In the UK we’re used to Boxing Day being the big day for sport and betting, but the NBA is here to fill in for football and horse racing on Christmas Day. This evening sees five games played across the league – all should be entertaining matchups for different reasons. The first four games are all live on Sky Sports Main Event, Action and Mix in the UK – so there’s no excuse not to watch!
Read on for a quick preview and some optimistic bets. Most of these are requestabets and other specials.
Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks (5:00PM)
The Bucks travel to New York to face the Knicks for the first game on Christmas Day. What could’ve been a relatively lowkey affair, is now a highly anticipated encounter thanks to this move by Knicks wing Mario Hezonja:
As to be expected, Giannis didn’t take too kindly to this and issued a threat to punch Hezonja at their next meeting. And today’s the day. I fancy Antetokounmpo to put on a dominant display in his first Christmas Day game along with the storyline. At 10/1 with Skybet Giannis to score 40+ points looks a good bet.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets (8:00PM on Sky Sports)
Next up are the Thunder facing the Rockets in Houston. Expect a good game between two of the best squads in the Western Conference and the last two winners of the MVP award in Westbrook and Harden. As touched upon previously, I really fancy Paul George to score well over the festive period and like him to be the top scorer over the period at 5/1 with Skybet.
However, for this match in particular I’m focussing on the team. OKC have enough to beat the Rockets and whilst the 10/11 moneyline is a bit short for me, I’ll be having a 1pt stake on Thunder -4.5 at 15/8 with Paddy Power.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics (10:30PM on Sky Sports)
After the copious amounts of food and alcohol have started to take their toll, you’ll be able to settle down to watch the Sixers and Celtics face off at the TD Garden.
Every time these two meet for the next few years, all eyes will be on a game between two of the most powerful teams in the East. Both loaded with uber talented young cores and supplementary all-stars – Philadelphia and Boston will be contenders for years to come.
Joel Embiid has been on a tear during the first half of the season, averaging over 26 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists per game, and I fancy him to carry his recent form into tonight’s game. The Cameroonian should be able to dominate in the paint against Al Horford and Embiid 25+ Points & 15+ Rebounds at 100/30 with Skybet looks a good bet. Additionally, Ben Simmons to post a triple-double at 9/2 with Skybet also seems likely considering his statlines of 13-10-12 and 26-8-12 in his previous two games.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors (01:00AM on Sky Sports)
The final game live on Sky sees LeBron James and the Lakers face the star-studded Warriors for the first time this season. This will be an absolutely intriguing encounter, with James playing against the Warriors on his new team for the first time since heading West in July.
It’s difficult to pick a winner here – Golden State should be able to win comfortably on paper, but LeBron James is LeBron James and this Lakers team could very well spring a surprise. I’ll be having a small bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers & Los Angeles Lakers all to win at a massive 20/1 with Skybet.
No active player has scored more points in Christmas Day games than James, although Kevin Durant tops all active players in points per game. I fully expect LeBron to put on a show in his first serious test of the season, him and the team will want to show they mean business this season against the best team in the league.
I like a combination scoring bet between him and stars from Golden State, Bucks and Rockets – LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden & Giannis Antetokounmpo all 25+ Points each is available at 7/2 with Skybet and that seems a fair price for the league’s best performing well on the big stage.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz (3:30AM)
The final Christmas Day game is a Northwest Division clash between two solid playoff hopefuls. Expect a showdown between Utah’s sophomore star Donovan Mitchell and Portland’s Damian Lilliard. For me, this is a game to enjoy between two intriguing teams heading into the second half of the season. No bet here – most of us will be comotosed by tip-off anyway!
Enjoy the games and have a very Merry Christmas! Cheers.
Giannis to score 40+ points @ 10/1 – ½pt
Thunder -4.5 @ 15/8 – 1pt
Embiid 25+ Points & 15+ Rebounds @ 100/30 – 1pt
Ben Simmons to post a triple-double @ 9/2 – ½pt
OKC, PHI & LAL all to win @ 20/1 – ½pt
LeBron, Curry, Harden & Giannis 25+ Points each @ 7/2 – ½pt