NBA Christmas Day Betting Trends and Expert Picks

Some NBA analysts and insiders would say the season doesn’t truly start until Christmas. With 2020 being such an unconventional year due to Covid-19, hoops bettors will still have their annual holiday wish come true with Christmas Day NBA games.

What better way to ignore your family and make back some of the money you spent shopping with Odds Shark’s annual NBA Christmas Day betting trends and picks. This year’s slate has a plethora of betting angles, grudge matches and perhaps some potential playoff previews.

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The main event for December 25 isn’t your children fighting over the PlayStation 5 you had to overpay for but it’s the Golden State Warriors vs the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams are expected to go deep into the NBA playoffs and are in the top-five teams listed to win the 2020-21 NBA championship.

Kicking off the holiday will be the New Orleans Pelicans and Miami Heat, followed by the Bucks-Warriors, then the Brooklyn Nets facing the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers and finally the nightcap of the Los Angeles Clippers vs the Denver Nuggets.

As we are in the spirit of giving here at Odds Shark, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of stats, trends and key info surrounding how these teams and their players perform on Christmas Day. I’ll also provide my five favorite bets for each game and, not to toot my own horn, I went 5-0 with my Christmas Day picks in 2019.


Christmas Day NBA Picks

Below will be my favorite bet for each NBA Christmas Day game, which will be released on December 24th. Beneath the picks, we have betting trends and important news/stats that every bettor should be aware of before locking in your bets.

Without further ado, here are my favorite NBA bets for the Christmas Day games:

  • New Orleans vs Miami: PICK TBA
  • Golden State vs Milwaukee: PICK TBA
  • Brooklyn vs Boston: PICK TBA
  • Dallas vs Los Angeles Lakers: PICK TBA
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver: PICK TBA

Biggest Trends for NBA Christmas Day Games

Although no one should blindly bet any NBA game with just trends, it’s still important to take note of these betting tendencies and factor them into your wagers. The two most discussed and most importantly, profitable, NBA Christmas Day trends are UNDERs and home team success:

UNDERS For Christmas Day

I gave my followers on Twitter a little taste of the ongoing trend of Christmas Day games going UNDER the closing total and it’s astounding with how consistent this betting trend has been:

Yes, you’re reading that correctly, since 1993 when Odds Shark started tracking closing NBA totals for Christmas Day games in our database, the UNDER has hit 60.2 percent of the time.

It’s difficult to gauge how this could play out in 2020 with little-to-no fans in attendance and most teams only playing one regular-season game before Christmas Day. Usually, by Christmas, most teams have 20 to 25 games under their belt so there could be some offensive consistency issues due to the lack of playing time.

Worth noting that in the first week of the NBA Bubble in Orlando, closing totals that were hovering around the 230 to 232 mark were routinely going UNDER. There were 11 games in that first week of the bubble that had closing totals over 230 and the O/U record for those games was 3-8. Oddsmakers had to adjust on the fly with betting lines to ensure totals corrected themselves so monitor the closing totals heading into Christmas.

Home Teams and Favorites on Christmas Day

Much like the home teams on Christmas Day, I’ll be in the comfort of my home, waking up in my bed, and immediately furious that Santa Claus didn’t bring me a new PlayStation 5. OK, that last part is clearly exaggerated but there’s something to be said for being able to have your regular routine locked in and betting trends show that being the home team has a clear advantage.

Since Christmas Day games were introduced back in the 1993-94 season, home teams have come through for bettors at 54-36 SU (60.1 percent) with an ATS record of 49-51 (54.4 percent). While the road teams have started to catch up with that trend recently, what hasn’t changed is favorites typically take care of business on their home floor.

Betting favorites on the moneyline Christmas Day has been a solid strategy since 1993-94 as they’ve won 67.8 percent of the time to the tune of a 61-29 SU record (67.8 percent). However, ATS favorites have been slipping lately and are only covering at 53.3 percent with a 48-42 ATS record.

