First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: Target Bucks vs. Celtics, Suns vs. Nuggets on Christmas (December 25)

First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: Target Bucks vs. Celtics, Suns vs. Nuggets on Christmas (December 25) article feature image

Justin Tafoya/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can't bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those markets is the Race to 15 Points. It's as simple as the name suggests: The first team to hit 15 points cashes the bet.

Today we've got five Christmas Day games but there are two matchups that stand out. Let's dig into Sunday's First to 15 NBA odds and picks.

Bucks vs. Celtics

First to 15 OddsBucks: +100 | Celtics: -128
Time | TV5 p.m. ET | ABC

The Bucks are one of the best in the league this season in terms of their early scoring with the seventh-best mark in Race to 15 markets.

Lately they've had some struggles in this area with a 3-7 record in their past 10 games. However, the Celtics haven't been a fast starting team all season. In their past 10 games they are 4-6 in Race to 15 and are being outscored by 1.3 points in the first quarter over that span. The Bucks are still a top-15 scoring team in the opening frame despite their recent poor play.

At TD Garden, the Celtics are 9-8 for the season, while the Bucks are 8-7 at home. This one is a toss up and I think the Bucks will have some motivation in a rematch from the Eastern Conference finals. With the Bucks being plus-money I'll roll with them to be the first to 15.

Suns vs. Grizzlies

First to 15 OddsSuns: +100 | Nuggets: -128
Time | TV10:30 p.m. ET | ABC

The late game on the Christmas Day slate is a good one between the Suns and Grizzlies. As far as Race to 15 markets go, this is the biggest mismatch of the night.

The Nuggets are one of the elite teams in this area with a 21-10 record overall this season, including 11-3 at home in Ball Arena. The Suns are one of the worst teams on the road at 5-9.

The Nuggets are the best first quarter team in the NBA — they score 31.8 points per game in the opening frame and outscore teams by 3.9 points per game. They are also elite from beyond the arc in the first and lead the league 43.1% while the Suns are and bottom 10 (24th) overall in defending the perimeter.

As of this writing, Devin Booker is still listed as questionable and without him the Suns are not the same on offense. I think the Nuggets have value here and I like them at -128.

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Sean Treppedi
Jun 12, 2024 UTC