It’s sometimes tough to get into the Christmas spirit, with our heavy workloads, false apocalypses, and global warming keeping the winter weather at bay.
In order to give your holiday cheer a shot in the jingle bells, we’ve cooked up a festive look at sports betting during the Christmas season with our “Twelve Bets of Christmas”….
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
1. It’s no North Pole
Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler doesn’t have much to cheer for this month, with his team trapped in a three-game SU and ATS funk heading into Week 16. Cutler, however, does have a sly Christmas connection, hailing from Santa Claus, Indiana. Perhaps the gunslinger can ask his town’s namesake for some ice packs to slap on his ailing knees and neck. Cutler is expected to play versus Arizona Sunday. Chicago is a 5.5-point road favorite.
2. Christmas Orange
Orange isn’t a traditional Christmas color, but Christmas sure does look good in Orange - Rakeem Christmas that is. The sophomore forward is Syracuse’s glue guy, averaging more than seven points and five boards a night. The Orange blew their first cover of the season versus Detroit Monday then slipped up against Temple Saturday, falling to 6-2 ATS.
3. Guide my sleigh tonight
Adrian Peterson is approaching the single-season rushing record. If he does break Eric Dickerson's mark, a big pat on the back needs to go to his blockers – one of which is TE Kyle Rudolph. Just like how the red-nosed reindeer helped guide Santa’s sleigh through that foggy Xmas Eve, the purple and gold Rudolph will be guiding Peterson through the defense. Rudolph also helped out with a TD catch in Minnesota's 23-6 upset over Houston as a 9.5-point underdog Sunday.
4. Christmas Cards
The St. Louis Cardinals are ripe with Xmas cheer, even in the middle of the winter. Not only is St. Louis also known as the “Cards”, but the roster features one guy name “Holliday” and another named “Freese”. Think we’re stretching it? What about the fact 3B David Freese was involved in the car accident last month after trying to avoid a deer? How’s that for Xmas spirit! However, one witness says there was no animal and Freese’s sketchy past leans more towards beer than deer.
5. Three Wise Men
Could you imagine if the Three Wise Men decided to rest en route to seeing the Baby Jesus because that week’s schedule was hell? If Greg Popovich was calling the shots that first Christmas we might not have all those stories and songs about the gift-bearing trio. His “Three Wise Men” – Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker – have a combined age of 101 but still make San Antonio the best bet in the NBA. Last year, the Spurs finished 42-20-4 ATS and they’re off to a 16-11-1 ATS start this season. Very wise indeed.
6. Jesus is the reason for the season
Just like how some people complain the “Christ” has been taken out of Christmas, the Miami Heat took the “Jesus” out of Boston this offseason. Ray Allen – AKA Jesus Shuttlesworth – jumped ship this summer and signed with the rival Heat, chasing a championship in his final seasons. Allen is averaging 11.8 points in just under 26 minutes per game and will be part of a finals rematch against Oklahoma City on Dec. 25.
7. Silent Night
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even an NHL player. The NHL remains on lockdown with players and owners unable to come to an agreement. Hockey fans are going stir crazy, even resorting to the AHL for their fix. Thank goodness the World Juniors are still a go. Canada is +125 favorite to win this year’s tournament, which begins Dec. 26.
8. Happy Holiday
You can point to guys like Matt Holliday (Cardinals), Roy Halladay (Phillies) and Murphy Holloway (Ole Miss), but Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday is our go-to guy for the purposes of this list. The UCLA product is averaging 18.0 points and 8.8 assists this year, and is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. Philadelphia’s five-game slide (0-5 ATS) is evidence of that, with Holiday missing four of those games with a foot injury. The good news for Philly backers is that he's back, scoring 11 points and dishing out seven assists in a win over Atlanta Friday.
9. Santa’s little helpers
What the heck is a Billiken? Plenty of college basketball bettors have asked that question when sizing up St. Louis. Much like Santa’s tiny workforce, a Billiken is a mythical elf-like creature. The basketball version of the Billkens have been a solid bet this past year, going 18-10-2 ATS in 2011-12. This season, St. Louis has had to deal with the death of head coach Rick Majerus, starting the schedule 8-3 SU and 4-6 ATS. The inspired elves are, however, 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS, since losing their beloved leader.
10. Festive colors
Nothing says Christmas like a little red and green. If you like to mix a little sports in with your holiday cheer, why not try betting on the Cornell Big Red or North Texas Mean Green this month? The Big Red are stuck in the middle of the Ivy League standings at 4-8 SU and 3-6 ATS while the Mean Green are 5-7 SU and 2-5 ATS. On second thought, maybe you want to skip wagering on those money pits and just throw an ugly red-and-green sweater on…
11. Christmas Carroll
Andy Carroll would love to be home for the holidays – wherever that is. The injured English striker was just released from his loan with West Ham and is headed back to Liverpool. Carroll, who was on loan because he doesn’t fit into Brendan Rodgers’ system, is out until January with a knee injury. So, in the meantime, the English international has spent his recovery allegedly assaulting photographers at Irish pubs. Liverpool takes on Aston Villa on Boxing Day (Dec. 26 for you American footy fans).
12. Twelve not-so tiny reindeer
No team is sports represents Christmas like the Milwaukee Bucks – their logo is a big-ass red and green reindeer! The Bucks haven’t done much against the spread heading into the weekend, sitting at 13-13 ATS, but have been one of the better under plays in the NBA. Milwaukee is 10-15-1 over/under, averaging just 95.1 points (22nd) while limiting foes to 96.5 points per game (12th).