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NBA Odds, Picks: Christmas Betting Previews for All of Today’s Games

NBA Odds, Picks: Christmas Betting Previews for All of Today’s Games article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ja Morant, Draymond Green, Chris Paul, Nikola Jokic.

Betting the NBA can be hard, so on this glorious Christmas morning, we’re making it a bit easier. Sunday’s five-game NBA slate will bring tidings of comfort, joy and 12 hours of non-stop basketball. What more could you ask for on Christmas day?

Our staff broke down their five betting picks for today’s games, which includes spreads, full game totals and a team total. And because it’s the NBA, you’ll want to pay close attention to the injury report before tonight’s late game in Denver.

Read on for our Christmas betting previews for all of today’s games.


NBA Odds, Picks: Christmas Betting Previews for Today’s Games

Game
Time
Pick
12 p.m. ET
Game Total
2:30 p.m. ET
Spread
5 p.m. ET
Team Total
8 p.m. ET
Spread
10:30 p.m. ET
Spread

Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks

Sunday, Dec. 25
12 p.m. ET
ABC
Pick: Over 217.5

By Chris Baker
Read the full game preview here.

I think the over holds value here as these defenses do not match up well.

Outside of De’Anthony Melton, the 76ers are completely lacking guard defenders to contain Jalen Brunson’s dribble penetration. The Knicks don’t have the bigs to consistently contain Joel Embiid down low. This 76ers defense is being massively overrated after playing the league’s single easiest schedule of opposing offenses thus far.

This first game finished at 210 despite woeful offensive performances from each team. Combine the expected positive 3-point regression with the return of Embiid and James Harden, and I think this number is too low at 217.5.

I expect to see a Christmas Day offensive explosion, so take the over and play it up to 219.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks

Sunday, Dec. 25
2:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Pick: Lakers +8.5

By Joe Dellera

Read the full game preview here.

At the time of this writing, the spread is set at Mavericks -8.5, which is simply too many points.

Yeah, I know that’s such a ridiculous phrase, but this is why it matters. The Mavericks have won 17 games this season, but just five of them have come by double digits. They are one of the worst teams against the spread, with a record of just 11-20-2 and 8-17-1 ATS as a favorite.

The Lakers have not been great ATS either, but that’s largely because people overvalue teams with LeBron, and I think that’s counterbalanced by Luka in this spot.

The Lakers should be able to keep this close, and it’s helpful to them that the Mavericks do not get out in transition often. They are a decent rebounding team even without Davis, and they should be able to cut down on extra possessions for the Mavericks.

Additionally, the Mavericks’ defense is weak on the interior, and with LeBron at the helm, this team should look to find easy layups while pushing in transition.

With LeBron on the floor and AD out, the Lakers get out in transition at a higher rate, especially off rebounds. This is an edge against a relatively weak Dallas transition defense.

The Mavericks do not win big and games oftentimes stay close because they do not have the firepower outside of Luka to blow teams out.



Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Sunday, Dec. 25
5 p.m. ET
ABC
Pick: Bucks Under 110.5 Points

By Austin Wang

Read the full game preview here.

I love backing unders when the elite teams face off against one another — I expect a high intensity defensive battle between two of top teams in the NBA where this game could have implications on ultimate playoff seeding.

Also, if Robert Williams III plays, I think that will help this case even further. Christmas Day unders are historically an angle, although that tide seems have shifted with four of the five games last Christmas going over.

I am playing the Milwaukee Team Total Under at 110.5. As mentioned above, they are only averaging 106 points per game on the road. They’ve only been able to crack that number in three of their 15 road games.

It is unfair to compare the playoff series to a regular season game, but I also figure it is worth noting that Milwaukee didn’t score higher than 110 in any of their seven games in the playoff series last season.

My numbers make this a five-point spread, so I think the line is about right you are not getting much value in that number. However, with the Bucks’ track record on the road and the trends favoring the Celtics, they appear to be the right side here.



Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State

Sunday, Dec. 25
8 p.m. ET
ABC
Pick: Grizzlies -6 or Better

By Jacob McKenna

Read the full game preview here.

The Warriors look lost without Stephen Curry in the lineup, and as a result, I expect the Grizzlies to continue their dominant play in this one.

Golden State’s bread and butter has always been its shooting from behind the arc, and not having Curry in the lineup affects that tremendously.

Additionally, the Warriors will be forced to go up against a Grizzlies team that has held their opponents to 35.4% shooting from 3 this season and 32.5% in their last five games.

This isn’t exactly a great matchup to get back to their old ways.

I think the absence of Curry is too much offensive production to replace, and running into the Grizzlies right now is a worst-case scenario for a team that can’t seem to defend the perimeter or the interior right now.

I like the Grizzlies to cover the spread here, and I would play it to -6.



Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets

Sunday, Dec. 25
10:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Wait for the Injury Report

By Jim Turvey

Read the full game preview here.

It’s a frustrating sentiment, but it’s a common one when it comes to this game: So much of it is going to come down to the injury report. There are two very big pivot points, one on each side of the ball.

For the Suns, Devin Booker is essential to their offense, and the team has not looked the same without him in the lineup. Good gamblers know All-Star level players aren’t worth more than 3-4 points to the spread, but those points are obviously a pivotal swing.

On the other side of the ball, it’s fair to wonder whether Michael Porter Jr. will play in a second straight game after missing the past month with a heel contusion. He’s hardly a paradigm of health, and although he isn’t on the injury report at the time of writing, I’m still a bit cautious.

If both play, I’d imagine the line would settle around Denver -3.5. If both are playing and the line is closer to Denver -5, I’d take Phoenix, and of course the inverse if it is only Denver -2.

If Booker is officially ruled out, I wouldn’t be surprised if the line gets up to around Denver -5.5 regardless of whether or not Porter plays. At that point, I’d be on Denver if Porter plays, but somewhat hesitant if he is also out. (Again, he’s not on the injury report, just being cautious.)

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