The 74th edition of the NBA on Christmas Day is nearly here. Despite Covid-19 wreaking havoc across the league and stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young being forced to sit out, there’s plenty of great basketball to be played and a ton of betting opportunities to be had.
NBA Christmas Day Unders
Always pick the under on Christmas day. Over the past 10 seasons, the under has hit 58% of the time.
2005 to 2015 was the peak under period with 69% of games going under. In fact, even if you go all the way back to 1993, the under has hit 59.1% of the time. Last Christmas was somewhat of an anomaly as games bucked the trend and backing the under wasn’t profitable.
Another reason to confidently back the under this Christmas is that they have dominated the current season. Unders have enjoyed an overall record of 236-210-6 (under-over-push). That’s 52% of games which have gone under so far this season.
Back The Home Team & Favorites
Everyone wants to be home for Christmas and its no different in the NBA. Since 1993, home teams have won 60% of the time on moneyline bets and are 54-41 ATS (against the spread).
Punters have also had success backing the Christmas Day favorites via moneyline bets. Favorites have a 66-29 record meaning they won 69.8% of the time. It’s the same story with spread bets, ATS favorites have covered 55.7% of the time with a 53-42 ATS record. Last year the favorites did well ATS, going 5-0 for a Christmas clean sweep.
Fade The Reigning Champions
The reigning NBA Champions are always reserved a spot on Christmas Day but they’ve always seemed to struggle. Since 2008, defending champions have gone 6-7 straight up and 4-9 ATS.
Milwaukee currently enjoy a winning Christmas record, going 2-1 SU and 2-1 ATS but they’ll have a tough time against Boston.
The Bucks have had an injury-plagued season with only one player (Pat Connaughton) featuring in every game. With Giannis currently out with Covid-19, the Bucks could have a tough time holding back Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Christmas Day Player Props
Player props are always popular on Christmas Day considering the games feature the biggest and brightest stars. See how some of the top players typically perform on Christmas Day and what to expect from them this year.
LeBron James: 25.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 7.1 apg (15 games)
LeBron will have a chance to make history on Christmas Day against the Nets. He currently trails Kobe Bryant by 12 points on the NBA’s all-time Christmas scoring list. LeBron’s teams have gone 10-5 SU and 9-6 ATS in 15 games.
Stephen Curry: 13.1 ppg, 5 rpg, 6.8 apg (8 games)
Curry has been a consistently poor performer on Christmas Day. He is yet to score more than 20 points and has never made more than two three-pointers. Curry will have his work cut out for him against the Suns who are ranked second in the league for defense. He scored 12 and 23 points in games against Phoenix this season so its possible that he doesn’t go over 20 points.
James Harden: 26 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 7.2 apg (8 games)
Harden is expected to join the Nets on their trip to Los Angeles after clearing the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Thursday. With Kevin Durant ruled out due to Covid-19, Harden will have to step up if the Nets are to compete with the Lakers.
Jayson Tatum: 18.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.3 apg (4 games)
Tatum’s shooting has slightly regressed this season but he’s still having a fantastic year. His current season averages are well above his Christmas Day averages to expect him to give those numbers a boost with a big performance against Milwaukee.
What NBA teams are playing on Christmas Day 2021?
10 teams are playing on Christmas Day 2021: Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks, Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors vs Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz.
Why is NBA played on Christmas?
The NBA began playing on Christmas Day in 1947. Back then, proximity dictated most of the matchups. Teams would play their geographical rivals to reduce travel time so that they could spend the holidays with family. It’s since become a tradition to showcase the league’s best talent and emerging stars on Christmas Day.
Will there be NBA Christmas games this year?
Despite the threat of Covid-19 and teams scrambling to sign replacement players, the NBA’s Christmas games are still going ahead. Five games will be played this Christmas beginning with the Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks.
How many times has LeBron James played on Christmas
LeBron James has played 15 NBA Christmas Day games, winning 10 of them. He’s averaging 25.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 15 Christmas Day games. LeBron has scored a total of 383 points on Christmas Day so far.
Which NBA stars will not be playing this Christmas Day?
Several NBA stars including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young will be forced to miss the Christmas Day games after entering the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.