Betting, DFS Angles for Celtics-Warriors, and Every Saturday NBA Game
If Celtics-Warriors Part I was any indication, we’re in for a treat on Saturday night, when the two meet for the first time since Boston’s epic 17-point comeback earlier this season. What can you expect in the encore? We assembled our All-Star crew of NBA minds to breakdown all of the gambling and DFS angles for Celtics-Dubs, along with Saturday’s other six games.
The Main Event: Celtics at Warriors (-10) | O/U: 222.5
What I’m watching for: Will the Warriors put a body on anyone? In their first meeting, the Warriors had a huge amount of shots off screens, except that very few of them were actually clean looks. Golden State kept running their same actions; even though the Celtics were running them off, the Warriors kept firing them up.
Golden State finished just 1-of-9 on shots with the ball-handler out of the pick-and-roll. That’s a low number of attempts as well as makes. The Celtics blocked several of their shots coming off screens because no one actually connected with their screens.
The Celtics outright bullied the Warriors in Game 1, something pretty rare. In Oracle, I’ll be interested to see if they get physical right back with Boston, especially with the Celtics banged up, on the end of a west-coast road trip, and possibly without Marcus Smart. — Matt Moore
What the metrics say: Matt nailed it: In their first meeting, we saw the Celtics bottle up the Warriors offense more than any team has since Golden State acquired Kevin Durant. Take a look at these metrics from Game 1 . . .
The Celtics held the Warriors offense to just 87.1 points per 100 possessions, which is far below their season-long mark of 115.3. In fact, that defensive performance wasn’t just good against Golden State, it was one of the best games of the year: The Warriors’ offensive rating in that game ranks in just the fourth percentile of all games this season. The Celtics, for at least a single game, turned the Warriors into the Kings.
It will certainly be intriguing to see how Part 2 of this battle goes. Boston could have trouble with the “Math Game,” but they match up better with the Warriors than arguably any other team in the league:
The Warriors rank first in points per possession on offense; the Celtics rank first on defense. The Dubs rank first in effective field goal percentage; the Celtics rank first in effective field goal percentage allowed. Golden State eviscerates teams in the half court; Boston is the best team in that regard this season. Steph Curry and Co. are the best 3-point shooting team perhaps in history; this Celtics unit is the best 3-point defense in the league. You get the point. Kryptonite likely doesn’t exist for the Warriors, but the Celtics might be the closest non-LeBron thing to it. Buckle up and enjoy. — Bryan Mears
Injuries to watch: Marcus Smart is out for the next two weeks after cutting his hand on a picture frame at the team hotel. In Smart’s absence on Wednesday, Terry Rozier logged 24 minutes and Shane Larkin played 23 minutes off the bench. Rozier excelled with increased minutes and produced 29.25 DraftKings points. Al Horford missed Wednesday’s win with a head injury despite not having a concussion, as the team wanted to observe him for a few days. He is without an official status heading into Saturday’s contest vs. the Warriors. Aron Baynes replaced Horford in the starting lineup and is a candidate to remain a starter on Saturday if Horford remains out, although the matchup with the Warriors could lead to limited minutes. With Horford and Smart off the court this season, Jayson Tatum has benefited from a team-high 5.2 percent usage rate increase while averaging 0.90 DraftKings points per minute.
DFS Spin: Klay Thompson leads the league with a ridiculous 45.7 percent 3-point percentage, and his excellence from deep allows him to score fantasy points in bunches. He’s gone for at least 41.75 DraftKings points in two of his past four games, and his current $6,100 salary is as cheap as it’s been all season. The Celtics are a tough matchup, evidenced by his Opponent Plus/Minus of just +1.30, but Thompson has the ability to go off on anyone. — Matt LaMarca
Read more DFS analysis in today’s NBA Breakdown at FantasyLabs.
