The NBA traditionally puts together a strong slate of games for Christmas Day, with top teams and bitter rivals being given the marquee holiday spots. This year is no exception, with five games designed to provide a basketball background while you enjoy (or just try to survive) a day with your loved ones.
Whether you’re a bettor or a fan, that means there’s a lot of action to look forward to on Christmas Day. Here’s a breakdown of the NBA Christmas Day odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, from the early lunchtime game to well after the kids have been tucked into bed.
Boston Celtics (-3.5) at Toronto Raptors
The Christmas Day schedule begins with a battle of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, as the Boston Celtics (20-7) travel to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors (21-9). The Celtics should get a boost from the return of Gordon Hayward, who is probable to return from a sore left foot, while Marcus Smart will remain out with an eye infection that has sidelined him for the past six games.
Neutral fans will also miss out on seeing Boston center Tacko Fall, who will be inactive for the game. That’s due to the fact that the Raptors have been playing small lineups in the absence of a number of their big men, including Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam.
Milwaukee Bucks (-2.5) at Philadelphia 76ers
The first two Christmas games might be previews of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bucks (27-4) have the best record in the NBA behind Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31 points and 12.9 rebounds per game in what could be a second straight MVP performance. Meanwhile, the 76ers (22-10) may not have a gaudy record, but are still the second-favorite at +260 to win the Eastern Conference behind Milwaukee (+100).
Houston Rockets (-11) at Golden State Warriors
When the NBA put the Warriors on the Christmas Day slate, they probably didn’t anticipate that an injury-riddled Golden State would be limping into the game at 7-24 — good for the worst record in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Rockets (21-9) are riding high behind James Harden, who will be looking to put together another strong Christmas Day stat line. He is 6-1 for his career on the holiday, averaging 26.3 points over those games.
Los Angeles Clippers (+2.5) at Los Angeles Lakers
The second round of the battle for LA will take place at the Staples Center, after the Clippers scored a 10-point win over the Lakers on opening night. Since then, the Lakers have been the class of the West, jumping out to a 24-6 record that tops the conference. Even Clippers star Kawhi Leonard acknowledges that the Lakers aren’t the same team his squad beat back in October.
“It was just the first game of the season, everybody was just trying to get in their rhythm,” Leonard told reporters. “I think they got [Kyle] Kuzma back, and now we got Paul [George], so it’s gonna be two different teams.”
The Lakers should be at full strength, with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis expected to play on Christmas.
New Orleans Pelicans (+9.5) at Denver Nuggets
The final game of Christmas Day could be the least compelling, as the 8-23 Pelicans travel to Denver to take on the surging Nuggets (21-8). Denver started relatively slow this season, as did star Nikola Jokic. The center now has seven triple doubles on the season, and the Denver offense is firing on all cylinders, which should provide some entertainment in a game that might not be competitive down the stretch.