NBA action is synonymous with Christmas Day as the league gets set to feature five games on the holiday for the 16th consecutive year.
There are plenty of mouthwatering matchups to look forward to, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks visiting Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks in the opening game of this NBA quintuple-header.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 NBA Christmas Day schedule and discuss the betting odds for each matchup.
NBA betting odds cited below are current as of Thursday, Dec. 21, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Christmas NBA Betting Odds
Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks (Noon ET, ESPN)
Bucks -3.5 (-105) @ Knicks +3.5 (-115)
The first game of Monday’s Christmas NBA slate will see Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Interestingly, these two teams are also scheduled to clash at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, so this will be their second meeting in the span of 72 hours. Milwaukee won its first two games against New York this season at home, the latter of which saw the Bucks eliminate the Knicks in the Quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament.
New York will be eager to avenge that loss in front of what will be a raucous home crowd. However, HC Tom Thibodeau will have to devise a way for the Knicks to slow down Giannis and running mate Damian Lillard, who dropped 30 and 28 points on New York in the first two matchups.
That will be easier said than done, especially with rim-protector Mitchell Robinson (ankle) out of the season. I’d expect the Bucks to roll here in what should be a high-scoring matchup.
Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets (2:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN)
Warriors +5.5 (-110) @ Nuggets -5.5 (-110)
I can’t think of a much better Christmas present than watching Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokić clash on the court.
It’s a genuine pleasure watching these two masters of their craft as they are arguably among the greatest all-time players at their position.
But when it comes to wagering on this matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors, I have to favor the Nuggets at home.
Denver emerged with a 108-105 home win when these two met on Nov. 8, so a moneyline play (-225) might be safer than laying the points.
Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers (5 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN)
Celtics -1.5 (-110) @ Lakers +1.5 (-110)
The NBA’s greatest rivalry is set to add another chapter to its historic legacy on Christmas Day when the Boston Celtics visit the Los Angeles Lakers.
As of the time of writing, the Celtics (21-6) own the best record in the NBA, while the Lakers (15-13) are hovering just above .500. However, Los Angeles did win the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, and you know we’re going to get LeBron James‘ best effort on Christmas Day.
Still, it’s hard to argue against Boston being the deeper, more talented team. Although the Celtics are just 7-6 on their travels, I’m expecting Jayson Tatum to lead the C’s to a road win on Christmas Day.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
76ers +1.5 (-110) @ Heat -1.5 (-110)
The drama should ramp up as we move into the evening portion of the slate, especially with Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat hosting his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
Seeing Butler and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid go head-to-head is always entertaining, and there should be plenty of fireworks in the first meeting between the two this season.
- Check out our NBA MVP betting odds.
Miami took two of three from Philadelphia last season, so I understand why this is set where it is, especially with Miami at home.
However, the Sixers have been by far the better team so far this season, and Embiid will want to make a statement against the team that represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals last season.
Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Mavericks +4 (-110) @ Suns -4 (-110)
The final game of the day will see another pair of former teammates clash when Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks visit Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.
After acquiring Bradley Beal this offseason, expectations soared sky-high for the Suns (14-13). However, injuries have limited the former Washington Wizards guard to just six games, and he will remain out until January with a sprained ankle.
That remains a concern for a Phoenix squad that doesn’t have much talent beyond its starting five. While it’s possible Durant and Devin Booker go off, I’d consider backing the Mavericks (16-11) on the road. Backing Luka Dončić as an underdog isn’t a bad option, and this game should be closely contested.