Does that mean you only take underdogs? No, because not all underdogs are created equal but make sure you do your research and feel confident in the favorite you’re backing as the dogs have been barking on Christmas Day:

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NBA Betting Records for Christmas Day Games

Here is each team’s SU, ATS and O/U record on Christmas Day (dating back to the 1993-94 season):

NBA Christmas Day Records
Team SU Record ATS Record O/U Record
Heat 10-2 (83.3%) 7-5 (58.3%) 2-10 (16.7%)
Celtics 5-5 (50%) 6-4 (60%) 6-4 (60%)
Lakers 8-14 (36.4%) 12-10 (54.5%) 6-14-2 (30%)
Warriors 5-4 (55.6%) 3-6 (33.3%) 2-7 (22.2%)
Nets 1-2 (33.3%) 1-2 (33.3%) 1-2 (33.3%)
Nuggets 1-4 (20%) 1-4 (20%) 3-2 (60.0%)
Pelicans 1-2 (33.3%) 1-2 (33.3%) 0-3 (0.0%)
Mavericks 2-1 (66.7%) 2-1 (66.7%) 2-0-1 (100%)
Bucks 1-1 (50%) 1-1 (50%) 1-1 (50%)
Clippers 5-3 (62.5%) 5-3 (62.5%) 3-5 (37.5%)

NBA Player Stats For Christmas Day Games

LeBron James is the elder statesman when it comes to suiting up on Christmas Day as the King has taken the court 14 times on December 25 in his 17-year career.

LeBron has career averages of 25.8 points, 6.9 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game in Christmas Day contests and his teams are 9-5 SU and 8-6 ATS. The one trend related to LeBron is these games routinely go UNDER the closing total with an O/U record of 2-12 and an average combined score in those games at 196.5.

The next player that even comes close to LeBron in games played on Christmas Day is JJ Redick, who has played 10 games on December 25th with fairly pedestrian stats of 12.5 points, 1.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds). After Redick is Jimmy Butler, who’s played seven times on Christmas Day and is his usual reliable self by averaging 18.7 points, four assists and five rebounds.

Want to know how other key players fare during the holiday? See below:

NBA Christmas Day Player Stats
Player Stats
LeBron James Averaging 25.2 PTS, 7.0 AST, 8.2 REB in 14 Christmas Day games.
Jayson Tatum Averaging 18 PTS, 2.3 AST, 7.3 REB in 3 Christmas Day games.
Anthony Davis Averaging 26.5 PTS, 3.5 AST, 10.5 rebounds in 2 Christmas Day games.
Jrue Holiday Averaging 14.5 PTS, 5 AST, 3.5 rebounds in 2 Christmas Day games.
Draymond Green Averaging 12.0 PTS, 5.2 AST, 7.7 REB in 6 Christmas Day games.
Luka Doncic N/A – Has not played on Christmas Day
Goran Dragic Averaging 10.0 PTS, 4.0 AST, 3.0 REB in 2 Christmas Day games.
Jimmy Butler Averaging 18.7 PTS, 4.0 AST, 5.0 REB in 7 Christmas Day games.
Khris Middleton Averaging 18.5 PTS, 3.5 AST, 7.0 REB in 2 Christmas Day games.
Jamal Murray Averaging 8.0 PTS, 4.0 AST, 10 REB in 1 Christmas Day game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Averaging 24 PTS, 5 AST,14 rebounds in 2 Christmas Day games.
Paul George Averaging 23.0 PTS, 3 AST, 8 REB in 3 Christmas Day games.
Nikola Jokic Averaging 23.0 PTS, 4 AST, 10 REB in 1 Christmas Day games.
Kawhi Leonard Averaging 23.3 PTS, 3.3 AST, 9.0 REB in 4 Christmas Day games.
JJ Redick Averaging 12.5 PTS, 1.3 AST, 2.3 REB in 10 Christmas Day games.
Jaylen Brown Averaging 10.5 PTS, 1.5 AST, 5.0 REB in 4 Christmas Day games.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Enjoy the hoops and good luck with your Bets!

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