Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Picks for Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Tyler Herro)

BetSided's Peter Dewey breaks down his favorite bets for the NBA Christmas Day action.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard. / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Christmas NBA fans!

Every year, the NBA gifts us five marquee matchups to dive into on Christmas Day -- one way to make my favorite holiday even better.

This season, here's what's on tap:

NBA Christmas Day Schedule

  • 12:00 p.m. EST: Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks
  • 2:30 p.m. EST: Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets
  • 5:00 p.m. EST: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • 8:00 p.m. EST: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
  • 10:30 p.m. EST: Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns

Does it get much better than that? (Technically this year, it could, as Joel Embiid was ruled out with an ankle injury. Let's not dwell on it).

With so many great games on the slate, today is probably the day I'll place the most bets in a single NBA column all season. Tail 'em, fade 'em, just follow along with 'em, whatever you'd like this holiday.

So, without further ado, let's talk some ball. 12 PLAYS for the NBA Christmas action!

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NBA Best Bets Record to Date

  • 2023-24 season record: 98-87-6 (-1.22 units)
  • Overall record (last 2+ seasons): 723-645-15 (+38.82 units)

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on  BetStamp here.

NBA Best Bets Today

(All full unit plays unless otherwise specified)

  • Milwaukee Bucks Moneyline (-162) vs. New York Knicks
  • Isaiah Hartenstein OVER 9.5 Rebounds (-125)
  • Damian Lillard OVER 24.5 Points (-135)
  • Knicks-Bucks Points Parlay (+114)
  • Denver Nuggets First Quarter ML (-166) vs. Golden State Warriors
  • Peyton Watson OVER 2.5 Rebounds (-145) – 0.5 unit
  • Derrick White OVER 2.5 Steals and Blocks (+110) – 0.5 unit
  • Jrue Holiday OVER 12.5 Points (-115) – 0.5 unit
  • Boston Celtics Moneyline (-148) vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • Tyler Herro OVER 22.5 Points (-135) – 0.5 unit
  • Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat UNDER 225.5 (-110)
  • Luka Doncic UNDER 57.5 Points, Rebounds and Assists (-115)

Milwaukee Bucks Moneyline (-162) vs. New York Knicks

The Bucks are 3-0 against the Knicks this season, winning by 19 or more in the last two meetings between the teams. 

New York doesn’t have the interior presence on defense to slow down Milwaukee with Mitchell Robinson out, and the Bucks have pushed the pace in every game against the Knicks – leading to some high-scoring affairs. 

That favors Milwaukee, who ranks second in the NBA in effective field goal percentage. The Knicks clock in at No. 20 in that statistic. 

Even at home, I think the Knicks struggle against this Bucks team on Christmas Day. 

Isaiah Hartenstein OVER 9.5 Rebounds (-125)

Since taking over in the starting lineup for New York, Isaiah Hartenstein has picked up double-digit boards in back-to-back games, and in his last four games (all without Robinson) he’s grabbed at least 10 boards. 

Hartenstein had a huge game against the Bucks on Saturday, picking up 13 rebounds despite picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter. He still played 33 minutes in that matchup. 

As long as he stays out of foul trouble, Hartenstein is the Knicks’ best option on the glass. Since Robinson went down against Boston, the Knicks center has at least eight boards in every game and 10+ in five of his last eight. 

Damian Lillard OVER 24.5 Points (-135)

I love this prop for Damian Lillard, even though he had just 19 points in Saturday’s win over New York. 

In the previous two games against the Knicks this season, Lillard dropped 35 and 28 points, despite the fact that he took just 15 and 13 shots in those games. 

Dame had 16 field goal attempts on Saturday, shooting just 6-for-16 but still had 19 points. He’s averaging 26.0 points per game, clearing 24.5 points in 16 of his 27 games.  

Knicks-Bucks Points Parlay (+114)

  • Jalen Brunson 20+ Points
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo 20+ Points
  • Donte DiVincenzo 8+ Points
  • Immanuel Quickley 8+ Points

This is a fun little parlay to place for this game, especially since Brunson and Giannis are near locks to reach 20+ points. Between the two of the, there are just six times Brunson failed to score 20 this season and four that Antetokounmpo failed to do so. 

As for Quickley, he’s averaging 14.7 points per game after a down game on Saturday where he scored just seven points. Still, he’s scored at least eight points in all but five games this season. 

