Celtics vs. Clippers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: Is Market Undervaluing Boston With LA’s Stars Playing?

Celtics vs. Clippers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds: Is Market Undervaluing Boston With LA’s Stars Playing? article feature image
Credit:

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8).

  • The updated betting odds for Wednesday's NBA matchup between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers has the Clippers as 7.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 217.5.
  • Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both confirmed to play for the Clippers, marking the first time they'll play together as teammates.
  • Does that mean you should be betting on the Clippers? Or do the Celtics actually have some sneaky value? Our betting experts analyze the matchup and make their picks.

Celtics vs. Clippers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Spread: Clippers -7.5
  • Total: 217.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN

Will we finally get the pairing we’ve been dying to see since July? Will Kawhi Leonard (questionable) and Paul George finally make their Clippers debut together? How will they look in Game 1?

Questions abound in this star-studded national TV matchup, and our experts are here to break down the betting market and provide some trends and analysis for those looking to bet it.

Betting Market Analysis

With our Sports Insights live odds page, you can see betting percentages, line movement and sharp money in real time. Let’s take a look at how the market has been treating this game so far.

The first real movement of the day was a steam move on the Celtics at +6. There was then some reserve line movement on the Clippers at -5.5, followed by a steam move on them at -6.5.

Shortly after that, it was announced Kawhi Leonard and Paul George went through shootaround together with the starters. Kawhi is still listed questionable, but it was a positive step toward their collective debut.

After that news, we tracked an immediate steam move on Clippers -7, but eventually there was buyback on the Celtics at +8, indicating sharp bettors (as of now with the news we have) won’t let it get up or past that number.

For the over/under, there’s been almost solely sharp money on the over…

We tracked steam moves on over 217.5 and over 218 before the Kawhi news. When that came out, there was another steam move on over 219. — Bryan Mears

Steam moves tracked: Celtics +6 (before Kawhi shootaround news), Clippers -6.5 (before news), Clippers -7, Celtics +8, Over 217.5 (before news), Over 218 (before news), Over 219

Betting Analysis

First, it’s important to note that there’s uncertainty tonight given we’ve never seen Kawhi Leonard and Paul George take the floor together. Both are unselfish players who have shown an ability to adapt to multiple teams and other stars, so there’s less uncertainty. But it’s still a new thing.

I’ve been surprised at the effectiveness of PG in his short return this season. He had surgery on both of his shoulders, and you could tell at the end of last season that the issue was really hampering his play, particularly his shooting.

It seems the surgeries were a resounding success: The dude is shooting 56.3% from the field and 52.2% from beyond the arc. In three games, he’s averaging a 29.3-6.7-3.7 line. He’s struggled with turnovers, but that’s somewhat to be expected given the time off.

Kawhi has also been awesome this season, especially with his playmaking. His previous career-high assist rate was 18.2% back in 2016-17 with the Spurs (I’m not counting the nine-game following season). This year? He’s up at 33.8% — and he has yet to play a minute with George, you know, the guy who is hitting over half his shots from beyond the arc.

It’s hard to not be absolutely bullish on this team, especially given how they’ve performed with just one of the superstars in the lineup. This roster is loaded, which is why so many bought in on them as title favorites before the year.

Sure, it’s great to have two top-five guys, especially on the wing, but they also have a lot of depth in Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley, JaMychal Green and Rodney McGruder. Landry Shamet will return in a couple months as well.

One of our Bet Labs Pro Systems has a match for the Clippers tonight …

This system identifies teams that are getting more spread dollars than tickets — indicating sharp money. The impressive thing about this system, which has a 5.9% ROI historically, is that it’s hit against the closing spread even with negative line movement. This system is 21-16 ATS so far this year.

That said, Brad Stevens and the Celtics are scary to bet against in this spot. They thrive as the scrappy underdog; in fact, Stevens as a dog has gone 111-86-3 ATS historically:

As a road dog, he’s gone 84-55-1 for a 18.1% ROI. As a road dog against the Western Conference, he’s gone 38-21-1 ATS for a 26.1% ROI.

Are the Clippers five-ish points better than the Celtics on a neutral court? That’s certainly possible. I think I tend to agree with the market here: The Clips were undervalued if both guys play at -5.5 to -7 or so. But 8 or higher is probably slightly undervaluing the Celtics, who have been great so far this year, sitting third in the league with a +8.9 point differential. — Bryan Mears

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