top assists: Nikola Jokic 6.8
Avg points scored: 107.6
Avg points allowed: 101.8

Nuggets schedule

Sunday, Dec. 22; Denver at Lakers
Monday, Dec. 23; Denver at Phoenix
Wednesday, Dec. 25; New Orleans at Denver
Saturday, Dec. 28; Memphis at Denver

Pelicans key stats

Top scorer: Brandon Ingram 25.3
Top rebounder: Brandon Ingram 7.0
Top assists: Jrue Holiday 6.5
Avg points scored: 111.9
Avg points allowed: 118.5

Pelicans schedule

Friday, Dec. 20; New Orleans at Golden State
Monday, Dec. 23; New Orleans at Portland
Wednesday, Dec. 25; New Orleans at Denver
Saturday, Dec. 28; Indiana at Denver
Sunday, Dec. 29; Houston at New Orleans

3 Secret NBA Christmas betting tips

1. Consider the home teams on Christmas Day

Over the last four seasons, home teams have the edge both straight-up and against the spread:

Home teams straight-up:12-8
Home Teams ATS: 12-8

2. The under has dominated

In the last four seasons, the game total has gone under in 13 of the 20 games.

3. Consider each team’s travel schedule leading to their Christmas Day games

So much of handicapping NBA games is to understand each team’s travel schedules. Christmas Day is no exception. While it’s clearly a down year with the Warriors, their Christmas game is during a stretch of an extended homestand, while they face the Rockets, who will have played in Phoenix and Sacramento before playing at the Chase Center on Christmas Day.

How to stream NBA Christmas Day games

Thankfully for NBA fans, all five Christmas Day games will have national coverage and there’s no overlap in the game schedule (all times are in Eastern Time):

12:00 p.m.: Celtics at Raptors (ESPN)
2:00 p.m.: Bucks at 76ers (ABC)
5 p.m.: Rockets at Warriors (ABC)
8:00 p.m.: Clippers at Lakers (ABC, ESPN)
10:30 p.m.: Pelicans at Nuggets (ESPN)

All these games will be available for streaming via the ESPN app and of course, will be shown at all nearby sportsbooks.

Brief history of NBA Christmas Day games

The NBA has played games on Christmas Day since 1947. Christmas Day is truly the NBA’s day to shine as they enjoy an exclusive position with no other NFL or NHL games scheduled, and, in 2019, there are no college football bowls games scheduled.

No wonder that, in recent years, the NBA has heavily marketed the Christmas games as the “unofficial” start of the NBA season:

The NBA has used Christmas also to market the individual team brands. From 2012-16, NBA and Adidas produced special uniforms for the Christmas games. All these uniforms feature a theme, such as monochromatic designs (“Big Color”) and chrome-treated logos

Since Nike took over the uniforms in 2017, there has been less emphasis on Christmas themes. Instead, NBA teams playing on that day wore either “City” or “Statement” alternate uniforms.

During the 2018–19 season, a few teams wore a fifth alternate known as “Earned” uniforms; these were given as a reward for making the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Here’s an NBA promo spot that promotes the games as well as the gear:

Several players have both played and coached on Christmas Day, most notably current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who played with the Knicks, and Phil Jackson also a Knicks player and legendary Bulls/Lakers coach

Christmas Day memorable moments

Some great historical Christmas Day moments include Bernard King scoring 60 points for the New York Knicks in 1984 and Patrick Ewing leading the Knicks back from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Celtics in 1985.

As a result of a lockout in 2011, Christmas Day was also the NBA season opener. To celebrate the return of the games NBA and TNT produced this incredible promo spot, which is still worthwhile viewing almost eight years later:

NBA Christmas FAQ

How many games are played on the NBA Christmas Day schedule?

There are 5 games on the schedule every year.

Who has the most points ever in a Christmas Day game?

The Knicks Bernard King scored 60 points in 1984.

Which NBA team has played the most Christmas Day games?

The Knicks have played 53 games (22-31) on Christmas Day.

Which NBA team has the most Christmas Day wins?

The Lakers have 23 Christmas day wins.

Which player has played in the most Christmas Day Games?

Kobe Bryant, 16

When did the NBA Christmas Day tradition start?

1947.

Which NBA teams have never played on Christmas?

Every team has played at least once on Christmas Day. Teams with the fewest appearances:

Toronto:0-1
New Orleans: 0-2
Minnesota: 1-1
Dallas 2-1

How does the NBA determine Christmas Day schedule?

The NBA sets the Christmas Day schedule before the start of the season and tries to focus on the best teams, matchups and feature as many of the league’s best players as possible. The size of the broadcast market is also relevant, obviously, as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are typically featured Christmas Day teams.

How can I get an NBA Christmas Day jersey?

The NBA store at NBA.com will carry all of the Christmas Day wearables every year.

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