NFL and NBA Christmas Day holiday plays: Best bets for Dec. 25

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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during the second half of an NFL football gameagainst the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Sunday, Dec. 25:

TOP PLAY

The play: NFL: Miami Dolphins -3.5 vs. Green Bay Packers

The odds/bet: -110 ($33 to win $30)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: 1 p.m. (FOX)

Our take: A lot of people are talking about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers recently. The topic of discussion has been the possibility that Rodgers is back to his best and that Green Bay is a team destined to make the playoffs. As my colleague Jim Derry would say, I’m not taking a bite out of any of Aunt Mabel’s tempting treats. Instead, I’m going to take Trey Wingo’s advice, roll with the Miami Dolphins to cover and pick them to beat the Packers by four or more.

This is the Dolphins’ first time playing in front of their home crowd since November 27. That’s right — it’s been almost a month without NFL football at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami has lost all three games it’s played away from home during that span, the last two close. But the Dolphins won’t leave this one to chance. I’m sure Mike McDaniel is as tired as anyone of hearing all of this Rodgers hype. It’s Tua Tagovailoa time.

KNICKS TO SPOIL SIXERS’ HOLIDAY

The play: NBA: New York Knicks ML vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The odds/bet: +115 ($8.70 to win $10)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: 12:10 p.m. (ABC, ESPN)

Our take: I wouldn’t usually pick the New York Knicks in a primetime spot. This is the stereotypical letdown spot that Spike Lee and other stars have witnessed courtside at Madison Square Garden for many seasons now.

However, I love the way the Knicks have been playing basketball lately. They rattled off eight in a row earlier in the month before losing back-to-back close games against the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. It’s the latter loss that’s going to sting as a buzzer-beater by the Bulls saw RJ Barrett’s 44-point performance wasted.

New York will be pretty pissed about that late-game choke job coming into the Christmas Day contest against the 76ers, and that’s exactly why I like them in this spot. I love the Knicks to keep it close and cover +2, but there’s much better value in taking the hosts to win outright at that point.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Saturday’s best bets

NFL: Derrick Henry OVER 111.5 rushing yards (WON $30)

NFL: Jerick McKinnon OVER 55.5 total yards (LOST $13.90)

Saturday’s profit/loss: $16.10 (1-1)

Total for the week: +$40.30 (6-5)

Total for December: -$0.50 (20-24)

Total for 2022: +$206.40 (332-355)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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