Celtics-Nuggets Betting Guide: Historical Trends Favor Boston

Celtics-Nuggets Betting Guide: Historical Trends Favor Boston article feature image

Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Al Horford

Betting odds: Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets

  • Spread: Nuggets -2
  • Over/Under: 209.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 1 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The Boston Celtics are coming off a tough, last second loss in Indiana and will now travel to Denver to face the surging 8-1 Nuggets. The line of Nuggets -2 at open suggests these teams are essentially even on a neutral court, which would not have been the case two weeks ago. Is that an overreaction or can the Nuggets keep rolling? Our analysts discuss.

Locky: Why I’m Betting Celtics +2

Not all four-game winning streaks are the same, and in Denver’s case this one is particularly easy to poke holes in. Not only were two of the wins against Chicago and Cleveland (two teams in complete disarray and among the worst in the league), but they caught the Pelicans in a great spot, and against the Jazz Donovan Mitchell left the game with an ankle injury. Things couldn’t have broken better for Denver in each situation.

I think as a result of that gaudy Denver record, the difference between these teams is still being minimized. As long as Will Barton remains out and Monte Morris and Juancho Hernangomez continue to soak up a lot of those minutes, the Celtics are absolutely more than a point or two better than Denver in this situation (when removing home-court advantage).

Although I’m not big on analyzing one-on-one matchups, I also like that Al Horford is one of the few players in the NBA that has any chance of even slowing down Nikola Jokic’s production at the center spot. The trends below are obviously very pro-Boston as well based on a historical perspective, but even just in this game with these two teams in their current states, I think the Celtics have value and I am betting them at +2.

For those who are analyzing the total, here are two interesting things to keep in mind. With Will Barton hurt, Denver’s offense has gotten worse and their defense better, and they’ve also gone way under frequently (they even went under in an overtime game).

As a result, this is the lowest posted total in a Denver game this season, with Boston and its elite defense coming to town. A word of caution, though: Both meetings between these teams last year were very high-scoring, and the game in Denver (although featuring Barton) was incredibly fast-paced. — Ken Barkley

Mears: A Look at Boston’s Weird Offense

Boston is coming off a one-point loss to the Indiana Pacers on the road, but there are reasons for optimism moving forward. The defense has been there all year, and it seems like the offense over the past few games is coming around, too.

I believe a better indicator of offensive health is the overall shot profile, not just field goal percentage. And over the last two games, Boston has been jacking up 3-pointers — like, really putting them up.

  • 11/3 at Indiana: 51.1% three-point rate (99th percentile)
  • 11/1 vs. Milwaukee: 59.3% three-point rate (100th percentile)
  • 10/30 vs. Detroit: 33.7% three-point rate (57th percentile)
  • 10/27 at Detroit: 40.3% three-point rate (85th percentile)

Some nights, the shots just won’t go down. That’s true with any team. But to get that many 3-pointers up is impressive, and Saturday against the Pacers, the Celtics took 12.2% of their shots from the corner-3 range.

That said, there is a downside. The Celtics have been doing that in place of getting to the rim. That makes some sense — more shots from the 3-point line means less shots from all other areas — but they should be giving up mid-rangers instead of shots at the rim.

  • 11/3 at Indiana: 24.4% rim frequency (6th percentile)
  • 11/1 vs. Milwaukee: 12.1% rim frequency (0th percentile)
  • 10/30 vs. Detroit: 19.1% rim frequency (1st percentile)
  • 10/27 at Detroit: 18.2% rim frequency (1st percentile)

Perhaps over time the 3-point barrage — if it keeps up — will increase the spacing and thus create efficient lanes to the rim. But we’ll need to see some development from guys like Jayson Tatum, who is taking long mid-rangers on 22% of his shots — the 90th percentile of players at his position this season.

The groundwork is there for Boston to get better offensively: 3-pointers are good. But they can’t be at the expense of shots at the rim, especially for a team that has one of the best rim-finishers in the history of basketball in Kyrie Irving. Boston’s shot profile will be an important storyline to monitor this year. — Bryan Mears

Note: All stats above from Cleaning the Glass.

Betting Trends to Know

Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics are 98-89-3 (52%) ATS following a loss in the regular season. That said, Boston has performed better on the road than at home:

  • Road game after a loss: 57-44-1 (56%) ATS
  • Home game after a loss: 41-45-2 (48%) ATS

Denver has won eight of its first nine games. The Celtics have excelled against the best teams in the league under Stevens: — John Ewing

The Celtics are on the second game of their five-game road trip tonight in Denver to face the Nuggets. Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics are 58-40 ATS (59.2%), profiting bettors 15.9 units, when they are on the second game or later of a road trip. Since Stevens started in Boston in 2013, no coach has been more profitable than him in this spot. He’s even been profitable in all four time zones during Boston’s road trips…

  • Eastern: 25-18 ATS (58.1%)
  • Pacific: 12-6 ATS (66.7%)
  • Central: 14-11 ATS (56%)
  • Mountain: 7-5 ATS (58.3%)

As John noted, under Stevens the Celtics have been an extremely efficient team against-the-spread when facing quality opponents. To add an extra layer, when the Celtics face an up-and-coming team in this spot, Boston has been dominant…

Under Stevens, the Celtics are 19-9-1 ATS (+9.1 units) when facing a team in January or earlier that is over .500 and did not make the playoffs the season before. Stevens is the second-most profitable coach in this spot since 2013 (Mike Budenholzer is first). The Celtics are also 12-4 ATS on the road in this spot, covering by 5.2 PPG. — Evan Abrams

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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