Nets vs. Celtics Odds, Predictions & Game 5 Preview: Which Side of This Over/Under To Bet Tuesday
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant.
- The Celtics' postseason is on life support as they look to take down the Nets in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
- Boston has struggled offensively all series long, and its one win came thanks to a superhuman effort from Jayson Tatum in Game 3.
- NBA betting analyst Phillip Kall breaks down where the betting value lies in the odds and delivers his best bet for the matchup.
Celtics vs. Nets Odds
|Moneyline||+600 / -875|
|Time||Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet|
After a Game 3 loss, the Brooklyn Nets caught fire and took the Boston Celtics down in Game 4, 141-126.
This was Brooklyn’s best game all series, as they shot 57.8% from the field and 59.3% from 3-point range. Performances like these are why the Nets’ flaws tend to get swept under the rug. We will see if they can have similar success as competition stiffens throughout the playoffs.
Boston failed to defend its home-court and is down 3-1 in the series. The hope of flipping the script and pulling off an incredible comeback looks bleak. In the one game they were able to win, the Celtics needed their best game while Brooklyn struggled. It looks like major changes are needed if Boston wants to compete with the Eastern Conference’s best moving forward.
Let’s dig deeper into this matchup to see where the betting value is.
Boston Clinging to Life vs. Brooklyn
While the expectation was Brooklyn would quickly take care of business in this series, Boston has still managed to disappoint.
Defensively, you can give the Celtics defense a pass since all teams would struggle against the Nets’ “Big Three.” Offensively, though, Boston has failed to take advantage of what was supposed to be Brooklyn’s major flaw. Yes, the Celtics have managed to average 113.0 points in the series, but the worrisome part is how they got those points.
Through their first four games, the Celtics have shot just 43.4% from the floor. This puts them ahead of just the Heat, Knicks and Lakers among playoff teams, according to NBA.com. Those teams at least can argue they are built to focus on the defensive end, a luxury that Boston doesn’t have.
The saving grace to the Celtics’ struggling offense has been their ability to shoot from deep. They currently sit eighth in playoff 3-point percentage. That stat should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as it has been bolstered by Marcus Smart’s 45.5% 3-point shooting, which is a far step up from his 33% regular-season mark.
Turning things around in recent games has been Jayson Tatum, who started the series shooting 28.1% from the floor and averaging 15.5 points in the first two games. He looked much more like himself in the two games in Boston, where he averaged 45 points per game while shooting 50.0% from the floor.
With Kemba Walker likely out, the Celtics will need Tatum to have another superstar performance to keep this series alive.
Nets Have Been as Advertised Offensively
The Nets followed a disappointing Game 3 loss with their best performance in the playoffs so far.
The obvious difference between the two games was the performance of Kyrie Irving. In Game 3, Irving shot just 6-of-17 from the field in his first game back with fans in Boston. In Game 4, clearly feeling more comfortable, he scored 39 on 11-of-24 shooting, including a 6-of-12 mark from behind the arc.
Irving was not alone with his hot hand, as James Harden contributed 23 points and 18 assists. Kevin Durant led the Nets in Game 3, though, with 42 points. Lighting up the scoreboard has been the standard for the trio, which is averaging a combined 85.9 points per game in the series.
The player outside of the stars making the biggest contribution has been Joe Harris, who led the league in 3-point percentage during the regular season and has even taken it up from there in the playoffs. His lights-out shooting has helped open the floor for his stud teammates and punished opposing teams when they do help.
Defensively, the Nets have found a way to far exceed expectations.
In the regular season, Brooklyn ranked 23rd in Defensive Rating, which caused many analysts to hesitate when picking them to make a run past the Bucks or 76ers. The Nets have been able to limit Boston’s effectiveness inside the arc, allowing the third-lowest 2-point field goal percentage per NBA.com.
If its defense can continue limiting teams inside, Brooklyn should have the advantage in the games that turn into shootouts.
Brooklyn has been the clear driver for this series since the beginning.
If Boston had Jaylen Brown and a healthy Walker, it may have what it takes to keep up with the Nets. Without them, the talent Brooklyn has is simply overwhelming for Boston. The oddsmakers clearly agree since the Nets are over 10-point favorites in a potential closeout game. Such a large spread has me fading betting on either against the spread.
Turning to the total, there is some value to be had. Since the first game, when both teams were cold, the lowest combined score has been 138. Brooklyn sees that Milwaukee is already home resting for the two teams’ likely second-round series and will look to end this as quickly as possible. While Boston has inspired little hope with three games under 44.0% shooting, this might be a positive when looking at the total. Despite the Celtics’ struggles, these games are still comfortably clearing the over.
Bet Brooklyn to keep pushing their games into shootouts and take the over.
Pick: Over 231.5 (play up to 233.5)