NFL Christmas Games Odds and Betting Trends

Getting NFL games to bet on during the Christmas season makes the day like … well, like Christmas all over again! As in, betting NFL football on any given week is awesome already but if Christmas Day itself falls on a Thursday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday, that means football – football with playoff implications rife for the betting, too!

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Christmas Betting News for February 2024

Christmas NFL Betting

Even with the expanded 17-game schedule recently introduced by the NFL, games on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve themselves will be week 16 games. For more general tips and advice on betting week 16 NFL games, please see the appropriate page of NFLbets.

In actuality, though, very few NFL games take place on Christmas Day, December, perhaps due to tacit agreements with the players association and/or college football, who host a number of bowl games on the holiday. From the 2004 to 2021 seasons, just 10 NFL games have been played on the 25th – and one of these was a Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints matchup played on a Friday in 2020 due to rescheduling due to Covid issues.

The information on these 10 games isn’t extremely useful, either: Home teams are 6-4 SU/4-5-1 ATS and favorites (not always the home team, but usually) are an identical 6-4 SU/4-5-1 ATS. Note, however, that from 2011 to ’21, home teams and favorites were both 5-1 SU/4-2 ATS.

Beneficially for bettors and fans (but perhaps not so much for players, coaches and their families), when the Christmas holiday falls on a Sunday and gives way on the tv to college ball, a full slate of games is played on Christmas Eve instead – Fantastic, if you’re not doing last-minute shopping, which you really don’t want to do.

From the 2019 to ’21 seasons, not one Christmas Eve game was played, but between 2015 and ’18, bettors were treated to two full slates and 26 games in total. In these games, home teams were 18-8 SU/15-11 ATS and favorites went 15-11 SU/12-14 ATS. Take down these numbers and bear in mind the following years which promise a (nearly) full slate of games of December 24: 2022, 2027, 2032 and 2033.

Sometimes NFL games are scheduled on Christmas Day, but almost always one game only. This is probably due in large part to the decades-old tradition of college football bowl games held on the holiday. Essentially, then, if December 25 falls on a Thursday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday, the NFL will schedule a game (or even two) on the 25th and usually in prime time. Should Christmas Day fall on a Sunday, all games other than those scheduled for Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, etc., are instead played on Saturday.

Quite the opposite: The NFL deliberately avoids scheduling most (usually) week 16 games on Christmas Day itself, pushing what would normally be the Sunday slate of games one day back to Chraistmas Eve. This may be due to an implicit agreement with the NCAA, who schedules a number of traditional college football bowl games on the 25th but also works out well for the players and coaches, most of whom get at least one of the holidays with family. Kind of a shame about the betting, too – at least until we can turn those Amazon gift cards into betting bankroll…

Unlike Thanksgiving Day NFL football, during we which we can count on seeing the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions both hosting games every year, the NFL’s Christmas Day schedule is the exact opposite. In the first 20 seasons of the 32-team NFL (2002-2021), just 15 games have been played on December 25th and 21 different teams have played on the holiday. Only one team has appeared in three of those Christmas Day NFL games: The Green Bay Packers., and the only matchup that has kicked off twice on the holiday is Packers vs Chicago Bears (in 2005 and '11).

So with no apparent rhyme or reason other than marketability, to find out which teams are playing on December 25 in any given year, you just have to check the schedule…

Since the NFL became a 32-team league in 2002, 11 teams have yet to play in a Christmas Day game: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Commanders.

The home team doesn’t *always* win on Christmas Eve, but as homefield advantage steadily disappears, December 24th may represent a bastion for NFL bettors of the old ways.

If Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday or Sunday, NFL bettors get a nice full range of games to wager on and thus a larger sample size from which to draw conclusions. From the 2019 to ’21 seasons, not one Christmas Eve game was played, but between 2015 and ’18, bettors were treated to two full slates and 26 games in total.

Judging by the aforementioned 26 games, the best NFL bet on Christmas Eve is probably the home team, especially if they’re underdogs: Home teams went a solid 18-8 SU/15-11 ATS and favorites went 15-11 SU/12-14 ATS; this means that home underdogs went 3-0 SU/ATS in December 24th games. Certainly not an adequate sample size, but worthy of consideration for betting.

The truth is that these days your local sportsbook/casino is probably open for regular operating hours on Christmas Day, but if you’re with family, do you really want to make the trek on that day? Stay home and get online to bet at online sportsbooks via NFLbets.com – they’re open 24/7/365, after all!

Summary

Though the NFL has no real tradition of Christmas Day football to bet on, every so often a game or two is scheduled on the holiday proper. Otherwise, NFL bettors can look to Christmas Eve, which often has a whole slate of games on which to bet – particularly via the online sportsbooks, where are aways open.