DiVincenzo has been on a heater, averaging 11.9 points per game since moving to the starting lineup and shooting 50.0 percent from 3. The Knicks will need all of his offense to keep things close on Monday. 

Denver Nuggets First Quarter ML (-166) vs. Golden State Warriors

The Denver Nuggets have the best first quarter net rating in the NBA at home this season at +26.1, and I expect them to get off to a hot start against Golden State. 

The Warriors have been solid in the first quarter on the road (+11.3 net rating), but playing in Denver is a different animal with the altitude. 

I’ll trust the defending champs early in what has become one of my favorite bets in the NBA. 

Peyton Watson OVER 2.5 Rebounds (-145) – 0.5 unit

A role player prop? Why not!

Peyton Watson has been great on the glass as of late, picking up at least three rebounds in six straight games. 

He’s averaging 2.6 rebounds per game this season, but he’s come on strong over his last 14 games, with 3+ boards in 11 of them. Over that stretch, Watson is playing a solid role as well (20.6 minutes per game). 

He’s worth a shot at this number against Golden State. 

Derrick White OVER 2.5 Steals and Blocks (+110) – 0.5 unit

On Saturday, Derrick White became the first guard in NBA history with four straight games with three or more blocks. 

Now, he’s +110 to pick up three steals and blocks against the Lakers? Sign me up. 

White has cleared this prop in eight consecutive games, and he’s averaging 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game this season. Plus, the Lakers rank 25th in the NBA in opponent steals per game. I love this prop for White as a small play. 

Jrue Holiday OVER 12.5 Points (-115) – 0.5 unit

With Kristaps Porzingis questionable, I don’t mind Jrue Holiday as a scorer in this game. 

The All-Star guard has picked up 13 or more points in eight of his last 11 games since missing two matchups with an injury. He’s also taken at least 12 shots in four straight. 

With that kind of usage, he’s a solid bet to go OVER this prop for Boston. Holiday is averaging 12.9 points per game this season. 

Boston Celtics Moneyline (-148) vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This is an interesting matchup given Boston’s struggles as a road favorite this season, but I still like the Celtics to win – just not by taking them to cover the number. 

The Celtics are just 3-8-2 against the spread as road favorites, but they do have a winning record (7-6) in those games. Still, the team is much different than it has been at home (where it hasn’t lost) this season. 

As for the Lakers, the team is an impressive 10-3 straight up at home, but 0-1 ATS as a home dog. 

If Boston is healthy (Kristaps Porzingis did not play on Saturday against the Clippers), the team has a much better top six than the Lakers. 

While I do like the Lakers’ depth, the team has not exactly found its footing yet this season, struggling since winning the In-Season Tournament. I’ll take Boston as a short favorite in this one. 

Tyler Herro OVER 22.5 Points (-135) – 0.5 unit

Heat guard Tyler Herro has cleared 22.5 points in seven of 11 games this season, and he’s averaging 24.2 points per game despite a six-point game in the matchup he was injured in earlier this season. 

Since coming back from his ankle injury, Herro has taken 18, 17 and 21 shots, scoring 25, 28 and 30 points in those games. 

I expect him to have a big game against a Sixers team that is down Joel Embiid on Christmas. Plus, with Jimmy Butler questionable, the Heat may rely on Herro more on offense. 

Philadelphia 76ers-Miami Heat UNDER 225.5 (-110)

Miami plays at one of the slowest paces in the NBA (26th), and now it’s taking on a Sixers team that is without its best player in Embiid who is averaging 35.0 points per game. 

It’s not easy to make up for that scoring, and seven of the last eight games between these teams have fallen short of this number. 

With Bam Adebayo back, Miami’s defense should improve going forward, and the UNDER has hit in 14 of 29 Heat games this season. 

Luka Doncic UNDER 57.5 Points, Rebounds and Assists (-115)

The last bet of the night (unless I add something live) – and it’s a doozy!

This is an extremely high PRA number for Luka Doncic, who has cleared it five times this month. However, I can’t see the Suns letting Doncic dominate them again with Kyrie Irving out. 

In his career on Christmas Day, Luka is averaging 29.5 points, 8.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game – an impressive line – but well short of this number.

Plus, despite all the issues he’s given the Suns, Doncic hasn’t cleared 57.5 PRA against them in any of his last 10 games. I’ll take the UNDER here, and potentially look to middle this prop if he gets off to a slow start. 

You can follow all my bets on BetStamp (@peter2dewey) and Twitter/X (@peterdewey2).

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.