Christmas Comes in August as Sportsbooks Post Early Odds on NBA Holiday Games

Posted on: August 3, 2019, 11:50h. 

Last updated on: August 4, 2019, 01:58h.

Christmas has come early for basketball fans, as reports have surfaced regarding what NBA teams will play on the holiday this year.

LeBron James tried to recruit Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers. Instead, James will now face Leonard on Christmas night when the Lakers play the Clippers in a primetime marquee matchup. (Image: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Christmas has become to the NBA what Thanksgiving means to the NFL and New Years Day to college football. It’s a day full of big games and big names, and this year looks no different.

The biggest game of the night takes place in Los Angeles, when the city’s two teams square off at  Staples Center. The new-look Clippers face LeBron James and the Lakers in a game featuring, according to the Westgate SuperBook and FanDuel Sportsbook, the two teams with the shortest odds for the NBA title. It also marks the 12th straight year James will play on Dec. 25.

The Clippers (+330 FanDuel/+350 SuperBook) became the NBA title favorites after they landed Kawhi Leonard, who led Toronto to last season’s NBA championship, and Paul George in the off-season.

The Lakers (+440 FanDuel/+400 SuperBook), who failed to make the playoffs last season, wasted little time in finding pieces to go with all-time great James. Most notably, they acquired Anthony Davis from New Orleans for a title run this year, plus they landed Demarcus Cousins from Golden State and Danny Green, who was a key complementary piece to Leonard during the Raptors title run.

The game is set to start at 8 pm ET.

Stocking Stuffers

The NBA will also play four other games on Christmas.

Defending champion Toronto Raptors will host the Boston Celtics in a game set for a noon ET tip. The Raptors, of course, lost Leonard in the off-season, and while the Celtics lost Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn, they got a more-than-capable replacement in Kemba Walker.

A pair of Eastern Conference favorites will duke it out at 2:40 pm ET in Philadelphia, when the 76ers host the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers are led by the trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris, while the Bucks feature the league’s best player in reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The league’s No. 1 draft pick will get a chance to showcase his talents when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Denver Nuggets for a 5:10 pm ET tipoff. The Pelicans Zion Williamson, considered to be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year, will face one of the league’s top young tandems in Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray.

The last game of the night takes place in San Francisco, when Golden State will face the Houston Rockets. The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to free agency and will not have Klay Thompson, who severely injured his knee in the NBA Finals. But they still have Steph Curry and Draymond Green. In addition, the Warriors received D’Angelo Russell, one of the league’s most improved players last season, in the sign-and-trade deal for Durant.

The Rockets, meanwhile, made waves of their own when they traded Chris Paul to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook. The move reunited Westbrook with his former teammate, James Harden.

Early Odds

After word spread that the NBA set its Christmas slate, some sportsbooks wasted little time in posting their early lines for the games.

At the SuperBook, Jeff Sherman, the SuperBook’s vice president of risk management, posted the initial odds on Twitter. Both the Lakers-Clippers and the Rockets-Warriors games were listed as pick ‘ems, or no spread for either team. The Raptors were listed as a two-point favorite, while the SuperBook made the 76ers 3.5-point and the Nuggets 8.5-point favorites.

All games have both teams listed at -110 odds, meaning a $110 bet nets $100.

FanDuel offered the Raptors and Sixers and three-point favorites in their games, with the Clippers a one-point favorite and the Warriors a 1.5-point favorite. Denver is a nine-point favorite. All teams are -110 against the spread.

In straight-up moneyline betting at FanDuel, the Raptors (-146/+124), the Sixers (-148/+126), the Nuggets (-410/+320), the Clippers (-114,-102), and the Warriors (-122/+104) are favorites.

PointsBet also listed early odds for the five games. They list the Clippers and Warriors as one-point favorites and Raptors and Sixers giving three points. The Nuggets are eight-point favorites. All teams are -110 against the spread.

PointsBet’s lists the Raptors (-150/+125), Sixers (-150/+125), Nuggets (-455/+340), Clippers (-115/-104), and Warriors (-115/-104) as favorites in its moneylines.