NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Celtics vs Clippers Betting Preview

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Celtics vs Clippers Betting Preview article feature image

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics.

  • The Celtics, after losing at Golden State, travel to Los Angeles looking to get back to their winning ways.
  • Meanwhile, the Clippers are looking to get off to a fast start in the first game of a five-game homestand.
  • Austin Wang digs into the matchup and offers up his best bet below.

Celtics vs. Clippers Odds

Celtics Odds-3.5
Clippers Odds+3.5
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Boston Celtics are in Southern California for the first game of a back-to-back against the two Los Angeles teams. They face off against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night and the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday.

The Clippers are the healthiest they have been all season. All rotation players, except for Norman Powell, are expected to be available for Monday's game. Additionally, Kawhi Leonard will be playing in his ninth game this season.

With a healthy team at home, can the Clippers pull off an upset against the best team in the NBA? Let's break down this matchup, look at the odds and see if we can find value to make a pick and prediction.

Celtics Still Well Ahead of the League

The Celtics have continued to impress this season. A tumultuous offseason, a new coach and an injury to starting center Robert Williams III could have all derailed the season, but Boston has the league's best record (21-6) and is 17-10 against the spread. The Celtics have the league's best Net Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats, and are doing it with their offense.

The Celtics rank first in Offensive Rating (119.3) by a wide margin, and score almost three points more per 100 possessions than the second-best team (Phoenix Suns, 116.4). Even without Williams anchoring the middle, they still rank eighth in Defensive Rating.

Their perimeter shooting has been incredible, and they lead the league in 3-point shooting (39.7%) and Effective Field Goal percentage (58.6%). The Celtics rank fourth in Turnover Percentage (13.5%), while the Clippers don't force many turnovers.

Al Horford will not be in the lineup Monday due to health and safety protocols. He is second on the team in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), per Basketball Reference. The Celtics do not have much depth in the frontcourt, especially with Williams out already. They will need to rely more on Blake Griffin, Luke Kornet and Grant Williams to hold down the fort.

Boston is 6-1 straight up and 4-2-1 ATS in games without Horford's services this season.

Clippers Must Win the Battle Inside

It is no surprise Leonard's presence is huge for the Clippers. His individual numbers leave a lot to be desired — he is on a minutes restriction and is scoring 11.6 points per game on 39.8% shooting from the field, the lowest mark of his career.

However, the Clippers are 6-2 with him in the lineup and On/Off numbers show their Net Rating improves by 14.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court, per Basketball Reference. Leonard's sheer presence makes such a big difference in how other teams game plan for the Clippers.

The Clippers' Offensive Rating (108.6) has been one of the league's worst (28th). They do not have many strengths to highlight on offense, but one of them is 3-point shooting. In their past five games, the Clippers rank sixth in the league in 3-point shooting (38.47%) and are attempting them at the seventh-highest rate (42.7% of their field goals). However, the Celtics are one of the best teams at defending the perimeter. They are third in the league in opponent 3-point rate.

With the absence of Horford, the Clippers will really need to take advantage down low. They should have a big rebounding advantage with Ivica Zubac and Leonard. I expect Zubac to have a big game.

The Celtics may be on a long road trip, but the Clippers have had a tough schedule as well. This will be their fourth game in six nights and their fifth game in eight nights.

Celtics-Clippers Pick

The Clippers swept their season series against the Celtics last year. Neither team was at full strength for either game, but I like the Celtics here in a double revenge spot. Road favorites who lost their previous two matchups are 138-87-6 (61.3%) ATS since the 2018-2019 season, per the Sports Data Query Language at Killer Sports.

The Celtics lost their last game against the Golden State Warriors, while the Clippers beat the Washington Wizards pretty handily. Road favorites off a loss versus a team off a win have gone 146-94-3 (60.8%) ATS since the 2012-2013 season, per the SDQL. History has seen the Celtics bounce back and the Clippers let down in this spot.

Even without Horford, and in midst of a long road trip, I expect the Celtics offense to continue its excellence. Boston is 5-0 straight up and 4-1 ATS in the first leg of a back-to-back this season. I am backing the reigning Eastern Conference champions to cover the spread against the Clippers on Monday night.

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May 21, 2024 UTC