NBA rosters haven’t even been finalized yet, but that hasn’t stopped sportsbooks from posting odds for season-opening games Christmas day.
The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are a pick ‘em line (a point spread of zero) in the first game of the day at Madison Square Garden; the Miami Heat are three-point favourites at the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks; the Chicago Bulls are three-point dogs at the Los Angeles Lakers; the Orlando Magic are 6.5-point underdogs at the Oklahoma City Thunder; and the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are at a pick ‘em price for their clash in Oakland. (Lines provided by Pinnacle)
The biggest early line moves have been in the Miami/Dallas and LA Clippers/Golden State matchups. The Heat and Mavs opened at a pick ‘em line, but bettors — perhaps thinking Miami is motivated for revenge after losing last year’s final to Dallas — have bet the Heat up to three-point favourites. Meanwhile, the Clippers opened as two-point underdogs but the recent trade for Chris Paul has moved them to a pick ‘em at Golden State.
Hardly any sportsbooks have posted totals for the Christmas Day contests, but one shop had the Bulls/Lakers as the lowest total of the day (187.5) and the Clippers/Warriors as the highest (209).
And if you like betting moneylines in basketball (something we don’t recommend in most cases), Orlando (+230) is your fattest-paying option.
The Toronto Raptors don’t open the NBA season until Boxing Day, when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. Odds for that game had not been posted as of Dec. 15.