The countdown to Christmas is almost complete. Kids and adults alike get excited by the prospect of waking up to unwrap the gifts that Santa brought. One present we already know about is the five-game NBA slate on Christmas Day.

This holiday tradition features the league’s biggest stars. The festivities tip off with the Knicks hosting the up-and-coming Sixers. The most exciting game is a Finals rematch between the Warriors-Cavs. Then the Wizards head to Boston to play the East-leading Celtics. The reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and the Thunder square off against this year’s MVP favorite James Harden and the Rockets before the Wolves and Lakers close out the action.

There are currently no lines available for the holiday slate (keep checking the free NBA live odds page at Sports Insights for updates) but remember these trends come Christmas morning.

This Christmas Day trend doesn’t fit UNDER the tree

Players get up for these marquee Christmas Day games. Motivation is high and there is a playoff-like atmosphere with many matchups. As such, the pace of play slows, defensive intensity increases and the UNDER has been profitable. Since 2005, the UNDER on Christmas is 32-18-1 (64%).

Finals Rematch

Cleveland beat Golden State last year on Christmas when Kyrie Irving made a clutch basket over Klay Thompson. The Warriors will be looking to return the favor when the teams meet for a third consecutive season on the holiday. Golden State will be without Stephen Curry and Cleveland no longer has Kyrie, which team has an advantage?

Defending champions are 4-7 straight-up, 3-8 ATS on Christmas. The runner-up is 5-6 straight-up, 6-5 ATS. In rematches, the reigning champion is 3-3 straight-up, 2-4 ATS. These are small samples but it appears that the current champs are overvalued when Kris Kringle comes to town.

Team Trends 

Here is how each team playing this year has performed straight-up, against-the-spread and over/under on Christmas since 2005. Note: the Sixers haven’t played on December 25th since a 88-82 loss to the Lakers in 2001.

TeamStraight-UpAgainst-the-SpreadOver
76ers---
Cavaliers4-24-20-6
Celtics3-34-22-4
Knicks2-51-64-3
Lakers4-88-42-9-1
Rockets3-03-01-2
Thunder5-35-34-4
Timberwolves0-10-11-0
Warriors3-31-52-4
Wizards1-12-01-1

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