Matchup to watch: The starting units. Boston has been starting Marcus Morris at the 4 and Al Horford at the 5 lately in an attempt to improve the offense. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done that: They’ve scored just 103.4 points per 100 possessions in 175 minutes with that lineup on the floor, as opposed to 108.4 points/100 in 479 minutes with their old starting lineup that includes Aron Baynes instead of Morris. More importantly, that Morris lineup has been a dumpster fire defensively, allowing 116.9 points/100. The Horford-Baynes frontcourt amalgamation has been one of the best starting units in the league defensively, allowing just 93.4 points/100. This game has little room for error; if Stevens goes with the Morris unit for heavy minutes, they could find themselves in a deep hole, especially since the Warriors’ starting unit has scored a scorching 119.6 points/100. — Bryan Mears
Trend No. 1 to know: Over the past three seasons, Brad Stevens and the Celtics are 14-25 ATS when playing on extended rest (three days or more). The only two head coaches with worse records in this spot have been fired this season: David Fizdale and Earl Watson. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 2 to know: The Celtics enter this contest with a win percentage of 71.4% this season. Under Steve Kerr, the Warriors are 24-13-1 ATS against teams with a win percentage of 70% or higher, including 17-0 SU and 14-3 ATS at home. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 3 to know: The Celtics are 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS as underdogs this season. One of those wins was at home vs. the Warriors, and their two SU losses were by exactly three points in both games. — Evan Abrams
Trend No. 4 to know: When two teams with a .700 or better win percentage play, the Under is 187-149-1 (55.7%) since 2005 in the regular season. — John Ewing
Quick Hits on the Rest of the Slate
Thunder at Pistons (-3.5) | O/U: 207
The Thunder are receiving 71% of betting tickets. Teams receiving 60% or more of tickets have covered just 45% of the time this season. OKC is 10-20 ATS in this spot. — Evan Abrams
Magic at Pacers (-5.5) | O/U: 213
Frank Vogel faces his former team for the seventh time. He and the Magic are 0-6 SU and ATS against Indiana over the past two seasons, failing to cover the spread by an average of 9.2 PPG. — Evan Abrams
The best matchup of the day at the PG position belongs to Darren Collison. He gets to take on the Orlando Magic, who have allowed the second-highest average Plus/Minus to opposing PGs on FanDuel this season. Collison torched the Cavs for over 50 fantasy points in his first game back from injury, and his 36.5 minutes of playing time suggests that he’s not on any sort of minutes restriction. The Pacers’ implied team total of 110 points trails only the Warriors’ on today’s slate and represents an increase of nearly four points compared to their season average (106.4). Collison is a particularly strong value on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 95 percent. — Matt LaMarca
Hornets at Heat (-4.5) | O/U: 205
Miami is just 4-10-1 (28.6%) this season as a home favorite — a bottom-five mark. That said, the Hornets are 5-7-3 (41.7%) this season as a road dog — a bottom-five mark as well. — Bryan Mears
Dwight Howard has been absolutely dominant recently in DFS:
He remains fairly priced on DraftKings at $8,000, giving him a Bargain Rating of 99 percent. His matchup against the Heat isn’t as strong as Jokic’s or Towns’ but still results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.61. He leads all centers on DraftKings with 11 Pro Trends. — Matt LaMarca
Wizards (-5.5) at Hawks | O/U: 213
The Hawks are 2-8 SU but 7-2-1 ATS on the second leg of back-to-backs this season. Their 7-2-1 ATS mark is second-best in the NBA behind Utah’s. — Evan Abrams
From the FantasyLabs news feed: John Wall won’t play vs. the Hawks on Saturday due to a sore left knee. He’s missed 11 games this season, and Tomas Satoransky has been the primary replacement in the starting lineup. Bradley Beal has led the Wizards with a +4.9% usage rate differential and Satoransky has provided a team-high and FantasyLabs’ +1.6 DraftKings Plus/Minus. The Wizards have been useless on the road and against teams with losing record this season, but Satoransky should provide value in an increased role. Markieff Morris has averaged a +4.47 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 14 games against the Hawks since joining the Wizards. Beal has averaged 35.3 DraftKings points in games Wall has missed despite the increased offensive burden, and his salary has increased to $8100 on DraftKings, the same salary he costs on FanDuel. In the first two games against the Hawks this season, Beal provided 35.5 and 43 DraftKings points. While he may be a safe cash-game play, his recent track record sans Wall may provide a reason to fade in tournaments.
Mavericks at Nuggets (-8) | O/U: 210
Over the past 10 seasons, teams are 57-67-3 (46%) against the second half spread on a back-to-back in Denver. That is the third-worst record in the NBA for opposing teams in that span, ahead of just the Thunder’s and Blazers’ marks. — Evan Abrams
The Nuggets have been alternating their starting PF based on matchup, with Trey Lyles and Mason Plumlee each seeing the majority of minutes in certain situations. Whichever player sees the most minutes today could be a nice value against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs have been the worst team on the glass this season, giving each player a strong Opposing Plus/Minus for today’s game. — Matt LaMarca
Nets at Timberwolves (-10.5) | O/U: 215
The Nets are an NBA-best 30-17-1 ATS this season (+$1,185 for a $100 bettor), including 16-6-1 ATS on the road. — John Ewing
Karl-Anthony Towns has the best matchup of the day, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.52 on FanDuel. He should also be relatively unaffected by the status of Butler. Towns has actually averaged fewer fantasy points in games without Butler so far this season. He stands out on FanDuel, where his $9,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86 percent. He’s the only stud center option who’s a better value today on FanDuel, with the other top options all owning Bargain Ratings of less than 10 percent. — Matt LaMarca
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