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NBA Christmas Day Betting Primer

Some NBA analysts and insiders would say the season doesn’t truly start until Christmas and what better way to ignore your family and make back some money from shopping than the annual tradition of Christmas Day NBA games.

This year’s slate has a plethora of betting angles, grudge matches and potential playoff previews and the main event for December 25 isn’t your children fighting over the box of chocolates but the Los Angeles Lakers vs the Golden State Warriors. This will be LeBron James’ first game in the purple and gold against the Warriors after facing them in the NBA Finals for four straight years.

Kicking off the holiday will be the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder vs the Houston Rockets, then the Philadelphia 76ers vs the Boston Celtics and the nightcap of the Utah Jazz vs the Portland Trail Blazers.

As we are in the spirit of giving here at OddsShark, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of stats, trends and key info surrounding how these teams and their players perform on Christmas Day. Below will also be my best picks for each game once the betting lines become available.

Betting Outlook

Much like the home teams will be on Christmas Day, I’ll be in the comfort of my home, waking up in my bed and taking a dump with the door open. OK, that last part is clearly exaggerated but there’s something to be said about 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 49-31 SU and 44-36 ATS in 80 games and a more recent sample size from the last three seasons has the home teams at 9-6 SU and ATS in 15 games. Clearly, the road teams have caught up with that trend recently but what hasn’t is the penchant for low-scoring games.

Since the 1993-94 season, the O/U record in 80 games is 30-44-6. Isolating that just to the last three seasons, the O/U record is 4-10-1 in 15 games.

Here is how I'm betting each game on Christmas Day based on lines as of Monday, December 24th:

  • UNDER 228 Bucks vs Knicks
  • Celtics -4 vs Sixers
  • Thunder +1.5 vs Rockets
  • UNDER 235 Lakers vs Warriors
  • UNDER 214.5 Blazers vs Jazz

Historical Betting Data For Christmas Day

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

NBA Christmas Day Records
TeamSU RecordATS RecordOVER/UNDER Record
Milwaukee BucksN/AN/AN/A
New York Knicks3-82-96-4-1
Oklahoma City Thunder6-46-43-6-1
Houston Rockets4-46-22-4-2
Philadelphia 76ers1-11-10-2
Boston Celtics3-54-44-4
Los Angeles Lakers7-1311-96-12-2
Golden State Warriors4-32-52-5
Portland Trail Blazers3-23-24-1
Utah Jazz1-00-11-0

Key player stats

LeBron James is the elder statesman when it comes to suiting up on Christmas Day as the King has taken the court 12 times on December 25 in his 15-year career. LeBron has career averages of 26.7 points, 6.8 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game and his teams are 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS in 12 Christmas Day games.

Former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are next on the list at eight games apiece and each has balled out when on the national stage. Durant is sporting a stat line of 31.4 points, 4.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds but his teams have gotten mixed results at 4-4 SU and ATS. Westbrook is averaging 23.7 points, 8.5 assists and 7.2 rebounds and the Thunder have gone 6-2 SU and ATS on Christmas Day.

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

NBA Christmas Day Player Stats
LeBron JamesAveraging 26.7 points, 6.8 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 12 Christmas Day games.
Stephen CurryAveraging 11.8 points, 7.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds in six Christmas Day games.
Kevin DurantAveraging 31.3 points, 4.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds in eight Christmas Day games.
Klay ThompsonAveraging 18.5 points, 2 assists and 4.3 rebounds in six Christmas Day games.
Draymond GreenAveraging 12 points, 5.2 assists and 8.2 rebounds in five Christmas Day games.
Ben SimmonsAveraging 8 points, 3 assists and 8 rebounds in one Christmas Day game.
Joel EmbiidAveraging 25 points, 3 assists and 16 rebounds in one Christmas Day game.
Jimmy ButlerAveraging 17.8 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds in six Christmas Day games.
Kyrie IrvingAveraging 20.7 points, 5 assists and 4.2 rebounds in four Christmas Day games.
Al HorfordAveraging 13.5 points, 5.5 assists and 7 rebounds in two Christmas Day games.
Russell WestbrookAveraging 23.7 points, 8.5 assists and 7.2 rebounds in eight Christmas Day games.
James HardenAveraging 23.8 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds in six Christmas Day games.
Chris PaulAveraging 19.5 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in six Christmas Day games.
Giannis AntetokounmpoHas not played in a Christmas Day game.
Paul GeorgeAveraging 24.0 points, 4.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in one Christmas Day game.
Damian LillardHas not played in a Christmas Day game.
CJ McCollumHas not played in a Christmas Day game.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Enjoy the hoops and Good Luck with your Bets!