Merry Christmas For U.S. Sports Betting As Holiday Action Continues
With the Christmas season upon us, a lot of people will be taking time off work to enjoy the holidays. But that list does not include NBA, NFL and NHL athletes as well as college football players preparing for Bowl Games. So for many faithful sports bettors the holidays are a chance to relax and enjoy even more sports than normal. Christmas week and into the New Year sees key action in many sports and for some like college football it’s the climax of the season.
As you get your bankroll ready for the holidays, you might be wondering what the key dates and events are across the sports. Well, let’s take a look.
With three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, there are still a huge number of teams in contention for a playoff spot. That creates a lot of betting interest as some teams fight for their playoff lives while other teams start to think about the #1 draft choice in 2022.
With Christmas falling on a Saturday, the NFL has decided to treat sports fans and bettors to a little Christmas Day action. As luck would have it, both games feature a team with the best record in the league going against a team trying to keep playoff hopes alive.
The Christmas Day games include the Green Bay Packers (11-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (7-7), and the Arizona Cardinals (10-4) vs. Indianapolis Colts (8-6). In these matchups, the big prize at stake is home-field advantage throughout the NFC Conference Playoffs.
Other games of interest for fans and bettors on the day after Christmas include the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6), New England Patriots (9-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (8-6), and the Dallas Cowboys (10-4) vs. Washington (6-8). Both the Ravens and the Cowboys are leading their respective divisions and are looking to avoid the Wild Card Game.
NCAA Football Bowl Season
Starting on Christmas Eve, college football bettors will have at least one game on which to wager every day. Of course, everything will be leading up to the major bowl games that are scheduled to be played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
From a betting perspective, there are several games that will attract a lot of interest. However, the primary focus is going to fall on the BCS Championship semifinals to be played on New Year’s Eve.
This year’s two matchups are No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl and No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl.
The betting line on the Cotton Bowl has the Crimson Tide favored by 13.5 over the Bearcats. Given the Bearcats are the only undefeated team in the playoffs, that line shows a real lack of respect for what Cincinnati accomplished this year. In the Orange Bowl, the Bulldogs are favored by 8.5 over the Wolverines in a game that figures to be a bit closer than that.
Christmas Day NBA Games
With the NBA less than a third of the way through the regular season, the games don’t have quite as much meaning. With that said, there are still a few very interesting matchups that should generate some betting attention.
On Christmas Eve, the NBA will be taking the night off so players can enjoy the holidays with their families. It will be a short-lived break as Christmas Day will feature three games with some of the best teams in the NBA. The three games in question are:
NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets
Defending Western Conference Champion Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors.
The game between the Suns and the Warriors pits the two teams with the best record against one another.
Last but not least, the NHL will also be in action over the holidays. While often playing third fiddle at this time of year to the NFL and NBA, for hardcore hockey fans it’s the main event. NHL betting interest remains solid particularly in states where sports betting is legal and NHL teams are located.
While the NHL will be taking off from December 24 through December 26, there is a huge showdown on December 23rd when the Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the St. Louis Blues. Both of these teams are among the best in the NHL so far this season.