Top Sports to Watch During Your Family Christmas

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WNBA Basketball
Kevin Coles from the United States, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Creative Commons.
BetMGM @BETMGM Sep 07, 2022, 7:38 AM

The Holidays are upon us, and with more and more of us staying home this year, it’s even more important to make sure you (and the family) are tuned in to the top sports taking place across the country. 

New Orleans is a hot spot for online sports betting this Christmas, with both NBA and NFL taking place. Zion Williamson returns to the court as the Pelicans host the defending Eastern Conference champions Miami Heat. After that, you’ve got a rare Friday NFL Holiday matchup between the Saints and Vikings.

The NBA will be three days into their unusual regular-season start this Christmas. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors return to the court following their down 2019-2020 season. Curry is back after playing in just four games last season, but unfortunately, Klay Thompson will miss a second-consecutive season due to a torn Achilles. The Warriors will have their hands full with the Milwaukee Bucks and two-time defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Regardless of your matchup of choice, we’ve got you covered. So grab your beverage, turn on the fireplace, and settle in for a jam-packed day of sports. Let’s take a look at some of the top matchups, times, and where you can watch with the family this Christmas Day.

NBA Action

Christmas has always been a basketball holiday. In fact, it’s a tradition spanning over 70 years. This year does not disappoint. Basketball fans all over the world didn’t have to wait too long with the completion of last season to now, just over two months due to the 2019-20 season postponement. The 2020-2021 NBA regular season kicks off on December 22, giving us five great matchups of early-season Christmas-Day action.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat 12:00 PM ET on ESPN

Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks 2:30 PM ET on ABC

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics 5:00 PM ET on ABC

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers 8:00 PM ET on ESPN

LA Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets 10:30 PM ET on ESPN

All eyes will be on LeBron James and the defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers as they face Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs in primetime.

My personal choice on Christmas day? As a Denver native who doesn’t want a rematch of the 2019-20 Western Conference Semifinals between the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers? Kawhi Leonard and Paul George ended their season on a tough note for the Clippers after Denver pulled out the series in game seven. The Nuggets enter this 2020-21 season with high expectations from fans in Mile High, and it’s about time!

A Rare NFL Matchup

We haven’t had football on Christmas Day since 2017 and we haven’t had a Friday game in more than 10 years. Usually, the NFL takes place when Christmas falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Not in 2020! The NFL is delivering us a Friday afternoon matchup that features a favorite in football betting lines in top-ranked New Orleans Saints (10-3) and Minnesota Vikings (6-7).

Vikings vs. Saints 4:30 PM ET on FOX

NOTE: You might want to snag a second television to catch both NFL and the drama-filled Kevin Durant return while teaming up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn against his former Boston Celtics squad. Just sayin’.

Cap off your long holiday weekend with key Week 16 contests Friday-Monday.


Buccaneers vs. Lions: 1:00 PM ET on NFL Network

49ers vs. Cardinals: 4:30 PM ET on Amazon

Dolphins vs. Raiders: 8:30 PM ET on NFL Network


Panthers vs. Washington Football Team: 1:00 PM ET on CBS

Colts vs. Steelers: 1:00 PM ET on CBS

Falcons vs. Chiefs: 1:00 PM ET on FOX

Bears vs. Jaguars: 1:00 PM ET on CBS

Bengals vs. Texans: 1:00 PM ET on FOX

Giants vs. Ravens: 1:00 PM ET on FOX

Browns vs. Jets: 1:00 PM ET on CBS

Broncos vs. Chargers: 4:05 PM ET on CBS

Eagles vs. Cowboys: 4:25 PM ET on FOX

Rams vs. Seahawks: 4:25 PM ET on FOX

Titans vs. Packers: 8:20 PM ET on NBC


Bills vs. Patriots: 8:15 PM ET on ESPN

Big 10 Highlights NCAA Action

The Big Ten announced they will feature four Christmas day games this year. Four of the six teams currently rank in the top 25 and favorite for basketball odds.

#12 Wisconsin vs. #4 Michigan State 12:30 PM ET on FOX

Maryland vs. Purdue 2:30 PM ET on FS1

#25 Michigan vs. Nebraska 6:00 PM ET on Big Ten Network

#3 Iowa vs. Minnesota 8:00 PM ET on Big Ten Network

A No-Go For NHL

It seems strange to not have any NHL taking place this holiday season. After the original start date in October was postponed, fans will have to wait until mid-January for the official NHL start date. The 56-game schedule is currently scheduled to start on January 13 with training camp beginning as early as December 28.

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Rachel is a basketball analyst at BetMGM, HERO Sports, and Winsidr, focusing on college hoops and the WNBA. She's a former D1 standout at Eastern Illinois University, a three-time Hall of Famer, professional basketball player and collegiate coach. Rachel also has served as a color analyst for ESPN, OVC Sports Network, and Mountain West Network.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.