NBA Player Prop Odds & Picks: 5 Christmas Picks for Today’s Games, Including LeBron James
Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): James Harden, LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Along with your standard spread and total bets, the Christmas Day schedule brings with it plenty of NBA player props with betting value.
Our staff broke down five of their favorite player props for Sunday, ranging from the noon game all the way through the late tip 10:30 p.m. ET.
Our staff sees value on star players like James Harden and LeBron James and key role players like Jrue Holiday, Desmond Bane and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Check out our favorite NBA player prop odds and picks for Sunday’s five Christmas Day games.
Our Player Props for Sunday’s NBA Christmas Games
James Harden, Over 3.5 Turnovers (+108)
|Time | TV||12 p.m. ET | ABC|
They say Christmas is all about giving and James Harden has been in the giving mood all month.
Since he returned to the Sixers’ lineup in early December, he’s been dishing like crazy, averaging 12.0 assists over the past eight games. He’s also giving the ball away a ton, too. Harden is averaging 4.8 assists over that same span, the most in the NBA, and has only gone under this number once in those eight games. It’s awesome when he gets 21 dimes like he did on Friday, but it’s clear that passing will come with some turnovers on the side.
On Christmas Day, he’ll likely be guarded on most of his possessions by Knicks 3-and-D wing Quentin Grimes, who does a great job of creating ball pressure at the point of attack. If Harden tries to put Grimes in the pick-and-roll, the Knicks guard also gets over screens well and can force Harden into bad passes.
Overall, Harden has turned the ball over 38 times since he returned and 26 of those have been steals, so I’ll also be looking at the Steals + Blocks line for Grimes (Over 1.5, +108). Since being inserted into the Knicks’ starting lineup, Grimes has notched at least two stocks in seven of his 16 games.
Regardless, I expect Harden will be in a giving mood, and the Knicks should benefit.
LeBron James Over 29.5 Points (-122)
|Time | TV||2:30 p.m. ET | ABC|
As one of the long-standing faces of the league, LeBron James has been a fixture on Christmas. James has played on Christmas Day 16 times in his career, averaging 26.4 points in those games. This season, James is averaging 27.4 points per game and is 11th in the league in scoring.
Over his last 10 games, James has scored 30 points six times and finished with 28 and 29 in two other games. However, he has really come on in the last six games with six consecutive 30-point game, averaging 32.6 points per game in that span. The last three games have come without Anthony Davis, who remains out indefinitely.
Without Davis, the burden falls more on James to score, and his volume goes up. He has taken over 20 shots in each of his last six games and in nine of 10 games this month. He has remained efficient, however, shooting 52.6% from the field on 23 attempts per game in December.
The Mavericks are sixth in the league in scoring defense, but that has a lot to do with their pace, which is 29th in the league. The Lakers, on the other hand, play at the fastest pace in the league.
Dallas ranks 23rd in field goal percentage and is 29th defending small forwards according to props.cash. Dallas will be without forward Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s best perimeter defender, once again, which will make it tough to slow down James.
The stage is for James to have another big performance on Christmas.
Jrue Holiday, Under 30.5 PTS + REB + AST (-111)
|Time | TV||5 p.m. ET | ABC|
For this matchup, I’m looking to fade Jrue Holiday. The Bucks point guard is averaging 31.4 PRA this season, but there are a few factors pointing to him underperforming against the Celtics.
Firstly, Holiday has struggled with his shot efficiency on the road. The UCLA product is only shooting 41% from the field away from Milwaukee, and an ugly 30% from long-range. With his assists down a tad as well, his 29.9 PRA average in road contests has kept him under this line in six of 11 games.
Holiday has also labored to produce against good defenses this season. Against teams rating in the top 10 in opponent effective field goal percentage, Holiday has failed to clear this line in seven of eight games. The Celtics rank eighth, and were able to hold Holiday to 43% shooting in the regular season last year (and 36% in the playoffs).
Jrue will likely find himself matched up against the likes of Marcus Smart and Derrick White. The Celtics backcourt duo have held opposing point guards to the fifth fewest PRA over their last 15 games.
Offensively for the Bucks, the ball will be in the hands of Giannis Antetokounmpo plenty. I don’t see too much room for Holiday to garner the volume he’d need to eclipse this line, in what should be a slower paced game than the Bucks norm.
While it seems backwards to fade Holiday on Christmas, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.
Desmond Bane, Over 18.5 Points (-105)
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | ABC|
In what should have been one of the best Christmas Day games on the slate, the Golden State Warriors currently rank outside of the Play-In Tournament in the Western Conference. Sitting at 15-18, the Warriors will try to add onto their stellar 12-2 home record as they welcome in the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are 4.5-point road favorites as they have won eight of their last 10 games. Now that Desmond Bane has returned, the Grizzlies are fully healthy, while the Warriors are playing their fifth game without Stephen Curry.
There are several great props to target in this game, especially on the Grizzlies’ side. However, there is one prop that stands out above the rest.
After missing over a month and 17 straight games, Bane finally returned Friday night in the Grizzlies’ 125-100 victory over the Suns. Bane played 24 minutes, but he came out in the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies had a 110-83 lead with 6:43 left. Expect his minutes to increase Sunday.
No player on the Grizzlies played more than 28 minutes last game, so they should be well-rested coming into Christmas Day. Despite playing 24 minutes, Bane was able to score 17 points, as he shot a poor 4-of-13 from the field and 2-of-8 from behind the arc. He did make all seven of his free-throw attempts.
Before his injury, Bane scored 19 or more points in nine straight games while averaging 28 points per game during that time.
Ja Morant also missed time this season, but he played in all nine of those games with Bane. In his third season in the league, Bane is averaging a career-high 24.1 points per game.
The Warriors’ defense is not what it used to be. It currently ranks 25th in Defensive Rating (114.1) entering today’s games. Playing at the second-fastest Pace, the Warriors are allowing 117.9 points per game, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the league.
This is a great spot for exposure to Bane’s points.
This points prop line started at 16.5 points and is currently at 18.5. I would take this up to 19.5 on FanDuel, but put this bet in before it continues to climb closer to game time.
The Grizzlies have a 116.75 implied team total as they are 4.5-point road favorites.
I love Bane and the Grizzlies in this matchup.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Over 1.5 3-Pointers (-135)
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | ABC|
This game will be a huge showdown for both teams in terms of tiebreakers because of how close the Western Conference standings are thus far.
One area that the Nuggets have excelled at this season is shooting the 3-ball. In fact, the Nuggets are the best 3-point percentage team in the entire league. The Nuggets have three different players on their roster who are shooting it above 40% from beyond the arc.
One of those players is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP leads the Nuggets in 3-point percentage (46.3%) thus far this season. Further, he is averaging two makes per game. However, over the last five games, KCP is shooting the 3-pointer at 47.3% and has knocked down at least two 3-pointers in three straight games.
Despite not giving up tons of makes from beyond the arc, the Suns do rank No. 24 in opponent 3-point percentage. In fact, that number has stayed consistent over the last five games, as they are allowing their opponents to shoot 39.7% from the 3-point line (24th).
With the attention Nikola Jokic commands on the offensive side for the Nuggets, I expect shooters like KCP to find the open shots and knock down at least two of them.