NBA on Christmas Day: Bettors treated to five-game holiday slate
NBA on Christmas Day: Bettors treated to five-game holiday slate
Christmas in the NBA features five matchups throughout the day for bettors to enjoy, with the defending champion Warriors and Lakers highlighting the slate.
Christmas Day in the NBA always brings a fun slate of games to bet on, and 2018 should be no different with several high-profile matchups. The defending champion Golden State Warriors hosting LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers is the matchup of the night, but there will be playoff rematches and MVP candidates in action that should deliver plenty of hoops presents under the tree: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrPZkcTG5K8" class="embedly-card" data-card-width="100%" data-card-controls="1">Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrPZkcTG5K8</a> Let's take a look at the five games on the Christmas menu. All point spreads and totals are [via Bovada](https://www.bovada.lv/sports/basketball/nba). Also, please play along in our Christmas Day NBA pick 'em contest. It's free to enter and easy to play, and if you go 5-for-5, we'll send you package with some nice BetChicago merch. Enter [right here](https://betchicago.chalkline.com/games/nba-pick-5). ## Milwaukee Bucks (22-10, 16-14-2 ATS) at New York Knicks (9-25, 15-18-1 ATS), 11 a.m. CT, ESPN __Spread:__ Bucks -10 __Total:__ 228 The Knicks are awful and might not have Kristaps Porzingis all season, but a Madison Square Garden matinee is a Christmas staple. This time it will be the Bucks and MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo coming to town. The Greek Freak is averaging 26.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 58.3 percent from the field. Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are coming off a dud of a performance in Miami the night after a dominant effort in Boston, so they'll be looking to get back on the winning track. Milwaukee's [second-ranked offense](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=OFF_RATING&dir=-1&Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season) should have its way with New York's 29th-ranked defense, but the Knicks, as 8-point home underdogs on Dec. 1, did win the last matchup in a 136-134 overtime thriller. ## Oklahoma City Thunder (21-11, 18-14 ATS) at Houston Rockets (17-15, 14-17-1 ATS), 2 p.m. CT, ABC __Spread:__ Rockets -1.5 __Total:__ 220 The Rockets have been on a roller-coaster ride all season and just added Austin Rivers to the mix. The arrow has been trending up thanks to six wins in their last seven games (5-1-1 ATS), but Chris Paul's latest hamstring injury puts more pressure on former Thunder star and reigning MVP James Harden. Harden has been up to the challenge lately, with averages of 38.1 points, 8.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds over these last seven games. He's leading the NBA in scoring with 32.0 points per game. Speaking of on-fire MVP candidates, Paul George has been scorching the nets. After 31 points in a heartbreaking loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, George is averaging 31.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting percent overall and percent from 3 in December. George's terrific offense paired with the Thunder's elite defense has helped make up for a slumping Russell Westbrook, even though the 2017 MVP is still a triple-double threat every night. Oklahoma City dominated the first matchup of season between the two teams (98-80 as 5-point home dogs on Nov. 8, so Houston will be out for revenge. ## Philadelphia 76ers (22-12, 16-18 ATS) at Boston Celtics (19-13, 16-16 ATS), 4:30 p.m. CT, ABC __Spread:__ Celtics -4 __Total:__ 223 The Celtics blew out the Sixers on opening night in a rematch of last season's second-round playoff matchup, but now Jimmy Butler is in Philly to add even more spice to this budding rivalry. The Sixers are 13-4 in games Butler has played for them this season, but Joel Embiid is still the main star of the show and an MVP candidate in his own right. Boston hasn't had the season it expected after entering with expectations to win the Eastern Conference. The Celtics had several lengthy team meetings after the ugly home loss to the Bucks this past Friday, but they bounced back with a blowout victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Getting Al Horford back in the lineup was a huge plus, and the veteran big man [has made life difficult](https://twitter.com/TreyAdell/status/1077046966947852288) on Embiid in prior matchups. Given the recent history between these teams, this should be a fun battle with a lot of emotion, especially with a fiery guy like Butler now in the fold. ### Los Angeles Lakers (19-14, 13-19-1 ATS) at Golden State Warriors (23-11, 14-20 ATS), 7 p.m. CT, ESPN __Spread:__ Warriors -9 __Total:__ 234 The Warriors have gotten used to facing LeBron James on Christmas, but this time he's in a different uniform after three straight Dubs-Cavs games on the holiday. LeBron isn't slowing down as a member of the Lakers, averaging 27.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists as he makes a case for another MVP award. Golden State is coming off a thrilling 129-127 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, a game in which Stephen Curry went for 42 points [and the game-winning bucket with 0.5 seconds left.](https://twitter.com/warriors/status/1077053569998610433) The Warriors have dealt with their share of drama this season and prolonged Klay Thompson and Draymond Green shooting slumps, but they're still right there at the top of the Western Conference. It's a bummer that DeMarcus Cousins isn't yet ready to play, but there will be plenty of star power at Oracle Arena as it is. LeBron will be looking to make it 2-2 against these Warriors on Christmas after going 1-2 in the last three holiday matchups. The Lakers have lost three of their last four games and could use a return of the ill JaVale McGee, who will be getting his championship ring. ### Portland Trail Blazers (19-14, 16-17 ATS) at Utah Jazz (16-18, 16-17 ATS), 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN __Spread:__ Jazz -6 __Total__: 214 The Jazz earning a Christmas home game to close out the night reflects the expectations they had coming into this season, but they have struggled to live up to the hype against a tough early schedule. Second-year guard Donovan Mitchell is going through a sophomore slump with shooting percentages of just 40.6 percent overall and 28.9 percent on 3-pointers. Mitchell was awful in the first meeting between these two teams just last week, shooting 1-of-10 from the field, but that didn't stop Utah from thrashing Portland by 30 points as a 2-point road dog. So, the Blazers will have revenge on their minds as they attempt to deliver a lump of coal to the home team. Damian Lillard is sixth in the NBA in scoring with 27.1 points per game while shooting at the most efficient rate of his career. Portland has cooled off after starting the season 10-3, but a 4-1 record in the last five games (3-2 ATS) has them back on the right track, the dud against the Jazz aside. __Game lobby:__ [Check out all our contests](https://betchicago.chalkline.com/)2018-12-24T16:07:52.416Z2018-12-24T11:07-05:00