Santa will check his list on Dec. 24. Basketball fans may need to check their schedules before making plans for the NBA on Christmas Day.
Ole St. Nick will either gift fans and bettors with several lumps of coal or hand out some surprising gems. It all depends on how COVID continues to impact a league scrambling to find replacements.
The NBA on Christmas Day began in the league’s second season — 1947 — making 2021 the 74th installment of the annual tradition. Five NBA games feature 10 teams in the thick of the playoff hunt. That will give anxious basketball fans a chance to sequester the basketball allies in their family for a game or two throughout the day.
Out-of-state visitors to Iowa can make bets on the games as well. Several of Iowa’s top sportsbooks have offers to help them get started. Just remember: Health and safety protocols are making both NBA schedules and NBA rosters pretty volatile right now. Always bet responsibly and add an extra layer of caution as you make a bet on the NBA on Christmas Day.
DraftKings has an NBA on Christmas Day offer
DraftKings has some impressive promotional odds as the holidays ramp up.
The sportsbook is offering a $5 bet to win $150 promo on any NBA game now through Dec. 26. New customers can receive $150 in bonus bets when they place a minimum bet of $5 in their first wager. That’s above and beyond any winnings awarded from the original bet. The bonuses are paid in the form of six, $25 bonus bets. Once the bonus bets are added an account, they have a seven-day shelf life.
FanDuel is in a jolly mood
FanDuel offers a “Jolly Ol’ Saint Chuck” odds boost special. New users get 30/1 odds to win on any of the Christmas Day teams (maximum bet of $5). The $5 bet will pay out $150 in cash winnings if the correct winning team is chosen.
Santa Caesar still has jerseys and NBA on Christmas Day offer
Caesars Sportsbook is handing out gifts as well, providing bettors a chance to place a minimum of $10 down to win $100 if your selected team scores a point. This offer is also available for any NBA game on Sunday, Dec. 26. Use promo code: LEGALHOLIDAY to enjoy the very popular offer.
Existing customers get an offer, too. Caesars is also bringing back it’s popular bet $100, get a jersey offer with a hardwood-centric twist. Place $100 worth of settled bets anytime now through Jan. 19 to receive a gift card for a free NBA jersey. This can be combined with the $1,001 bet match as long as bettors register with promo code: LEGALRF. Users must opt into the jersey promotion to be considered eligible.
Around the NBA on Christmas Day
The underwhelming New York Knicks host the equally as disappointing Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 Christmas Day opener at 11 a.m. Saturday in a battle of sub .500 squads. The magnificent Bernard King holds the all-time Christmas Day single-game scoring record, pouring in 60 points during a Knicks loss in 1984.
The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Greek Freak — Giannis Antetokounmpo — host the always feisty Boston Celtics at 1:30 p.m.
Nate Archibald set the Christmas Day assist record back in 1972 against the Bucks, dishing out 18 dimes as a member of the Kansas City/Omaha Kings. Can Boston’s Jayson Tatum step up to the challenge and duplicate a performance nearly 50 years in the past?
Slam dunks at sunset
The newly-minted career three-point record-holder Steph Curry leads the scorching-hot Golden State Warriors into Phoenix to take on the Suns at 4 p.m.
The Suns are making their first Christmas Day appearance since 2009.
It’ll be a tall task to see if Curry can surpass Wilt Chamberlain’s magnificent outing in 1961, when he scored 59 points on Christmas Day, but for a guy averaging more than five made threes per game, a run from Curry isn’t entirely out of the question. Chamberlain holds the Christmas Day record for most rebounds in a game, securing 36 boards during that tremendous 1961 outing.
Nightcaps for the NBA on Christmas Day
What should’ve been a night-time delight between the Brooklyn Nets and the LA Lakers at 7 p.m. has suddenly become somewhat of a dud due to a number of inactives and an underperforming Lakers squad. At this point, who knows which of the stars among Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be available on Saturday.
James is in search of his 11th Christmas Day win, which would set the all-time record. He’s currently tied with former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade at 10. James is also second on the Christmas Day scoring list with 385 points. He’ll need just 11 points Saturday to surpass the late Kobe Bryant, who scored 395 points on Christmas Day. James and Durant are tied for the all-time lead for three-pointers made at 25 apiece.
Luka Doncic is in the protocol zone as the Dallas Mavericks head to Salt Lake City to take on the always dependable Utah Jazz. With a 9:30 p.m. tip, the nightcap is the last game to unwrap for the NBA on Christmas Day. The Western Conference squads are in the thick of the playoff race.