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NBA Betting Odds and Preview for Christmas Day 2020

| December 23, 2020 5:50 am PDT
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The NBA Christmas Day slate always seems to be a big deal. It’s probably because after you wake up and open your presents, you wonder what else there is to do.

Yeah, you can talk to family and eat some good grub, but there’s nothing like real, live sports on TV.

Also, thanks to the most truncated NBA offseason ever, the NBA games on December 25th end up being a bit of a “welcome back” of sorts for The Association as it embarks on the 2020-21 season.

You also can bet on NBA Christmas Day games, and the top US betting sites have had pricing out for some time. I wanted to wait to dissect the odds and matchups until Christmas Day got a bit closer, so bettors could digest the preseason first.

It’s finally here, though, so let’s take a look at each matchup and the latest odds for the 2020-21 NBA Christmas Day betting slate.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Odds

  • Pelicans (+5) -110
  • Heat (-5) -110

Miami and New Orleans got their 2020-21 season going on Wednesday, and they’ll both be in action on Christmas Day.

Jimmy Butler and co. are hosting, and after what we saw out of them en route to the NBA Finals last year, it’s pretty easy to understand why they’re the favorites.

BetOnline has them priced as modest favorites, but they’re still the far better team thanks to a more cohesive offense and superior defense.

Here’s a quick rundown of how these two sides graded out last year, as well as their record in their last four meetings.

Team Record Pace Rank Off Eff Rank Def Eff Rank
Pelicans 1-3 2nd 17th

18th

Heat 3-1 27th 9th

11th

New Orleans can push the pace and they have a very talented young roster, but they have serious defensive issues that new head coach Stan Van Gundy will have to iron out.

The Heat should be able to keep things in check down low in this one, likely using a similar strategy on Zion Williamson that helped contain Giannis Antetokounmpo during the playoffs.

With Butler locking down either Brandon Ingram or Eric Bledsoe, points may not come so easily to the Pels. I tend to favor Miami here, and once the game total comes out, it’s likely bettors can safely target the Over.

Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks Odds

  • Warriors (+8) -105
  • Bucks (-8) -115

The Warriors are back in action for the first time since the league opening slate on Tuesday, and they have a tough task in trying to take down the Bucks.

Milwaukee made a ton of offseason changes, and in theory, they got quite a bit better. It could take some time to see everything fall into place, though, so this could be an opportunity to exploit a pretty thick point spread.

The moneyline pricing isn’t available at the top NBA betting sites just yet, but I’m not sure I’d be super into Golden State as a straight up underdog bet.

The Dubs have a shot at keeping this game interesting, though. Stephen Curry’s presence is always going to make that the case, while Golden State can only really hang in games if they push the pace and put up points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a cheat code, and there probably isn’t anything the Dubs can do to stop him. Betting against the Bucks feels silly here, with Golden State ATS being the only thing I’d really consider.

With both of these teams playing fast and Golden State’s defense a huge question mark, betting on the game total stands out as the best option.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics Odds

  • Nets (PK) -125
  • Celtics (PK) +105

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are again in action, as they last played on Tuesday. Their chemistry will only get better as the season wears on, but it’s worth wondering if it will hit a snag at TD Garden against Boston.

The Celtics are historically a well-coached team that relies on defense and efficient offense.

They were a stellar 51-34-3 against the spread last year and tend to get it done at home, but this is priced as a pick’em, and they also don’t have Kemba Walker on hand.

Boston has enough scoring to give the Nets issues, especially since it’s unclear just how good the Nets will be on that side of the ball this season.

Still, in a pick’em, bettors get even value and can target either side pretty confidently. I’d just trust in the star talent here, and also note the absence of Walker can’t be ideal.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers Odds

  • Mavericks (+5.5) -114
  • Lakers (-5.5) -106

Luka Doncic and co. battle LeBron James and the Lakers, offering one of the best Christmas Day matchups to bet on.

All of these games are packed with superstars and could be really good games, but this may be the one everyone decides to sit down and watch.

Doncic is an ascending superstar, and many peg him as the favorite to win this year’s NBA MVP.

While that may be true, the Lakers are the defending champs, and they’ve been resting since opening up their season on Tuesday. I’d expect them to defend their home turf here, just because Dallas doesn’t have Kristaps Porzingis, or anyone to slow down Anthony Davis.

Some of these matchups aren’t worth breaking down fully due to so many changes, but this one is. Here’s a look at how these two compare from a year ago.

Team Record Pace Rank Off Eff Rank Def Eff Rank
Mavs 1-3 18th 1st

19th

Lakers 3-1 11th 12th

3rd

Dallas is still a very appealing against the spread bet here, though. They ran the most efficient offense a season ago, and played L.A. pretty well across four meetings last season.

I think the Lake Show wins, but Dallas ATS and the Over should be near the top of the list when betting on NBA Christmas Day games.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets Odds

  • Clippers (PK) -105
  • Nuggets (PK) -115

Lastly, we get the Clippers and Nuggets to close out the Christmas Day NBA betting schedule.

Los Angeles will be well rested after last suiting up on Tuesday, while the Nuggets won’t be quite as fresh after playing on Wednesday.

There is a revenge narrative here, as the Clippers will want to get back at Denver after blowing a 3-1 series lead in the playoffs last season.

I’m not sure how much bettors should read into that, but it’s not nothing.

It also isn’t a waste of time to see how these two sides compare.

Team Record Pace Rank Off Eff Rank Def Eff Rank
Clippers 2-2 8th 2nd

6th

Nuggets 2-2 29th 8th

17th

I’m not including the playoffs here, as the bubble has to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Denver has the matchup edge down low with Nikola Jokic, and this team is very deep. Jamal Murray showed last year he is not going to back down, while the Nuggets can play enough defense to close out tough games.

The Nuggets also tend to play their best ball at home, for what it’s worth.

Those things are worth noting, but the Clippers upgraded their depth during the offseason, and I think they’re on a mission this year. They look like a solid play going into this one, but you’ll need to decide which bet is best.

Thanks to the defensive potential from both teams (and Denver’s 29th ranked pace of play), the Under should also stand out when looking to bet on this game.

Summary

This is a really loaded slate. You can make a case to bet on every single game, and/or target multiple bets for each contest

These kinds of star-studded, tight games are exactly what the league aims for when they piece together the NBA Christmas Day schedule every year.

I’m not really providing Christmas Day betting picks here, but I do think you can lean in certain directions based on my breakdowns above.

There is some very interesting pricing here, with the Mavs and Warriors standing out the most as ATS plays. I don’t think I’d go too hard at underdogs on this slate, and with pricing not official just yet, I’ll be very intrigued as to how the sportsbooks list the NBA totals.

Hopefully this NBA Christmas Day betting preview at least gets you excited for a big, merry slate. Enjoy the games, happy betting, and happy holidays to all!

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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