Last Updated Dec 25, 2022, 10:26 PM
NBA Christmas Day Opening Odds Report
US Sports Betting Industry Expert
NBA Christmas Day Odds are as much a part of the holiday season as Saint Nick and egg nog. In fact, if you're like me, you believe that the NBA season actually begins on Christmas Day.
And there are some gems on "opening" day, including: Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, a battle of teams with the league's best records; and Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors.
Multiple oddsmakers provide insights on Christmas Day NBA odds and action.
Opening line: Nuggets -2.5; Over/Under 230.5
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday (ABC/ESPN)
UPDATE 10:15 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Shortly before tipoff, Denver sits -4 (-115) at WynnBet. The Nuggets opened -3.5 late Friday night, stretched to 4.5 by lunchtime Saturday, then fell back to -3 early today.
This afternoon, Denver returned to -4. Spread tickets are almost 2/1 and spread money beyond 5/1 on the Nuggets. On the moneyline, where Denver is -175, tickets are nearly 2/1 and money 3/1-plus on the Nuggets.
WynnBet said it needs a Suns cover and that Phoenix outright "would be great."
The total opened at 231, quickly dipped to 230.5, peaked at 231.5 early today, then bottomed out at 229.5 this evening. Still, the Over is seeing 73% of tickets/74% of money.
UPDATE MIDNIGHT ET FRIDAY: Two of the best in the West cap the NBA Christmas Day odds slate. Denver (20-11 SU, 14-17 ATS) is on a 6-1 SU run – though just 3-4 ATS – after topping Portland 120-107 Friday night laying 5.5 points at home.
The Suns (19-14 SU, 17-16 ATS) were rolling through early December, then went on a five-game SU and ATS slide. Phoenix bounced back with a three-game SU and ATS uptick, then followed with two more losses. On Friday night, the Suns closed as 3-point home pups against Memphis and got rolled 125-100.
"This opened Nuggets -2.5 and now sits at Nuggets -3.5 (-115)," BetMGM's Seamus Magee said. "There should be good action on this game, with [teams playing from] two BetMGM states. I'm expecting a big handle, despite the late start for the East Coast."
Although the line is up a point, early ticket count is 3/1 and early dollars 9/1 on Phoenix. The total is stable at 230.5, though the Over is juiced a bit to -115. The Over is seeing 54% of tickets, but 87% of cash is on the Under.
Opening line: Warriors -2.5; Over/Under 227.5
Time: 8 p.m. ET Sunday (ABC/ESPN)
UPDATE 7:45 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Shortly before tipoff, Memphis is out to a 7.5-point favorite on WynnBet's NBA Christmas Day odds board. The Grizzlies opened -4.5 late Friday night, climbed to -6.5 by Saturday evening and peaked at -8 late this morning.
About an hour ago, the Grizz backed up a tick to -7.5. With no Steph Curry for Golden State, it's all Memphis on the spread, with tickets almost 3/1 and money beyond 9/1 on the Grizzlies. WynnBet said it definitely needs the Dubs to cover tonight.
The total is out to 233 from a 228.5 opener, with 4 points of that movement coming today. Ticket count is approaching 2/1 and money 4/1 on the Over.
UPDATE MIDNIGHT ET FRIDAY: Defending NBA champion Golden State is off to a slow start this season, at 15-18 SU/14-19 ATS. Like Bucks-Celtics, these two teams met in the second round of last season's playoffs, with the Warriors fending off the Grizzlies in six games (2-4 ATS).
The Dubs enter this Christmas night matchup on a 1-5 SU and ATS slide. On Wednesday night at Brooklyn, the Warriors got trucked 143-113 as 10.5-point underdogs. Golden State has been without Steph Curry (shoulder) since mid-December and won't have him back until mid-January.
Meanwhile, Memphis (20-11 SU, 15-15-1 ATS) put together a seven-game win streak (6-0-1 ATS) over the first half of December. then dropped two in a row. On Friday night, the Grizzlies rebounded with a big 125-100 win laying 3 points at Phoenix.
Memphis is 6-2 ATS in its last eight overall vs Golden State, but the Warriors are 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Oakland. Preseason, BetMGM opened this matchup at Warriors -2.5.
"No Steph obviously takes a ton of juice out of this game and has made a very clear impact on the line," BetMGM's Seamus Magee said. "With Curry out and the Grizzlies' play over the season, we now sit at Grizzlies -4.5."
Early ticket count is 6/1-plus and early money 8/1 on the road favorite Memphis.
The total is up a point to 228.5, with tickets 2/1 and money 6/1 on the Over.
Opening line: Celtics -3.5; Over/Under 223.5
Time: 5 p.m. ET Sunday (ABC/ESPN)
UPDATE 4:30 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Thirty minutes pre-tipoff, Boston is laying 5.5 points in WynnBet's NBA Christmas Day Odds market. WynnBet opened the Celtics -4.5 late Friday night, went to -5 Saturday evening and -5.5 this morning.
Spread tickets are 2/1 Bucks, but spread dollars are 2/1 Celtics. WynnBet said it needs Milwaukee to cover.
