Photo: USA Today

Christmas Day is loaded with highly competitive NBA games this year. The top online sportsbook Heritage Sports will have lines out on the games so that you can make back a little of what you spent stuffing all of those stockings on the mantle.

Holiday Matchups and Trends

Christmas Day in the NBA has always been a jumping off point where people, who haven’t been following the season yet, start to pay attention to basketball. Christmas games typically have the biggest names and the best matchups. This season is no different. We have the Bucks vs the Knicks, the Thunder vs the Rockets, the Sixers vs the Celtics, the Lakers vs the Warriors and the Blazers vs the Jazz.

Twitter/OKC Thunder
Photo: Twitter/OKC Thunder

The Raiders have a classic rivalry duel against the Broncos on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas Day, there are no other mainstream American sports playing. So Average Joe bettors are going to be all over these games.

Two bet trends stick out for the NBA on December 25th: going against Average Joe and taking the under. For the last 13 years, teams receiving the bulk of the action (over 50% of the spread bets) are just 38.88% at covering the number. So at 33-21 for the underdog, if you put small bets on every dog you are highly likely to be profitable on Christmas Day.

The second trend is on the UNDERS. Christmas is a time for family and friends, not for going all out on the hardwood. This is proven by the 35-20-1 clip that the UNDER has cashed since 2005. 64% is a high rate in sports betting, so this trend can’t be ignored.

Looking at the matchups, it is likely that we will see some pretty high totals (LA vs Golden State, Philly vs Boston, OKC vs Houston) that will get inflated even more with the expectation that the public will pound the OVER. Historically the betting public loves the OVER both in the NBA and football; it’s a positive mindset thing. But, an inflated number based on the expectation of heavy action on one side creates value for those willing to go against the grain.

The grueling truth is the average Joe doesn’t know squat about betting. They bet with their hearts. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that you can use popular, public action as an indicator of what not to do in certain situations. For the most part, you should never blindly follow a trend or blindly fade a specific action, especially on a single game. But, specific trends can be looked at deeper and then factored into your handicapping.


We’ll have to wait until Monday to see the numbers, but if there are a bunch of high totals and heavy public action, laying small units across the board to against the public and on the UNDER could be the way to spice up the Christmas games. Three out of five is 60% and the UNDER trend has clipped at 64% and been profitable in 12 of the last 13 years.

If we bet just 20 per game per trend at -110, each win would profit 18.18. That would be 109.08, if each of these trends continues as they have for the last 13 years. After deducting the four losses that are likely to happen, we are left with $229.08 roughly a 15% profit ($30). Scale that up however you like.