The NBA regular season has a number of entertaining days full of action that fans tune into, but none of them can touch the thrilling matchups that Christmas Day provides.
It’s a day that, every year, the NBA completely excels in scheduling, knowing exactly what types of one-on-one and team matchups move the needle for fans. And, more often than not, we get at least one buzzer-beating finish, or possibly even an overtime affair or two, which is great, because nothing is better than free basketball.
This particular year is no different, as there are five matchups on deck, on track to provide fans with at least 13 hours of non-stop basketball action, with some revenge angles in play as well. The day begins with arguably the two best teams in the Eastern Conference squaring off, and fans will want to make sure to watch the Celtics take on the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena, as Boston nearly won the Eastern Conference two seasons ago, while the Raptors did that deed last year. Not only that, they even went on to beat the Warriors and won a title. Coincidentally, they’re followed by the Bucks and Sixers, who, depending on who you ask, might also be in the discussion for best teams in the East. Regardless, those four teams are clearly the top four.
After that, the Western Conference matchups begin, with the Warriors and Rockets going to war at Toyota Center, and, if some of their playoff matchups are any indication, this one should have plenty of juice — and plenty of points as well. And then, at approximately 8 p.m. ET, the game of the day should tip off, as the interstate rival Lakers and Clippers will do battle at Staples Center, with plenty of celebrities likely on hand to watch. The day will conclude with the Pelicans playing the Nuggets at Pepsi Center, so expect tons of points, and not all that much defense.
And while the games will be good, drawing plenty of action, it’s all about the prop bets. That’s where the money is, as bettors can do their homework and get some action in areas where they actually have a statistical advantage. Here are some of the best ones.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo total points over/under 30.5 (-115) — Giannis has averaged 31 points per game this season, and a matchup against the trash-talking Joel Embiid should motivate him to score early and often. Take the OVER in this one.
- Russell Westbrook total points + rebounds + assists over/under 40.5 (-115) — Westbrook is a player who has been known to turn up his play when the bright lights are on him, as he looks to put on a show for the fans. Sometimes he does too much, and turns the ball over, but for the sake of this prop, bet the OVER.
- Total points scored: LeBron James (-130) vs Kawhi Leonard (even) — Leonard completely outplayed LBJ when the two met earlier in the season, and it’s safe to say James will be out to return the favor on Christmas Day. He scored only 18 points and looked rusty in the game, which was the first of the season, but he’s in midseason form now, so we expect him to be gunning to outshine Leonard this time around.
- Anthony Davis points + rebounds over/under 37.5 (-115) — Adding on to the above, we expect the offense to run through James, with Davis getting his points, but this number is simply too high, especially with him likely being guarded by physical, defensive stalwart Montrezl Harrell in the game, which will make life difficult for him on the night.