The total opened at 225, receded to 224 Saturday afternoon, peaked at 228 this morning, then fell back to 226, where it sits now. The Over is netting 71$ of tickets/62% of money.
UPDATE 10 P.M. ET FRIDAY: Boston (23-10 SU, 18-14-1 ATS), which lost to Golden State in last season's NBA Finals, has the second-best mark in the league, behind only Milwaukee. And the reason the Celts are second-best instead of on top is because of a recent three-game skid, all at home. That includes back-to-back home games against Orlando.
But Boston halted the slide with a 121-109 win laying 9.5 points against visiting Minnesota on Friday night.
Milwaukee (22-10 SU, 17-13-2 ATS) lost at Brooklyn 118-100 as a 2.5-point underdog Friday night. While the Bucks own the NBA's best record, they've been middling of late, at 3-4 SU and ATS in their last seven games.
These two teams last met in the second round of last season's playoffs, with Boston taking the best-of-7 series 4-3 (4-2-1 ATS). In fact, the C's are a stellar 13-3-1 ATS in the last 17 clashes with the Bucks.
BetMGM opened this matchup and all the NBA Christmas Day odds months ago, but then took them off the board. Originally, Boston went up at -3.5, then reposted Wednesday at -4.5, and it's still -4.5. Milwaukee is getting 53% of early bets and 73% of early money. Moneyline action is much more tilted to Milwaukee, at 69% of bets/89% of money.
"Best game of the day, in my opinion," BetMGM's Seamus Magee said. "There should be really big handle on this game."
The total opened at 223.5 and nudged up a point today to 224.5 (Under -115). Ticket count is almost 2/1 on the Over, but money is actually 2/1 on the Under.
Opening line: Mavericks -7.5; Over/Under 225.5
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday (ABC/ESPN)
UPDATE 1:45 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Less than an hour before tipoff, the Mavs are laying 7.5 points in WynnBet's NBA Christmas Day odds market. Dallas opened -8 late Friday night and dipped to -7.5 this morning.
It's two-way action on this spread, with 56% of tickets on the Lakers/53% of money on the Mavericks. On the moneyline, it's pretty much all Dallas. WynnBet said there's not much of a need, though a Lakers outright win would be ideal.
The total opened at 226 and shot to 230.5 by Saturday night, and it's up another 1.5 points today to 232. The Over is getting 56% of tickets/71% of dollars.
UPDATE MIDNIGHT ET FRIDAY: LeBron James and Co. lost the first five games of the season and were 2-10 SU and ATS through a dozen games. So comparably, the Lakers don't look quite as terrible now, sitting at 13-19 SU/12-19-1 ATS. On Friday night, Los Angeles lost to Charlotte 134-130 as a 3-point home chalk.
Luka Doncic and the Mavs are a middling 17-16 SU and are among the worst in the NBA at the betting window, at 11-20-2 ATS. Dallas beat Houston 112-106 Friday, but fell short of cashing as a 6.5-point fave.
"We open these games the moment the schedule is released," BetMGM's Seamus Magee reminded. "The Mavs opened -3.5, and the line is now -7.5 (-115)."
Dallas is taking 63% of early tickets, but early money is running almost dead even. The total climbed to 226.5, with early tickets 2/1 and early cash 9/1 on the Over.
Opening line: 76ers -3.5; Over/Under 219.5
Time: Noon ET Sunday (ABC/ESPN)
UPDATE 11:15 A.M. ET SUNDAY: With tipoff 45 minutes out, WynnBet's Christmas Day NBA odds board has the Sixers at -1.5. That's where the number opened Friday, before climbing to -2 Saturday afternoon and -2.5 late Saturday night.
But earlier this morning, it receded to -2 and then -1.5. That said, ticket count is still almost 2/1 and money 7/1 on Philly. On the moneyline, the 76ers are seeing 62% of tickets/85% of money. WynnBet said it needs the Knicks to cover and ideally win outright.
The total opened at 218 and didn't budge until very early today, going to 217, and it's been falling ever since. It's now at 215.5, with tickets 3/1 on the Over, but money 4/1 on the Under.
UPDATE 10 P.M. ET FRIDAY: Philadelphia (19-12 SU and ATS) is rolling into this opening game on the NBA Christmas Day odds board. After a 119-114 home win giving 3.5 points against the Clippers, the 76ers are on a 7-0 SU/6-1 ATS upswing.
New York (18-15 SU, 17-14-2 ATS) is perhaps surprisingly above .500. That's due to an 8-0 SU and ATS spree over a 2.5-week stretch, before a Wednesday home loss to Toronto. The Knicks then fell just short against visiting Chicago on Friday night, losing 118-117 as 6-point favorites.
"Sharp money has moved this all the way to Philadelphia -1.5," BetMGM's Seamus Magee said of a 2-point drop from the opening number and a 1-point move just today. "I'm not sure who we'll need by tip. The public loves Philly, but when the Knicks are playing well and on national TV, we can't stop writing tickets on them. This could end up being pretty even, honestly."
That's how it looks so far at BetMGM, with 58% of early bets on the 76ers/55% of early cash on the Knicks. The total is down a point, as well, to 218.5 (Under -115), with tickets almost 2/1 and money 4/1 on the Under.