Celtics vs. Lakers NBA Odds, Pick, Preview: Boston Can Compete With LA (Dec. 7)
Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum
- The Celtics are slight road underdogs against LeBron James and the Lakers on Tuesday night.
- Boston won the first meeting between the teams this season, can it do the same even if Jaylen Brown sits out?
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Celtics vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Boston Celtics continue their five-game road trip on Tuesday with a stop in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.
Boston has split its first two games of the the trip against the Jazz and Trail Blazers, and as a result enters this matchup with an overall record of 13-11 and in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers are just 4-6 in their last 10 games and come into this game at 12-12.
We have already seen the Celtics and the Lakers go head-to-head once this season, with Boston winning 130-108. Will we see a similar result in Tuesday’s matchup, or can the Lakers bounce back and redeem themselves on their home court?
Celtics Solid Despite Brown’s Absence
Even though Boston has gone 1-1 to start its road trip and has been missing one of its star players, the Celtics have shown some encouraging signs and have been able to score at will on the offensive end of the floor.
Jaylen Brown has not played in either of those two games and is questionable for Tuesday’s matchup, but that has not stopped Boston from averaging 137.5 points per game over that stretch. Furthermore, the Celtics are shooting 54% from the floor overall and 46% from behind the arc, showing that this offense is really starting to click.
It is a small sample size, but those numbers are significantly higher than their season averages of 44.3% from the floor and 33.9% from three, according to NBA.com. In the absence of Brown we have seen guys like Dennis Schroeder and Marcus Smart increase their scoring, and both of those guys should continue to have a big role on Tuesday.
The Celtics have also been able to their hold their ground defensively this season, an area that they were relatively average in last year. According to NBA Advanced Stats, Boston has improved its Defensive Rating to 106.5 as opposed to 111.8 during the 2020-21 season, one of the largest improvements in the league.
In addition, Boston is holding opponents to just 43.8% from the floor and surrendering 42.5 points in the paint per game, two areas in which it is in the top six in the NBA.
Lakers Haven’t Lived Up To Expectations
Despite all of their star power, the Lakers struggle in several areas this season, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. They sit 17th in Defensive Rating, according to NBA Advanced Stats, surrendering 108.6 points per 100 possessions. They are allowing opponents to shoot 45.3% overall, 35% from behind the arc, and giving up an average of 114.8 points in their last five games.
Furthermore, LAis allowing their opponents to score an average of 49.4 points per game in the paint, the second most in the NBA this season.
The Lakers’ offense is significantly better across a number of categories, however, as they are 22nd in Offensive Rating, scoring 106.9 points per 100 possessions. Their offseason acquisitions gave the appearance that they could make another run at the title, but as of right now they have not shown that kind of potential.
Part of the reason for the slow start is because LeBron James has only played in 50% of their games, and he is listed on the injury report again for this game along with Anthony Davis, Kendrick Nunn, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza.
Although Davis and James are listed on the injury report, it appears that both guys will suit up for this game and Los Angeles will be close to full strength. However, several things are still leaning in Boston’s favor.
The Celtics are 9-4-1 against the spread when they are on the road this year, while the Lakers are just 4-11 ATS on their home court. In addition, Boston is 4-3-1 ATS as a road underdog, but L.A is 3-10 as a home favorite.
The Celtics have looked surprisingly strong without Brown, and given that they beat the Lakers by 22 in their last matchup and LA is banged up, I think we can see them stay competitive once again.
Pick: Boston +3 (-110)